August 12, 2019, Washington, D.C.: Shakespeare Theatre Company is excited to announce that one of London’s most popular and long-running plays will join an already vibrant season of classical theatre as a special presentation: THE WOMAN IN BLACK. The Woman in Black will play at the Lansburgh Theatre December 4-22, 2019.
SUSAN HILL’s Gothic ghost story, adapted for the stage by STEPHEN MALLATRATT, is set in an isolated windswept mansion with tragic secrets hidden behind its shuttered windows. Thirty years earlier, amidst the eerie marshes and howling winds of England’s forbidding Northeast Coast, a young lawyer endured a night of horrific visions that have haunted him ever since. Now he returns on Christmas Eve to the sinister site with an actor to exorcise the terrors of that horrid night. With just two actors, The Woman in Black offers audiences an evening of unremitting drama and sheer theatricality “guaranteed to chill the blood” (Evening Standard).
Director ROBIN HERFORD “is able to weave a delicate web of illusion” (Chicago Sun-Times) to develop an atmosphere of dread, with well-timed jump scares. Herford personally directs every recast and has also directed productions of the play abroad: in Tokyo (in Japanese), America, India, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, and New Zealand.
The haunted holiday story has a distinguished history extending far beyond A Christmas Carol. “As Dickens knew, sharing ghost stories is an old festive tradition in England,” explains Artistic Director Simon Godwin, who recently joined Shakespeare Theatre Company from London’s National Theatre. “The Woman in Black is the perfect spine-tingling companion to our other holiday treat for audiences of all ages: the world premiere of Lauren Gunderson’s spectacular Peter Pan.”
Produced by PW Productions, who also brought the multiple award-winning An Inspector Calls to STC, The Woman in Black offers “delicious spell of malevolence and menace” (Time Out London).
The History of THE WOMAN IN BLACK
Susan Hill’s novel The Woman in Black was originally published in 1983 and has thrilled millions of readers ever since. Winner of the Whitbread, Somerset Maugham and John Llewelyn Rhys Awards, as well as having been shortlisted for the Booker Prize, Hill is an acclaimed master of contemporary ghost stories. The Washington Post hailed her novel as “one of the strongest stories of supernatural horror…the work bursts into life and does not flag until the end.” The classic chiller was released as a major motion picture starring Daniel Radcliffe in 2012, and soon became the highest-grossing British horror film in 20 years.
Robin Herford commissioned Stephen Mallatratt to adapt the novel for the stage in 1987 and it was produced as a Christmas show at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, U.K. After months of sold out performances, the play transferred to London’s West End in January 1989. Previous actors to join the cast of The Woman in Black include Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare in Love, The Handmaid’s Tale), Michael Grandage (Artistic Director of Michael Grandage Company) and Martin Freeman (Sherlock, Black Panther).
ROBIN HERFORD (Director)
Robin read Philosophy and English at St. Andrews University and trained as an actor at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
Much of his early career was involved with Alan Ayckbourn and the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough. Joining the company in 1976 as an actor, he was appointed Associate Director in 1979 and was Artistic Director from 1986 to 1988. Robin has appeared in the original production of more Ayckbourn plays than any other actor, from Ten Times Table in 1977 to Henceforward… in 1987 and including the monster 16-play two-hander Intimate Exchanges. He came to London with Season’s Greetings and Suburban Strains (Roundhouse), Intimate Exchanges (Ambassadors) and Henceforward… (Vaudeville).
While Artistic Director at Scarborough, he commissioned and directed Stephen Mallatratt’s phenomenally successful adaptation of The Woman in Black, which has been running in the West End for almost 30 years and has completed 12 national tours.
Robin’s other London productions include The Glory of The Garden, (Duke of York’s), Rough Justice (Apollo), Joking Apart and The Importance of Being Earnest (Greenwich), and The Secret of Sherlock Holmes (Duchess).
PW PRODUCTIONS (Producers)
PW Productions is responsible for producing some of the most successful productions in British theatre over the past 30 years. As well as being prolific producers, they have acted as General Managers, Bookkeepers and Accountants to more than 500 productions in London, throughout the UK and around the world.
As well as producing the multi-award-winning J.B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls in the West End, on tour in the UK and internationally, in 1989 they brought Stephen Mallatratt’s The Woman in Black to the West End. The production will celebrate its 30th year in the West End this year, and tours the UK and the world.
Notable productions and co-productions include:
With the National Theatre: Broken Glass (UK Premiere); The Wind in the Willows; Oh What A Lovely War!
With Matthew Bourne: Nutcracker!; Play Without Words (UK & US Tours, Tokyo and Moscow).
With the Roundhouse: Michael Clarke; Stomp; De La Guarda.
With the RSC: Krapp’s Last Tape with Edward Petherbridge.
With Mobil Touring Theatre: The Philanthropist; Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead; Habeas Corpus; Charley’s Aunt; The Crucifer of Blood; Absurd Person Singular; Noises Off; Dial M for Murder; Forty Years On with Tony Robinson; Tartuffe with Stephen Tompkinson; Sleuth with Peter Bowles; Les Liaisons Dangereuses; Deathtrap with David Soul; The Sunshine Boys with Ron Moody.
Other productions and co-productions: Edmund Kean with Ben Kingsley; Rowan Atkinson at the Atkinson on Broadway; Julian Glover’s Beowulf in New York and the UK; A Betrothal with Ben Kingsley and Geraldine James; Dickens’ Women with Miriam Margoyles; Kings with Alan Howard; Dylan Thomas: Return Journey, directed by Anthony Hopkins and co-produced with Eric Clapton; The Father with Edward Fox and Stephanie Beacham; Boyband at the Gielgud; Amadeus at the Old Vic and on Broadway with David Suchet and Michael Sheen and Lenny with Eddie Izzard at the Queen’s, both directed by Sir Peter Hall; Old Wicked Songs with Bob Hoskins; The Madness of George Dubya; Bombshells starring Caroline O’Connor, both at The Arts Theatre; What the Butler Saw at the Criterion Theatre; Honour with Dame Diana Rigg at the Wyndham’s Theatre; Aspects of Love with David Essex; Sign of the Times with Stephen Tompkinson; Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens and at the O2; The Railway Children at Waterloo Station; Broken Glass with Sir Antony Sher and Tara Fitzgerald at the Vaudeville Theatre;Maurice’s Jubilee at The Pleasance; Spot’s Birthday Party; This Is Ceilidh in Edinburgh and London; The Nightmares of Carlos Fuentes at Arcola, directed by Nicolas Kent; Adrian Mole the Musical at Leicester Curve; This Is Living at Trafalgar Studios; Vault Festival; Chinglish at Park Theatre.
PW Productions has a number of new projects in development and continues its commitment in creating exceptional theatre.