The Promise

Aleksei Arbuzov, translated by Ariadne Nicolaeff, in a new version by Penelope Skinner

15 November 2012 - 08 December 2012

In war-ravaged Leningrad, 1942, three teenagers are thrown together by history. In the years following the siege allegiances shift, love falters and their vow of solidarity is stretched to its limits. Aleksei Arbuzov's classic play, in this new version by Penelope Skinner, is a heartrending portrayal of youthful hope forged in war and tested by time. Donmar Trafalgar season is generously supported by United House.

Run time: 2 hours and 10 minutes including an interval

Cast & Creative Team

  • Max Bennett - Read bio

    Max Bennett - Biography

    Max Bennett


    For the Donmar: Luise Miller.
    includes Relatively Speaking (Theatre Royal Bath/UK tour), Posh (Royal Court at Duke of York’s), In Basildon (Royal Court), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Headlong), Fabrication [Affabulazione] (The Print Room), Danton’s Death (NT), Mrs Warren’s Profession (Theatre Royal Bath/UK tour/Comedy), Measure for Measure  (Theatre Royal Plymouth/UK tour), Waste (Almeida), Romeo and Juliet (Theatre of Memory at Middle Temple Hall), Thyestes (BAC), Finisterre (Theatre503), The Herbal Bed (Salisbury Playhouse).
    Film: includes The Numbers Station, Anna Karenina, The Sweeney, The Duchess, 99 Francs.

  • Gwilym Lee - Read bio

    Gwilym Lee - Biography

    Gwilym Lee


    Trained: Guildhall School of Music and Drama
    For the Donmar: King Lear, Hamlet (also Elsinore/New York).
    Theatre: includes King James Bible Readings, Danton’s Death, Oedipus (NT), Othello (Sheffield Theatres), The Fairy Queen (l’Opéra-Comique/New York), About Tommy (Southwark Playhouse), Richard III (RSC).
    Film: includes The Tourist, Isle of Dogs.
    Television: includes Fresh Meat, Cloud Chamber, Monroe, Henry V, Land Girls, Doctors, Ashes to Ashes, Waterloo Road, Lewis, Mutual Friends, Animal Ark.

  • Joanna Vanderham - Read bio

    Joanna Vanderham - Biography

    Joanna Vanderham


    Trained: The Royal Welsh College
    includes What Maisie Knew.
    Television: includes The Paradise, Dancing on the Edge, Young James, Above Suspicion, The Runaway.


  • ‘A cracker...the three performances are riveting’

    Financial Times
  • ‘Director Alex Sims rises magnificently to the challenge of steering his actors through two decades’
  • 'Fresh and fascinating’

    The Times
  • ‘As a play about friendship and growing up, it’s one of the very best.’ 

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