Rawlins, an actor on stage and screen for 30 years, (Harry Potter, Dickensian, War and Peace) has recently taken over as artistic director at ERT and launched a programme for the year which promises to be uplifting and life-affirming.
For his first outing as sole director at ERT, he has chosen The Night Season. Set in Ireland, it follows the Kennedy family – three grown up sisters who, abandoned by their mother at an early age, have been brought up by their drunken father and eccentric grandma.
Normal life is disrupted when a film actor playing the poet Yeats comes to lodge at their house and the fun begins. The play was first staged at the National Theatre in 2004 for which its writer, Rebecca Lenkiewicz, won the ‘Critics Circle Most Promising Playwright Award.’
Speaking of his choice of play, Rawlins said;
“I’m sure everyone will relate in some way to the loves, losses, dreams, disappointments and triumphs of the Kennedy family. What makes the play so special, apart from the wonderful Irish humour, is that somehow you can fall in love with every character and therefore invest emotionally in the play’s destiny for each and every one of them. In my book this makes for compelling theatre.”
The cast features ERT favourites Clive Kneller (Fagin in Oliver Twist) and Gabriel Winter (Hamlet), with local young talent Evie Guttridge, Alice Beaumont and Josh Meredith all taking on challenging roles.
From further afield, Lynne Verrall comes from Paris to take on the role of a lifetime in Lily, the hilarious grandma and completing the cast is Bettine MacKenzie who impressed audiences and critics alike in Edinburgh last year with her one woman show.
Rawlins is relishing the thought of directing at the theatre, he added;
“ERT is very much a community effort, run by volunteers. It’s a pocket of creativity run on a shoe-string in a market town in East Yorkshire which punches well above its weight in the quality of theatre we produce. I’m proud to be part of that. It has enriched my life and I hope it is the same for all that comes through its doors.”
The Night Season runs from Thu 2 March to Saturday 25th March 2017
Thu 2nd March – Sat 25th March 2017 7.30pm and 2.00pm Tickets £14 – £18