Back to All Events

The Breath of Life by David Hare

Next Stage Theatre Company has again turned a difficult play into a gripping piece of drama.
— Emma Samways, Bath Chronicle

Living in the retirement backwater of the Isle of Wight, Madeline Palmer’s comfortable daily routine is shattered by the arrival at her flat of Frances Beale. The two women have only met once before but their lives are inextricably linked by their love of the same man, Frances ex-husband, Martin. Determined to lay ghosts Frances, a popular novelist, seeks answers to questions which Madeline fears are simply going to provide the basis of a new novel. In the course of the visit, both women discover more than they dreamt about each other, their love for Martin and themselves.

A humorous, entertaining and thought provoking production by one of Next Stages’ patrons, Sir David Hare, this play was first presented in London in 2002, with Dame Judy Dench as Frances and Dame Maggie Smith as Madeline. The combination of one of Britain’s greatest living playwrights and two of our greatest living actresses meant that it was an inevitable sell-out. This Bath premiere re-unites two of Next Stages’ leading actors who last played onstage together in the highly acclaimed production of Humble Boy (Mission Theatre 2007) and who had previously delighted audiences when they appeared in Lettice and Lovage (Mission Theatre 2005).


Rehearsal Photographs: