Dead Letter Perfect in association with Park Theatre present the world première of

Stray Dogs

By Olivia Olsen

Directed by Robin Herford

Park Theatre

13 November – 07 December 2019

Dead Letter Perfect today announces the world première of Stray DogsRobin Herford directs Olivia Olsen(Anna Akhmatova), Ben Porter (Isaiah Berlin) and Ian Redford (Joseph Stalin). The production opens at Park Theatre on Friday 15 November, with previews from 13 November, and runs until 7 December.

Anna Akhmatova, the most celebrated poet of her generation, has lost her first husband to the purges and her son to state prison, where he awaits execution. Now, Stalin, the tyrant responsible for the murder of everyone close to her, wants a favour…

Plunged so far into obscurity she is believed to be dead, Anna is offered a renewal of life when the Russian/British philosopher Isaiah Berlin risks the hazards behind the iron curtain to find her. But in a world where poetry is a force that can control and move masses for good or ill, which side of the curtain will her loyalty lead her? How far will she go to save a life? How far will she go to save herself?

Based on true events, Stray Dogs depicts the story of one of the most extraordinary women of the 20th century, as she must choose between her duty to her son, her country, her art and herself. This urgent and relevant play explores the nature of tyranny and how it affects both the political landscape of the past and the present.

Olivia Olsen said today, ‘Stray Dogs is a homage to Anna Akhmatova, a poet laureate living during Stalin’s great purges, an homage to all voices that have been and are gagged. Poetry is beyond politics, beyond advertising, entertainment and beyond information, necessary and dangerous. 

Stalin knew this. He knew literature was a weapon and needed Akhmatova’s fame and genius to fill a void… I wrote the play to find out how Akhmatova, whose poetry was born in the Stray Dog Cabaret in St. Petersburg, answered.’

Olivia Olsen is the writer and plays Anna Akhmatova. Her writing credits include: Penelope the Odyssey Through Her EyesParizal and Dear Elephant. As an actress, her credits include Night Breath (Donmar Warehouse), The Syringa Tree (UK tour), Agamemnon (Dorothy Somerset Theatre), Nijinsky, Strings on a Rose (York Theatre Royal) and Lettice and Lovage (UK tour).

Ben Porter plays Isaiah Berlin. His previous theatre credits include: 1984 (Playhouse Theatre), Becket (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Visitors (Oldham Coliseum), Time of My LifeAbsurd Person Singular (Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough), Orwell (Trafalgar Studios), The Woman in Black (Fortune Theatre), Restoration (Salisbury Playhouse), Bedroom Farce (UK tour), The Tempest (Liverpool Playhouse), Silence (Arcola Theatre), The Invention of LoveThe HeiressAn Enemy of the People (National Theatre), The Fall Guy (Royal Exchange, Manchester), Edward II (Sheffield Crucible), Disposing of the BodyWhat the Butler Saw (Hampstead Theatre),Pocket Dream (York Theatre Royal), HamletCyrano de Bergerac (Greenwich Theatre), Noises Off (Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh), School for WivesMacbeth (English Touring Theatre), Doctor FaustusFrankenstein (Nuffield Southampton Theatres), The Atheist (Theatre503), Hangover SquareIn Pursuit of the English (Lyric Hammersmith), and Bodies (Live Theatre, Newcastle). For television his credits include: Survival of the FittestManchildWestbeachCovington Cross and Crossroads. For film his credits include: Rupert, Rupert & RupertSchool for Seduction and Young Blades.

Ian Redford plays Joseph Stalin. His previous theatre credits include: Breaking The Code (Salisbury Playhouse), Love And Information (Sheffield Crucible), Loot (Park Theatre), Travels with My Aunt (Citizens Theatre), The AlchemistMad World My MasterCandideThe Roaring GirlThe Witch of EdmontonArden of Faversham(RSC), The Seagull (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Robin Hood (Cambridge Arts Theatre), Brimstone And Treacle (Arcola Theatre), The GatekeeperDr Faustus (Royal Exchange, Manchester), Love the SinnerMother Clap’s Molly House (National Theatre), Six Degrees of Separation (The Old Vic), All My Sons (Leicester Curve), HelenRomeo and JulietThe Secret Theatre (Shakespeare’s Globe), She Stoops To ConquerFree (National Theatre), Rita Sue and Bob TooA State AffairSome Explicit PolaroidOur Country’s Good (Out of Joint), Bruises and Built on Sand (Royal Court Theatre). For television his credits include: series regular Keith Appleyard inCoronation StreetStrikeKing Charles IIINew TricksDerailedHouse of ElliotBergeracOne Foot in the Grave,Moon and SonThe Men’s RoomThe Devil’s WhoreHeartbeat and Foyle’s War. For film, his credits include: The Man with the Iron HeartMary and MarthaThe Trial of the King KillersShe Stoops to ConquerTrial by FireI.D.Remains of the DayJust Like A WomanThree Men and a Little Lady and The Great Escape.

Robin HerforddirectsDirecting credits include: The Woman in Black (Fortune Theatre), Serjeant Musgrave’s DanceAll My SonsTwelfth NightOld TimesCloudsButleyShe Stoops to ConquerThe Beaux StratagemTouch Wood and WhistleCallingSpokesongGetting onTapsterJust Between OurselvesForty Years OnA Going ConcernWhat Every Woman Knows (Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough), Last of The Red Hot Lovers (Old Laundry Theatre, Bowness-on-Windermere), Ten Times TableSisterly FeelingsWoman In Mind, The Constant Wife (Theatre Royal, Windsor), Man of the Moment (Chester Gateway Theatre), Absent FriendsSame Time Next Year (world tours), Bedroom Farce (Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh), A Going Concern (Nuffield Theatre, Southampton), Time of my Life, Taking Steps, Perfect Days (Derby Theatre), Talking HeadsApril In Paris (Exeter Northcott Theatre), Hay Fever (Haymarket Theatre, Basingstoke), The Price (New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-Under-Lyme), and Boeing BoeingBedroom FarceSugar DaddiesTaking StepsPrivate LivesBlithe SpiritAn Inspector CallsThe Mortal AshProofThe Turn of The ScrewDriving Miss Daisy (Oldham Coliseum).

Stray Dogs                                                                                                                                           Listings

Park Theatre

Park90, Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, London, N4 3JP

13 November – 07 December 2019

Monday to Saturdays 19.45pm
Thursday and Saturday matinees 15.15pm

Park Up Members (16 – 26 yrs)

13 – 20 Nov

Tickets £10*

Find out more about joining the Park Up scheme here.

Captioned performance

Thu 21 Nov 19.45

Please click here for further details.

Box Office: 020 7870 6876*

*No booking fee online. Telephone booking fee applies.

Twitter: @deadgoodplays


Ticket Prices:

Previews £14.50

Standard £18

Concessions £16.50

Child (Under 16) £13*