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Tom Stoppard’s comedy Arcadia with Dakota Blue Richards at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley

A revival tour of Tom Stoppard’s award-winning comedy classic Arcadia presents an impressive cast for the masterpiece which has not been seen for more than 20 years.

Arcadia opened to acclaim in January at Brighton’s Theatre Royal and now moves to Kent in the tour which runs until April.

Interest will centre on the stage debut of rising star Dakota Blue Richards from Channel 4’s Skins who takes the role of Thomasina Coverly.

Ed MacArthur as Valentine Coverly and Flora Montgomery as Hannah Jarvis in Arcadia. Picture: Mark Douet
Ed MacArthur as Valentine Coverly and Flora Montgomery as Hannah Jarvis in Arcadia. Picture: Mark Douet

The cast also includes Kirsty Besterman, Robert Cavanah, Tom Greaves, Nakay Kpaka, Ed MacArthur, Charlie Manton, David Mara, Flora Montgomery, Wilf Scolding, Larrington Walker and Ria Zmitrowitz.

The story which darts from 1809 to the present day and back, unfolds in a stately home in 19th century rural Derbyshire.

Secret desires and professional rivalries take hold of the residents of Sidley Park. The daughter of the house, Thomasina, is a bright and talented pupil tutored by Byron’s friend Septimus Hodge, who makes a startling discovery well ahead of her time.

In the present day, academics Hannah Jarvis and Bernard Nightingale attempt to piece together the fragments of truth that tell her story. Arcadia explores the delicate relationship between past and present, and is a witty and absorbing portrait of two generations of an aristocratic family.

First premiered at the National Theatre in 1993 directed by Sir Trevor Nunn, Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia is considered one of the greatest plays of the last century, winning countless awards including the 1993 Olivier and Evening Standard awards for best new play.

Dakota Blue Richards as Thomasina Coverly in Arcadia. Picture: Mark Douet
Dakota Blue Richards as Thomasina Coverly in Arcadia. Picture: Mark Douet

Arcadia has twice been produced on Broadway, winning the 1995 Drama Desk award for outstanding play, and the 2011 Tony Award for best revival of play. This production sees a new collaboration between English Touring Theatre and Theatre Royal Brighton.

Arcadia marks English Touring Theatre’s second time working with director Blanche McIntyre this year, following the tour of Noel Coward’s Tonight at 8.30.

Tom Stoppard said: “The current challenges for regional theatre in the UK mean that a production of this scale and quality are very rarely toured.”

Arcadia is on at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley, from Monday, February 16 to Saturday, February 21, at 7.30pm. Tickets cost from £12.40 to £37.90. Visit wwwatgtickets.com/bromley or call 0208 290 8224.

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