Sophie Ward will star in the world premiere of a new stage adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s seminal novel Brave New World.
The production will open on 8th September 2015 (previews from 4th September) in Northampton before touring to: Edinburgh, Oxford, Nottingham, Cheltenham, Wolverhampton, Darlington, Blackpool and Bradford.
Brave New World has been adapted for the stage by award-winning playwright Dawn King. The show will be directed by James Dacre with designed by Naomi Dawson and original new music by the groundbreaking British band These New Puritans.
Ward will star as ‘Margaret Mond – the Regional World Controller for Western Europe’, which in Huxley’s novel is a male character. King said" "I took this decision primarily because as a feminist, I wanted to increase the gender equality of the show.
"I also felt that having a female world controller of Western Europe is more representative of our world today, and of a world of the future. In the novel the character is called ‘Mustapha Mond’, but in my adaptation I chose the name Margaret, for its obvious allusions. I think Sophie Ward is a great choice to play the role because ‘Mond’ is a person who has had to make hard decisions, has a strong sense of her own personal morality, and has real steely authority – qualities I think Sophie will accentuate."
Ward’s extensive screen credits include series regular roles in Land Girls, Heartbeat and Holby City, and appearances in acclaimed TV dramas Dinotopia, A Dark Adapted Eye (opposite Helena Bonham Carter), A Village Affair and Secret State, and films including Jane Eyre, Book of Blood, Out of Bounds, Crime and Punishment, Wuthering Heights, and Young Sherlock Holmes.
Her theatre work includes: Go Back For Murder (tour), Private Lives, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (tour), An Ideal Husband (Theatre Clwyd), Nothing (59th Street, New York), Electricity (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Semi Monde (Lyric), The Three Sisters (Chichester), The Turn Of The Screw (Belgrade), Flare Path (King’s Head) and Les Liaisons Dangereuses (tour)
Huxley’s Brave New World was first published in 1932, and is widely seen to be one of the most important novels of the 20th century, anticipating developments in reproductive technology, psychological manipulation and behavioural conditioning.
Set 600 years in the future human life has been almost entirely industrialised, and humans are created and conditioned in a lab according to a strict caste system, in a World State whose motto is “Community, Identity, Stability”. Monogamy, the family unit and the ‘natural’ process of giving birth, are considered horrific and unnatural, and material comfort and physical pleasure - provided by the drug soma and recreational sex — represent society’s highest good.
King also said: "Huxley's novel is over eighty years old, but his vision of the future is shockingly familiar. In many ways, we already live in Brave New World: a glittering dystopia built on inequality, where people keep themselves distracted with empty pleasures, chemical stimulants and consumer goods. Adapting this huge work for the stage has been as tough and stimulating as anything I've ever done and a huge pleasure."