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Full cast announced for JACK AND THE BEANSTALK

Clive Rowe Buttercup the cow Debbie Kurup and Kat B in Hackney Empire Jack and the Beanstalk 21 Nov 2015 Sun 3 Jan 2016
Clive Rowe Buttercup the cow Debbie Kurup and Kat B in Hackney Empire Jack and the Beanstalk

Hackney Empire has today announced the full cast of its much-anticipated 2015 pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk. The full cast will be joining previously announced Olivier Award-nominee Debbie Kurup as Jack, everybody’s favourite dame, Olivier Award-winning Clive Rowe as Dame Daisy Trott and Kat B as Snowman. Following their 2014 pantomime which was seen by over 50,000 people Jack and the Beanstalk will run from 21 November 2015 to 3 January 2016.

Joining Rowe and Kurup and Kat B, the cast includes: Jocelyn Jee Esien, Tony Timberlake, Julia Sutton, Darren Hart, Lori Barker, Leon Sweeney, Emanuel Alba, Frances Dee, Jonathan Prestney, Katie Shearman, Dale White and Sharon D Clarke as the Voice of Davina. The roles of Molly and the Voice of the Giant are still to be confirmed.

Jack and the Beanstalk will be written and directed by the theatre’s Creative Director Susie McKenna with music by Steven Edis. The team has been the creative force behind London’s number one pantomime for over a decade.

In true Hackney style the production will feature a break dancing cow, bonkers baddies and the scariest giant ever, outlandish costumes and glittering sets by Lotte Collett, buckets of silliness, tons of audience participation and full-on show stopping songs performed by a kickin’ live band.

After 15 years of perpetual winter the kingdom of Hackneydale is really feeling the pinch of austerity cuts. McKenna’s production follows two stories, that of young and earnest Jack and of the HUGE scary giant. Whilst Jack is tempted by a mysterious stranger into swapping the family’s trusty old cow for a handful of magic beans, the Giant’s inventions for making gold are destroying the Earth… Can Jack and his crazy mates save the day?

Clive Rowe (Dame Daisy Trott) was nominated for the 2008 Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre for his role as Mother Goose at Hackney Empire. Rowe’s extensive theatre credits include his Olivier Award-winning performance in Guys and Dolls (National Theatre), The Light Princess, Carousel (for which he was nominated for an Olivier Award), Fuente Ovejuna, Caroline or Change, The Villains Opera, Money, Candide, Peter Pan (all National Theatre), Kiss Me Kate (Chichester and Old Vic Theatre) and The Ladykillers (West End and UK Tour). He is well known for his role as ‘Duke’ in the BBC’s The Story of Tracey Beaker and is soon to be seen in new Disney series The Evermoor Chronicles and Disney’s live action feature Beauty and the Beast. Other television credits include So Awkward, The Kennedys, The Fun Police, All the Small Things, Doctor Who, Dalziel & Pascoe, and The Harry Hill Show. Rowe returns to Hackney Empire for his eleventh pantomime appearance.

Debbie Kurup (Jack) most recently played the role of Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes (UK/Ireland Tour). Prior to this, she played Nicki Marron in the World Premiere of The Bodyguard at the Adelphi Theatre, London(2013) for which she was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical. Kurup has also appeared in Chicago (Adelphi), Ben Elton’s Tonight’s The Night (Victoria Palace), Rent (UK Tour and West End), Sister Act (Palladium) and West Side Story (Prince of Wales).

Kat B (Snowman) returns to Hackney Empire after his role as Billy Goose in last year’s production of Mother Goose. He also starred in the title role of Puss in Boots in Hackney Empire’s 2014 production. Previous credits include Dick Whittington, Cinderella, The Wiz, Mother Goose, A Christmas Carol, Aladdin, Jack and the Beanstalk and The Kat and Tameka Show. Kat is best known for his antics on MTV Base where he has presented numerous shows around the world. His film and television credits include Waterland and Street Wise (BBC) and The Richard Blackwood Show (Channel 4). Kat is also the Artistic Director of Real Deal Comedy Jam and a regular on the Jongleurs Circuit.

