by Bertolt BrechtBuy Tickets

The Caucasian Chalk Circle

By Bertolt Brecht
Translated by Alistair Beaton
Directed by Lyceum Artistic Director Mark Thomson

“Terrible is the seductive power of goodness”

Revolution – a city turned upside down. The mighty tumble, the weak break their fall and everyone must take care.  As she picks a path through the chaos, a young servant girl must make a choice: save her own skin or sacrifice everything to rescue an abandoned child with a price on his head. 

The Caucasian Chalk Circle is one of the greatest plays of the last Century, crafted by a grand master of storytelling at the height of his powers and peopled with a wild array of vivid and amusing characters. Written in the wake of the Second World War. This timeless parable continues to ask urgent questions about justice, and how to do right when the world goes wrong.

The full epic sweep and scale of this powerful drama is brought to life by a large cast of actor musicians. Rich in music and song this production gives full voice to Brecht’s powerful tale of the terrible temptation to do good.

Alistair Beaton is a Scottish writer, whose plays include Feelgood, King of Hearts and Follow My Leader. For television, he wrote the award-winning A Very Social Secretary and the Channel 4 film The Trial of Tony Blair.

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Cast and Credits


  • Deborah Arnott
  • Adam Bennett
  • Andrew Bridgmont
  • Shirley Darroch
  • Eamonn O'Dwyer
  • Christopher Fairbank, Azdak
  • Karen Fishwick
  • Liam Gerrard
  • John Kielty
  • Buchan Lennon
  • Amy Manson, Grusha
  • Sarah Swire
  • Jon Trenchard


  • Mark Thomson, Director
  • Karen Tennant, Designer
  • Simon Wilkinson, Lighting Designer
  • Claire McKenzie, Composer & Music

Dates, Times & Prices

18 February – 14 March 2015

18, 19 and 20 February, 7.30pm
All Preview tickets £10 and on sale now!

EVENINGS, 7.30pm
Tuesday - Saturday

Wednesdays and Saturdays
Excluding Saturday 21 February 2015

Runtime: Approximately 2hrs 40 minutes including a 20 minute interval.


Individual Tickets
EVENINGS, 7.30pm
Tuesday - Saturday: £15 - £29*
Wednesday and Saturday: £12.50 - £24*

From £10*

*A £1 transaction fee applies to all bookings.



  • Thursday 5 March - 7.30pm
  • Touch Tour - 6.15pm
  • Saturday 7 March - 2pm
  • Touch Tour - 12.45pm


  • Wednesday 11 March - 7.30pm


  • Saturday 14 March - 2pm

Read The Lyceum's Access Statement: click here

Take Part

Come and join our experts in a discussion of the wider themes, the writer and the play's historical context.

  • Wednesday 25 February | 10.30am - 12noon
  • Wyndham Bar
  • Tickets: £6 per event, includes complimentary coffee and tea

Join us in the Stalls of the auditorium post-show to meet the cast and driector for a discussion about the performance

  • Tuesday 3 March

Prior to the Friday 13 performance of The Caucasian Chalk Circle LYT present:

WANT, devised by the company,
directed by Christie O'Carroll

Want (verb) c.1200 'to be lacking' from Old Norse 'vanta'. Want (noun) c.1200 'deficiency, insufficiency, shortage' from Old Norse 'vant'. We are lacking less but are left always wanting more. What do we really want and how do we get it?

  • Friday 13 March, 6pm
  • Tickets: £5 / £3 LYT Members
  • Book in person at the Box Office or by phone, 0131 248 4848

Press Coverage

Click the reviews for full article.

"...everyone with a heartbeat should strive to see it, or be poorer for missing it."
Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman 

" true Brechtian style the fourth wall is well and truly smashed with musicians playing from the theatre's boxes and actors marauding across the front of the stalls."
Irene Brown, Edinburgh Guide

"Moving moments keep tension building to the end"
Allan Radcliffe, The Times

"...a bold, brash extravaganza...This tremendous bare-walls production blends large-scale ensemble playing, all-hands-on-deck music and fluid staging."
Mark Fisher, The Guardian

this Chalk Circle is another triumph for the Lyceum, and proof positive that Brecht still has much to offer to the 21st-century theatre."
Mark Brown, The Telegraph

"...Swire leads the cast with a mix of punk-folk fury, country laments and out-and-out swing in an all too necessary display of strength through joy."
Neil Cooper, The Herald 

"Strong and vibrant take on Brecht that bristles with righteous energy"
Thom Dibdin, The Stage

"Endlessly inventive, expertly acted and wonderfully bonkers...a truly exceptional evening."
Alex Eades, The List

"Anyone who believes that Brecht is somehow dry or overly preachy should see this audaciously noisy, headlong romp that engages the heart at least as much as the brain"
Hugh Simpson, All Edinburgh Theatre

"...visually stunning with theatrical flourishes throughout a very quick 160 minute running time"
Michael Cox, Across the Arts 

"...contentious and compelling production."
Alan Brown, Edinburgh 49

"A joy... a brilliant, challenging, play, brilliantly, and challengingly, played. One to see for sure. "
Katie Craig, Mumble Theatre

"It fizzes with hectic energy"
Lee Randall, Edinburgh Evening News

Click on the quotes for full articles

"Brecht’s theatre is anything but dry – it’s a celebration of everything theatrical and alongside the fairground rollercoaster of his story you know that it means something.” Mark Thomson, Edinburgh Evening News

"[Amy Manson] who is more used to stunt work than singing, says her next role is her biggest challenge yet." Amy Manson (Grusha) in Sunday Mail

"Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle is revived by Mark Thomson at the Lyceum in Edinburgh" Lyn Gardner, 'Plan your week’s theatre' in The Guardian

"It has the boldness of a parable in the truths it identifies but has a wonderfully complex political and human understanding that is celebrated by vivid, musical, comedic and emotional theatre." Mark Thomson, The Vile Blog 


Rehearsal photos:

Production photos: