STORYHOUSE ANNOUNCES THE 14-STRONG CAST BRINGING DRAMA, JOY AND LAUGHTER TO GROSVENOR PARK THIS SUMMER
A full programme of unmissable open-air theatre returns to Grosvenor Park this summer – and today Storyhouse reveals the cast who will bring magic to the popular park amphitheatre.
The Grosvenor Park season runs from Friday, 1 July to Bank Holiday Monday, 29 August and tickets are now on sale.
This year’s three shows, running in repertory, are Shakespeare’s great story of star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet, a new adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic tale Little Women, and a return for the hugely popular children’s favourite Stig of the Dump which entranced young theatregoers and their adults when it was performed at Grosvenor Park in 2016.
Samuel Awoyo will play Romeo, Laurie Lawrence in Little Women and Teddy in Stig of the Dump. Stage credits include The Mirror and the Light (RSC/Playful Productions/Gielgud Theatre) and Double Trouble (Intermission Youth Theatre).
Joelle Brabban is Juliet, and also appears as Amy in Little Women and Lil in Stig of the Dump. The LIPA-trained actor’s previous work includes Terrible Thames (Birmingham Stage Company), Little Voice in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice and Rosie in My Mother Said I Never Should (Theatre by the Lake) and the National Theatre’s War Horse.
Meanwhile Nicola Blackman who returns to Chester after appearing as Sarah in The Suicide, plays the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet and Aunt March in Little Women. Other credits include The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Southwark Playhouse), The Lion King (Lyceum Theatre), Little Shop of Horrors (Comedy Theatre) and Animal Farm and Measure for Measure for the National Theatre.
Laura Goulden will act as an integrated BSL interpreter in Stig of the Dump. Laura is a director, performer, writer, producer and facilitator, and co-founder of Handprint Theatre. Her recent stage credits include Snail & The Whale (Tall Stories) and In The Willows (Metta Theatre).
Haylie Jones appears as Mercutio/the Apothecary, Meg March and Lou in Stig of the Dump. Her stage roles include A Brew, a Terrace and the 184 (Oldham Coliseum), Closer (Sharp Project) and Our Country’s Good (The Phoenix).
Lady Capulet, Mrs March and Grandma will be played by Alice Keedwell whose credits include Margaret Thatcher in Grandma Saves the Day (New Wolsey Theatre), Mrs Nordstrom in A Little Night Music (The Watermill Theatre) and Sophie in Fairytale of New York (Soho Theatre).
Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre trainee Molly Madigan appears as Peter in Romeo and Juliet and Beth in Little Women. Molly, who is also a singer-songwriter, trained at Chester’s North West End Acting School.
Robert Maskell is Montague/Friar Lawrence, Mr Lawrence/Father and Grandad in Stig of the Dump. His previous credits include White Witch (Bloomsbury Theatre), Fiddler on the Roof (The Playhouse/Menier Chocolate Factory), and Better off Dead and on television as Dr Flemming in Grantchester.
And Grosvenor Park trainee Samantha McIlwaine will play Sally and Anne in Little Women. She recently graduated from Birmingham University with a first in Drama and Theatre Studies, is a creative freelancer and theatre producer and a Storyhouse’s Young Company Production artist.
Oliver Nazareth Aston will take on the roles of Paris/Tybalt, Brooke in Little Women and Lenny in Stig of the Dump. He has previously appeared in Prince and the Pauper (Trinity Theatre) and Brief Encounter at The Watermill Theatre at Newbury.
Alex Nowak is Stig. His work includes Treasure Island (Derby Theatre), Europe (Leeds Playhouse), Tribes (Gate Theatre) and Our Country’s Good for Ramps on the Moon.
The roles of Benvolio, Mr Bhaer and Penny will be played by Eddy Payne. His credits include Macbeth and Great Expectations, both for Rotherhithe Playhouse, The Two Noble Kinsmen (Guildford Shakespeare Company) and Wondergirl (Pleasance Theatre).
And Jo March is played by Paislie Reid who will also appear as Friar John/the Prince in Romeo and Juliet and as Pip in Stig of the Dump. Her stage credits include The Seven Acts of Mercy for the RSC, Sugar (Open Clasp Theatre Company) and Lost Soul and Maggie May both for Liverpool’s Royal Court, while she is also community engagement associate for the award-winning 20 Stories High.
Mia Ward, meanwhile, will play Barney in Stig in the Dump. Her credits include Mathilda and the Orange Balloon (The DH Ensemble), short film Reverberations and TV series Up for It?
The 14-strong repertory company will work with a host of talented creatives to bring the three open-air shows to life within the Grosvenor Park auditorium.
Romeo and Juliet, opening on 1 July, will be directed by John Young, who led the popular Merry Wives of Windsor last year. This new staging of one of literature’s greatest love stories will be set in late 1950s Italy and will feature songs specially composed by Chester band, and musical directors, Me + Deboe.
Samuel Awoyo (Romeo) and Joelle Brabban (Juliet).
Annie-Lunnette Deakin-Foster is movement director and Kaitlin Howard is fight director.
Little Women is being brought to the stage in a new adaptation by Anne Odeke and with the action transported from Civil War America to Britain at the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914.
Little Women’s March Sisters: Paislie Reid (J0), Joelle Brabban (Amy), Molly Madigan (Beth), Haylie Jones (Meg).
The play, which opens on 8 July, will be directed by Natasha Rickman who returns after directing Antigone at Storyhouse last autumn.
Musical director is Zoe West, while Anne-Lunnette Deakin-Foster will act as choreographer on both Romeo and Juliet and Little Women.
And Stig of the Dump, opening on 22 July, is adapted by Jessica Swale and will be directed by Harry Jardine. Associate director is Chris Fonseca, Raffie Julien is movement director and BSL consultant, and Francis Tucker will be music director.
Mia Ward (Barney) and Alex Nowak (Stig).
Meanwhile Jessica Curtis returns to the park as designer of all three shows, and casting consultant is Kay Magson. Helen Redcliffe is the producer.
Along with the return of full-length performances, the Grosvenor Park ‘village’ will also return with the popular tepee bar, seating areas, games, wood fired pizzas and more.
And this year visitors will notice more of a festival feel with a host of extra events and activities being organised as part of the two-month park residency.
Tickets cost £30-£49. Children aged 12 and under go free when accompanied by a full paying adult.
For more details and to book head here.
Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre 2022 cast with some of the creative team.
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