Theatre in Wales

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Coward Play Rediscovered     

Coward Play Rediscovered A Noel Coward play, which has remained untouched for almost 90 years, has been rediscovered by academics at the University of Glamorgan’s Cardiff School of Creative & Cultural Industries.

The play, ‘The Better Half’, was discovered in the Lord Chamberlain’s archives in the British Library by Professors Richard Hand and Mike Wilson during research for their latest book, ‘London’s Grand Guignol and the Theatre of Horror’, which includes the text of Coward’s previously unpublished play.

The one-act play was last performed in 1922 by ‘London’s Grand-Guignol’ company, which involved Sybil Thorndike and her husband Lewis Casson.

Professor Wilson explained, “We were conducting research for our book on ‘London’s Grand-Guignol’, a theatre which combined horror and comedy plays on the same bill and were thrilled to have found the manuscript to the play that Coward wrote for the company. It was probably the only surviving copy of the play and has not been published before.

“This play will no doubt arouse the interest of Coward fans worldwide, especially as it was written at a time when Coward was on the threshold of achieving critical acclaim and fame.”

Now for the first time since the 1920s the play will be performed in London by theatre company ‘The Sticking Place’ as part of their annual Hallowe’en season of horror theatre. This will be a unique opportunity to see the play performed in its original context.

Hand and Wilson’s new book, due to be published in November by the University of Exeter Press, focuses on the attempt to establish a permanent Grand-Guignol theatre in London between 1920 and 1922, an experiment that was ultimately undermined by the censorious eye of the Lord Chamberlain’s Office, the official pubic censor.

The research was co-funded by The British Academy and the Society for Theatre Research.

‘The better half’ plays in terror 2007 at the Union Theatre Southwark, London from October 16th – November 10th 2007. Further details can be found at or the theatre box office 020 7261 9876.
University of Glamorgan  
web site

Thursday, September 13, 2007back



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