Brief Encounter

by  Noël Coward, Emma Rice

Full Length Play, Drama  /  7m, 3f

A heart-wrenching, inventive new stage version of the timeless love story

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    7m, 3f
  • Duration


    90 minutes
  • SubGenre


    Adaptations (Stage & Screen)

Additional Info

Your heart dances. The world seems strange and new. You want to laugh and skip and fall forever… You are in love. You are in love with the wrong person. Laura, the respectable suburban wife, and Alec, the idealistic, married doctor, meet in a station buffet, fall passionately in love but are doomed never to find fulfilment.

Noel Coward's Brief Encounter is remembered as one of the most haunting love stories on screen ever. Drawing on the characteristic wit and musicality of Kneehigh, Emma Rice, former Joint Artistic Director of the Company, has adapted Coward's classic 1945 screenplay, and the one-act play Still Life on which it was based, into a richly theatrical, imaginative and vibrant piece of theatre. From an original idea by David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers, Kneehigh's production received its world premiere in 2008.

This edition is published to coincide with the production's run live at the Empire Cinema in London's West End for 2018, co-produced by Steve and Jenny Wiener and The Old Vic. With an updated foreword by Emma Rice.

Read more about why we love Brief Encounter on the Samuel French blog

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“A first-class return to romance” –  Charles Spencer, Telegraph


“A delicate, whimsical creation. Exquisite” –  Ben Brantley, New York Times


“Ms. Rice and her wonderful company have made it possible to embrace “Brief Encounter” once more with feeling...” –  Ben Brantley, New York Times


“...a witty and sympathetic homage to Coward's unforgettable portrayal of English reserve and romance.” –  Charles Spencer, Daily Telegraph


License details

  • Minimum Fee: £69 per performance plus VAT when applicable.

    This title is currently restricted. Please submit a license request to determine availability.
  • Mandatory Music/Media Fee: £18 per performance



  • Time Period: 1930s
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Setting: The action of this play takes place in England during the winter of 1938-39.
  • Additional Features: Play w/ Music
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes


7m, 3f

Laura Jesson

Alec Harvey

Usher/Fred Jesson/Albert Godby/Stephen Lynn

Usher/Beryl/Waitress/Hermione/Dolly Messiter




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Cast Attributes

  • Reduced casting (Doubling Possible)





Noël Coward

Sir Noël Peirce Coward (1899-1973) was an English playwright, composer, director, actor and singer, known for his wit, flamboyance, and what Time magazine called "a sense of personal style, a combination of cheek and chic, pose and poise." Born in Teddington, a suburb of London, Mr. Coward attended a dance academy in L ...

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Emma Rice

Emma Rice

David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers and Cineworld presented Kneehigh's production of Noel Coward's Brief Encounter, adapted by Emma Rice, at the Cinema Haymarket on 2nd February 2008.

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