Tom Self appears in New Wolsey Theatre and Wiltshire Creative, in association with Yvonne Arnaud Theatre’s, Noël Coward’s Brief Encounter, adapted for the stage by Emma Rice.
Chief Executive/Artistic Director of New Wolsey Theatre Douglas Rintoul directs Nicola Bryan (Myrtle Bagot), Hanora Kamen (Laura Jesson), Jammy Kasongo (Dr Alec Harvey), Samuel Morgan-Grahame (Albert Godby), Tom Self (Fred Jesson/Stephen Lynn), Lucy Elizabeth Thorburn (Beryl), Luke Thornton (Stanley) and Chioma Uma (Dolly Messiter).
Brief Encounter opens on 4 April at Salisbury Playhouse, with previews from 31 March, and runs until 22 April, before touring to New Wolsey Theatre, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds and finally Northern Stage.
The production features lighting design by Jessie Addinall, sound design by James Cook, set and costume design by Jess Curtis, video design by Daniel Denton, casting by Debbie O’Brien, wardrobe supervision by Margaret Lock and choreography by Alexzandra Sarmiento, with music direction, orchestration and additional music composed by Tom Self.
You’re appearing in the tour of Brief Encounter, what can you tell us about the show?
Emma Rice’s Brief Encounter is a fantastic adaptation full of heart, joy and provides everything you could look for in a night out at the theatre. It is playful and heartbreaking with the turn of a page, accompanied by a Noël Coward score played live by an actor musician company – presented in true cinematic fashion! This show really does have something for everyone and we can’t wait to share it with our audiences!
What was it about Emma Rice’s adaptation that made you keen to be a part of it?
Particularly for me as the Musical Director, Emma’s work to bring music into the piece and carefully allow these songs to comment on the action and mood is a fantastic addition to the original text – and so much fun to play with in crafting our version of the piece.
Tell us about the characters you play, Fred Jesson and Stephen Lynn, what excites you most about the roles?
Fred and Stephen are two wonderfully contrasting characters, which is a joy to play onstage. Both allow me to comment on the action in such different ways, particularly where Laura and Alec’s relationship is concerned. It is great to be able to play something that has such a drastic shift within the framework of one story – in one production.
You’re also the musical director, how does music play a part in this version of Brief Encounter?
Music has become an even bigger part of this production which I am overjoyed about! Right from the off, we are using our wonderful actor musician company and Noël Coward’s magnificent words and music to play an integral part in our piece and continually comment and drive parts of the story.
It has been a particular joy to write several new pieces of music around the framework of Coward’s text in this production. A challenge for me as a composer, that I am fortunate to then get to build on as Musical Director and further story tell as an actor in the piece. I don’t think I’ve ever had the chance to be so creative within one project and from so many different viewpoints – it has been such a rewarding task.
What do you think will be the biggest challenge for you taking on these different roles?
Particularly within this production, I am fortunate to juggle creative roles alongside that of performing ones. A passion of mine, and something I am extremely fortunate to be given the chance to do. Within that – a constant eye on how things are achieved and developed from both sides of the table can be a tricky balance to find, but an exciting and creative one nonetheless!
What would you say to anyone thinking of booking to see Brief Encounter?
DO IT! It is everything you look for in a night out at the theatre, and truly holds something for everyone. It is a wonderfully romantic and musical affair, supported by a fantastic cast and team who are finding new and exciting ways to tell this story at every turn. Come and visit us across the UK and escape to this wonderfully musical and cinematic world for a couple of hours, you won’t regret it!
“Emma’s work to bring music into the piece and carefully allow these songs to comment on the action and mood is a fantastic addition to the original text”