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The Color Purple - first images released as T’Shan Williams announced to play Celie

Danielle Fiamanya as Nettie, T'Shan Williams as Celie and Joanna Francis as Shug Avery. Photo credit: Pamela Raith.

Casting news

The first images of Leicester’s Curve and Birmingham Hippodrome’s production of the Tony Award-winning Broadway production The Color Purple have been released, with T’Shan Williams set to take the role of Celie.

Williams’ previous credits include Heather Duke in Heathers The Musical (Theatre Royal, Haymarket/The Other Palace); Caroline, or Change (Hampstead Theatre) and Queen in The Life (Southwark Playhouse) for which she won the Off-West End award for Best Female in a Musical.

Image: Danielle Fiamanya as Nettie, T’Shan Williams as Celie and Joanna Francis as Shug Avery. Photo credit: Pamela Raith.

Previously Posted: Leicester’s Curve and Birmingham Hippodrome have announced full casting for their co-production of Oprah Winfrey’s hit Broadway musical, The Color Purple, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker.

The production, the first in the UK to be created outside London, will play at Curve, Leicester from June 28 to July 13 and at Birmingham Hippodrome from July 16 to July 20, 2019.

The Color Purple is an unforgettable story told over the course of 40 years, which follows courageous heroine Celie, as she journeys through joy, despair, anguish and hope in her own personal awakening to discover her unique voice in the world.

With a profoundly evocative score drawing inspiration from jazz, ragtime, gospel and blues, this moving family chronicle set in racially divided southern America, celebrates life, love and the strength to stand up for who you are and what you believe in.

Joanna Francis will play jazz singer and preacher’s daughter, Shug Avery. Most recently Francis played the role of Lois in Dusty (UK Tour). She returns to Curve following alternating the role of Deloris Van Cartier in Sister Act in 2016. Her other credits include Elsa in The Harder They Come (Theatre Royal Stratford East/The Barbican Theatre/Birmingham Hippodrome) and alternate Dionne in Hair (The Vaults).

Following his recent roles of The Dryer and The Bus in the critically acclaimed Caroline or Change (Chichester, Hampstead Theatre/West End), Ako Mitchell will play Celie’s abusive husband, Mister. His other theatre credits include Nicely-Nicely Johnson in Guys And Dolls (Manchester Royal Exchange), Eddie Mackrel in The Wild Party (The Other Place Theatre), Brooks in Grey Gardens (Southwark Playhouse), How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying (Royal Festival Hall), Mitch in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Donmar Warehouse), Eddie in Sister Act (London Palladium) and Mufasa in The Lion King (Lyceum Theatre).

They will be joined by Simon-Anthony Rhoden (Lola in Kinky Boots, Adelphi Theatre) as Mister’s son, Harpo and Karen Mavundukure (Effie White in Dream Girls, Savoy Theatre) as his wife, Sofia.

Celie’s sister, Nettie, will be played by recent graduate Danielle Fiamanya, and her father (Pa) by Delroy Brown (Marty Madison in Dream Girls, Savoy Theatre).

The cast also includes Geoff Aymer, Owen Chaponda, Perola Congo, KM Drew Boateng, Danielle Kassaraté, Anelisa Lamola, Rosemary Annabella Nkrumah, Jochebel Ohene MacCarthy, Landi Oshinowo and Jo Servi.

The show will be directed by Tinuke Craig, winner of the 2014 Genesis Future Directors Award. Craig’s recent credits include random/generations, a double bill of plays by Debbie Tucker Green at Chichester Festival Theatre and I Call my Brothers by Jonas Hassen Khemiri at the Gate Theatre.

The Color Purple will have set and costume design by Alex Lowde, musical supervision by Alex Parker, orchestrations by Martin Higgins, choreography by Mark Smith, lighting design by Joshua Pharo, sound design by Tom Marshall and hair and make-up design by Cynthia De La Rosa. Casting director is Kay Magson CDG.

For further information or to book tickets, visit or