Please note: this production contains the use of live animals, haze and smoking. Running time: 3 hours and 10 minutes including two intervals.
"My dad said he jumped buses. Horseboxes. Jumped an aqueduct once. He was gonna jump Stonehenge but the council put a stop to it."
St, George’s Day. An illegal caravan somewhere in the quiet idyll of Wiltshire. Johnny ‘Rooster’ Byron, ex-daredevil, teller of tall tales and scourge of authority is a wanted man. The council are trying to evict him, his son wants to be taken to the fair, a thug wants to teach him a lesson and his ragtag group of friends want to party. Though increasingly harried, harassed, bloodied and bruised, Johnny is a not a man to be beaten down. With the spirts of the woods behind him, he must get through the day and perhaps even lead a revolution against the hard-edged modern state.
“I never jumped Stonehenge. But I once met a giant that built Stonehenge”
Jerusalem premiered at the Royal Court in 2009, before transferring to the West End and then Broadway. It became an instant modern classic and its rich tapestry of reference, from William Blake to the Bible, quickly led to it being studied on both Drama and English A-Level syllabuses.
‘Jerusalem is a bold, ebullient and often hilarious State-of-England or (almost) State-of-Olde-England play... [Johnny] is a shrewd, bold, defiant, charismatic, even mesmeric man born out of his time. Imagine King Arthur reincarnated as a troll and you have something of the quality he brings to the debased pastoral he grittily, comically and finally mournfully inhabits.’ The Times
Jez Butterworth is one of this country’s leading playwrights. His plays blend rich, alternative characters with the structure of a ‘well-made play’ and a unique, highly energetic voice. Having first broken onto the scene with Mojo in the 1990’s, Jerusalem instantly turned Butterworth into hot property. His subsequent plays The River and The Ferryman have sold out almost instantly and been met with considerable critical acclaim. Recently his fascination with English identity and myth found its way on to the small screen, with Sky’s Britannia which he co-created and wrote.
Directed by Jez Pike, The Norwich Players are proud to present this masterpiece of modern theatre, guaranteed to provoke laughter, debate and emotion. Local actor Nick Meir (A Chorus of Disapproval, Accolade – Sewell Barn Theatre) makes his Maddermarket debut as the legendary Johnny ‘Rooster’ Byron. A cast of thirteen includes Norwich Players stalwart David Newham, the return of Molly Cutter last seen at the Maddermarket as Nell Gwynn, in addition to five bright new talents from the University of East Anglia Drama Department.
‘Unarguably one the best dramas of the twenty-first century’ The Guardian.
Find out more about the world of Jerusalem, the playwright and what's going on in rehearsals by following the production blog. Click here