Cast announced for the World Premiere of The Divided Laing by Patrick Marmion opening at the Arcola Theatre on the 18 November.

The Divided Laing is a provocative, freewheeling comedy by Patrick Marmion celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of radical psychiatrist R.D. Laing founding his experimental asylum at Kingsley Hall in Bromley by Bow.

Patrick Marmion’s play is set in 1970. Laing’s radical ideals are in crisis. Kingsley Hall has fallen into disrepair and local residents are up in arms. Meanwhile, Ronnie’s South African colleague, revolutionary wild man David Cooper, is flipping out on the roof having taken an acid trip to the future. With his own personal life going down the pan and his mental state heading the same way, Ronnie decides to take his own trip to the future to save the Philadelphia Association and secure his legacy.

Alan Cox stars as the maverick Scottish psychiatrist R.D Laing. Alan has worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre and the Chichester Festival Theatre. He has performed in the London premieres of Longing and The Rubinstein Kiss (Hampstead), The Earthly Paradise (Almeida); his West End appearances include Strange Interlude (Duke of York’s), The Creeper (Playhouse) and The Importance of Being Earnest (Haymarket). On Broadway he appeared in Translations (MTC) and toured the US in The Caretaker and Frost/Nixon. Film and TV work includes ‘Mrs. Dalloway’, ‘An Awfully Big Adventure’, ‘Young Sherlock Holmes’, ‘A Voyage Around My Father’ and ‘The Good Wife’.

Ameira Darwish is Ulrike Engel, Ronnie’s partner. Ameira recently played Thea in Unfaithful directed by Rachel O’Riordan (Traverse). Additional credits include Crime & Punishment with the Citizens Theatre, Liverpool Playhouse and Royal Lyceum Theatre. Film and theatre credits include Waterloo Road, The Tunnel, Roza in the National Theatre of Scotland’s “Glasgow Girls”, Emma in Scots Squad and Annie in Casualty.

Laura Gate Gordon plays Kingsley Hall’s most famous resident, Mary Barnes. Barnes went on to become a famous artist, writer and mystic. She co-authored a booked with psychiatrist Joseph Berke, which David Edgar adapted for the stage. Laura’s theatre credits includes Bakkhai (Almeida), The Absence of War (Headlong), Unfaithful (Traverse Theatre); Crime and Punishment (Citizens Theatre, Glasgow) and Glasgow Girls (National Theatre of Scotland).

Kevin McMonagle is Aaron Esterson, a fellow Glaswegian psychiatrist who co-founded The Philadelphia Association. Kevin is currently in People, Places and Things (National Theatre). His other stage credits include Further Than the Furthest Thing (National Theatre)) and seasons with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Citizens Theatre amongst others.

Oscar Pearce is David Cooper, a South African colleague of Ronnie’s and a key member of the anti-psychiatrist movement. Oscar was recently seen in Stratford-Upon-Avon and the West End in Wolf Hall/Bring Up the Bodies. Other seasons include the RSC, Regent’s Park and Bolton Octagon (Best Supporting Actor, Manchester Evening News Award for All My Sons).

James Russell is the American psychiatrist Joseph Berke who worked with R. D. Laing in the 1960s, and was resident at Kingsley Hall, where he helped Mary Barnes, a nurse who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia to emerge from madness. Joseph Berke lives in London and continues to work as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist. James Russell’s acting credits include The Country Wife (Royal Exchange), Celebrity Night at Café Red (Trafalgar Studios), Perchance to Dream, Quality Street & Miss Lily Gets Boned – nominated for Best Actor at the Offies (Finborough Theatre) and All Mouth (Menier Chocolate Factory),

Michael Kingsbury’s directing credits includes Christmas (White Bear Theatre); In Lambeth (Southwark Playhouse); the critically acclaimed Ying Tong (opened at the West Yorkshire Playhouse before transferring to the Ambassadors); This Other Eden (Soho Theatre); The Caretaker and Bloody Poetry which were both Council/American Express tours of Austria in association with Michael’s company London City Theatre. His production of Round The Horne…Revisited ran in the West End for sixteen months, completed three number one tours, was chosen to be part of the Royal Variety Performance and was co-nominated with Little Britain and The League of Gentlemen for the Manchester Evening News award for best touring comedy.

Set and costume design is by Nicolai Hart-Hansen. Nicolai’s credits include La Traviata (Stand Moutier, Switzerland), The Window (Rambert Dance Company) The Lilly of The Valley (ROH2/ Opera Genesis), Nordost (Salisbury Playhouse), Fanciulla del West (Opera Up Close) Playing the Victim (Royal Court Theatre, Told by An Idiot), Cock/Bull (Aalborg Teater, Denmark), Some Girls are Bigger than Others (Lyric Hammersmith), Private Fears in Public Places (Royal Theatre Northampton), Eugene Onegin (Hampstead Opera) In The Jungle of Cities (Arcola Theatre, Splitmoon), Desert Boy (Nitro Theatre Company), Watership Down (Hammersmith Theatre), Here be Monsters (Rejects Revenge, Liverpool) Medea in Jerusalem (Rattlestick, New York) and Billy Budd (Southwark Playhouse).

The Divided Laing is produced by Cabinet of Cynics and Stepping Out Theatre in association with the Arcola Theatre.

Stepping Out Theatre is the country’s leading mental health theatre group. It has produced a wide range of work on mental health themes and is open to people who have used mental health services and their allies. Mark Rylance is one of their patrons. Cabinet of Cynics is a production company founded by Patrick Marmion and Michael Kingsbury promoting new writing.

Listings information:

The Divided Laing

Venue: The Arcola Theatre, 24 Ashwin Street, London E8 3DL

Dates: Wednesday 18 November – Saturday 12 December 2015

Times: Monday – Saturday, 7.30pm (Saturday matinee 3pm)

Tickets: £19/£15 concessions

Box Office: [email protected] / 020 7503 1646