AN AWARD-winning actor best known for the roles of Ben Mitchell in EastEnders and Justin Fitzgerald in Waterloo Road will star in an upcoming production at Salisbury Playhouse. 

Max Bowden, will star as Jack Firebrace in Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks’s epic story of love and loss, when it returns to the stage in a brand-new production for 2024, marking the 30th anniversary of the international best-selling novel.

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.

Salisbury Journal: Birdsong artwork

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.”

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.

Salisbury Journal: Salisbury PlayhouseSalisbury Playhouse

Presented by Original Theatre & JAS Theatricals in association with Birdsong Productions & Wiltshire Creative, Birdsong will tour to Salisbury Playhouse from September 4-16. 

Birdsong, a mesmerising story of love and courage, is produced by the award-winning Original Theatre, who presented the smash hit productions of The Mirror Crack’d by Agatha Christie, Murder in the Dark, The Habit of Art and The Interview and Joshua Andrews and Stuart Galbraith of JAS Theatricals, whose current projects include Hadestown in the West End and a major UK tour of Cluedo 2.

The producers of Birdsong are working in partnership with the Royal British Legion, with associated fundraising details to be announced.

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