The Permanent Way is a play by David Hare first performed in 2003.
In 1991 the British government decided to privatise the country's railways. David Hare recounts the development through the first-hand accounts of those most intimately involved. From passengers to government ministers, their voices bear witness to a narrative of national mismanagement.
Inspired by Ian Jack's book The Crash That Stopped Britain ISBN 9781862074682, the play is a piece of verbatim theatre based on numerous interviews, by the actors themselves, of the people involved. Theatre director Max Stafford-Clark and transport journalist Christian Wolmar selected the interviewees. Collation and editing, with a little linking narration added, allowed the quotations to take the form of drama:
Why aren't people angry? They were robbed. What belonged to them was taken from them by a bunch of bankers and incompetent politicians. What was theirs was given away. What was foredoomed to fail failed. And they aren't angry.
Actor Lloyd Hutchison of Out of Joint, the original acting company, describes Hare's contribution thus: "He puts in very, very little bridging material. The play is really one statement after another. He hasn't exactly written it; he collated it.
Incidents covered in the play include the passing of the Railways Act 1993 setting out the structure of rail privatization and the survival and bereavement stories resulting from the rail crashes of Southall, Ladbroke Grove, Hatfield, and Potters Bar. One character is author Nina Bawden, who was badly injured in the Potters Bar crash in which her husband Austen Kark was killed.
The play first opened in York in November 2003, directed by Stafford-Clark. The production toured Britain in 2004, winning the "Best Touring Production" award from the Theatre Management Association.A version for radio, with the original director and cast members, was made by Catherine Bailey Productions and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 14 March 2004. It was runner up in the year's Sony Radio Academy Award for drama.
In September 2019 a "site specific" production, directed by Alexander Lass, was mounted in the Vaults Theatre, beneath the tracks of London Waterloo station.
Lynn Rachel Redgrave was an English actress. She won two Golden Globe Awards, was a two-time Oscar nominee and received Emmy, Grammy, and Tony nominations.
William Francis Nighy is an English actor.
Sir David Hare is an English playwright, screenwriter and theatre and film director. Best known for his stage work, Hare has also enjoyed great success with films, receiving two Academy Award nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay for writing The Hoursin 2002, based on the novel written by Michael Cunningham, and The Readerin 2008, based on the novel of the same name written by Bernhard Schlink.
There have been four railway accidents at Potters Bar (England). Those in 1898 and 1946 were signals passed at danger. The accident in 2002 led to substantial public debate and a national change in policy relating to maintenance of infrastructure.
Jennifer "Gemma" Jones is an English character actress on both stage and screen. Her film appearances include Sense and Sensibility (1995), the Bridget Jones series (2001–2016), the Harry Potter series (2002–2011), You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010), and Ammonite (2020).
Stuff Happens is a play by David Hare, written in response to the Iraq War. Hare describes it as "a history play" that deals with recent history. The title is inspired by Donald Rumsfeld's response to widespread looting in Baghdad: "Stuff happens and it’s untidy, and freedom’s untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things.”
Alfred Lewis Enoch, also credited as Alfie Enoch is a British-Brazilian actor, best known for playing Dean Thomas in the Harry Potter film series and Wes Gibbins on the ABC legal drama television series How to Get Away with Murder.
Niamh Cusack is an Irish actress. Born to a family with deep roots in the performing arts, Cusack has been involved as a performer since a young age. She has served with the UK's two leading theatre companies, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre and has performed in a long line of major stage productions since the mid-1980s. She has made numerous appearances on television including a long-running role as Dr. Kate Rowan in the UK series Heartbeat (1992–1995) which made her a household name and favourite. She has often worked as a voice actress on radio, and her film credits include a starring role in In Love with Alma Cogan (2011).
Sir Simon Russell Beale is an English actor. He is known for his appearances in film, television and theatre, and work on radio, on audiobooks and as a narrator. For his services to drama, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in 2019.
The Joint Stock Theatre Company was founded in London 1974 by David Hare, Max Stafford-Clark Paul Kember and David Aukin. The director William Gaskill was also part of the company. It was primarily a company which presented new plays.
Paul Mackriell Copley is an English actor and voiceover artist. From 2011 to 2015 he appeared as Mr. Mason, father of William Mason, in 16 episodes of Downton Abbey, and from 2020 to 2021, he appeared in the ITV soap opera Coronation Street as Arthur Medwin.
Plenty is a play by David Hare, first performed in 1978, about British post-war disillusion.
Maxwell Robert Guthrie Stewart "Max" Stafford-Clark is a British theatre director.
Out of Joint is a British and international touring theatre company based in London. It specialises in the commissioning and production of new writing, interspersed with occasional revivals and classic productions.
Portable Theatre Company was a writer-led company that toured alternative arts venues in the UK between 1968 -1973. Their aim was to present original and provocative new writing that challenged the staid mediocrity of mainstream theatre.
Ian Leslie Redford is an English actor who has featured on stage, in film and on television in various roles.
Nigel Stafford-Clark is a British film and television producer, and the brother of the theatre director Max Stafford-Clark. He was educated at Felsted and Trinity College, Cambridge, and worked in advertising and in sponsored documentaries before becoming a commercials producer at Moving Picture Company (MPC).
Stella Anne Feehily is an Irish playwright and actor. Her plays include Game (2003), which was produced by Fishamble Theatre company, Dublin, and was published in an anthology of first plays by New Island. She is the author of Duck (2003) and O Go My Man (2006), both of which were first performed in co-productions by Out of Joint theatre company and the Royal Court Theatre. O Go My Man was a co-winner of the Susan Smith Blackburn award in 2006.
Sonia Anne Primrose Friedman is a British West End and Broadway theatre producer. On 27 January 2017 Friedman was named Producer of the Year for the third year running at The Stage Awards, becoming the first person to win the award three times. In 2018, Friedman was featured in TIME100, Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2018 and was named Broadway Briefing's Show Person of the Year. In 2019, Sonia Friedman Productions ranked The Stage's most influential theatre producer in The Stage 100 2019.
Nick Stafford is a British playwright and writer. He is best known for writing the stage adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's novel War Horse, which garnered him a Laurence Olivier Award nomination for Best New Play in 2008, and the Tony Award for Best Play in 2011.