Sophie Ward is to appear in Made In Northampton’s production of the dystopian classic Brave New World at Royal & Derngate this September.
Aldous Huxley’s ground-breaking novel, adapted for the stage by Dawn King, is opening in Northampton before being taken on a major national tour by Touring Consortium Theatre Company and the R&D.
First written in 1932, Brave New World shines a blazing light on the present.
It 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.
Ward stars as Margaret Mond, the regional world controller for Western Europe, which, in Huxley’s novel, is a male character.
Dawn 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.”
This Brave New World has no family, religion or war. Lust and pleasure have replaced love and art. People are safe, healthy and not afraid of death.
They get what they want, and they never want what they can’t have. Everyone is happy now.
When this stability is threatened, one young woman learns the pain of love and one young man gives in to the love of pain.
Sophie Ward’s extensive screen credits include TV series Land Girls, Heartbeat and Holby City, and films including Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and Young Sherlock.
Her theatre work includes One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Go Back For Murder and Private Lives.
The play will be directed by Royal & Derngate’s artistic director James Dacre with original music by These New Puritans.
Brave New World runs at Royal & Derngate from September 4-26.
The production is recommended for ages 14 and above, due to its adult themes.
2015 Tour Dates
September 4-26, Royal & Derngate, Northampton
September 29-October 3, King’s Theatre, Edinburgh
October 6-10, Oxford Playhouse
October 13-17, Theatre Royal, Nottingham
October 20-24, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
November 3-7, Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton
November 10-14, Darlington Civic Theatre
November 24-28 Grand Theatre, Blackpool
December 1-5, Alhambra Theatre, Bradford.