Christening The Everyman
David Haig will be christening Cheltenham’s newly refurbished Everyman Theatre this September when he stars in Alan Bennett’s The Madness of King George; the first production to hold a run in the freshly sanded stage. Laura Edwards finds out more. crack
It was a great moment when I discovered The Madness of George III would be the first show to have a run in our new theatre. My smile only grew when I saw David Haig would be in the lead as the mad king. It will be wonderful to see such a full-scale production performed and with David at the helm it will be an undoubtedly be a magnificent piece of theatre.
“I look forward to christening the theatre,” says David. “There are several mentions of Cheltenham in the play, which will be fun for locals to pick up on.”
He is referring to the period in King George III’s life when he took temporary residence in the town to recover from described himself as ‘a pretty smart bilious attack,’ (digestive problems to you or I). He stayed in Cheltenham for five weeks and famously put our spa town on the map.
The success of a production like The Madness of George III is heavily reliant on the actor playing the King. David Haig seems like the perfect casting. Having proved his versatility throughout his career he is ideal to carry the many emotions and stages of the king's madness.
“In my 30 years as an actor, this has been my favourite character to play on stage,” David tells me. “Bennett always makes his plays funny so we can expect a huge range of emotions. There’s something about the characters warmth and the journey he takes that resonates with audiences.”
Surrounding him is a huge cast required to create the court scenes in the play.
“Danny Moore, the Producer has really put his money where his mouth is with this production. To see 24 actors on stage is a rare occurrence in the current climate.”
David’s career has spanned across theatre, film and TV. With his greatest achievements taking place on stage – including winning an Olivier Award – I ask if this is where he most enjoys his craft.
“Yes, by definition of the type of roles I can play on stage.”
The Madness of King George has received outstanding reviews from the national press. With Charles Spencer at the Telegraph saying, “This, in short, is a great evening of theatre – one that it would be madness to miss.” And Lyn Gardener at the Guardian writing, “Haig, meanwhile, is a wonderful actor who will surely do justice to an epic role.”
I was already convinced from David’s depiction of the play – this is not to be missed.
The Madness of George III will be at the Everyman Theatre from Monday 26th September – Saturday 1st October. Tickets start at £17 and be purchased by calling 01242 572573 or visiting: