Look Back in Anger on stage next week

The 60th anniversary of John Osborne’s seminal play, is being celebrated by Derby Theatre with a revival directed by artistic director, Sarah Brigham.

Look Back in Anger changed the face of British theatre in the mid-1950s, and Derby Theatre is looking forward to presenting this iconic play to the audiences of today in the city from whence it was born.

The play is a strongly autobiographical piece which suggests it is based on Osborne’s unhappy marriage to actress Pamela Lane, and their life in Derby.

Osborne was an actor and stage manager at Derby Playhouse (now Derby Theatre) during the 1950s. He pitched the play to the Playhouse before he offered it to the Royal Court, but the theatre’s board turned it down as they thought it may not show his ex-wife, a leading actress in the rep company at that time, in a good light.

It’s 1956 and in a cramped flat in Derby, Jimmy Porter is angry. His upper-class wife Alison is the target for his anger while his flatmate Cliff is the perfect sounding board.

An unwanted pregnancy and the arrival of a glamorous actress take the couple into a love triangle which questions the very foundations of how they live.

The play gave birth to the term ‘angry young men’ and some of the issues the character Jimmy Porter was railing against are still relevant today.

As the perfect companion piece to Look Back in Anger, Derby Theatre will also present a new play, Jinny written by Jane Wainwright, an exciting new voice in theatre who is from Derbyshire.

Jinny will look at the play afresh and offer a contemporary response through the theatre’s RETOLD series, which aims to crack open classics from the perspective of female characters.

Built on research and development with women living in Derby today, this is a story of a young woman trying to cope with the world in which she finds herself, told with humour and warmth. Jinny is at Derby Theatre on selected days from March 7-23.

Sarah Brigham said: “Look Back In Anger changed the face of British Theatre back in the 50s by putting working class voices centre stage and I am keen to get my teeth into this iconic and influential work to discover what impact our version may offer our audiences today.

“We have assembled a truly magnificent cast, all exciting, young actors in their own right, and I am confident that their combined performances will result in a compelling night of searing drama in our theatres.”

Look Back In Anger will run at Derby Theatre from March 4-26 and then transfer to the Octagon Theatre Bolton, which is a partner in staging the production. For tickets go to http://www.derbytheatre.co.uk