An Enemy of the People, by Henrik Ibsen and adapted by Arthur Miller, opens at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton on 8 October

Octagon Theatre Bolton and the University of Bolton present

An Enemy of the People

By Henrik Ibsen

Adapted by Arthur Miller

Director: David Thacker

Thursday 8 – Saturday 31 October 2015

To celebrate the centenary of Arthur Miller’s birth on 17 October 1915, the Octagon is presenting his adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People. 

This will be the fourth production of an Arthur Miller play directed by David Thacker at the Octagon.

An Enemy of the People, originally written by Henrik Ibsen in response to public outcry against his play Ghosts, follows Dr Tomas Stockmann, a well-respected scientist who makes an alarming discovery that places his local community’s livelihood in jeopardy. In his struggle to do the right thing, Dr Stockmann risks destroying his own career and sacrificing his family’s future.

With an esteemed cast of celebrated stage and television actors, the production includes an additional 24 ALRA North drama students, performing in two groups of 12 on rotation. The production further features a team of 8 young actors auditioned from the local community, who will play Tomas and Katrine Stockmann’s two young sons.

Rob Edwards returns to the Octagon as Dr Tomas Stockmann, an idealistic man forced to choose between what is right and what is easy. Audience favourite Barbara Drennan will play Katrine Stockmann, Tomas’ loyal and dedicated wife, and will be joined on stage by David Birrell as the town mayor and Tomas’ brother, Peter. Completing the Stockmann family is Petra Stockmann, Tomas’ and Katrine’s daughter, played by Anna Wheatley.

Returning to the Octagon following his performance in the theatre’s critically acclaimed production of Brassed Off, John McArdle is to play the role of the influential Aslaksen, the town’s newspaper printer, accompanied by John Branwell in the role of wealthy Morten Kiil. 

Completing the cast are Harry Long, playing radical newspaper assistant Billing, David Nabil Stuart, as newspaper editor Hovstad, Marc Small as shipmaster Captain Horster, and Colin Connor as the town drunk.

Speaking of the production, David Thacker said: “To celebrate the centenary of Arthur Miller’s birth on 17 October 1915, I am delighted to be sharing this great play with the people of Bolton and the North West. Arthur Miller’s version of Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People is a very special play for me because it was whilst working on this play in 1988 that I grew to know Arthur Miller and began my professional relationship with him.

Working on the play nearly 30 years later, it seems even more contemporary and urgent now than it did in Margaret Thatcher’s Britain, as Thomas Stockmann’s repeated warnings that ‘the water is poisoned’ reverberate loudly in the 21st-century when we know that the planet is in serious danger of destruction and yet seem incapable of dealing with that knowledge. At a time when people are desperate for politicians to tell the truth, Stockmann’s determination to stand up on behalf of the truth – putting at risk the safety and security of his family – is an inspiration to us all.

In An Enemy of the People two great playwrights shake hands over a century and create a play that neither could have written alone. It is gripping, compelling and inspirational. A play of hope. A play for our time.”

An Enemy of the People is playing from Thursday 8 – Saturday 31 October 2015. 

Notable dates include Meet the Director and cast on Monday 19 October, Investigate Day (a full day event around the themes and issues of the play) on Saturday 31 October, Audio Described performance on Thursday 15 October, and a Captioned Performance on Thursday 29 October. 

Tickets are from £27 – £10.50 on 01204 520661, or at www.octagonbolton.co.uk.

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