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  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA

Octagon to be a partner venue for the new digital production of The Picture of Doran Gray

By Steve Cooke

The Octagon Theatre will be one of a select number of partner venues to present a brand-new digital production of The Picture of Dorian Gray – with Fionn Whitehead, in the title role.

Most recently seen starring in the Lionsgate and Saban Films’ Don’t Tell A Soul, Fionn Whitehead is best known for his critically acclaimed performance as the protagonist Tommy in Christopher Nolan’s Academy Award nominated war film, Dunkirk.

This contemporary reimagining of Oscar Wilde’s classic novel is co-produced by The Barn Theatre, Lawrence Batley Theatre, New Wolsey Theatre, Theatre Clywd and Oxford Playhouse.

The Picture of Dorian Gray will push the theatrical form, telling this new adaptation through multiple forms such as elements found in radio plays, films, documentaries as well as traditional theatrical techniques.

Set in a profile pic-obsessed, filter-fixated world where online and reality blur, influencer Dorian Gray makes a deal. For his social star never to fade. For the perfect self he broadcasts to the world to always remain. But as his mental health starts to decline, as corruption and murderous depravity start to creep into his world, the true and horrific cost of his deal will soon need to be met.

The production will reunite the creative team behind the critically acclaimed digital production of What a Carve Up! with Henry Filloux-Bennett writing the new adaptation with direction by Tamara Harvey.

Their most recent collaboration What a Carve Up!, which featured an all-star cast including Alfred Enoch, Stephen Fry and Sharon D Clarke, achieved both critical and public acclaim throughout the lockdown in November 2020, with the production receiving the prestigious New York Times Critic’s Pick as well as being heralded as one of the best productions of the year by both The Guardian and The Telegraph.

The Octagon’s Artistic Director, Lotte Wakeham commented: “I am thrilled that we are able to bring this gripping production to our audiences. In these unprecedented times where theatre buildings are closed and we are unable to enjoy the magic of live theatre in person, for venues to collaborate and offer shared experiences for audiences is truly wonderful and I am delighted that we have the opportunity to bring this brand new contemporary adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray to Octagon audiences.”

Discussing the new production, Henry Filloux-Bennett and Tamara Harvey commented: “So many of us have found ourselves living in an ever more online world over the last year. But the benefits and the connections digital have offered us come with a darker side - deterioration in mental health, isolation, online manipulation to name just a few. Following ‘What a Carve Up!’ we really wanted to explore what would happen if you brought Oscar Wilde’s Faustian tale kicking and screaming into a world of Instagram, Facebook and dating apps.”

The Picture of Dorian Gray will push the theatrical form, telling this new adaptation through multiple forms such as elements found in radio plays, films, documentaries as well as traditional theatrical techniques.

The digital production will be available internationally, running until 31 March. Tickets can be purchased at

Ticket holders will receive a screening link which will activate on their booked performance date for a 48-hour period. Tickets are priced at £12 which will include both a link to the production as well as a digital programme. Audio description and closed captioning will be made available for the production.

The Barn Theatre in Cirencester, the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield and the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich will co-produce The Picture of Dorian Gray with Theatr Clwyd in Mold and the Oxford Playhouse in Oxfordshire joining the collaboration as co-producers.

The producers are also dedicated to supporting fellow theatres across the country during this unprecedented time and have announced that the Octagon, along with the following theatres, will be joining the production as partner venues: Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Arts At The Old Fire Station, artsdepot – North Finchley, Belgrade Theatre, Brighton Dome, Bristol Old Vic, Guildhall Arts Centre – Grantham, Hertford Theatre, Mercury Theatre, Stamford Arts Centre, The Dukes, The Elgiva, The Lighthouse Theatre, The Lowry, The Torch, The Watermill Theatre, Theatre By The Lake, Theatre Royal Winchester and Watford Palace Theatre.

Age guidance: 16+

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