Durham alumni return to city for Gala play

Two Durham University graduates are making a return to the city this month with an award-winning production of Birdsong.

Madeleine Knight, who plays the lead female role of Isabelle Azaire, and director Charlotte Peters both attended the university before starting their theatre careers and are now looking forward to bringing the show to the North East.

“Durham is one of my favourite cities and I had the most wonderful three years here. I haven’t been back very much at all but it will be really brilliant to see the show at Gala,” said Charlotte.

“During my time at the university I was on the executive committee of the Durham Student Theatre society and getting the opportunity to direct and produce at the Assembly Rooms, at the Gala and at my college, Hild Bede – it’s definitely the reason I’m a director now.

I think what makes Birdsong particularly special is that it shows stories that audiences might not have seen. Whether our audiences have read the novel, or know nothing about it, our brilliant cast will transport them back 100 years in a very powerful and emotive way.”

The stage adaptation of Sebastian Faulks’ best-selling novel comes to Gala from Monday, 21 to Saturday, 26 May and tells the mesmerising story of love and courage before and during the First World War.

The special tour, which marks 100 years since the guns fell silent, also stars Tom Kay as soldier Stephen Wraysford, following his recent performance in Journey’s End on a battlefield in Ypres in 2017.

“I’ve never been moved to tears in a rehearsal room and that’s what happened to me in the first run through – without costume and set,” said Madeleine.

“This is such a powerful piece of theatre with an extraordinarily strong cast and excellent direction, telling an important story which needs to be remembered.

“I’m very excited to be back in Durham and to see those famous cobbled streets ten years after graduation.”

To book tickets for the show, which also includes two matinee performances, visit www.galadurham.co.uk