PRESS CONTACT: Peggy Kearns Dean

t: 571.216.5136  |  e: 

Scena Theatre presents PLAYING BURTON, the acclaimed one-man drama on the tumultuous life of legendary actor, Richard Burton. Featuring acclaimed actor Brian Mallon in the title role.

Washington, DC, November 10, 2022 — The Directors of Scena Theatre are thrilled to continue their 34th Season in DC with PLAYING BURTON, written & directed by Mark Jenkins (UK) and the title role is being reprise by acclaimed actor Brian Mallon (film work: Gettysburg, Gangs of New York, and Gods and Generals). Mallon's PLAYING BURTON has garnered numerous accolades and praise for his intense, authentic portrayal of Burton’s accent, mannerisms and inner turmoil. 

Press Night is Saturday, December 3, 2022 at 7:30 pm, at the ATLAS Performing Arts Center, Lab II, located at 1333 H Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Press Members: please RSVP to to reserve your seat, or request an alternate performance date, if needed. 

Written by Mark Jenkins, of Welsh descent, PLAYING BURTON is a fascinating, one-man play about the international star of stage and screen, Richard Burton. it offers a penetrating look at the notorious actor’s life—from growing up in an impoverished mining community in South Wales to becoming one of the greatest performers of his generation. PLAYING BURTON follows his passionate, though tempestuous, love affair with Elizabeth Taylor and his tragic, yet very public, battle with alcoholism. Ultimately, it is a soulful exploration of fame, ambition, and identity told from the perspective of the megastar who experienced it all.

PLAYING BURTON opened in 1994 to huge acclaim at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. It returned to the Edinburgh Fringe in 1997 and broke all previous box office records. That production went on to play in London, Budapest, Jerusalem, Sydney and Hong Kong. The play has run continuously worldwide ever since. It has been translated and performed in four languages and has been adapted for the screen. The film, Playing Burton, produced by Spinning Head Films, received the Best Film Award by BAFTA Cymru in 2014. 

Acclaimed actor Brian Mallon, of Irish descent, reprises the role of Richard Burton. In the fall of 2005, Mallon performed PLAYING BURTON at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe garnering great accolades. He has also played the role in New York, Los Angeles, Edinburgh and Cardiff. Beyond his talent, Mallon's fluency in Welsh provides another convincing asset, as Welsh was Burton's first language. Mallon previously performed in Edinburgh, Dublin, and Cardiff with his award winning, one-man-show “Secrets of the Celtic Heart” (Welsh poetry from the druids to Dylan Thomas—including his own translations from Welsh) directed by Oscar winner Ellen Burstyn. 


“Pure acting prowess...Mallon captures Burton”  Backstage, New York

“Magnificent…an absolute must-see”  S. Wales Argus 

“Haunting, mesmerising...Deliriously literate...shattering.”  —London Daily Mail 

Mallon also previously performed with Scena Theatre in three successful Irish productions: Conor McPherson’s The Weir (2011), The Seafarer (2012) and The Night Alive (2017). Moviegoers often know Mallon for his memorable portrayal of Union Army General Winfield Scott Hancock in Ronald F. Maxwell's two Civil War films, Gods and Generals and Gettysburg.

Scena has a rich history of staging international dramas with both local and global talent. In past productions, director Robert McNamara has flown in actors from around the globe to perform in roles that require an authentic accent or characterization. A few others include Ireland’s Barry McEvoy (Public Enemy and The Weir and The Night Alive), Scotland’s Gordon Fulton (The Weir). “PLAYING BURTON is a powerful play that every generation should see. It is the tale of rags to riches—and the turmoil that often comes with fame. Brian Mallon’s performance is poignant and impactful. And, patrons will remember it long after leaving the theatre.” 

