Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (2012)
Presented by Pilot Theatre and York Theatre Royal
Working with patron Roy Williams, award winning company Pilot Theatre brought this searing text of class and the criminal justice system to the stage. The stunning new production, set in Britain’s Olympic Year 2012, exposed the beating heart of a nation, still broken and still divided across class lines.
A long distance race in real time. We follow one runner, alone with his thoughts, becoming part of his journey as his steady running rhythm transports him over a harsh, frost bitten earth. Colin Smith is defiant. He is a young rebel inhabiting the no man’s land of detention centres and young offenders institutes.
Why, for whom, and for what is he running?
Adapted by BAFTA winning and Olivier Award nominated playwright Roy Williams (Sucker Punch, Fallout, Sing Yer Heart Out For The Lads), this gritty adaptation of Alan Sillitoe’s classic text hits the ground running; unlocking the biting realism of the original book while placing the drama firmly in a contemporary frame.
“…this is a brainy as well as a brawny performance, as far removed from Tom Courtenay’s in the 1962 film as one could conceive – we’re hearing here from the voice of alienated black London youth – yet imbued with the qualities that made Courtenay’s troublemaker so sympathetic: surly defiance, sly humour and much below-the-surface vulnerability.” The Telegraph
“Flawlessly directed by Marcus Romer and stylishly designed by Lydia Denno, the discussions this show will provoke will run and run.” The Observer
“Certain performances are destined for a long run, though few are likely to run quite this far. At the heart of this Pilot Theatre production, Elliot Barnes-Worrell not only puts in an aggressively charismatic performance as Alan Sillitoe’s antisocial athlete, he spends much of the evening pounding away on a treadmill. A conservative estimate is that he covers around 4km per show.” Alfred Hickling
The Guardian ****
The Independent Review ****
“Roy Williams’s remarkable updated adaptation of Alan Sillitoe’s The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner at Nottingham Playhouse is full of nuanced politics.” The Telegraph
The production was accompanied by an educational resource for teachers and students studying The Loneliness of the Long DIstance Runner.
Cast and Creatives
Gunthorpe / Guard
Written by Alan Stilltoe
Adapted for the stage by Roy Williams
Directed by Marcus Romer
Designed by Lydia Denno
Lighting Designed by Mark Beasley
AV Design by Lydia Denno & Mark Beasley
Soundscape by Sandy Nuttgens
Staff Director – Tom Bellerby