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The Last Days of Troy @ Royal Exchange

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by David Keyworth (subscribe)
Iím a freelance journalist and published poet, based in Manchester. My debut poetry pamphlet is available at
Event: -
Queen Lily
Model and actress, Lily Cole, is to star as Helen of Troy in a world premiere, based on epic poem The Iliad.

The Last Days of Troy is Simon Armitage's retelling of Homer's classic for the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester. Armitage is best known as an acclaimed poet but he also writes for the stage and radio.

In The Last Days of Troy, Helen's abduction by the Trojan warrior, Paris, escalates a bloody conflict, as the Greeks attempt to win back their beautiful queen.

Simon Armitage's drama, told through the eyes of the Greek warrior Achilles, culminates in the famous tale of the Trojan Horse.

Armitage says: "The Iliad is tense and intriguing, with moments of great tragedy and breath-taking humility. Everything we have come to expect of the great myths."

Armitage has previously adapted The Odyssey for BBC Radio 4. The Odyssey is also attributed to Homer and often seen as a sequel to The Iliad.

More famous as a model, Lily Cole has also been building an acting career, with film credits including The Moth Diaries, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Passages and There be Dragons. She was first booked for a British Vogue cover at the age of 16. She has a double first in the History of Art from Cambridge University.
Lily Cole
Lily Cole

The Last Days of Troy will be directed by Nick Bagnall, who recently directed three Henry VI plays at Shakespeare's Globe and in open-air performances throughout the UK. The Last Days of Troy transfers to Shakespeare's Globe, on London's south bank, from 10th June.

Some of the cast of The Last Days of Troy, not including Lily Cole, will also be appearing in Gareth Farr's Britannia Waves the Rules. The play is another world premiere for the Royal Exchange. It won the Bruntwood Prize Judges Award in 2011. The Bruntwood Prize is run by the Royal Exchange as a chance for upcoming playwrights to have outstanding new work produced at the theatre.
Britannia Waves the Rules
Britannia Waves the Rules

Gareth Farr's play complements The Last Days of Troy's themes of conflict in focusing on a young soldier with post-traumatic stress disorder. It can be seen, running in repertoire at the Royal Exchange, between 26th May and 7th June.

In addition to performances, there will be the chance to ask questions of the cast and director at post-show events. See the Royal Exchange's website for more details.

Royal Exchange Manchester
Inside the Royal Exchange. Photo Joel Fildes

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Why? World premieres by award-winning writers
Phone: 0161 833 9833
Where: Royal Exchange, Manchester
Cost: From £10
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