In the summer of 1888, bankrupt and at his wits’ end, August Strindberg and his family rented rooms in a ruinous Danish castle called Skovlyst. The castle was also occupied by a young aristocratic woman, her corrupt steward, and a menagerie of exotic animals. That summer, Strindberg wrote two masterpieces of world theatre: his intense tragedy Miss Julie and dark comedy Creditors, the play he regarded as his finest.
This spring, Creditors will play in the Studio at Keswick’s Theatre by the Lake from 22 March to 20 April, along with five special performances of Miss Julie, which will then go on rural tour.
Creditors tells the story of Adolph, a young artist who is deeply in love with his new wife Tekla. She is intelligent, educated, and experienced. He loves her independence and sophistication but sometimes worries he is not her equal. But a chance meeting with a suave stranger in a seaside hotel shakes Adolph’s devotion to the core.
Miss Julie takes place on Midsummer’s Eve. A night when the sun doesn’t set. When Julie finds herself alone on her father’s estate, she gate-crashes the servants’ party. In the sultry heat of that long, light night, she finds herself in a dangerous tryst with her father’s man servant, Jean. A flirtatious game descends into a savage fight for survival.
Miss Julie is a revival of Tom Littler’s acclaimed 2017 production (described as ‘sensational’ ★★★★ by The Observer, and ‘a treat of the highest order’ ★★★★★ by the Evening Standard) with Creditors being the world premiere production of Howard Brenton’s new adaptation. Following their run at Theatre by the Lake and the rural tour of Miss Julie, both productions will play in rep at London’s Jermyn Street Theatre, from 25 April to 1 June.
Besides Miss Julie, Brenton and Littler have previously collaborated on Strindberg’s Dances of Death (London’s Gate Theatre, 2013), and on Brenton’s play about Strindberg’s Inferno period, The Blinding Light (Jermyn Street Theatre, 2017).
Charlotte Hamblin will revive her OffWestEnd nominated performance in the title role of Miss Julie. Dorothea Myer-Bennett plays Kristin in Miss Julie and Tekla in Creditors. James Sheldon returns to his OffWestEnd nominated performance as Jean in Miss Julie and takes the role of Adolph in Creditors. David Sturzaker, a regular performer at the RSC and Shakespeare’s Globe, will play Gustav in Creditors.
August Strindberg is ranked alongside Chekhov and Ibsen as one of the great turn-of-the-century dramatists. Howard Brenton is a multi award-winning playwright whose plays have recently appeared at the National Theatre, Hampstead Theatre, and Shakespeare’s Globe.
Tom Littler is Artistic Director of Jermyn Street Theatre; alongside Miss Julie which played in TBTL’s 2017 Summer Season, he also directed 2018’s production of Single Spies by Alan Bennett. Of his return to TBTL Tom said: “I just love this theatre – I think it’s incredibly romantic, and I really enjoy meeting the audience here. They’re up for anything and they know their drama. There’s also a great backstage crew here and a friendly team in the office; I always feel supported. Most importantly, I can bring my dog and he has a holiday in the Lakes!”
Creditors plays in the Studio at Theatre by the Lake from 22 March to 20 April, with Miss Julie playing from 1 – 4 April, followed by a local tour from 9 – 13 April. Find out more at www.theatrebythelake.com or call the Box Office on 017687 74411.