When Don Revie took over this club, Leeds were a rugby league town. No interest in football. Gates under 10,000. We'd never won a thing. He built one of the great clubs of English football, one of the great teams of English football, from scratch on barren ground from nothing more than spirit and fight and nous, which are the exact same qualities you used at Derby. And out of jealousy, you never tried to understand that. Never tried to make the most of that. Sad.
1974. Brian Clough, the enfant terrible of British football, tries to redeem his managerial career and reputation by winning the European Cup with his new team, Leeds United. The team he has openly despised for years, the team he hates and that hates him. Don Revie's Leeds.
A West Yorkshire Playhouse and Red Ladder Theatre Company co-production, adapted from David Peace's ingenious and much-lauded novel, which was subsequently made into a film starring Michael Sheen, The Damned United takes you inside the tortured mind of a genius slamming up against his limits, and brings to life the beauty and brutality of football, the working man's ballet.
Anders Lustgarten's stage adaptation of David Peace's novel received its world premiere at the West Yorkshire Playhouse on 3 March 2016.
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Anders Lustgarten is Pearson Playwright-in-Residence at the Finborough Theatre, where his first two plays, The Insurgents (2007) and Enduring Freedom (2008), were produced. Other work includes The Punishment Stories, (shortlisted for the 2007 Verity Bargate Award), an adaptation of Slawomir Mrozek's The Police (BAC 2007), The Sugar-Coated Bullets of the Bourgeoisie (2010) for the National Theatre Studio and If You Don't Let Us Dream Then We Won't Let You Sleep (Royal Court, 2013). Anders is a political activist, has taught on Death Row, been arrested by the Turkish secret police, and holds a PhD in Chinese politics from the University of California. He also won the inaugural Harold Pinter Playwrights Award with a commission from the Royal Court in 2011.
David Peace grew up in Ossett, near Wakefield, and writes novels based on real-life events. In 2003, he was named one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists, and his novel about the 1984 coal miner's strike, GB84 (2004), won the 2005 James Tait Black Memorial Prize. His other works include Red Riding Quartet (1999-2002), a series of four novels about the Yorkshire Ripper; The Damned Utd (2006), which was adapted into a film starring Michael Sheen; Tokyo Year Zero (2007) and Occupied City (2009), the first two books of a trilogy set in Tokyo during the aftermath of the Second World War; and Red or Dead (2013), following Bill Shankly's time as manager of Liverpool FC. He currently lives in Japan with his family.
In his novel, Peace has created a character who seems infinitely more human and "real" than those who appear in any number of non-fiction books - it is quite an achievemen * Scotsman on the original novel of 'The Damned United' * Lustgarten's script captures the complexity of Clough as a flawed hero - there is self-belief verging on arrogance but also passionate vision and the thin-skinned vulnerability of a player whose promising career on the field ended prematurely * Yorkshire Post * Anders Lustgarten's compellingly strange, thoroughly theatrical adaptation makes Clough a kind of tragic antihero, a Richard III of the dugout, impelled to ruinous overreach by the same instincts that take him to triumph. * The Times * Peace's unique vision is well translated to the stage. * Exeunt *
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