William Nicholson
(Director: Jenny Lloyd-Lyons)
The Stables, Hastings

Clive Staples Lewis, perhaps best known as C S Lewis the author of the successful Narnia series of children’s books, was also a member of The Inklings, a group of literary enthusiasts formed to encourage the writing of fantasy, which included J.R.R Tolkein and Neville Coghill. Lewis lived with his older brother Warnie, and after their mother died of cancer when he was 8 years old the two brothers came to depend on each other. Clive was very protective of Warnie, who would often disappear on drinking binges after he became dependent on alcohol.  Having lived a bachelor life as a university lecturer, Lewis was 56 when he got married for the first time to Joy Gresham (nee Davidman), an American writer 17 years his junior, with 2 sons from a previous marriage. The reality of his academic career proved to be in direct contrast to Narnia, a world where good prevails and endings are happy. Tragically, Lewis’ philosophical approach to suffering, pain and his religious beliefs were seriously challenged when four years later Joy died of cancer.  In his play Shadowlands, William Nicholson has written a moving account of that relationship – a meeting of intellectual minds but a clash of cultures. It compares Lewis’s emotionally hidden approach with his wife’s straight-talking directness and describes the mutual respect, deepening affection and the resulting impact of love and loss. The Stables is proud to present this powerful and compelling play exactly 30 years since Nigel Hawthorne and Jane Lapotaire starred in its London premiere.  There followed a Tony award-winning Broadway run, and it was released in 1993 as a feature film starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger.

• Shadowlands is running at the Stables Theatre 3rd – 11th May. For bookings please call 01424 423221


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