Original news dated 20 January 2017: Vivienne Acheampong, Mark Edel-Hunt, Chris New and Jack Tarlton will star in the first stage adaptation of a Paul Auster novel in the UK, City of Glass, a brand new production by Tony Award-winning 59 Productions in a co-production with HOME, Manchester (4-18 March 2017) and London’s Lyric Hammersmith (20 April-13 May 2017).
In 2017, as Auster turns 70 and The New York Trilogy, his first work of prose fiction marks three decades in publication, the first part of this celebrated trilogy which has captivated the imaginations of readers across the world will be staged in Manchester and London ahead of its international tour. City of Glass will be brought vividly to life in a dazzlingly original stage adaptation by 59 Productions (An American in Paris, War Horse, David Bowie Is) and Olivier Award-nominated playwright Duncan Macmillan (Every Brilliant Thing, 1984, People, Places and Things).
Mark Edel-Hunt and Chris New will play Daniel Quinn, the reclusive crime writer who unwittingly becomes the protagonist in a real-life thriller of his own after receiving a mysterious phone call in the middle of the night from a man called Peter Stillman, played by Jack Tarlton, who is looking for a private detective. Quinn soon falls under the spell of Virginia played by Vivienne Acheampong, a strange and seductive woman, who engages him to protect her young husband from his sociopathic father.
As the familiar territory of the noir detective genre gives way to something altogether more disturbing and unpredictable, Quinn becomes consumed by his mission, and begins to lose his grip on reality. Will he be drawn deeper into the abyss, or might unmasking this dark story of familial abuse and religious conspiracy provide the purpose and meaning he needs to rebuild his shattered life?
City of Glass marks the first theatre production originated by the multi award-winning company of artists, 59 Productions. Renowned for creating visual content and technical design for many of the world’s greatest venues, including the National Theatre, Royal Opera House, The Metropolitan Opera New York, Lincoln Center, Salzburg Festival, Schaubühne Berlin, and the Sydney Opera House, as well as for countless productions in London’s West End and on Broadway, 59 Productions won a coveted Tony Award in 2015 for their design work on An American in Paris.
City of Glass is directed by 59 Productions’ founding director Leo Warner who has led the company’s creative team for over 15 years on projects such as the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony (video design), Vivid LIVE 2014: Lighting the Sails of Sydney Opera House (director), and the United Nations Global Goals Launch (director). He has worked extensively across Europe with director Katie Mitchell (Waves, Reise durch die Nacht, The Forbidden Zone), and co-directed Fräulein Julie with her for Schaubühne, Berlin.
59 Productions is adapting this extraordinary and hallucinatory literary thriller for the stage in collaboration with writer Duncan Macmillan, renowned Danish choreographer and movement director Kim Brandstrup (London Royal Ballet, Danish Royal Ballet, Rambert) and a Tony and Olivier award-winning creative team including sound designer Gareth Fry (The Encounter, Let the Right One In, Harry Potter) and composer Nick Powell (Wolf Hall, The Nether, The Wonderful World of Dissocia).
Featuring design inspired by the acclaimed graphic novel by Paul Karasik and David Mazzucchelli, this brand new production will feature many of the groundbreaking techniques that have made 59 Productions “the leading purveyors of video for theatre in the world” (The Guardian). Cutting-edge projection-mapping, combined with stagecraft, magic and illusion will immerse audiences into Quinn’s increasingly dystopic and fragmented world.
Paul Auster’s City of Glass, written in 1981/2 and first published in the United States in 1985, appeared in the UK as the initial volume in The New York Trilogy (1987). One of the great masterpieces of contemporary American fiction, it has been translated into more than 40 languages and has never been out of print in the past three decades. The novel sets out in the guise of a mystery thriller in the noir detective genre, before ultimately revealing itself to be concerned primarily with the life-or-death psychological struggle of its main protagonist, Quinn. It sets up many of the long-running themes of Auster’s literary career: language, identity, coincidence and choice. The idea for the story has its origins in real-life: Auster once received two unexplained phone calls from someone asking for the Pinkerton Detective Agency, and to this day, says that he regrets not having tried to help the stranger on the phone. Through Quinn and City of Glass he allows himself to imagine an alternative world in which the phone rang for a third time, and the course of his life was altered.
Described as “one of the foremost chroniclers of New York”, Paul Auster is the best-selling author of Winter Journal, Sunset Park, Man in the Dark, The Brooklyn Follies, The Book of Illusions, The New York Trilogy, among many other works. In 2006 he was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature and inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Among his other honours are the Independent Spirit Award for the screenplay of Smoke and the Prix Medicis Etranger for Leviathan. He has also been short-listed for both the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (The Book of Illusions) and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction (The Music of Chance). His work has been translated into more than forty languages. His latest novel, 4 3 2 1, an epic story of America in the 1950 and 60s, will be published in January 2017.
Vivienne Acheampong wrote and performed the one-woman show, Rainbow Class, a hilarious look at inner-city school life, which premiered in 2015 at the Camden Fringe, and went on to play at the Bush Theatre’s RADAR Festival and in Edinburgh at Assembly Hall. Further stage credits include: Monster Raving Loony (Soho), The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (West End), Julius Caesar (St. Ann’s Warehouse) and Titus Andronicus (Edinburgh Fringe).
Mark Edel-Hunt trained at RADA. Recent performances on stage include Tim Crouch’s Adler and Gibb (Royal Court Productions), Red Velvet (West End) and The American Plan (St James’ Theatre). Further stage credits include: Chariots of Fire (Hampstead & West End), The Importance Of Being Earnest (Riverside Studios), The Syndicate (Chichester), Swimming with Sharks (West End), Bronte (Shared Experience), The Importance of Being Earnest (Rose Theatre, Kingston & on tour), The Importance of Being Earnest (New Wolsey, Ipswich), Northern Star (Finborough), Quiz (Soho), The Great Irish Elk (Theatre 503), Vincent in Brixton (Original Theatre Company) and See How They Run (Royal Exchange). His roles on-screen include Brideshead Revisited, Mistresses, Episodes, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, White Princess, Against the Law and Call the Midwife.
Chris New trained at RADA and was nominated for an Evening Standard Theatre Award and What’s On Stage Award for London Newcomer in 2006 for his performance as Horst alongside Alan Cumming’s Max in Bent at the Trafalgar Studios. Further stage credits include: Lingua Franca (Finborough & Brits Off Broadway), Smallholding (Nuffield, Hightide, Soho), The Pitchfork Disney (Arcola), The Glass Menagerie (Nottingham Playhouse), Pictures from an Exhibition (Sadler’s Wells), Prick Up Your Ears (West End), Edward II and Hay Fever (Royal Exchange), Twelfth Night and The Comedy of Errors (RSC), The Reporter (National Theatre) and Arden of Faversham (White Bear). His film debut, Weekend, scooped numerous awards including the Audience Award at South By Southwest and Toronto’s Inside Out LGBT Film Festival, the Grand Jury Prize for Best Film at Nashville Film Festival, and Best British Newcomer nomination at the BFI London Film Festival. As a writer and director, his work includes the short film Ticking, and the feature film Chicken, A New Play for the General Election and The Precariat at the Finborough Theatre.
Jack Tarlton trained at LAMDA, and is the Joint Artistic Director of Presence Theatre. His work in theatre includes: BRENDA (HighTide/Yard Theatre); Hedda Gabler (Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh); Pitcairn (Out of Joint, Chichester Festival Theatre & Shakespeare’s Globe) CHORALE: The Animal (You), The Holy Ghostly and The War in Heaven (Presence Theatre/ATC); From Morning to Midnight, Coram Boy and Once in a Lifetime (National Theatre); A Dolls House and Rats’ Tales (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester); Beasts & Beauties (Bristol Old Vic & Hampstead); for Propellor: The Merchant of Venice and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (UK & international tour); The Deep Blue Sea (Theatre Royal Bath, UK tour & West End); The Sexual Neuroses of Our Parents (Gate Theatre); Romeo and Juliet (Chichester Festival Theatre); An Inspector Calls (West End), Troilus and Cressida and A Month in the Country (RSC). He played Mozart in BBC Two’s drama-documentary, The Genius of Mozart, as well as the role of Tom Hitchinson in Doctor Who. Further screen credits include: The Imitation Game, Nora, Dead Ringers, Hearts and Bones, Wings of Angels and The Cater Street Hangman.
59 Productions is the multi award-winning company of artists behind the video design of the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games, the Tony Award-winning An American in Paris, globe-trotting smash hit, War Horse, and the design of record-breaking David Bowie is exhibition. 59 Productions combine technology and art to tell amazing stories. Led by Directors Leo Warner, Mark Grimmer, Lysander Ashton and Richard Slaney, they are world leaders specialising in design for stage and live events. Since 2006, 59 Productions has been involved in more than 150 productions across the world at venues including the National Theatre, Royal Court, Young Vic, the Royal Opera House, English National Opera, New York’s Metropolitan Opera as well as at theatre festivals in Edinburgh, where they are Associate Artists to the International Festival until 2018, Salzburg, Berlin and Avignon.
Duncan Macmillan’s plays include: People, Places and Things (2015/16 – National Theatre/Wyndham’s Theatre); 1984, adapt. George Orwell (2013-16 – Headlong/Nottingham Playhouse/Almeida/West End and international tour, co-adapted/co-directed with Rob Icke); Every Brilliant Thing (2013-17 – Paines Plough/Pentabus Theatre/Edinburgh Festival/UK, international tours/HBO); 2071, co-written with Chris Rapley (2014-15 – Royal Court Theatre/Hamburg Schauspielhaus); The Forbidden Zone (2014-16 – Salzburg Festival and Schaubühne, Berlin); Wunschloses Unglück, adapt. Peter Handke (2014 – Burgtheater Vienna); Reise Durch die Nacht, adapt. Friederike Mayröcker (2012-14 – Schauspielhaus Köln, Festival d’Avignon, Teatertreffen); Lungs (2011-16 Paines Plough and Sheffield Theatres/Studio Theatre, Washington DC) and Monster (2006 – Royal Exchange).