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Blackbird by David Harrower
An East Riding Theatre Production

THURSDAY 11th February – SATURDAY 27th February. Evenings at 7.30pm.
LOCATION: East Riding Theatre, Beverley
TICKETS £19 full £18 concessions

ERT (East Riding Theatre) is very proud to announce our forthcoming production of Blackbird by David Harrower, starring Malcolm Tomlinson and Hester Arden and directed by Andrew Pearson.
Winner of the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play, Blackbird is one of the most talked about plays of the past 10 years and has recently been adapted as Una, a feature film, due for release soon starring Rooney Mara.

Focusing on an illicit relationship between an older man Ray and a young girl Una (which resulted in prison for the former and psychotherapy for the latter), Blackbird takes place 15 years after their initial encounter and shows the intense meeting and confrontation between the two characters as they attempt to piece together the truth of the past.

A powerful play which raises challenging and difficult questions, director Andrew Pearson, who recently directed ERT’s sell-out success A Steady Rain, says about his new project, "I saw Blackbird at its premiere in Edinburgh in 2005 and was blown away. The play asked a huge amount of me as an audience member and I was deeply affected by it for a long time afterwards. The difficult subject matter and nonjudgmental approach makes it one of the strongest plays written since the millennium, so I was thrilled when Vincent Regan (Artistic Director at ERT) asked me to direct it.”

The complex two-hander stars Malcolm Tomlinson and Hester Arden, two actors who have strong connections to ERT and the local area. Both actors appeared in the inaugural production of A Christmas Carol at the theatre and Arden has just impressed audiences in ERT’s latest production Sparrow.

Beverley-born actor Tomlinson has TV credits including Emmerdale, Hollyoaks and Eastenders and he will shortly be seen in the Channel 5 production Six Wives. Speaking about taking on the controversial role of Ray, Tomlinson elaborates, “As actors, we don’t always like the characters we are asked to portray but it’s crucial to find an empathy with them, otherwise you can’t expect the audience to believe. You have to do justice to the character in order to do justice to the play and that can sometimes be a real roller coaster of a journey.”

Arden, who was also born in Beverley and grew up in Hull, is equally relishing the challenge, “It's rare that as an actor you get the opportunity to delve into the life and intimacies of a person like Una. David Harrower's brave tackling of a subject that society naturally finds taboo feels to be like a dark pearl waiting to be uncovered. To share that story with one other actor on the stage is a dance that will undoubtedly be different every night.”
Blackbird runs from 11th February 2016 until 27th February 2016

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