Following Paris, London and LA, now in SYDNEY – Stage Show Celebrating Vivien Leigh's 100th Year

Donald Macdonald's VIVIEN: Letter to Larry

Following international shows celebrating the 100th year of Vivien Leigh's birth, actress Susie Lindeman brings her highly acclaimed performance Vivien: Letter to Larry to Sydney for one special night at the Independent Theatre on Sunday February 23. 


The Independent Theatre, the only theatre left in Sydney that was frequented by Vivien, will also host an appearance and talk by Trader Faulkner – one of Vivien’s co-stars and friends who, as a young Sydney actor, was a protégée of Peter Finch – standing again on the stage where he was discovered by legendary British director Tyrone Guthrie.


Trader returns to Sydney for one week to promote his new book Inside Trader which chronicles his extraordinary private and professional life as an Australian actor who went to London and was cast by Gielgud to replace Richard Burton, through to working with the Oliviers, with delicious stories from his meeting with Picasso to being witness through the end of the Olivier’s marriage.


"It's a privilege to play Vivien,” says Lindeman. “Writer Donald Macdonald and I first met when we co-starred in the West End at the Wyndham’s Theatre where Vivien herself played. His exquisite script reveals her infinite facets, expressing a unique and still-shining spirit. Theatre was her life-long love – as was Larry.”


Excerpts from the play can be seen here.


In 1960, while starring in Duel Of Angels on Broadway, Leigh received a moving letter from Laurence Olivier asking for a divorce. Her response created a worldwide sensation, but another revelation now tips her towards the edge.


VIVIEN: Letter to Larry explores how Leigh – the woman who brought fire to the roles of Scarlett O'Hara, Cleopatra and Blanche Dubois – fought for his love and her life. Leigh's famous battle with bipolar disorder provides a roller-coaster backdrop for the secrets and surprises she reveals about her life with Olivier.


Of the production's acclaimed World Premiere season in Paris, Le Nouvel Observateur theatre critic Jean-Max Mejean extolled Lindeman's performance as "incarnated bewitchingly, almost as if by magic by an actress without match. Astounding." Reg’arts wrote, “an interpretation of genius. Lindeman literally fragments …The revelation of a magnificent actress. Susie IS Vivien.”


Trader said the show was, "quite extraordinary, knowing Vivien, to see Susie Lindeman so possessed by her. To see and hear Vivien coming from within … truly disturbing to be so transported by such a moving show."


In 2013, VIVIEN: Letter to Larry chimed with renewed interest in Leigh's life and work, spurred by the V&A’s recent, high profile acquisition of her unknown archive. Heralded by audiences from Steven Berkoff to Leslie Caron, and Laurence Olivier’s own son Tarquin, the show also reunited several of the actors who were on the 1961 Old Vic tour to Australia with Vivien, where the opening and final scene of the play is set. London's National Portrait Gallery is currently presenting an exhibition “Starring Vivien Leigh” where Susie Lindeman is invited to present this show in their Oodnatje Wing Theatre in April 2014.

Lindeman's West End credits include Sons of Cain (Wyndhams); The Admirable Crichton (Haymarket); with Rex Harrison (Vivien’s early co-stars) Prin (Lyric); and The Deep Blue Sea (Apollo). UK screen credits include: Merchant Ivory’s Oscar and BAFTA-winning Howards End, Maigret, opposite Michael Gambon, Let Them Eat Cake, with French and Saunders, and the award-winning Thames TV film Catherine.

Other credits include Palace Of Dreams, Robbery Under Arms, and Melba. Lillian’s Story, Razzle Dazzle, Six Characters In Search Of An Author, The Marriage of Figaro (STC) Happy As Larry and Viv, Madame Melville (Belvoir),The Marvellous Boy, Hammerklavier, 4.48 Psychosis (Stables Theatre) and Hilda (Bite, Seymour Centre).

Donald Macdonald is an award-winning writer and actor. His plays include the smash-hit comedy Caravan, Seasons and The Boulevard Play. A new play is currently being developed for the London stage. MacDonald directed the previews in London for The Jubilee.

Sunday, February 23 at 3pm

The Independent Theatre

Miller Street, North Sydney

Tickets $35- $45

Book Signing, Special star talk and Q&A included