See George Bernard Shaw’s ‘prescient’ Heartbreak House in Brighton

Heartbreak House
Heartbreak House

George Bernard Shaw’s Heartbreak House is coming to the Brighton Open Air Theatre this summer, courtesy of Droll And Folly Theatre (DAFT).

The show is at the venue from Tuesday to Sunday, August 16-21 (7pm). There are 2pm matinees on August 20 and 21.

On an estate in the Sussex countryside stands the house of the title. Heartbreak House is a ship-shaped home to disappointment, a privileged zone where rules are suspended, lovers are switched, hierarchies reversed, and – strangest of all – people find themselves telling the truth.

This ‘Ship of Fools’ is guided by ancient mariner Captain Shotover, who longs, with the power of his mind, to blow the whole social order sky high.

Director Nicholas Quirke said: “George Bernard Shaw wrote this allegorical comedy in reaction to his feelings about British culture and society as we entered the First World War and he has populated this play with a setting and characters that represent all aspects of Britain and British society.

“Politicians, corporate bosses and the ruling elite to artists, pioneers and middle classes all find themselves, through inertia and lack of interest, sleepwalking into chaos in Europe.

“As a result, Shaw’s experiment in European drama feels remarkably prescient as Britain stands once more on the edge of Europe, looking into the most uncertain of futures.

“The ship-shaped Heartbreak House itself is poised surreally in the Sussex countryside, symbolic of England and is home to privilege and disappointment and in this century-old comic masterpiece, the themes still address our contemporary concerns from gender politics, terrorism to class divides.”

Under the direction of Nicholas, the company has since staged another four productions, including three Shakespeare In A Day performances, and a sell-out run of The Tempest at 88 London Road.

Heartbreak House reunites many of the actors who have made those shows such resounding hits.

Tickets cost £14/£12 (plus booking fee) from

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