In 2015, Fionn Whitehead was an aspiring actor working in a London coffee shop waiting for his big break. Then he was cast as the lead in Christopher Nolan’s WW2 blockbuster Dunkirk, released in early 2017, and he hasn’t looked back since.
The film leads then came in thick and fast; in the Emmy Award winning sci-fi Bandersnatch, Richard Eyre’s The Children Act opposite Emma Thompson and Stanley Tucci and then Port Authority exec produced by Martin Scorsese which premiered at Cannes. You can currently watch him in thriller Don’t Tell A Soul, and later this year, Fionn can be seen in new comedy drama The Duke opposite Helen Mirren and Jim Broadbent, and Neil Burger’s Voyagers with Colin Farrell, Tye Sheridan and Lily-Rose Depp.
Quite a CV for the 23 year-old Brit.
In short, Fionn Whitehead is the name on everyone’s lips, so it’s a massive coup for the Oxford Playhouse and their co-producers to nab him for the lead in their new digital production of The Picture Of Dorian Gray in March.
The brand-new adaptation brings Oscar Wilde’s Faustian tale kicking and screaming into a world of Instagram, Facebook and dating apps, and is set in a profile pic-obsessed, filter-fixated world where online and reality blur.
Influencer Dorian Gray makes a deal to ensure his social star never fades and the perfect self he broadcasts to the world remains. But as his mental health starts to decline, and corruption and murderous depravity start to creep into his world, the true and horrific cost of his deal will soon need to be met.
The production reunites the creative team behind the internationally acclaimed What a Carve Up! with Henry Filloux-Bennett writing the new adaptation and Tamara Harvey as director, so expect theatrical form pushed to the limit.
So what inspired them? Henry and Tamara said: “So many of us have found ourselves living in an ever more online world over the last year. But the benefits and the connections come with a darker side – deterioration in mental health, isolation, and online manipulation to name just a few. We really wanted to explore that.”
The digital play is a co-production with The Barn Theatre in Cirencester, Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield, New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich, Theatr Clwyd in Mold and Oxford Playhouse.
The Picture Of Dorian Gray runs from 16 – 31 March 2021. Tickets at www.oxfordplayhouse.com, priced £12.
The producers are also supporting fellow theatres across the country by announcing that the following theatres will be joining the production as partner venues: Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Arts At The Old Fire Station, artsdepot – North Finchley, Belgrade Theatre, Bristol Old Vic, Guildhall Arts Centre – Grantham, Hertford Theatre, Mercury Theatre, Octagon Theatre Bolton, Stamford Arts Centre, The Dukes, The Elgiva, The Lighthouse Theatre, The Lowry, The Torch, The Watermill Theatre, Theatre By The Lake, Theatre Royal Winchester and Watford Palace Theatre.