Trying It On by David Edgar

Monday 26 February 2018

Authors, playwrights & plays - London West End

On the day that David Edgar - one of the most important British playwrights of the post-1960s generation - celebrates his 70th birthday, he also announces his stage debut on tour and at London's Royal Court.
Trying It On at The Royal Court Theatre

Image: China Plate

Happy birthday David Edgar!

One of the most important British playwrights of the post-1960s generation, today celebrates his 70th birthday.

And what better day to announce his stage debut?

Trying It On is a new play written and performed by Mr Edgar, which reflects on the legacy of the worldwide student revolt of 1968 (when David was 20 and at university), drawing on first person interviews with some of the leading political figures of the time, as well as contemporary activists.

Noted for his political dramas, which have been staged at the National Theatre and at the Royal Shakespeare Company, the events of 1968 - including the Vietnam war, Enoch Powell's infamous "rivers of blood" speech and the assassination of Martin Luther King - helped define David Edgar's politics and give focus to his writing.

In Trying It On, Mr Edgar is confronted by his 20-year-old self, asking whether they share the same beliefs, and if not, what has changed.

The text has been developed through interviews conducted by the playwright with activists past and present.

The production will be directed by Christopher Haydon and produced by independent studio China Plate.

Speaking about the project, Mr Edgar said

"The last time I performed on a stage was as Captain Bligh in a student production of Mutiny on the Bounty, in the early 1970s.

Having spent most of the last 50 years writing things for other people to say, I thought it was time to have a conversation with myself.

Performing - and seeing myself on film - has been a revelation.

The autobiographical solo show has become an important theatre art-form of itself, and it's great to be working with a brilliantly creative team to make it."

Mr Edgar's 70th birthday year sees a number of revivals of his work.

Alongside his adaptations of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (currently touring) and A Christmas Carol (returning to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in December), another major work is being revived in the autumn.

The Midlands-based playwright will debut Trying It On at Warwick Arts Centre (7-9 June) before moving to Birmingham Repertory Theatre (12-13 June), followed by The Other Place at the Royal Shakespeare Company in the Autumn (details to be announced May 2018), Midlands Arts Centre and London's home of new writing, the Royal Court Theatre (24-27 Oct) - details for this show in our area are given below.

For other dates and venues check this China Plate page.


"Are we the same person?

If not, when and why not?

If so, can either of us bear it?"

It's 1968.

David is 20 and in his second year at University.

It is the height of the world-wide student revolt.

The Vietnam war rages.

Powell delivers his "rivers of blood" speech.

Martin Luther King is assassinated.

These events will define David's politics and give focus to his writing.

It's 50 years on.

The 70-year-old is confronted by the 20-year-old. Do they share the same beliefs?

If not, is it the world that's changed, or him?

Why did his generation vote Brexit?

Has he sold in or sold out?


David Edgar


Author: David Edgar
Director: Christopher Haydon
Designer: Frankie Bradshaw
Lighting: William Reynolds
Sound: Ella Wahlström
Video designer: William Reynolds
Production: China Plate


The Royal Court Theatre - Jerwood Theatre Upstairs
Sloane Square


From: Wednesday 24 October 2018

Closes: Saturday 27 October 2018


Standard: From £25

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Show website
ActDrop full listing for Trying It On
David Edgar - Wikipedia

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