Leeds Playhouse and Ramps on the Moon have announced the full cast for their bold new version of Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist.
Directed by Leeds Playhouse’s Associate Director Amy Leach (The Night Before Christmas, Hamlet, Road, Romeo & Juliet) and adapted by award-winning playwright Bryony Lavery, it will starBrooklyn Melvin in the role of Oliver, aided and abetted by a gang of wily pickpockets led the Artful Dodger, played by Nadeem Islam, who’s best known for presenting the BBC’s See Hear series, and Caroline Parker MBE as Fagin (Our Country’s Good, Ramps on the Moon and Nottingham Playhouse UK Tour).
Nancy will be played by Clare-Louise English, making a swift return to Leeds Playhouse after appearing in Graeae/Theatre Royal Plymouth’s One Under commissioned by Ramps on the Moon in the Courtyard in November 2019, with Stephen Collinsstepping into the brutal boots of Bill Sikes (the spelling taken from Charles Dickens’ original text).
The cast will be completed by Katie Erich as Rose, Rebekah Hill as Luna, Georgia Jackson as Fingers, Steph Lacey as Mrs Thingummy, Jack Lord as Mr Brownlow, Craig Painting as Mr Sowerberry, Mitesh Soni as Charley Bates and Benjamin Wilson as Mr Bumble.
Director Amy Leach said: “Oliver Twist is a vivid, dark and visceral story and I am really excited to explore how adding artistic layers of creative sign language, audio description and captioning can enhance the storytelling for all audience members. I can’t wait to get started with the amazing OliverTwist company. I feel so lucky to get to create this production with such a wonderfully talented and versatile ensemble of D/deaf, disabled and non-disabled actors. I can’t wait to share Bryony’s very special adaptation with audiences around the country.”
Oliver Twist builds on the success of previous Ramps on the Moon productions including Our Country’s Good, The Who’s Tommy and The Government Inspector.
The creative team includes Designer Hayley Grindle, Lighting Designer Joe Fletcher, Sound Designer John Biddle, Composer Oliver Vibrans, Associate Director Hannah Quigley, Puppet Director Rachael Canning, Dramaturg Jenny Sealey, Projection Designer Akhila Krishnan, BSL Consultant Daryl Jackson, Audio Description Consultants Benjamin Wilson and Chloe Clarke, Lead BSL Interpreter Dave Wycherley, Creative Enabler Kirsty Pennycook, Creative Assistant Directors Nicole Joseph and Adam Bassett and Casting Director Kay Magson CDG.
This thrilling production will open at Leeds Playhouse in February ahead of visiting Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Nottingham Playhouse, Sheffield Theatres, New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich and Theatre Royal Stratford East, who are all part of the Ramps on the Moon consortium alongside Graeae, the UK’s leading disabled-led theatre company.
Every performance of Oliver Twist will feature integrated creative sign language, audio description and captioning. The production plays in Leeds Playhouse’s Quarry Theatre from 28 February – 21 March 2020 ahead of a UK tour.
Fri 28 Feb – Sat 21 March 2020.
Box office 0113 213 7700. Book online: leedsplayhouse.org.uk
Full tour information
28 Feb – 21 March 2020
For Leeds Playhouse Oliver Twist is sponsored by Access Partner, Irwin Mitchell.
25 March – 4 April 2020
16 – 25 April 2020
29 April – 9 May 2020
13 – 23 May 2020
28 May – 6 June 2020
Writer Bryony Lavery was born in Wakefield and is one of the UK’s most well respected and prolific playwrights. She is best known for her award-winning play Frozen which recently played in the West End featuring Suranne Jones. Bryony’s adaptation of A Christmas Carol played at Leeds Playhouse in 2010. She has had a long and varied career, including writing plays for the National Theatre and Frantic Assembly.
Amy is committed to placing accessibility and inclusion at the centre of her work. During the Pop-Up Season, her production of Road included integrated live audio description, her production ofHamlet was the first Leeds Playhouse production to trial the National Theatre’s groundbreaking caption glasses, and she was instrumental in forming the Playhouse’s partnership with Mind the Gap’s Staging Change initiative which encourages professional opportunities for learning disabled actors and creatives. In autumn 2019, Amy directedThere Are No Beginnings by Yorkshire writerCharley Miles, the first production in Leeds Playhouse’s new studio theatre the Bramall Rock Void. This production featured creative audio description at every performance. For Christmas 2019, Amy directed The Night Before Christmaswith every performance D/deaf friendly using integrated creative sign language.
The Playhouse makes work that is pioneering and relevant, seeking out the best companies and artists to create inspirational theatre in the heart of Yorkshire. From large scale spectacles to intimate performances, the Playhouse develops and makes work for the stage, found spaces, tours, schools and community venues.
A dedicated collaborator, Leeds Playhouse works with distinctive, original voices from across the UK. Its Artistic Development programme, Furnace, discovers, nurtures and supports new voices, while developing work with established practitioners. It provides a creative space for writers, directors, companies and individual theatre-makers to refine their practice at all stages of their career.
The Playhouse’s sector-leading Creative Engagement team works with more than 12,000 people aged 0–95 every year. It runs a range of weekly workshops and exciting creative projects using theatre to reach out to refugee communities, young people, students, older people and people with learning disabilities.
Leeds Playhouse now has a building to match its wide-ranging, far-reaching ambitions. As a result of a £15.8m transformation in 2019, it now offers improved access to and around the theatre, a city-facing entrance and a new studio space, the Bramall Rock Void.