Artistic Director of Theatre Royal Stratford East, Kerry Michael today announces the cast for the world première of Bonnie Greer’s new play The Hotel Cerise, directed by Femi Elufowoju, jr. Inspired by Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard the production is a key part of the theatre’s focus on commissioning new work and adaptations. Ellen Thomas leads the company, with El Anthony, Madeline Appiah, Michael Bertenshaw, Nicholas Beveney, Andrew Dennis, Abhin Galeya, Lacharne Jolly, Corey Montague-Sholay, Claire Prempeh, Alexis Rodney and Angela Wynter. The production opens on 25th October with previews from 20 October and runs until 12th November 2016.
As the leader of the free world ends his eight years in office, a black middle class family risk losing their beloved hotel and cherry orchard, where Martin Luther King once rested and Miles Davis played.
The Hotel Cerise was a famous retreat for affluent black people during the time of segregation – a landmark and symbol of Black America. A place where they were welcome and safe. Can it be saved? Should it be?
Bonnie Greer OBE is an award winning author and playwright, born in Chicago. Her theatre credits include Yes (Royal Opera House), 48:Greco/Davis (London Jazz Festival), Marilyn and Ella (Apollo Theatre & Edinburgh) and Jitterbug (Arcola Theatre); and for film, White Men Are Cracking Up. Her novels include A Parallel Life, Langston Hughes: The Value of Contradiction, Obama Music, Entropy and Hanging by Her Teeth. She was awarded an OBE for services to the arts in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2010. She has had over a dozen plays produced over BBC Radio including a translation and adaptation of The Little Prince, and her documentary In Search Of The Black Madonna. On BBC2 in 2002 her influential documentary Reflecting Skin charted the presence of the African In Western European art. She has also been a regular contributor to BBC2’s Newsnight Review and Question Time.
El Anthony plays Josiah Tripp. He recently trained at the Identity School of Acting and this marks his professional stage debut. His recent credits include feature film City of Tiny Lights.
Madeline Appiah plays Chirlane Mountjoy Thimbutu. For theatre her credits include Here We Go and Welcome to Thebes (National Theatre), Iyalode of Eti (Utopia Theatre/ Rich Mix/ Arcola Theatre), In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play (St James Theatre), The Duchess of Malfi (Old Vic), Macbeth, The Merchant of Venice and The Taming of the Shrew (RSC), Off the Endz (Royal Court Theatre), Mother Goose (Greenwich Theatre), It Felt Empty When The Heart Went At First… (Arcola/ Clean Break) and Arabian Nights (New Vic). For television her credits include Partners in Crime and Gavin and Stacey; and for film, King for a Term, Boogie Down and Fallout.
Michael Bertenshaw plays Fielding. His theatre credits for Theatre Royal Stratford East include Robin Hood, Dick Wittington, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Two Women, Aladdin, The Snow Queen, Jack and the Beanstalk and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Other theatre credits include The Merchant of Venice, The Taming of the Shrew, All’s Well That Ends Well, Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII Globe). For television his credits include The Crown, Silent Witness, Miliband, The Culshaw & Stephenson Show, Criminal Justice, Murderland, The Worst Christmas of My Life, Messiah III, William and Mary, The Brief and Foyle’s War; and for film, The Da Vinci Code, Flyboys, Bust, Another Life, Intimate Relations, Giving Tongue and Paper Mash.
Nicholas Beveney plays A.L (Augustus Leon Mountjoy). His theatre credits for Theatre Royal Stratford East include The Battle of Green Lanes. Other theatre credits include Macbeth (Theatre Clywd) Mogadishu (Lyric Hammersmith/Royal Exchange), Frontline, Bible Readings, Savage Sensuality (Shakespeare’s Globe), Yours Abundantly (Oval House), Macbeth (Theatre Clwyd), A Midsummers Night’s Dream (Oxford Stage Company) Blame (York Theatre), Sleeping Beauty (Young Vic), Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Liverpool Playhouse), Bintou (Arcola Theatre), Silence (Birmingham Rep). For television his credits include Family Tree, New Tricks, No 1 Ladies Detective Agency, Waking The Dead, Funland, Hustle, Law & Order; Poppy Shakespeare, Skins, Murder Prevention, Sir Gadabout and Trial & Retribution; and for film, Hard Time Bus, The Patrol, Mr.Nobody, Swinging With The Finkels, Sahara, The Code, Spring Ritual, Blacklands, Dangerous Parking, Life in Lyrics, Sahara, The Fifth Element, Jack and The Beanstalk and Mr.Nobody.
Andrew Dennis plays Cornell Baxter. His theatre credits include Une Tempete (Gate Theatre), Bluebird (Royal Court Theatre), Timon of Athens (Royal Shakespeare Company), Tales from Ovid (Royal Shakespeare Company), Bouncers (Hull Truck Theatre Company), Bollocks (Royal Shakespeare Company), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Royal Shakespeare Company), Bouncers (National Tour), Wonderful Town (Grange Park Opera), Three Sisters (Birmingham Repertory Theatre), Don Quixote (West Yorkshire Playhouse), The Full Monty (Key Theatre), As You Like It (Leicester Curve), Katrina (Jericho House), Honk! (Royal and Derngate Theatre), Bleak House (new Victoria Theatre Newcastle), Of Mice and Men (Stageworks) and One Man Two Guvnors (National Theatre). Television credits include Down to Earth, Dream Team, My Hero, Red Capp, Surprising Stars and The Truth; and for film, Mothers and Daughters and Rhythm and Blue.