Performances:  Dec. 1 – 18, 2022 (Thurs. - Sat. at 7:30 pm and Sun. at 2:30 pm)

Full Schedule:

PREVIEW:  Wednesday, November 30, 7:30 pm

PRESS NIGHT:  Saturday December 3, 7:30 pm


Thursday December 1, 7:30 pm — Patron Opening Night

Friday December 2, 7:30 pm

Saturday December 3, 7:30 pm

Sunday December 4, 2:30 pm

Wednesday December 7 - 7:30 pm

Thursday December 8 - 7:30 pm

Friday December 9 - 7:30 pm

Saturday December 10 - 7:30 pm

Sunday December 11 - 2:30 pm

Wednesday December 14, 7:30 pm

Thursday December 15 - 7:30 pm

Friday December 16 - 7:30 pm

Saturday December 17 - 7:30 pm

Sunday December 18 - 2:30 pm — Talkback 



Prices:  Adults $25 (Thurs. & Sun.) and $35 (Fri. & Sat.)

Venue:  ATLAS Performing Arts Center
1333 H St. NE, Washington, DC 20002 { LAB II } | Phone: 571-216-5136

Photos: — Click on Press, on Left Sidebar

Cast:  Brian Mallon as Richard Burton


Robert McNamara (Director), Carl Gudenius (Set Designer), Tom Pile (Video/Original Music), Tom Pile (Sound Design), Alisa Mandel (Costume Designer), Michael C. Stepowany (Lighting Designer), Anne Nottage (Assistant Director), Anne Nottage and Lynnita Jones (Stage Managers), Laura Schlachtmeyer (SM Consultant) and Gabriele Jakobi (Dramaturg & Resident Director).

Brian Mallon (Lead) is an American film and theater actor of Irish descent. He speaks Irish, Welsh and English. A native of Detroit, Mallon is an accomplished stage and film actor, having performed on both sides of the Atlantic. He won acclaim for his one-man show, Secrets of the Celtic Heart, directed by fellow Detroiter Ellen Burstyn, which he performed in Britain and Ireland in the early 1990s. He served as the director of New York City's Irish Arts Center and starred in Brian Friel's plays, Philadelphia Here I Come! and Freedom of the City. In the fall of 2005, he finished performing in Mark Jenkins' play, PLAYING BURTON at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe—having played this role in New York, Los Angeles, Edinburgh and Cardiff. Mallon performed with Scena Theatre in three successful productions: Conor McPherson’s The Weir (2011), The Seafarer (2012) and The Night Alive (2017). He has also made several major film appearances. Brian portrayed Union Army General Winfield Scott Hancock in Ronald F. Maxwell's two Civil War films, Gods and Generals and Gettysburg. Other film roles include Some Mother's SonThe Informant and Gangs of New York.

Mark Jenkins (Writer & Director) was born in North London to Welsh/Irish parents. He has worked as a musician, soldier, journalist and lecturer in economics. He became a full-time writer in 1996. His first feature film, The Scarlet Tunic, adapted from a Thomas Hardy short story, premiered at Cannes and the Odeon, Leicester Square, London in 1998 and he has subsequently written another six feature screenplays including Peerless, the biopic of Cardiff boxer, Jim Driscoll. His plays include Birthmarks (1986), which won the Drama Association of Wales competition, the prize-winning PLAYING BURTON (1991), Strindberg Knew My Father (1992), Mr Owen’s Millennium (1995), Downtown Paradise (1996), Nora’s Bloke (2003) and Rosebud (2004), which won the Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and was described by Norman Mailer as "virtuoso writing, lyrical and rich." Playing Burton opened to two sell out seasons at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and has run continuously worldwide since. It has been translated and performed in four languages and been adapted for the screen. The film, Playing Burton, produced by Spinning Head Films, received the Best Film Award by BAFTA Cymru in 2014. He resides in Cardiff.

SCENA Theatre brings the best international theatre to Washington, DC and stimulates cultural exchange between theatre artists, locally and worldwide. Founded in 1987 under the leadership of Artistic Director Robert McNamara and Managing Director Amy Schmidt, SCENA produces an annual season of plays, seasonally staged readings, as well as a Workshop Series aimed at developing new works from around the globe. To learn more about our mission or past stage productions, please Click on the “About” link on the left menu.