Woody Harrelson, Andy Serkis and Louisa Harland to star in David Ireland’s Play ‘Ulster American’ | London

Second Half Productions has today announced a new production of award-winning playwright David Ireland’s (Cyprus Avenue, The LoversUlster AmericanJeremy Herrin will direct following his recent acclaimed productions of A Mirror and Best of Enemies.

Emmy Award-winner and Academy Award -nominee Woody Harrelson (True Detective, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) returns to the London stage for the first time in almost two decades, to play Oscar-winning American actor Jay Conway. BAFTA and Emmy award-winner Andy Serkis (The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Batman) will star as English director Leigh Carver and Louisa Harland (Derry Girls, Dancing at Lughnasa) will star as Northern Irish playwright Ruth Davenport in David Ireland’s brutally funny play. 

Ulster American will feature set and costume design by Max Jones, lighting design by Oliver Fenwick, sound design by Emma Laxton, casting by Jessica Ronane CDG with Nicky Allpress as Associate Director.

An Oscar -winning American actor, an English director and a Northern Irish playwright are about to begin rehearsals for a new play — one that could transform each of their careers. But when it turns out that they’re not on the same page, the night threatens to spiral out of control.

Power dynamics, cultural identity and the perils of being a woman in the entertainment industry; nothing is off limits in this pitch-black comedy.

I’m delighted that this rollercoaster of a play has summoned such a stellar roster of talent to join us for this pitch black comedy at the beautifully refurbished Riverside Studios. I’ve always admired David Ireland’s fearlessness and the way he manages to skewer pretension in its many guises. It’s an honour to bring the legend that is Woody Harrelson to London; to welcome Andy Serkis back to the stage after so much success in the movies; and to enjoy the brilliant Louisa Harland going toe-to-toe with them both. It’ll be a thrilling evening and I can’t wait to see our audience’s reaction to this explosive show.”

Jeremy Herrin

Ulster American will run at Riverside Studios for 8 weeks from 4 December, with opening night on 13 December. Tickets start at £30 with 50 available at that price for every performance. Second Half Productions will also offer 200 free tickets to West London NHS staff through their partnership with Tickets for Good. Tickets will go on general sale at 10am on 12 October with priority booking open from 10 October. For priority access please sign up at http://ulsteramericanplay.com/

Ireland’s critically acclaimed play received its world premiere in 2018 at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh. It is the recipient of the Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award and the Scotsman Fringe First Award.

Woody Harrelson
Woody Harrelson | Photo credit: Wayne Maser

WOODY HARRELSON’s rare mix of intensity and charisma consistently surprises and delights audiences and critics alike in both mainstream and independent projects. Most recently Harrelson’s performance in Martin McDonagh’s, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri earned him a 2018 Academy Award® nomination for Best Supporting Actor and a BAFTA nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. He was previously nominated by the Academy, the Golden Globes® and SAG Awards® in the category of Best Actor for his portrayal of controversial magazine publisher Larry Flynt in Milos Forman’s The People vs. Larry Flynt. His portrayal of a casualty notification officer in Oren Moverman’s The Messenger garnered him a 2010 Academy Award® nomination for Best Supporting Actor. 

Harrelson next joins Scarlett Johansson and Channing Tatum in the Greg Berlanti-directed film Project Artemis for Apple Original Films, set around the 1960s space race. Harrelson recently completed shooting Suncoast alongside Laura Linney, a drama written and directed by Laura Chinn in her directorial debut for Searchlight Films.

Harrelson recently starred opposite Justin Theroux in The White House Plumbers, a five-part limited series for HBO Max. Harrelson starred in Bobby Farrelly’s sports comedy for Focus Features, Champions, based on the Goya Award winning Spanish film Campeones. Harrelson can be seen in Ruben Ostlund’s English language ensemble film Triangle of Sadness which made its world debut at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival where it received an eight-minute standing ovation and won the Palme D’Or. 

Other recent film credits include Columbia Pictures’ action-comedy The Man From Toronto starring opposite Kevin Hart; Sony Pictures Venom: Let There Be Carnage as Cletus Kasady opposite supervillain ‘Carnage’ played by Tom Hardy; Netflix’s The Highwaymen with Kevin Costner and Kathy Bates; Midway opposite Mandy Moore; Lucasfilm’s Solo: A Star Wars StoryShock and Awe and LBJ  both directed by Rob Reiner; The Glass Castle co-starring Naomi Watts; the third instalment of the Planet of The Apes, entitled War for the Planet of the Apes directed by Matt Reeves; Fox Searchlight’s critically acclaimed The Edge of SeventeenWilson with director Craig Johnson; Now You See Me 2 for director Jon Chuand  Triple Nine for director John Hillcoat. 

Harrelson wrote, directed, produced and starred in an unprecedented live feature film Lost in London, which was broadcast live into theatres nationwide on January 19, 2017. The comedy also stars Owen Wilson and Willie Nelson. 

Other highlights from Harrelson’s film career include Rampart with director Oren Moverman; Ruben Fleischer’s box office hit, Zombieland as well as the 2019 sequel Zombieland: Double TapOut of the Furnace starring opposite Christian Bale and Casey Affleck; The Hunger Games film series; Now You See MeThe Grand; No Country For Old Men; A Scanner DarklyA Prairie Home CompanionSeven PoundsThe Prize Winner of Defiance, OhioNorth CountryTranssiberianThe Thin Red LineWelcome To SarajevoNatural Born Killers; Indecent ProposalWhite Men Can’t Jump and was recently seen as the on screen host for director Pete McGrain’s powerful political documentary Ethos

On television, Harrelson most recently reprised his role as ‘Archie Bunker’ in two episodes of the Critics’ Choice and Emmy-winning ABC special Live In Front Of A Studio Audience, produced by Jimmy Kimmel and Norman Lear.

Other notable television credits include HBO’s True Detective co-starring Matthew McConaughey for which he was nominated for Emmy and SAG Awards in the lead actor category and a Golden Globes Award for lead actor in a Mini Series. In 2012 Harrelson starred opposite Julianne Moore and Ed Harris in the HBO film Game Change for which he earned Primetime Emmy®, SAG Awards®, and Golden Globe® nominations for his role as Steve Schmidt, and Martin McDonagh’s Seven Psychopaths, alongside Sam Rockwell, Colin Farrell and Christopher Walken. 

Harrelson first endeared himself to millions of viewers as a member of the ensemble cast of NBC’s long-running hit comedy, Cheers. For his work as the affable bartender ‘Woody Boyd,’ he won a Primetime Emmy® in 1988 and was nominated four additional times during his eight-year run on the show.  In 1999, he gained another Primetime Emmy® nomination when he reprised the role in a guest appearance on the spin-off series Frasier

Balancing his film and television work, in 1999 Harrelson directed his own play, Furthest From The Sun at the Theatre de la Juene Lune in Minneapolis. He followed next with the Roundabout’s Broadway revival of The Rainmaker; Sam Shepherd’s The Late Henry Moss, and John Kolvenbach’s On An Average Day opposite Kyle MacLachlan at London’s West End. Harrelson directed the Toronto premiere of Kenneth Lonergan’s This Is Our Youth at Toronto’s Berkeley Street Theatre. In the winter of 2005 Harrelson returned to London’s West End, starring in Tennessee Williams’ Night of the Iguana at the Lyric Theatre. In 2011, Harrelson co-wrote and directed the semi-autobiographical comedy Bullet for Adolf at Hart House Theatre in Toronto. In the summer of 2012 Bullet for Adolf made its Off-Broadway debut at New World Stages. 

Andy Serkis
Andy Serkis | Photo credit: Jerry Schmitz

ANDY SERKIS is an award-winning actor who has earned acclaim from both critics and audiences for his work in a range of memorable roles. He gained legions of fans around the globe for his performance as “Gollum” in the Academy Award®-winning The Lord of the Rings trilogy, directed by Peter Jackson.  Serkis won an Empire Award for his role, in addition to sharing in several Outstanding Ensemble Cast Awards, including a Screen Actors Guild Award®.  He reunited with Jackson in the director’s epic retelling of King Kong, taking performance capture to another level as the titular character, and between 2011-2017 he took performance capture to new heights with his heart-breaking and critically acclaimed portrayal of “Caesar” in the Planet of the Apes trilogy.      

Serkis is currently in production as director/producer of an animated adaptation of George Orwell’s Animal Farm

In February of 2020, he was honoured by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) at the 73rd EE British Academy Film Awards with one of the organisation’s highest honours, the Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award.  

Most recently, Serkis appeared in the feature film Luther: The Fallen Sun, starring alongside Idris Elba and Cynthia Erivo for Netflix and the BBC.  In the fall of 2022, he received critical acclaim from press and fans for his portrayal of “Kino Loy” in a three-episode arc of Andor, starring opposite Diego Luna.  Additionally, he helmed Venom: Let There Be Carnage for Marvel and Sony Pictures and starred alongside Robert Pattinson in The Batman, portraying “Alfred Pennyworth.”

Louisa_Harland | Photo credit: Wolf Marloh

Before commencing her training at Mountview, LOUISA HARLAND appeared as a series regular in Love/Hate for RTE alongside Aidan Gillen and Robert Sheehan. Further screen credits include Channel 5’s The Deceived, Discovery’s mini-series Harley and the Davidsons, Woody Harrelson’s feature film Lost in London. In 2022, the third and final season of Derry Girls, aired to wide-spread critical acclaim. 

On stage Louisa starred in the one woman show Cotton Fingers with National Theatre Wales and performed in a sell-out run at the Royal Court of Glass. Kill. Bluebeard. Imp; a collection of new plays by Caryl Churchill. Most recently she starred as Agnes in Dancing at Lughnasa at the National Theatre directed by Josie Rourke. 

Louisa played a leading role alongside Jack Rowan in the comedy/horror feature film Boys from County Hell, and she has recently wrapped Joy directed by Ben Taylor, where she features alongside Bill Nighy and James Norton. 

Louisa will be playing the title role in Sally Wainwright’s highly-anticipated new Disney+ series, The Ballad of Renegade Nell, and early next year she will join Brian Cox and Patricia Clarkson on stage in Long Day’s Journey into Night directed by Jeremy Herrin. 

JEREMY HERRIN trained as a theatre director at both the National Theatre and the Royal Court, where he became Deputy Artistic Director in 2008. Between 2000 and 2008 he was an Associate Director at Live Theatre in Newcastle upon Tyne. Jeremy replaced Rupert Goold as Artistic Director of Headlong Theatre in September 2013. In 2007, he directed the UK premiere of David Hare’s play, The Vertical Hour, as well as Polly Stenham’s award-winning That Face at the Royal Court. That Face later transferred to London’s West End, where it starred Lindsay Duncan and Matt Smith and was produced by Sonia Friedman. Two years later, in 2009, Jeremy directed Polly’s second play, Tusk Tusk for which he was nominated for an Evening Standard Best Director Award. Other work at the Royal Court includes EV Crowe’s Hero, Richard Bean’s The Heretic, Kin, Spur of the Moment, Off The Endz and The Priory, which won an Olivier Award for best Comedy.

In 2012 Jeremy directed the Olivier-nominated This House, written by James Graham, at the National Theatre. The production was revived at the Garrick Theatre at the end of 2016 and toured the UK in 2018.

In 2014 Jeremy directed the critically acclaimed adaptations of Hilary Mantel’s novels Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies for the RSC and was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Director. The productions transferred to the West End at the end of 2014 and opened on Broadway in April 2015. He also directed the Broadway production of Noises Off which opened in January 2016. His production of People, Places and Things at the National Theatre transferred to the Wyndhams Theatre in March 2016 and then to St Ann’s Warehouse in October 2017. Jeremy directed James Graham’s Olivier award winning Labour of Love which opened in November 2017 and his production of David Hare’s The Moderate Soprano transferred from Hampstead Theatre to the West End in April 2018.

Most recently Jeremy directed Noises Off at The Garrick Theatre, The Visit and After Life at The National Theatre, The Mirror and The Light at the Gielgud, West End, and The Glass Menagerie at the Duke of York’s Theatre. For TV Jeremy directed Talking Heads and Unprecedented for the BBC.

Jeremy has most recently directed the world premiere of A Mirror at the Almeida Theatre starring Johnny Lee Miller, Tanya Reynolds and Micheal Ward, and the West End production of Best of Enemies starring Zachary Quinto and David Harewood at the Noël Coward Theatre.

DAVID IRELAND is a writer and actor from Belfast. He won the Meyer-Whitworth Award in 2012 for Everything Between Us and was shortlisted for the Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright 2016 for Cyprus Avenue. Cyprus Avenue also won the Irish Times Award for Best New Play and the James Tait Black Award in 2017. In 2018, Ulster American won a Scotsman Fringe First and the Critics Award for Theatre in Scotland for Best New Play. His other plays include Not Now, SadieYes So I Said YesThe End of HopeCan’t Forget About You and What the Animals Say. He is currently working on new plays for the Almeida, Sonia Friedman Productions and the National Theatre of Scotland. He has written several radio plays and, for television, his series The Lovers was recently released on Sky Atlantic. He has also written an episode of The Young Offenders (RTE/BBC). As an actor he is best known for playing Clare’s Dad in Derry Girls. He has also appeared in Still GameShetlandTaggart and Scots Squad.  He lives in Glasgow with his wife Jennifer and two children, Ada and Elijah.

Theater Martin Cid Magazine
Theater Martin Cid Magazine
News about theater, plays and actors. A vision of the theater scene around the world.
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