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A version by Ted Hughes

September-November 2000

A King is doomed by the gods to die. He allows his wife, Alcestis to offer up her life in his place, and in doing so, condemns himself to a life of guilt and misery. But can Death be cheated? If Apollo’s prophecy comes true, the impossible could happen.

Alcestis was Ted Hughes’ final work. Shortly before his death in 1998, Hughes gave the manuscript to Barrie Rutter with the express wish that it should receive its premiere in the Calder Valley.

“I wrote to Ted Hughes once to congratulate him on one of his works, and he wrote back saying his tuning fork had always been in the Calder Valley. After that, we kept corresponding until his death.” Rutter

“Wonderfully bold, punchy verse…Barrie Rutter’s production combines simplicity with energy, intensity and something more. I challenge anyone not to be moved.”

Benedict Nightingale The Times

“Visionary….A stirring evening”
Michael Billington The Guardian

“The Theatre event of the week…..The piece is a great story” ****Uncommonly good”

Robert Gore Langton Daily Express

“…especially poignant and courageous…Alcestis is a work that looks death in the eye without blinking. The production leaves no doubt that Alcestis is a major work.”
Charles Spencer The Daily Telegraph

“Hughes’s superb, muscular text is given the works by an excellent company”

Michael Coveney The Daily Mail

Joanne Thirsk ~ “Touching and beautiful as the dying Alcestis”
Andrew Cryer ~ “gives a moving performance as the anguished Admetos.”
David Hounslow ~ “Hugely engaging as a cocky, complacent Heracles”
“The three-strong Chorus deliver Hughes’s powerful, probing poetry with welcome clarity and restraint”

The Daily Telegraph

“Northern Broadsides puts the surging muscular poetry centre stage….it will haunt you long after you leave (the theatre).”
Evening Standard (London)

“A blast of no-nonsense, classical refurbishment. Hughes’s Alcestis cuts to the quick on a number of occasions.”
The Herald (Glasgow)



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