Lyceum to touch void

Nov 8 2017 | By More

Lyceum announces Bristol Old Vic co-pros for 2018

A new David Greig adaptation of Touching the Void and the return of Wils Wilson at the helm for Twelfth Night will feature in the Lyceum’s 2018/19 season.

The two shows will be co-productions with the Bristol Old Vic theatre, where Touching the Void will open in October 2018, transferring to the Lyceum for January 2019. Twelfth Night will open the Lyceum’s 2018/19 season before transferring south. The rest of the Lyceum’s 2018/19 season is due to by announced in the coming Spring.

Wils Wilson has been wowing Lyceum audiences this season with first Cockpit opening under her direction and even more so with the great Wind Resistance. Amongst her other notable direction credits is David Greig’s The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart.

This will be the first time she has directed Shakespeare and the says she is “very excited and a little humbled” to be directing what she calls a “wonderful” play.

Twelfth Night is the story of twins Viola and Sebastian who are separated in a shipwreck. Believing her brother to be lost forever, Viola, disguised as a man, finds herself caught between the households of the lovelorn Duke Orsino and the grieving Countess Olivia.

Wilson said: “It’s Shakespeare’s play of celebration and revelry – and like all good parties there are moments of joyful abandon, friendship, flirtation, fun, discovery and great live music – but also, confusion, thoughtless cruelty and embarrassment.

warmth and wit

“I love the play for its warmth and wit, and also for its brilliant and fearless exploration of human frailty – it is a rich and complex world to dive into, one which plays with all the senses, and I can’t wait to explore it to the full. It is a play I have wanted to direct for a long time.”

Whispers from the corridors of the Lyceum say that term “psychedelic” is being bandied about a lot by Wilson, which is explained to a certain extent by David Greig who says the company will working with former frontman of Race Horses, Meilyr Jones, “who will bring a warm, fuzzy psychedelic edge to this timeless story of love and belonging”.

For Greig’s own particular input to the season, Touching the Void, is his adaptation of the best-selling true story by British climber Joe Simpson which was made into a film in 2003. It tells of Simpson and Simon Yates’ near-fatal climb of the West Face of the Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes – a feat that had previously been attempted but never achieved, and one that would nearly cost both climbers their lives.

The heart of the novel is Joe Simpson’s mental battle as he teeters on the very brink of death and despair in a crevasse from which he can’t possibly climb to safety.

Also unforgettable in the story is the appalling dilemma of Simon Yates, perched on an unstable snow-cliff, battered by freezing winds and desperate to rescue the injured Simpson, who hangs from a rope below him.

Knowing that if he did not cut the rope, they would both ultimately fall into the void, Yates made the critical decision to make the cut, changing the lives of both of them.


Greig describes Touching the Void as one of the great true stories of adventure and survival. He says: “It’s a tale that has reached beyond just the climbing world and become mythological. Joe Simpson made an extraordinary choice. When it would have been easier to die, he chose to live.

“To make that choice he had to reach into the very depths of what it is to be human: the desire to live, love and connect to others.”

Direction for the show will be the Old Vic’s artistic director Tom Morris, whose past work includes Swallows & Amazons, The Grinning Man which transfers to the West End in December 2017 and, most famously, the five-time Tony Award winner, War Horse. The production will be A Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh, Bristol Old Vic, Royal & Derngate, and Fuel co-production.

As Greig observes: “How do you do climbing on stage? I don’t know! Whatever we do it’s going to take a thrilling theatricality to realise this book and I can’t wait to work with Tom Morris to bring it to life. It’s an existential thriller that will have audiences clinging on to the edge of their seats. And it’s got Boney M.”


Twelfth Night
Royal Lyceum, Grindlay Street EH3 9AX.
Phone booking: 0131 248 4848
September 2018.
Bristol Old Vic, The Rackhay, Queen Charlotte Street, BS1 4HJ.
Phone booking: 0117 987 7877
Dates to be confirmed in 2019.

Touching The Void
Bristol Old Vic, The Rackhay, Queen Charlotte Street, BS1 4HJ. Phone booking: 0117 987 7877
October 2018
Royal Lyceum, Grindlay Street EH3 9AX. Phone booking: 0131 248 4848
January 2019.


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