Abhin Galeya plays Karim Hassan. Theatre credits include Category B (Tricycle Theatre), Seize the Day (Tricycle Theatre), Detaining Justice (Tricycle Theatre), The Container (Young Vic), The Hot Zone (BAC), East is East (New Vic), In a Caravan (BAC), Best of Motives (Tricycle Theatre), The Ramayana (Royal National Theatre). Television credits include Killing Jesus, Silent Witness, The Royals, Father Brown, Fresh Meat, Hustle, White Heat, 10 Days to War, Robin Hood, The Bill, Holby City, Life in the Underpass, Waking the Dead, Rome, MIT, Casualty, First Degree, Totally Frank, Final Demand, Judge John Deed, Bad Girls, Inspector Lynley Mysteries and Down to Earth. Film credits include Let Me Go, Exodus: Gods and Kings, Flim, Clean Skin, The Blue Tower and Wimbledon.
Lacharne Jolly plays Charlotte. Her theatre credits include Catalysta (Oval House) and Indigo Blues (Hampstead Theatre). For television her credits include Out Of Control, Grange Hill, West 10 Ldn, and Holby City (as series regular Elizabeth).
Corey Montague-Sholay plays T.K. He recently graduated from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and this production marks his professional stage debut.
Claire Prempeh plays Lorraine Mountjoy Sinclaire. For theatre her credits include A Streetcar Named Desire (Young Vic, St. Anne’s Warehouse) Decade (Headlong), As You Like It (Rose Theatre Kingston), England People Very Nice (National Theatre), Saraya Dangana, Rhinoceros, The Arsonists and Drooping Palms (Royal Court Theatre), Ocean of Rain (Almeida Theatre), As You Like It (Watford Palace), Orestes (Shared Experience) and The Caucasian Chalk Circle (Masque Theatre); and for television Father Brown, Dead Boss, Identity and Misfits.
Alexis Rodney plays Toussaint. For theatre his credits include Three Sisters (National Theatre), The Shining (Royal Court Theatre), Every Coin and Joe Guy (Soho Theatre) and Natural Breaks & Rhythms (Nottingham Playhouse). For television his credits include Killing Jesus, 24:Live Another Day, The Assets, All in the Game, Judge John Deed, Murder City and Storm Damage; and for film, Guardians of the Galaxy, Halo, Street Fighter Resurrection, Kick Ass 2, Wild Target, Buffalo Soldiers and Life & Lyrics, The Knot and Vendetta.
Ellen Thomas plays Anita Lily Mountjoy Sinclaire Thimbutu. Theatre credits include Egusi Soup, Tiata Delights, Moon on a Rainbow Shawl (Almeida Theatre), Statement Of Regret, The American Clock and Fuente Ovejuna (National Theatre), The Estate (Soho Theatre), Vagina Monologues (national tour), Blest Be The Tie (Royal Court Theatre), Twelfth Night (Manchester Royal Exchange), A Bitter Herb (Bristol Old Vic), The Amen Corner (Tricycle Theatre and Nottingham Playhouse), Sisters (Riverside Theatre), Criminals in Love (Contact Theatre), Leonara’s Dance (Black Theatre Co-operative), Echo in the Bone (The Lyric Hammersmith), Twelfth Night (Birmingham Rep). Television credits include Claudette Hubbard in EastEnders, two series in Mountpleasant, three series in Rev, Teachers, Lenny Henry In Pieces and his Christmas Special, Cardiac Arrest, London Bridge, Holding On, The Jury, Buried Treasure, Critical, Humans, Come Fly With Me, Coming Of Age, Moses Jones, New Tricks, Outnumbered, Losing It , Trial and Retribution, The Marshioness Disaster, William & Mary, Hidden City, Never Never, Active Defence, Where There’s Smoke and Ultraviolet, . Film credits include Golden Years, Love Punch, It’s a Lot, Ashes, Ryan and Ronnie, Clubbed, Breaking and Entering, Risk Addiction, South West Nine, Wonderland, Some Voices and Secret Laughter of Women.
Angela Wynter plays Jackie / Woman passerby. Her most recent stage credits include Boi Boi is Dead (West Yorkshire Playhouse), A Wolf in Snakeskin Shoes (Tricycle Theatre) and A Raisin in the Sun (Eclipse and Sheffield Crucible Theatre), Simply Heavenly (Young Vic), One Love (Talawa Theatre), A Christmas Carol (Birmingham Rep) and The Lion King (Lyceum Theatre). For television her credits include Yolande in EastEnders, No Problem and Death in Paradise; and for film, Burning an Illusion and Elphida.
Femi Elufowoju, jr is the first theatre director of African descent to establish a national touring company in the UK – Tiata Fahodzi. He artistically led the company for 13 years, directing and presenting over 30 plays for the company including his production of Oladipo Agboluaje’s Iya-Ile, and The First Wife (nominated for an Olivier Award). For Theatre Royal Stratford East his credits include the critically acclaimed Tickets and Ties. He has also worked as a Guest Director for Salisbury Playhouse, Southwark Playhouse and National Theatre; and as Associate Director for Royal Court Theatre and West Yorkshire Playhouse. He was Michael Attenborough’s Associate Artist at Almeida Theatre between 2010 and 2014. As an actor his work includes The Ghost Train (Royal Exchange) and LionBoy (Complicite). For television, his acting credits include Borgen, Moses Jones, Supply and Demand, Wire in the Blood, Little Miss Jocelyn and The Knock; and for film, Hush Little Baby, The Legend of 1900 and the forthcoming Mechanic: Resurrection and The Saint.
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