Kristin Scott Thomas & Lily James perform in Theatre this October

Stars on stage sell tickets

Sonia Friedman Productions has confirmed that the world premiere of new Penelope Skinner play Lyonesse is coming to the West End this autumn 2023, starring Kristin Scott Thomas (Electra, Darkest Hour) and Lily James (All About Eve, Pam & Tommy).

In the play, Elaine (Kristin Scott Thomas) is a reclusive and talented actress who, disappears in mysterious circumstances. 30 years later, she finally feels ready to tell her story – summoning Kate, a young film executive (Lily James), to her remote Cornish home to assist with her glorious comeback.

But who really controls the stories we tell, and how we get to tell them? Will these women own their narrative, or will it be swept away from them at any given moment?

Lyonesse is billed as a powerful story for our times by Penelope Skinner, who won the George Devine Award for Most Promising Playwright for The Village Bike. Her other stage credits include Angry Alan, Meek, Linda, The Ruins of Civilisation, Fred’s Diner, Eigengrau and F*cked. On TV she wrote four seasons of Fresh Meat for Channel 4, upcoming TV triller The Following Events Are Based On A Pack Of Lies for BBC1, and the film How I Live Now.

In Lyonesse, Kristin Scott Thomas and Lily James are joining forces on stage for the first time, after appearing together in the Oscar and BAFTA winning film Darkest Hour and the Netflix adaptation of Rebecca.

The drama also reunites Ian Rickson and Kristin Scott Thomas, following their work together on The Seagull at the Royal Court and on Broadway, Electra at The Old Vic, and West End productions of Harold Pinter plays Betrayal and Old Times.

The wider creative team for Lyonesse includes design by Georgia Lowe, lighting by Jessica Hung Han Yun, music by Stephen Warbeck and sound by Tingying Dong.

Writer Penelope Skinner said in a press statement: “I am thrilled to be working with Ian Rickson to bring this story to life, alongside such a remarkable cast and creative team. I’m a huge admirer of both Kristin Scott Thomas and Lily James, and am so grateful for Sonia Friedman’s faith and vision in giving this new play a home in the West End. I was inspired to write Lyonesse after wondering what would happen if the dramatic action of a traditional revenge tragedy was flipped, so that the story instead became about the person upon whom revenge had been sworn. Themes of creativity, purpose, isolation, violence, magic and mothers rushed to join in with this central provocation, and the characters of the story came into being.”

Kristin Scott Thomas said: “Working with Ian is one of the great joys of my professional life. And a new play is such an adventure. Penelope Skinner’s writing had me gripped from the first page. I love the questions the story raises. Acting with Lily is starting to become a habit. Luckily it’s good for everyone!”

Lily James said: “I am thrilled to be joining this wonderful company. I have always wanted to work with Ian Rickson. When I received Penelope Skinner’s brilliant play, I read it in one sitting and adored it – I was utterly gripped by these strong, original characters. To work with Sonia Friedman again is an absolute dream but most importantly, I am so happy to be reunited with my friend, Kristin Scott Thomas.”

Directed by Ian Rickson (Jerusalem, Uncle Vanya), this new play by George Devine Award winner Penelope Skinner (The Village Bike, Fresh Meat) will play the Harold Pinter Theatre from 17 October to 23 December 2023.

Tickets go on sale now.

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