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In London’s West End 2020: The Pillowman at the Duke of York’s Theatre (Preview)


UPDATE: The Pillowman’s West End premiere will be delayed. Due to the current COVID-19 situation, the production is now postponed and new season details and all further information will be announced at a later date. 

McDonagh and director Matthew Dunster said: “Whilst we are naturally disappointed that The Pillowman can’t go ahead this Summer, we are fully committed to realising this new production in the near future. We have an extraordinary cast and creative team and can’t wait to bring this new vision of the play to audiences.”

Says The Pillowman star Aaron Taylor-Johnson Taylor-Johnson: “I’m excited to hold the promise of a return to theatre, a place of magic, creativity and Unity.”

Says fellow actor Pemberton: “It’s been a dark time for the performing arts and I can’t wait to have the theatres open again.  Unfortunately The Pillowman has to be put to bed for now, but I very much hope that we’ll be able to bring Martin’s dazzling play to the West End before too long.”

James Bierman, the producer of The Pillowman, said: “Postponing The Pillowman until 2021 due to Covid -19 related issues is, sadly, the right thing to do. Since we announced the show, we have been blown away by the public response and all of us are really looking forward to being able to finally deliver the great play to audiences next year.”

LONDON -Martin McDonagh, the multi Olivier, BAFTA and Academy Award-winning playwright and screen-writer responsible for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, MissouriIn Bruges, Seven Psychopaths and Six Shooter, is back in London’s West End this summer with his acclaimed iconic play, The Pillowman.

Performances begin at the Duke of York’s Theatre from 24th July, for a strictly limited 12-week season. As a special initiative, the producers are also thrilled that they will be making tickets available for every performance on a ‘Pay What You Can” scheme.

The Pillowman is set for an all-star cast, including Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Golden Globe Award winner, Nocturnal Animals) and Steve Pemberton (Bafta Award winner, The League of Gentlemen), with Matthew Dunster as director of this first ever West End production of Martin McDonagh’s electrifying and savagely funny Olivier Award-winning play (its only previous UK run was at the National Theatre in 2003).

Martin McDonagh said: “The Pillowman is a play that’s always been very close to my heart, in terms of its combination of the darkest of dark comedy with its exploration of the nature of story-telling itself. It’s a play that I haven’t wanted to have staged in London until I could find the perfect director and the ideal cast for it, and having worked with Matthew previously on Hangmen, and been an admirer of Steve and Aaron’s work for many years, I feel it’s the perfect time to find out what a whole new generation makes of this peculiar tale…”

The Pillowman is set in a totalitarian state, where a writer is questioned by the authorities about a spate of murders that bear similarities to his short stories. Is this life imitating art or something more sinister? This black comedy widely regarded as one of the greatest plays of the past 25 years, examines the role of the artist in society and asks what price do we pay for freedom of expression.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s film roles include portrayals of a young John Lennon in Nowhere Boy, Count Vronksy in Joe Wright’s adaptation of Anna Karenina and James Frey in A Million Little Pieces. Recently starred in Doug Liman’s The Wall, David Mackenzie’s Outlaw King and the upcoming Christopher Nolan’s Tenet.  Additional credits include the titular character in the Kick-Ass Films, Quicksilver in AvengersAge of UltronShanghai KnightsGodzilla and Oliver Stone’s Savages. He was recognized with a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor and a BAFTA Award Nomination for Tom Ford’s thriller, Nocturnal Animals. Aaron Taylor-Johnson will play Katurian in The Pillowman.

Steve Pemberton is a member of The League of Gentlemen with Reece Shearsmith, Mark Gatiss and Jeremy Dyson.  He co-wrote and appeared in Psyschoville and Inside Number 9.  His other television credits include: Good Omens, Worzel Gummidge, Doctor Who, Benidorm, Blackpool, Shameless, Whitechapel, Happy Valley and Mapp and Lucia.  His stage work includes playing Mr Hardcastle in She Stoops to Conquer at the National Theatre. Steve Pemberton will play Tupolski.

Matthew Dunster – who directed McDonagh’s award-winning Hangmen at the Royal Court, in the West End and about to open on Broadway – is joined on the creative team by Set and Costume Designer Anna Fleischle (Hangmen, Death of a Salesman, Message in a Bottle, Everyone’s Talking about Jamie) and Sound Designer Ian Dickinson (Hangmen, Company – West End and Broadway, Jerusalem and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time).

Empire Street Productions presents The Pillowman and are thrilled to be bringing this extraordinary play to London with a ‘Pay What You Can’ ticket pricing initiative across the whole run. James Bierman (Empire Street Productions) said: “I really hope that with this play, this cast and for this production, we can welcome both established and new playgoers into the West End, and that this pricing accessibility will give those audiences the thrill of live theatre at its very best.”

The Pillowman plays from 24th July to 17th October 2020 at the Duke of York’s Theatre, London. Tickets and more information available here 

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