Brief Encounter


Brief Encounter

Full-Length Play, Drama  /  3w, 7m

Noël Coward, Emma Rice

Noël Coward’s Brief Encounter adapted for the stage by Emma Rice

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

Image: 2010 Roundabout Theatre Company Production (Joan Marcus)

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    3w, 7m
  • Duration
    90 minutes
  • SubGenre
    Adaptations (Stage & Screen)



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.

David Lean's iconic 1945 movie, Brief Encounter, was written by Noel Coward and was based on one of his one-act plays, Still Life, written a decade earlier. Emma Rice, Artistic Director of Kneehigh Theatre Company, has adapted this timeless tale of joy and heartache for the stage, interspersing the romantic action with nine Coward ditties.

Read more about why we love Brief Encounteron the Samuel French blog

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.

Laura Jesson

Alec Harvey

Usher/Fred Jesson/Albert Godby/Stephen Lynn

Usher/Beryl/Waitress/Hermione/Dolly Messiter




  • Time Period 1930s
  • Setting England during the winter of 1938-39.
  • Features Period Costumes
  • Additional Features Play w/ Music
  • Duration 90 minutes


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

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

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

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


  • Brief Encounter

    Image: 2010 Roundabout Theatre Company Production (Joan Marcus)

  • Brief Encounter

    Image: 2010 Roundabout Theatre Company Production (Joan Marcus)

Licensing & Materials

  • Minimum Fee: £70 per performance plus VAT when applicable.

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


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Noël Coward

Noël Peirce Coward was born in 1899 and made his professional stage debut as Prince Mussel in The Goldfish at the age of 12, leading to many child actor appearances over the next few years. His breakthrough in playwriting was the controversial The Vortex (1924), which feature ...

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Emma Rice


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