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Preview: Birdsong at Newcastle Theatre Royal


There is nothing more than to love and be loved 


Newcastle Theatre Royal

Tuesday 21 – Saturday 25 January 2025

Award-winning actor Max Bowden, best known for the roles of Ben Mitchell in Eastenders and Justin Fitzgerald in Waterloo Road, will star as Jack Firebrace in Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks’ epic story of love and loss, when it returns to the Newcastle Theatre Royal stage. 

The critically acclaimed show, adapted by Rachel Wagstaff and directed by Alastair Whatley, tells the story of one man’s journey through an all-consuming love affair and into the horror of the First World War.

In pre-war France, a young Englishman, Stephen Wraysford, embarks on a passionate and dangerous affair with the beautiful Isabelle Azaire that turns their world upside down. As the war breaks out over the idyll of his former life, Stephen must lead his men through the carnage of the Battle of the Somme and through the sprawling tunnels that lie deep underground. Faced with the unprecedented horror of the war Stephen clings to the memory of Isabelle as his world explodes around him.


On taking on the lead role in a tour marking the 30th anniversary of the international best-selling novel, Max Bowden said: “I’m so excited to be collaborating with Original Theatre again on a project close to my heart. Birdsong highlights the tragedy of war, yet the beauty of humanity simultaneously through strong relationships under extreme circumstances, and I can’t wait to bring Jack Firebrace to life under their guidance.”


Alastair Whatley, Director of Birdsong and Artistic Director of Original Theatre, said “Max joined us to play the character of Tipper, a young soldier, in the 2016 tour of Birdsong and now the best part of a decade later returns to play the wonderful role of Jack Firebrace. I cannot wait to get back in the rehearsal room with Max to explore one of Sebastian’s most unforgettable characters.”

Photos: Michael Wharley


Birdsong plays Newcastle Theatre Royal Tuesday 21 – Saturday 25 January 2025. Tickets can be purchased at or from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 0191 232 7010.

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