David Hare’s award-winning play roars to life in a provocative new site-specific staging performed in The Vaults, London’s alternative subterranean venue beneath Waterloo Station, running from Friday 13 September – Sunday 17 November, with a press night on Thursday 19 September.

This first revival of The Permanent Way since its award-winning run in York and then at the National Theatre in 2003 will be directed by Alexander Lass, nominated for Best Director at the 2017 Stage Debut awards, and whose credits include Associate Director on Shakespeare in Love at the Theatre Royal Bath and on tour, and on No Man’s Land in the West End. Casting to be announced.

“Why aren’t people angry? They were robbed. What belonged to them was taken from them by a bunch of bankers and incompetent politicians. What was theirs was given away. What was foredoomed to fail failed. And they weren’t angry.”

Revelatory, witty, and moving, The Permanent Way is an astonishing interrogation of the chaos and disaster arising from the botched privatisation of Britain’s railways. Told through the first-hand accounts of those involved at every level, from passengers to Civil Service mandarins, this extraordinary verbatim piece asks challenging questions of responsibility and governmental mismanagement. Have we learned anything from recent history?

“What happened would simply not have happened under British Rail. It wouldn’t have happened. Not in the British Rail days.”

David Hare said, “It’s wonderful that Debbie Hicks and Alexander Lass are mounting the first London revival of THE PERMANENT WAY. In 2004 feelings were still very raw from the loss of so many lives in the crashes which followed privatisation of the railways. It will be fascinating to find a perspective on that mix of government incompetence and private greed today.”

The original production of The Permanent Way was based on a series of verbatim interviews by Hare, and then directed by Max Stafford-Clark with Out of Joint. It premiered at the Theatre Royal, York on 13 November 2003 and toured – winning ‘Best Touring Production’ from the Theatrical Management Association. It opened at the National Theatre in January 2004, where it was such a huge critical and box office hit that it transferred from the Cottesloe to the Lyttleton.

Alexander Lass said, “It couldn’t be a more timely moment to bring The Permanent Way back to London. The play raises profound socio-political issues of contemporary relevance, probing the very foundations of how we are governed, and how we handle the consequences. Debbie Hicks and I hope to give David’s potent masterpiece an enhanced emotional impact with our new staging at The Vaults, where the reverberations of the Waterloo trains will give the production a palpable visceral resonance.”

The Permanent Way will be directed by Alexander Lass, with Set and Costume by Ruth Hall, lighting design by Rick Fisher, sound design by Roly Witherow, movement direction by Siân Williams, casting by Ellie Collyer-Bristow CDG, and produced by Debbie Hicks.

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