On a farm in the North East of England a family gathers. Five brothers and four generations feature in an epic play about hope, love, fear and the very end of time. A Thousand Stars Explode in the Sky is a refreshingly subtle and compassionate vision of the world on the edge of apocalypse. Within a cosmological context, the focus is on a single family, their relations with each other and their unreconciled regrets, soon to become permanent. With an ensemble of strong, engaging characters, there are knotty, realistic family dynamics and a palimpsest of recent family history. The characters and dialogue are naturalistic but the serious themes are elucidated and alleviated with humour and quirky, surreal touches. The play represents a unique collboration between three of the UK's pre-eminent stage writers. The ambition of the partnership is matched by the ambition of the play's sweeping scope. Whilst the three voices collide, they also ring out individually without sacrificing the piece's coherent wholeness, and the play represents a rare, fascinating study in stage collaboration.
Simon Stephens has been the recipient of both the Pearson Award for Best New Play 2001-2 for his play Port, and the Olivier Award for Best New Play 2005 for On the Shore of the Wide World. His recent plays include Harper Regan (National Theatre) and Punk Rock (Lyric Hammersmith/Royal Exchange, Manchester). David Eldridge was awarded the Time Out Live Award for Best New Play in the West End in 2001 for Under the Blue Sky (Royal Court). His plays include Serving it Up (Bush 1996), Summer Begins (Donmar Warehouse 1997), Festen (Almeida and Lyric Theatre 2004), and M.A.D. (Bush 2004). Robert Holman's plays include Making Noise Quietly, Bad Weather and Holes in the Skin. He has worked as resident dramatist at the National Theatre and RSC.