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The Divide
Part 1

Alan Ayckbourn / The Old Vic / Annabel Bolton
8 - 20 August 2017
King's Theatre

World Premiere

The Divide is an extraordinary new work by one of the UK’s greatest storytellers, Alan Ayckbourn. Unfolding over two parts, The Divide is a tale for our own turbulent times that unflinchingly examines a dystopian society of brutal repression, forbidden love and seething insurrection.

A century from now England is hit by a deadly contagion. Society is decimated as contact between men and women becomes fatal. Under the dictates of an elusive Preacher, an unthinkable solution is enforced. Separated by the Divide, the adult survivors are segregated by gender with men wearing white as a mark of their purity and women – still infected – clothed in black as a sign of their sin.

Decades later, brother and sister Elihu and Soween are growing up learning the ways of their new, tightly controlled society. As they begin to glimpse the cracks in the system, Elihu falls for the daughter of two radical mothers, risking fatal disease and threatening to ignite a bloody revolution. The Divide is a searing vision of a future defined by brutal repression, forbidden love and seething insurrection.

Spread across two separate parts, The Divide is a hugely engaging and constantly surprising story of a society that segregates – but is still recognisable.

Alan Ayckbourn has produced 80 internationally acclaimed stage works including Absurd Person Singular, The Norman Conquests and A Chorus of Disapproval. His plays are regularly performed all over the world, and have been translated into more than 35 languages.

The Divide receives its premiere in a co-production between The Old Vic, London, Edinburgh International Festival and Karl Sydow, directed by Annabel Bolton, an associate director of The Old Vic.

[Ayckbourn] unfailingly explores themes that tap in to the Zeitgeist

The Telegraph

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70th Anniversary

The Old Vic performed at the first 1947 International Festival and regularly over the next decade.

  • Audio Described:
    19 Aug 2pm
  • Running time: 
    3hrs approx (one interval)
  • BSL interpreted:
    19 Aug 2pm
  • Captioned:
    20 Aug 2pm


King's Theatre

2 Leven St,

Funded by

Sir Ewan and Lady Brown
through the Edinburgh International
Festival Commissioning Fund

The Pirie Rankin Charitable Trust


  • British sign language
  • Audio described
  • Captioned performance
  • Share

    A co-production between The Old Vic, Edinburgh International Festival, and Karl Sydow

    Alan Ayckbourn Writer
    Annabel Bolton Director

    Cast includes Clare Burt, Jake Davies, Erin Doherty, Thusitha Jayasundera, Richard Katz, Sophie Melville, Joanne McGuinness, Clare Lawrence MoodyWeruche Opia, Martin Quinn, Letty Thomas, Finty Williams

    Laura Hopkins Designer
    Christopher Nightingale Composer
    David Plater Lighting designer
    Bobby Aitken Sound designer
    Ash J Woodward Video designer
    Jessica Ronane Casting director

    More information about some of the artists

    The Old Vic
    Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

    Alan Ayckbourn
    Website | Twitter

    Annabel Bolton

    The Divide | The Herald

    August 12th 2017

    a tenderness and a wit at play [make] things accessible without undermining the play's serious points ★★★★

    Read the full review here

    Review by: 

    Nial Cooper
    The Herald

    The Divide | The Scotsman

    August 14th 2017

    enthralling and absolutely beautiful ★★★★

    Read the full review here

    Review by: 

    Joyce MacMillan
    The Scotsman

    Photo: Manuel Harlan

    This event was part of a previous International Festival and is therefore unavailable to book.

    The 2018 International Festival will be available to browse online in the spring.


    Dress circle (preview): £26 £20 £10
    Stalls (preview): £26 £20 £16 £10
    Upper circle (preview): £16 £10
    Dress circle: £32 £28 £14
    Stalls: £32 £28 £14
    Upper circle: £24 £14

    Current discounts

    Students: 30% OFF
    Senior citizens: 30% OFF
    Unemployed: 30% OFF
    BECTU, Equity, MU: 30% OFF
    Under 18s: 50% OFF
    Young Scot cardholders: 50% OFF