Published on Fri 5 Dec 2014

“Because we live in Europe. Because nothing really bad happens. The worst is a bit of an inconvenience. Perhaps not such a good mini break. But really in the grand scheme of life, not so bad.“

Maxine Peake will return to The Royal Court and has been cast in Zinnie Harris’ How to Hold Your Breath, with full casting to be announced soon. The production, written by Zinnie Harris, will be directed by the Royal Court’s Artistic Director Vicky Featherstone, premiering on 4 February at Jerwood Theatre Downstairs.

Maxine Peake is known for her varied career in film, on stage and more recently as a playwright. Well known for her roles in BAFTA nominated TV dramas such as Silk, The Village, The Street and Shameless, her extensive theatre credits also include Mother Theresa is Dead at The Royal Court, The Cherry Orchard, The Relapse and Luther all at The National Theatre and most recently, a radical re-imagining of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet at Manchester Royal Exchange. In 2014 Peake wrote her first radio play Beryl: A Love Story on Two Wheels, which was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and subsequently adapted and produced at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. Peake is also appearing in two films in Spring 2015, Hamlet (filmed during its run at the Royal Exchange) and Carol Morley’s black comedy The Falling. Her previous film work includes Private Peaceful, Run and Jump, Keeping Rosy and The Theory of Everything.

Starting with a seemingly innocent one night stand, this darkly witty and magical play from Zinnie Harris dives into our recent European history, providing an epic look at the true cost of our principles and how we live now.

The production is directed by Vicky Featherstone, designed by Chloe Lamford, with lighting by Paul Constable, music by Stuart Earl and movement by Anne Yee.

Artistic Director of the Royal Court Vicky Featherstone directs. Since she started at the Royal Court, her credits have included Dennis Kelly’s The Ritual Slaughter of George Mastromas, Abi Morgan’s The Mistress Contract and God Bless the Child which is currently playing at Jerwood Theatre Upstairs. She opened her first season at the Royal Court with Open Court – a festival of plays, ideas and events, chosen by over 140 writers. At National Theatre of Scotland, her credits included Enquirer (co-directed with John Tiffany), Appointment With The Wicker Man and 27. Prior to Scotland, Vicky was Artistic Director of Paines Plough.

Zinnie Harris‘ credits at the Royal Court include Nightingale and Chase. Her play The Wheel for the National Theatre of Scotland, directed by Vicky Featherstone, won a Fringe First Award, jointly won an Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Theatre Award and was shortlisted for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Her other recent credits include The Message on the Watch and The Panel at the Tricycle and A Doll’s House at the Donmar (adapt.). Her 2000 play Further than the Furthest Thing won the Peggy Ramsay Foundation Award, a Fringe First, and the John Whiting Award. On television, she has written extensively for Spooks and is currently writing Tommy and Tuppence based on the Agatha Christie series for David Walliams on BBC1.