Arcadia: ‘One of the most exquisite plays of the 20th century’ set for Waterside

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Considered to be ‘one of the most exquisite plays of the 20th century’ Tom Stoppard’s Olivier award winning comedy Arcadia will be performed at Aylesbury Waterside for a week next month.

The play is set against two time frames moving back and forth between 1809 and the present day, with a witty and absorbing portrait of two generations of an aristocratic family.

Screen actress Dakota Blue Richards, who played the lead character Lyra Belacqua in Philip Pullman’s fantasy adventure film The Golden Compass opposite Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman, makes her professional stage debut as the heroine of the piece.

She plays Thomasina Coverly, a precocious teenager with ideas about mathematics, nature and physics well ahead of her time, living in Sidley Park in the 19th century in rural Derbyshire.

Thomasina is a bright and talented pupil, tutored by Lord Byron’s friend Septimus Hodge, who makes a startling discovery well ahead of her time as secret desires and professional rivalries take hold of the residents of the stately home.

In the present day, academics Hannah Jarvis and Bernard Nightingale attempt to piece together the fragments of truth that tell Thomasina’s story.

First premiered at the National Theatre in 1993 directed by Sir Trevor Nunn, Arcadia has twice played on Broadway.

The production coming to the Waterside from Monday March 2 through to Saturday March 7, is the first major tour of the play since 1993 and sees a new collaboration between the English Touring Theatre and Theatre Royal Brighton Productions.

Tom Stoppard said: “I’m delighted that a new tour of Arcadia, directed by the young visionary Blanche McIntyre, is to take place this year, reaching audiences across the UK. The current challenges for regional theatre in the UK mean that a production of this scale and quality are very rarely toured.”

Septimus Hodge is played by Wilf Scolding whose television credits include Borgia III, Doctors and Skins.

HannahJarvis is played by Flora Montgomery who is a veteran of the theatrical world with stage credits all over the country, as well as television credits including Midsomer Murders, An Unsuitable Job For A Woman and Grantchester.

And Bernard Nightingale is played by Robert Cavanah who has an impressive stage pedigree and has also appeared on television in shows including Emmerdale, Waterloo Road, The Royal, Kavanagh QC and Cracker. His screen credits include Tomb Raider II and Saving Grace.

The shows at the Waterside during the first week of March are on at 7.30pm each evening, with additional matinees on Thursday and Saturday at 2.30pm. Tickets cost from £10.50 to £30. Box office 0844 871 7607.