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National Youth Theatre announces full casting for its 2019 Autumn REP Season of three plays

2019 REP Company. Photo credit: Helen Murray.

Casting news

THE National Youth Theatre (NYT) has announced full casting for its 2019 REP Season which opens this month with the London premiere of Neil Bartlett’s adaptation of Great Expectations followed by an Artificial Intelligence-inspired and female-led production of Frankenstein both at Southwark Playhouse (October 18 to November 30).

A third production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream will run at the Criterion Theatre (December 6, 2019 to January 17, 2020) directed by Matt Harrison working in association with Kneehigh.

This year’s season will also see the NYT REP stage relaxed performances for the first time and features the most number of performances ever in its seven-year history.

The 2019 company of 16 actors, aged 18-25, includes newcomers Guy Clark, Ella Dacres, Natalie Dunne, Jordan Ford Silver, Jamie Foulkes, Alice Franziska, Billy Hinchliff, Jadie Hobson, Bede Hodgkinson, Tiwalade Ibirogba Olulode, Julia Kass, Sarah Lusack, Jemima Mayala, Joseph Payne, Sonny Poon Tip and Raj Singh.

NYT 2019 REP SEASON

Great Expectations – at Southwark Playhouse from October 18 to November 28. Relaxed performance: November 18.

The 2019 NYT REP season will open with the London premiere of Neil Bartlett’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations at Southwark Playhouse. Mumba Dodwell directs a bold new version of the classic tale through a fusion of music and ensemble storytelling.

This NYT production puts young people at the forefront of a Dickensian world in a coming of age tale about aspiration, love and class.

Neil Bartlett was appointed Artistic Director of the Lyric Hammersmith in London in 1994 and has since worked for the National, the Abbey in Dublin, Bristol Old Vic, Manchester Royal Exchange, Edinburgh International, Manchester International, Brighton, Aldeburgh and Holland Festivals, the Wellcome Foundation and Tate Britain. He is the author of Mr. Clive and Mr. Page, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel Award.

His published adaptations and translations for the theatre also include Molière’s The Misanthrope (Goodman, Chicago); The School for Wives (Derby Playhouse), Racine’s Bérénice (National Theatre) and Marivaux’s The Game of Love and Chance (National Theatre).

Mumba Dodwell comes from an acting background and has recently turned her attention to directing. She has recently directed Black Ice by Atlanta Green at Theatre503 and a rehearsed reading of Tales From The Garden by Ameera Conrad at the Tristan Bates Theatre.

Frankenstein – at Southwark Playhouse from October 25 to November 30. Relaxed performance: November 23.

The REP season continues at Southwark Playhouse in a gothic double-bill featuring an Artificial Intelligence-inspired production of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, adapted by Carl Miller and directed by Emily Gray, Artistic Director of Trestle Theatre. With themes of science and technology running throughout, Frankenstein will also see all 250 audience members given virtual reality headsets during the performance to experience the world through the eyes of the Monster.

The production features gender blind casting with the lead roles Victoria (Dr Frankenstein) and Shell (Frankenstein’s Monster) both to be played by women.

Carl Miller has been artistic director of the Royal Court Young People’s Theatre, an Associate Director of Birmingham Rep and Unicorn, and writer in Residence at the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds. He is also a member of Mercury Musical Developments’ Advanced Writers’ Lab. Previous writing credits for theatre include A Little Princess (The Other Palace), Emil and the Detective (National Theatre), The Three Musketeers (Unicorn Theatre) and an adaptation of Measure for Measure (RADA).

A Midsummer Night’s Dream – at the Criterion Theatre from December 6, 2019 to January 17, 2020.

Shakespeare’s most popular comedy is inventively and playfully directed by former National Theatre New Works Resident Director Matt Harrison working in association with Kneehigh and abridged by Kate Kennedy and will transport audiences to a seaside amusement park. The production also features gender blind casting including a female Bottom and male Helena.

Matt Harrison is a director, devisor and theatre maker and was the recipient of the NYT REP Bryan Forbes Directors Bursary in 2014. Direction includes NYT’s The Fall (Southwark Playhouse), Snowbird (Tristan Bates Theatre), Tales from the Bad Years (Landor Theatre), Futures (Lost Theatre), Please Wait Patiently (National Theatre Temporary Theatre) and The Pirates of Penzance (Tabard Theatre – Nominated for ‘Best Musical Production’ and ‘Best Ensemble’ in the 2013 Off West End Awards).

Assistant Director credits include Kneehigh award-winning The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk and the upcoming West End production of Lady Windermere’s Fan directed by Kathy Burke.

Kate Kennedy’s writing credits include Click and Scratch Me, I Bleed at the Ophelia Dalston. She has also written works for Monologue Slam UK at Stratford Theatre Royal and Nine Days They Fell for RADA. Her credits as a performer include Channel 4’s Catastrophe and Twelfth Night (Royal Exchange) for which she was nominated for best supporting actress at the Manchester Theatre Awards.

Great Expectations, Frankenstein and A Midsummer Night’s Dream are all current set-texts, with school tickets available from £15 plus with free Q&As and educational resource packs, offering affordable access to live theatre for young groups, against a backdrop of declining drama in schools.

Image: 2019 REP Company. Photo credit: Helen Murray.