Brief Encounter

"A class return to romance"  Daily Telegraph

"Exquisite" ★ Ben Brantley, The New York Times

"Vibrantly theatrical and totally absorbing"  The New York Observer


Noel Coward's

Brief Encounter

Adapted and Directed by Emma Rice

Originally commissioned and produced by David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers and Cineworld


“I’m a happily married woman. Or rather I was until a few weeks ago. This is my whole world and it’s enough, or rather it was until a few weeks ago.”

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.

“That’s how it all began. Just by me getting a little piece of grit in my eye.”


Noel Coward’s “Brief Encounter” is remembered as one of the most haunting love stories ever. The award winning Kneehigh Theatre is one of the most loved and admired theatre companies in the country. Emma Rice - presides over the marriage of these two as director and adaptor.

With the characteristic wit and musicality of Kneehigh, the joy and heartache of this timeless story will be brought to the stage - “the company that has put the soul back into storytelling in the theatre” (The Guardian).

“I want to remember every minute. Always. Always to the end of my days.”


US Tour 2014

In 2014, we took Brief Encounter to two new venues in the US, The Wallis Annenberg Centre for the Performing Arts in Beverley Hills, LA, and the Washington Shakespeare in Washington DC. 



Kneehigh are a UK based theatre company with a local, national and international profile. For over 30 years we have created vigorous, popular and challenging theatre and perform with the joyful anarchy that audiences have come to expect from this ground-breaking company.

Kneehigh tell stories. Based in Cornwall in breath-taking barns on the south coast we create theatre of humanity on an epic and tiny scale. We work with an ever-changing ensemble of performers, artists, technicians, administrators, makers and musicians and are passionate about our multi-disciplined creative process.

In 2010 Kneehigh launched The Asylum, a beautiful and flexible nomadic structure, which means we now have a venue to call home as well as being one of the leading touring theatre companies in the UK. We have now presented four seasons in The Asylum in Cornwall, and will continue to reinvent the space and explore new locations in future years. The Asylum will return to Cornwall in 2015.

Alongside our national and international touring and Asylum seasons, we run the Kneehigh Rambles Programme - aiming to engage creatively with communities in Cornwall and beyond through event and adventure


Education Pack

Resources for teachers and students - download here


Kneehigh's Brief Encounter is adapted from Noël Coward’s play Still Life and his screenplay Brief Encounter. with additional verse and lyrics by Noël Coward. Originally produced by David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers and Cineworld. STILL LIFE © NC Aventales AG 1936. BRIEF ENCOUNTER © NC Aventales AG 1946. This version © NC Aventales AG 2007. Copyright agent:  Alan Brodie Representation Ltd;



Watch, Look and Listen

Related News

Brief Encounter Casting Announced

We've announced the eight cast members who will perform in the Australian tour of its Broadway/West End hit production of Noël Coward’s Brief Encounter from September 10, 2013.

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Aussie Theatre Review

"British poet Alfred Tennyson once wrote, “Tis better to have loved and lost, then never to have loved at all”. Noel Coward and Kneehigh bring that aphorism home with a tickle and a wallop."

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Herald Sun Review ****

"The aching, emotional truth and intimacy of Laura and Alec's dialogue are balanced by imaginative theatrical physicality and comic business that elicit cheers from the audience."

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The Barefoot Review

"When audiences ponder what the theatrical experience ought to be like, it is the stuff of Kneehigh's production of Brief Encounter they imagine."

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Performing Arts Hub Reivew

"Emma Rice’s production is fluid, creative and thoroughly entertaining from beginning to end. The set and production design are used to maximum effect and the musical undertones and interludes feel like a true cinematic score – never intrusive, unless required to be at the fore. Have your own encounter with it." Rating: 4 ½ stars out of 5

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InDaily Review

"This is a brilliant production by an outstanding theatre company... Just as an exciting but brief affair will be indelibly stamped upon an individual, so, too, will Kneehigh’s Brief Encounter."

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Glam Adelaide

"This is an extremely well thought out and executed production, which preserves and yet improves upon Coward’s original play, in a way that most of us could not imagine. I implore you if you like Coward’s text, love the thirties era or are just a fan of good theatre, go see this production!"

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Adelaide Theatre Guide

"This is a show not to be missed, made more so by the fact that Adelaide is its first port of call on a national tour. So you can brag to your interstate friends that you saw it first. Make sure you do."

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Director   Emma Rice
Associate Director   Simon Harvey
Original Music   Stu Barker
Designer   Neil Murray
Lighting Designer   Malcolm Rippeth
Projection and Film Designers   Jon Driscoll and Gemma Carrington
Sound Designer   Simon Baker
Associate Sound Designer   Andy Graham
Musical Director   Ian Ross
Producer   Paul Crewes
Cast in Australia   Damon Daunno, Annette McLaughlin, Kate Cheel, Michelle Nightingale, Jim Sturgeon & Joe Alessi
Musicians   Dave Brown & James Gow
Originally Produced by   David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers and Cineworld

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