Ian Hallard is to take the lead role of William Shakespeare in the world premiere of Matthew Parker’s production of outrageous backstage romp Foul Pages by Robin Hooper, which opens at The Hope Theatre on February 15. Hallard, who was nominated for the What’s On Stage Best Actor award for The Park Theatre’s acclaimed production Boy’s From the Band, last appeared on The Hope Theatre in 2015 as Alan Turing in Snoo Wilson’s Lovesong Of The Electric Bear, also directed by Parker. He is joined by Greg Baxter (A Comedy of Errors and A Taste Of Honey – Royal National Theatre), Thomas Bird (Forty Years On – Chichester Festival Theatre), Claire Bloomer (Afterplay – The Bridewell Theatre, Always Tuesday – Southwark Playhouse), Lewis Chandler (A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Creation Theatre), Jack Harding (Sea Life – The Hope Theatre) James King (Drama Studio) Olivia Onyehera (Pride and Prejudice – Nottingham Playhouse, Private Lives – The Mercury Theatre) and Tom Vanson (Drama Studio)
Foul Pages takes place in 1603, the plague is ravaging London, scattering the court to the rural countryside of Wiltshire and delaying the coronation of the soon to be King James I. While actors rehearse, despite backstage squabbles and sexual politics, Shakespeare and the Countess of Pembroke struggle with the rewrites of As You Like It’, which must appeal to the new king’s merciful nature and seduce him into releasing the condemned Sir Walter Raleigh.
Following five critically acclaimed and award-winning in-house productions, The Hope Theatre (Fringe Theatre of the Year nominee, The Stage Awards 2016) presents the world premiere of this outrageous insight into theatrical mayhem during in a period of regal and political transition. Foul Pages is a fruity farce full of scandalous secrets, backstage betrayals and lusty gay liaisons. You think you know your Shakespeare?… Think again!
Ian Hallard says, I can’t quite believe it’s already been three years since I last worked with the supremely talented and imaginative Matthew Parker in the late Snoo Wilson’s ‘Lovesong of the Electric Bear’. On that occasion, Matthew gave me the wonderful opportunity of playing Alan Turing, so I’m delighted to be returning to the Hope Theatre to play yet another British genius: this time William Shakespeare in Robin Hooper’s sexy, quirky comedy ‘Foul Pages’. The Hope really is the little theatre with big ideas, and this production looks set to be its most ambitious yet.
Foul Pages is written by Robin Hooper (Ex Literary Manager of the Royal Court and Paines Plough) and directed by Matthew Parker (The Hope’s Off West End award-winning Artistic Director). The production follows Matthew’s hugely successful stagings of Lovesong of The Electric Bear (winner of 2 Off West End Awards; transferred to West End 2015), Sea Life (4 Off West End Award nominations), Steel Magnolias (Winner of 2 Break A Leg Critics Choice Awards inc Best Off West End Production), Her Aching Heart (Best Play, Spy In The Stalls Awards and 3 Off West End Award nominations) and Brimstone and Treacle (2 Off West End Award nominations and 3 Break A Leg Nominations).