Staging The Father - it's personal

The play's director MARTIN BORLEY-COX says there's a very good reason why THE FATHER was chosen.

It was Kate (who plays Anne) who asked me to direct THE FATHER. Kate’s dad had recently died after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She knows the fear, trauma and anguish families so often experience with this cruel disease. Read Kate's thoughts about the play. And watch a moving video of her talking about the play and her dad.

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Kate Billingham speaks honestly about dementia and her dad

And everyone in the cast and production team has been touched with dementia through family or friends. The Father really is a story for our times. You may have seen the Oscar winning film, adapted from this stage play, starring Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Coleman.

I wanted to make sure that we treat the illness sympathetically whilst remaining faithful to the script. That’s why we had discussions with Alzheimer’s Society, the country’s leading dementia charity, and will be raising money for their much-needed work. Please make a donation if you can.

I asked my old friend and former colleague Willy Gilder to draw the main publicity image for the production.   He has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. Willy is a force of nature and is managing to live a vibrant and creative life despite his diagnosis. You can read Willy's article about his sketch or watch a video of him talking about it.

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Willy Gilder with his portrait

I also called on the services and creativity of another old friend and former colleague to write some original music for the play. Martin Heath has composed 18 remarkable tracks which, I hope you agree, add to the emotional richness of the production. Martin writes about the process of composing the music here. You can also watch a video of him at work.

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Martin Heath composing the music for THE FATHER

There’s a danger that a play about dementia will be overwhelmingly depressing. But not with this script. During the rehearsals we have discovered lots of funny moments. André is a loveable old man with delightful quirks. In this production, I hope we present you with André’s warmth as well as showing the undying love of his family.