Giving us further confidence that a sitcom, buddy action-comedy, and "found footage" series probably aren't too far behind, George R.R. Martin's "Game of Thrones" fantasy world is looking to the live stage to tell more of its tales. On Tuesday, THR reported that producers Simon Painter and Tim Lawson (The Illusionists) are working on a dramatic stage production in partnership with Kilburn Live, with a story from Martin, with award-winning playwright Duncan MacMillan (1984) and acclaimed director Dominic Cooke (The Courier) also attached. With 2023 in mind, the production is looking at New York City, London's West End, and Australia as debut locations. HBO is not involved with the project but does have the option to invest at a later date, with Painter, Lawson, Vince Gerardis, and Jonathan Sanford executive producing.
The still-untitled series will be set during The Great Tourney at Harrenhal, an event that took place only 16 years before the start of the HBO series. Based on the following official description, it sounds like some familiar characters could be taking the spotlight: "The play will for the first time take audiences deeper behind the scenes of a landmark event that previously was shrouded in mystery. Featuring many of the most iconic and well-known characters from the series, the production will boast a story centered around love, vengeance, madness, and the dangers of dealing in prophecy, in the process revealing secrets and lies that have only been hinted at until now."
"The seeds of war are often planted in times of peace,' Martin said in a statement. "Few in Westeros knew the carnage to come when highborn and smallfolk alike gathered at Harrenhal to watch the finest knights of the realm compete in a great tourney, during the Year of the False Spring. It is a tourney oft referred during HBO's Game of Thrones, and in my novels, A Song of Ice & Fire … and now, at last, we can tell the whole story… on the stage."
Martin continued, "An amazing team has been assembled to tell the tale, starting with producers Simon Painter, Tim Lawson, and Jonathan Sanford. Their knowledge and love of my world and characters has impressed me from the very first, and their plans for this production blew me away since the first time we met. Dominic Cooke, our director, is a former artistic director of London's Royal Court Theatre, who brought Shakespeare's dramas of the War of the Roses to television, and our playwright, Duncan Macmillan, has previously adapted George Orwell and Henrik Ibsen, among others. Working with them (back before the pandemic, when we could actually get together) has been a treat, and I am eager for our collaboration to resume. Our dream is to bring Westeros to Broadway, to the West End, to Australia… and eventually, to a stage near you … It ought to be spectacular.'
"I have such admiration for George's world and his characters," MacMillan said. "His generosity and trust during this process has been incredible. Working on this play during lockdown has felt like a real privilege. I can't wait until we can be back in a theatre to experience this together."
"I am over the moon at being given the opportunity, by the dynamic producing team of Tim Lawson, Simon Painter, and Kilburn Live, to bring a new installment of George RR Martin's epic story to a life on stage," Cooke said. "One of George's inspirations for the original books was Shakespeare's history plays so the material lends itself naturally to the theatre. Duncan MacMillan and I are having a great time digging into the dynastic power struggles at the heart of George's extraordinary imaginative world and he has been hugely generous and supportive towards both of us."