If the real-life drama of election night doesn’t set your pulse racing, how about a slice of polling station action in the company of Judi Dench, Mark Gatiss, Timothy West and Bill Paterson?
The dazzling cast – whose names have just been confirmed to RadioTimes.com – will be simultaneously on stage and on our TV screens in a unique collaboration between Channel 4 and London’s Donmar Warehouse theatre. The channel describes it as “an unprecedented national television event.”
The actors, part of a 25-strong cast, are starring in The Vote, which is set in a fictional London polling station and depicts the final 90-minutes of voting. It will be performed at the theatre between those hours, 8.30-10pm, on May 7th election night and broadcast live on More4.
Josie Rourke, Donmar Warehouse artistic director and The Vote director, said:
“Some of the nation’s greatest actors are coming together this election night to give theatre a seat at the table of a national event. Everyone involved is approaching this experiment with a sense of adventure. The scale and scope of this incredible company of actors is going to make this a very special event.”
Dench will be appearing with her daughter Finty Williams as a mother and daughter who’ve arrived at the polling station to cast their vote. Gatiss is the chief polling station officer with Catherine Tate among his staff.
The play opens at the Donmar on Thursday 24th April and the curtain comes down after the election night performance on May 7th.
Channel 4 has signed up the observational documentary specialists Twofour to produce the broadcast for them. Cameras of the type deployed in series like Educating Yorkshire will be positioned around the stage to give TV viewers a unique view of the performance.
And it’s not just the cast that’s acclaimed. The writer James Graham is widely regarded as one of our most talented young playwrights. His previous work includes the political drama This House, and Privacy, a play about surveillance. He’s also penned the C4 drama Coalition which was due to have been screened next Thursday (March 26th) but has now been shunted to Saturday 28th to accommodate the channel’s election debate.
According to a Channel 4 statement: “Every five years we assert our right as citizens to uphold or replace our government – but, characteristically, we do it in the most unremarkable and understated of ways – at local parish churches, primary schools and community centres across the country.
“James Graham’s new play shines a light on the diverse, diligent and often hilarious individuals who turn these unglamorous settings into places where history is made.”