PILOT Theatre and York Theatre Royal are to stage the 2018 premiere of Bryony Lavery’s new adaptation of Brighton Rock, Graham Greene’s iconic 1938 novel of sin and redemption.

Directed by Pilot's new artistic director, Esther Richardson, the touring production will feature a specially composed soundtrack by the Northern Irish singer, multi-instrumentalist, electronic composer and arranger Hannah Peel, who has worked previously with The Magnetic North, singer-songwriter David Ford and John Foxx And The Maths.

Foxx was responsible for the score for a previous Pilot and Theatre Royal collaboration, co-writing a futuristic set of dystopian science-fiction themes with Benge for EM Forster's The Machine Stops in 2016.

Richardson's production will be premiered at York Theatre Royal from February 16 to March 3 before touring until May 26, including a March 20 to 24 run at Hull Truck Theatre.

Staged by special arrangement with StudioCanal and co-commissioned by The Lowry in Salford, Brighton Rock follows two 17 year olds, Pinkie and Rose, as they become embroiled in a vicious gang war in Brighton where one brutal murder leads to the next. The police are impassive, but the courageous and life-embracing Ida Arnold wants the truth. Nothing scares her. Whatever the cost, she will see justice is done.

Greene's novel of good and evil was first adapted for the stage at the Garrick Theatre with Richard Attenborough playing Pinkie, a role he resumed in the 1947 film version. In 2010 Greene’s novel was remade on screen, setting it in 1964, with Sam Riley, Andrea Riseborough and Helen Mirren leading the cast. In 1993, Vicky Featherstone directed David Hurlock’s stage adaptation at West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, and in 2004 York composer John Barry and Don Black wrote a musical version that ran at the Almeida Theatre, London.

York Press:

Composer Hannah Peel

“Set in an age of advanced austerity, and against the backdrop of a society riven with inequality, Brighton Rock is a brilliant, brutal and unsettling coming-of-age story," says director Esther Richardson. "As makers of grown-up work for young adult audiences, we're thrilled at Pilot to be able to present a fresh, physical and contemporarily resonant adaptation of this masterpiece. This will be a show that will grapple with the questions posed and feelings generated by more dangerous times."

The Tony Award-nominated Bryony Lavery is linking up with York Theatre Royal for a third time after her stage adaptations of York author Kate Atkinson's Behind The Scenes At The Museum in 2000 and Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited in a 2016 co-production with English Touring Theatre. She also adapted Charles Dickens's Our Mutual Friend for Hull Truck Theatre.

"Why adapt Brighton Rock for the stage? Because it is such a treasure chest of narrative delights," says Bryony. "It has got everything. It's a love story; a revenge tragedy; a small-town murder mystery, with an array of small-time gangsters and a middle-aged woman who knows no fear and who will stop at nothing to do right. In the poisoned relationship between Pinkie and Rose, there is one of the best accounts ever of what it is like to be 16 and 17 years’ old in a terrible, violent, adolescence."

Composer Hannah Peel will perform in the production during the opening Theatre Royal run. "The menacing aspects to the 1930s' story are even more resonant today, so I'm really excited about working with Pilot Theatre for this incredible stage version of Brighton Rock," she says. "With an even greater sense of darkness in the current world climate, my mind is already buzzing from the amount of music and sonic possibilities we will be bringing live to the stage."

Brighton Rock will be designed by Sara Perks, who was responsible for the set for Pilot and the Theatre Royal's community play, Everything Is Possible: The York Suffragettes, earlier this year. Lighting will be by Aideene Malone, whose credits include Peter Pan and Jane Eyre for the National Theatre (on tour at Hull New Theatre this week). The cast will be announced later.

York tickets for Brighton Rock can be booked on 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk; Hull, 01482 323638 or hulltruck.co.uk

Did you know?

Bryony Lavery's 1998 play Frozen will be revived at the Haymarket Theatre, London, in February 2018. Commissioned by Birmingham Repertory Theatre, it won the TMA Best Play Award and was then produced on Broadway, where it was nominated for four Tony Awards.