Michael Sheen to star in Brian Friel play from empty Old Vic theatre


Michael Sheen will star in a production of Brian Friel’s play Faith Healer livestreamed from the empty Old Vic theatre.

He will perform opposite David Threlfall and Indira Varma for five performances as part of the Old Vic: In Camera series for audiences watching at home.

The play follows The Fantastic Francis Hardy as he travels the most remote corners of Wales, Scotland and Ireland attempting to heal those who wish to be healed, accompanied by his wife Grace and manager Teddy.

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Matthew Warchus, artistic director of the Old Vic, said: “This play has long been a favourite of mine.

“With mesmerising expertise Friel unlocks a shimmering fable of epic dimensions employing nothing more than single voices weaving this unforgettable story out of thin air.

“It’s the definition of a masterpiece and hits you with a huge emotional thwack.”

The play will be the third of the In Camera series, following productions of Lungs, starring Claire Foy and Matt Smith, and Three Kings, with Andrew Scott.

The theatre says the series was always intended as a creative experiment but has become crucial in the Old Vic’s fight for survival, as it remains one of the few ways the theatre can ensure any regular income.

Theatres are now allowed to open for indoor performances but audiences must be socially distanced and the Old Vic is one of many that have said it is not financially viable to open with such a reduced capacity.

It will instead look at continuing the series into 2021 and offer In Camera productions as a core part of Warchus’s sixth season as artistic director.

Faith Healer will be livestreamed for five performances from September 16 to 19, with tickets priced £10–£40 but all offering the same view to audiences at home.