A WRITER and actor is set to return to the Theatre Royal in Winchester with a performance of his new physical theatre show The Russian Doctor.

The piece takes inspiration from Anton Chekhov’s little-known work of non-fiction, Sakhalin Island, and his death-defying journey across Siberia.

Through highly visual and sensory storytelling set to an original score by Jonny Pilcher, video projections by leading designers 59 Productions and a set designed by Vicki Mortimer the play explores the alchemy ignited by the scientist’s powers of close observation and the writer’s instinctive vision.

Anton Chekhov is the second most performed playwright in the world after Shakespeare and in 1890 he journeyed alone for three months across 5,000 miles of Siberian wilderness.

His destination was the remote Tsarist penal colony of Sakhalin Island. His aim was to document and write an extensive exposé on the harrowing living conditions of the 10,000 exiles and convicts incarcerated there.

Winchester audiences will be able to get a glimpse of the show at the dress rehearsal on March 27 at the theatre when it is opened to the public. All the technical elements of a new theatre piece will be on show here and tickets cost just £5.

Project collaborators include the world’s leading authority on Chekhov, Donald Rayfield, Neuroscientist Jonathan Cole and Marius Turda, Reader in Eastern European Medical History at Oxford Brookes University.

The project is the recipient of a Large Arts grant award from Wellcome Trust and is supported by Theatre Royal Winchester, Winchester University, Bristol Old Vic and Birmingham Rep.

For more information call the box office on 01962 840440 or email boxoffice@theatreroyalwinchester.co.uk. Further details can be found at theatreroyalwinchester.co.uk/the-russian-doctor/.

The main performance will be shown on March 28 from 7.30pm and tickets cost £17. A discount is available for students, pensioners, under 16s and the unemployed.

There will also be a question and answer session with Mr Dawson after the show.