Fiennes to adapt T S Eliot work for Northampton and Bath

Published: 17 March 2021
Reporter: Steve Orme

Ralph Fiennes, director of Four Quartets Credit: Matt Humphrey

Ralph Fiennes is to create a new stage adaptation of T S Eliot’s Four Quartets for Northampton’s Royal and Derngate and the Theatre Royal Bath.

Four Quartets was said to be the culminating achievement of Eliot’s career as a poet, offering four interwoven meditations on the nature of time, faith and the quest for spiritual enlightenment. Mostly written before World War II, the Four Quartets (Burnt Norton, East Coker, The Dry Salvages and Little Gidding) contain “some of the most exquisite and unforgettable reflections upon surviving periods of national crisis”.

Fiennes will direct Four Quartets and will be joined by a creative team including designer Hildegard Bechtler who won an Olivier Award for Terence Rattigan’s After the Dance at the National Theatre in 2010; lighting designer Tim Lutkin, winner of an Olivier Award for Lucy Kirkwood’s Chimerica which played at London’s Almeida Theatre and the Harold Pinter Theatre in 2013; and Christopher Shutt (sound), winner of a Tony Award for Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse in 2011. Assistant director is Eva Sampson and the movement director is Fin Walker.

The world première will reopen the Theatre Royal Bath when it runs from Tuesday 25 May until Saturday 5 June and will start Royal and Derngate’s Made in Northampton season in the venue’s Royal auditorium from Tuesday 8 until Saturday 12 June.

The production will then tour to Oxford Playhouse from Monday 14 until Saturday 26 June and Cambridge Arts Theatre from Monday 28 June until Saturday 10 July. Further touring dates are to be announced.

Meanwhile, Royal and Derngate will welcome audiences back for live performances—subject to government guidelines remaining unchanged—with Tatty Hennessy’s adaptation of George Orwell’s Animal Farm which runs from Monday 17 until Saturday 22 May and the National Youth Theatre REP Company’s staging of Shakespeare’s Othello from Tuesday 25 until Saturday 29 May.