Royal Lyceum plan Touching the Void stage adaptation

Along with Bristol Old Vic, the Edinburgh theatre is presenting David Greig’s stage adaptation of Joe Simpson's stunning true-life survival story

Article by The Skinny | 08 Nov 2017
  • Touching the Void

Touching the Void, Joe Simpson's stunning true-life tale of his near-fatal climb of the Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes in 1985, was famously turned into a gripping survival documentary in 2003 by Kevin Macdonald. Edinburgh's Royal Lyceum Theatre – in collaboration with Bristol Old Vic, Royal & Derngate and Fuel – now plan to bring this meditation on friendship, death and the strength of the human spirit to the stage. 

The Lyceum’s artistic director David Greig, whose plays include The Suppliant Women, The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart, The Events, and Midsummer, has adapted Simpson’s boko; Bristol Old Vic’s artistic director Tom Morris, whose past credits include a co-director role on the acclaimed stage production of War Horse, will direct this new production.

Touching the Void is one of the great true stories of adventure and survival,” says Greig. “It’s a tale that has reached beyond just the climbing world and become mythological. Joe Simpson made an extraordinary choice. When it would have been easier to die, he chose to live. To make that choice he had to reach into the very depths of what it is to be human: the desire to live, love and connect to others.

"How do you do climbing on stage? I don’t know! Whatever we do it’s going to take a thrilling theatricality to realise this book and I can’t wait to work with Tom Morris to bring it to life. It’s an existential thriller that will have audiences clinging on to the edge of their seats. And it’s got Boney M.”

Today, the Royal Lyceum and Bristol Old Vic also announced that prior to Touching the Void the theatres will also co-produce an new version of Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare’s hilarious and heartbreaking tale of unrequited love and mistaken identity. “It has all the glorious Shakespearean tropes of twins, and lost love, and misunderstood intentions,” says Greig of the Bard’s much-loved comedy, “but, in Malvolio, it also has one of the most gloriously human and humane portrayals of the straight man in a world of fools.”

Touching the Void opens at Bristol Old Vic in Oct 2018 and comes to The Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh in Jan 2019

Twelfth Night opens at The Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh in Sep 2018, and at Bristol Old Vic later in 2018