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Before The Party - casting announced

Almeida Theatre

Casting news

CASTING has been announced for Rodney Ackland’s Before The Party, which runs at the Almeida Theatre from March 28 (previews from March 21) to May 11, 2013.

The line up includes Stella Gonet (as Blanche), Katherine Parkinson (Laura Skinner), Alex Price (David), Michelle Terry (Kathleen Skinner), Michael Thomas (Aubrey) and June Watson (Nanny).

They are joined by Polly Dartford, Anna Devlin and Emily Lane who will alternate the role of Susan Skinner.

The war is over and the Skinner family are trying to return to normal. If only the blasted Government weren’t such a nuisance about the rations and Cook could get some more of those delicious delicacies. With daughter Laura returned from Africa, widowed but not alone, they prepare for the latest social gathering.

Amidst the never-ending whirl of hats and dresses and below stairs skirmishes, Laura reveals a shocking secret that threatens to ruin more than one party on the climb to social success.

Stella Gonet was last seen on stage in Top Girls at Trafalgar Studios. Her other extensive theatre credits include Women, Power and Politics (Tricycle Theatre), Skylight, Racing Demon and Hamlet (National Theatre), Memory of Water (Vaudeville Theatre) and Three Sisters, Divine Gossip and The Revenger’s Tragedy (Royal Shakespeare Company).

Gonet won the RTS Best Actress Award for her role in the BBC drama Trip Trap. Further screen appearances include Father Brown, Lewis, Mo, Foyle’s War, House of Elliott and Where The Heart Is (TV); How I Live Now, Dirty Bomb and For Queen and Country (film).

Katherine Parkinson is best known on television for playing Jen in the Channel 4 series The IT Crowd, a role for which she won the British Comedy Best Actress Award. Her other television credits include The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff, Whites, Doc Martin, The Old Guys, The Great Outdoors, Psychoville and Sherlock. She has also appeared in films such as St Trinian’s II: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold, The Boat that Rocked, Easy Virtue and How to Lose Friends and Alienate People.

Parkinson has previously appeared at the Almeida Theatre in The Lightning Play. Her credits elsewhere include Pattie in Alan Ayckbourn’s Season’s Greetings (National Theatre), Lady Teazle in The School for Scandal (Barbican), Cock and The Seagull (Royal Court Theatre), Other Hand and Flush (Soho Theatre) and most recently, Ayckbourn’s Absent Friends (Harold Pinter Theatre).

Alex Price’s theatre credits include Electra (Gate Theatre), Bingo (Chichester Festival Theatre) and most recently, Beautiful Thing (Royal Exchange Theatre). On screen, he has appeared in Aphrodite Fry, Father Brown, Vera, Above Suspicion, Doctor Who, Merlin, Being Human and Lewis (TV); Storage 24, A Passionate Woman and A Horse With No Name (film).

Michelle Terry can currently be seen in In the Republic of Happiness at the Royal Court. Her previous theatre credits include A Comedy of Errors, All’s Well That Ends Well and London Assurance (National Theatre), Love’s Labour Lost (Shakespeare’s Globe), The Man Who Had All The Luck (Donmar Warehouse) and The Winter’s Tale and Pericles (Royal Shakespeare Company).

Terry’s television work includes The Cafe, Reunited, Law and Order and Extras.

Michael Thomas has previously appeared in the Almeida’s production of Waste and Festen. Elsewhere, his credits include As You Like It and The Tempest ( Bridge Project), All’s Well That End’s Well, St Joan and Pillars of the Community (National Theatre), King Lear and In Praise of Love (Chichester Festival Theatre), Women Beware Women and The Roman Actor (Royal Shakespeare Company).

Thomas’ television credits include Holby Blue, Trial and Retribution, Rosemary and Thyme and Wing and a Prayer.

June Watson can currently be seen on stage at the Vaudeville Theatre in Uncle Vanya. She has also appeared in Calendar Girls (touring production), Aristo (Chichester Festival Theatre), The Children’s Hour (Royal Exchange Theatre), Kosher Harry (Royal Court Theatre), Blue Hart and Our Lady of Sligo (Out of Joint) and The Good Hope, Cardiff East and Billy Liar (National Theatre).

Watson’s screen credits include The Cafe, Wallander, Hancock and Joan, William and Mary and New Tricks (TV); Wreckers, Ghost Hunter and The Knowledge (film).

Polly Dartford’s theatre credits include Oedipus Rex (National Theatre) and Shadowmaster and A Christmas Carol (King’s Head Theatre). Her television work includes Casualty and Primeval. She will soon be seen in the film Effie.

Anna Devlin has been a member of the Young Actors Theatre for just over a year and Before the Party will be her theatrical debut. Earlier this year, she took part in the 2012 Olympic Games Closing Ceremony.

Emily Lane attends the Sylvia Young Theatre School in London. She has previously appeared on stage as Marta in The Sound of Music (London Palladium) and Cosette in Les Miserables (Queen’s Theatre).

Before the Party is directed by Matthew Dunster.

Read more about Before the Party.

The Turn of the Screw runs at the Almeida Theatre from January 24 (previews from January 18) to March 16, 2013.