THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG DISTANCE RUNNER to open at York Theatre Royal then National Tour

Pilot Theatre and York Theatre Royal 
present a new production of
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner
  York Theatre Royal Fri 14 Sept – Sat 29 Sept 
then National tour throughout Autumn 2012

Adapted by BAFTA winning and Olivier Award nominated playwright Roy Williams (Sucker Punch, Fallout, Sing Yer Heart Out For The Lads) and directed by Marcus Romer, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, is a searing text set in Britain’s Olympic year, 2012. It exposes the beating heart of a nation, still broken and still divided across class lines.

It will be move over Mo Farah, as the lead role of the long distance runner is to be played by actor Elliot Barnes-Worrell, himself a long distance runner. Elliot, who also practices thai kick boxing, ran 10km once a week as part of the London urban running collective Run Dem Crew. However since landing the part of Colin Smith he has stepped that up to four times a week - and on his own - in preparation for the role. Elliot said “My passion for running the streets was borne out of Run Dem Crew. It’s like a family and we aim to run hard, fast and strong but we leave no one behind. Then when I got the role of Colin I started running solo, just to get that loneliness feeling. It’s really helped my understanding of his character, of how he’s thinking all the time, reliving every detail of what has gone before.”

The gritty adaptation of Alan Sillitoe’s classic text hits the ground running as during the course of each performance Elliot will run an estimated 3,000 metres – the same distance as an Olympic steeplechase race - on a specially constructed 6 metre long treadmill.

A long distance race in real time. We follow one runner, alone with his thoughts, becoming part of his journey as his steady running rhythm transports him over a harsh, frost bitten earth. Colin is defiant. A young rebel inhabiting the no man’s land of detention centres and young offenders institutes.

Why, for whom and for what is he running?

Unlocking the biting realism of the original book while placing the drama firmly in a contemporary frame – London, 2012 - The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner is the first production that Pilot Theatre patron Roy Williams and Artistic Director Marcus Romer have worked together on since Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads. Marcus expressed his excitement about the forthcoming project:

“It’s fantastic to be working again with Roy Williams after our success with his tour of Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads. Roy and I have known each other for 20 years and have always been looking for the right projects to do together. Since we last worked on Sing [Yer Heart Out for the Lads] in 2005 we have been in regular contact about what we felt could follow this. After Sucker Punch at the Royal Court we talked about how we could build on this experience about actors and physical storytelling. Loneliness was the key choice and we are both delighted about this project.”

“...the production seems to have everything: pace, precision, power. The result is sensational.”
THE GUARDIAN (for Roy Williams/Pilot Theatre’s ‘Sing Yer Heart Out For The Lads’)

This play will have you gripped from the starter’s gun to the finish line.

To book your tickets call the York Theatre Royal website on 01904 623568 or visit

Elliot Barnes-Worrell as Colin Smith
Doreene Blackstock as Mum
Curtis Cole as Luke/Policeman
Dominic Gately as Stevens
Savannah Gordon-Liburd as Kenisha
Luke James as Gunthorpe
Jack McMullen as Jase
Alix Ross as Sandra/Guard
Sean Sagar as Asher/Policeman/Guard
Richard Pepple as Dad/Policeman/Trevor

Creative Team
Produced by Pilot Theatre and York Theatre Royal
Written by Alan Sillitoe
Adapted for the Stage by Roy Williams
Directed by Marcus Romer
Designed by Lydia Denno

Lighting Designed by Mark Beasley
Soundscape by Sandy Nuttgens
Staff Director - Tom Bellerby

Tour Dates
York Theatre Royal 14 - 29 Sep 2012
Birmingham Rep 2 - 6 Oct
Gala Theatre, Durham 9 - 13 Oct
New Wolsey, Ipswich 16 - 20 Oct
Nottingham Playhouse 23 - 27 Oct
Liverpool Playhouse 30 Oct - 3 Nov
The Brewhouse, Taunton 7 - 10 Nov
Winchester Theatre Royal 13 - 17 Nov
Lawrence Batley, Huddersfield 21 - 24 Nov