'People, Places and Things' to return to the West End, starring Denise Gough

Duncan Macmillan's play about Emma, an actress suffering from addiction, opened at Wyndham's Theatre in 2016. Denish Gough will reprise the role of Emma this May.

Olivia Rook
Olivia Rook

Duncan Macmillan’s People, Places and Things will return to the West End this spring for a limited 14-week run. It will open at Trafalgar Theatre on 3 May.

Macmillan's play, which is directed by Jeremy Herrin (Long Day's Journey Into Night, A Mirror, Ulster American), will see Denise Gough will reprise her Olivier Award-winning role as Emma, a struggling actress whose life is spinning out of control.

Gough said: “I am beyond excited and so grateful to be returning to the role of Emma in People, Places and Things. Duncan Macmillan’s incredible play was a life changing experience for me and many others. It brought me pure joy, night after night, to take to the stage to share Emma’s story and I can’t wait to bring her back to new audiences and to give voice, and space, to people that live with or have experienced any form of addiction”

Macmillan said: “The debut of People, Places and Things was a really special time. The play had taken me almost a decade to write and came partly out of a frustration with how addiction is typically portrayed on stage and screen. Under Jeremy Herrin’s compassionate direction, the company visited treatment centres and worked closely with people in recovery.

"We all felt a responsibility to make the play, primarily, for those who know what it is to live with addiction, for them to feel represented and seen. We did not expect the incredible response the play received when it first opened and its momentum has only increased over the years, not least because of Denise Gough’s now mythic central performance. She is, for me, the greatest actor of my generation and it is my great fortune that she took the role then and thrilling that she’s returning to it now.”

Herrin added: “When I was Artistic Director of Headlong, I read Duncan Macmillan’s play, and I knew I had an opportunity to make a production with real power. With Denise Gough as Emma, it felt like we connected deeply with audiences at the National Theatre, in the West End and in New York. The show seemed to be stimulating, entertaining and deeply emotional. I am delighted to reunite with Denise, Duncan and the creative team to share People, Places and Things with new audiences, and I am grateful to all our colleagues and partners who have made it possible.”

Macmillan's play follows Emma, an actress suffering from drug addiction and alcoholism, who ends up in rehab. But when intoxication feels like the only way to survive the modern world, how can she ever sober up?

The show had its world premiere at the National Theatre in September 2015 in a co-production with Headlong. The production transferred to Wyndham's Theatre in the West End in March 2016, before transferring to St. Ann’s Warehouse in New York in October 2017.

The creative team includes Jeremy Herrin (director), Bunny Christie (set designer), Christina Cunningham (costume designer), James Farncombe (lighting designer), Matthew Herbert (music), Tom Gibbons (sound designer), Andrzej Goulding (video designer), and Polly Bennett (movement director).

Further casting to be announced.

People, Places and Things will run at Trafalgar Theatre from 3 May — 10 August.

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Photo credit: People Places and Things artwork. (Photo by Matt Humphrey)

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