Jocelyn Jee Esien (Stomach Bug) has previously performed at Hackney Empire in Aladdin and The Vagina Monologues. Her previous theatre credits include One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show (Tricycle Theatre), Belong (Royal Court) and Torn (Arcola). Esien is perhaps best known for writing and starring in her own TV sketch show, Little Miss Jocelyn (BBC). Other television credits include Gangsta Gran, Big School, Some Girls, Sarah Jane Adventures, 3 Non Blondes (all BBC) and Strictly Confidential (ITV).

Tony Timberlake (Nasty Bug) returns to the cast after appearing in Mother Goose, Puss in Boots and Aladdin. His previous theatre credits include Chicago (West End), Jesus Christ Superstar (National Tour), Spamalot (Palace), Les Miserables (West End), Into The Woods (Donmar Warehouse), Singin’ In The Rain (National Theatre) and Hairspray (West End).

Julia Sutton (Mother Nature) has recently appeared in Follies (Toulon Opera). Her previous stage credits include Sister Act (London Palladium), Dirty Dancing, Mary Poppins, My Fair Lady, Witches of Eastwick, Martin Guerre, Company, Sherlock Holmes – The Musical and Side by Side by Sondheim (all West End). Her film and television credits include Half a Sixpence (BBC), My So Called Life (BBC) and Upstairs, Downstairs (BBC).

Darren Hart (Clumsy Callum) makes his return to Hackney Empire after starring in Mother Goose. His other theatre credits include Lonely Londoners (National Theatre Studio), Clockwork, Cinderella and Red Riding Hood (all Theatre Royal Stratford East), That Face (Soho Theatre), Absolute Beginners (Lyric Hammersmith), Henry IV Parts 1 & 2 and His Dark Materials (both National Theatre). His television credits include Justin’s House, Gigglebiz, Holby City (all BBC), The Bill (ITV) and Flash Prank (MTV).

Lori Barker (Goldiniah) has most recently starred in Juicy Bits at the Orange Tree Theatre. Her stage credits include Play Mas (Orange Tree Theatre), Hairspray (UK Tour) and Legally Blonde (National Tour).

Leon Sweeney (The Giant) makes his return to Hackney Empire after performing in Puss in Boots, Dick Whittington, Jack and the Beanstalk, Mother Goose, La Variete and The Kat and Tameka Show.

Emanuel Alba (Ensemble) has recently starred in Michael Strassen’s Pacific Overtures at the Union Theatre. His previous theatre credits include Days of Hope (Union Theatre) and Rent (Tabard Theatre).

Frances Dee (Ensemble) has most recently appeared in Matilda in the West End. Her other stage credits include Mamma Mia (International Tour), A Chorus Line (West End), Ultimate Broadway (Shangai) and Sleeping Beauty (Marlowe Theatre).

Jonathan Prestney (Ensemble) is currently in his third year of training at the Urdang Academy. Whilst at college his credits have included: ‘Bill’ in Me and My Girl and ‘Hewie Calhoun’ in Memphis. Jack and the Beanstalk marks Jonathan’s professional debut.

Katie Shearman (Ensemble) has most recently performed in the UK tour of The Sound of Music. Her previous theatre credits include Girlfriends (Union Theatre) and Cinderella (Compass Theatre). She also recorded backing vocals for Kerry Ellis’ self-titled album in 2014.

Dale White (Ensemble) has most recently starred in Bugsy Malone at the Lyric Hammersmith. His other stage credits include Starlight Express (UK Tour) and Cinderella (Theatre Royal Brighton).

Sharon D Clarke (Voice of Davina) returns to the Hackney Empire after starring in 2014’s Mother Goose. Her extensive theatre credits include her Olivier Award-winning performance in The Amen Corner (National Theatre), as well as her Olivier nominated performances in We Will Rock You (Dominion Theatre) and Ghost (Piccadilly Theatre).

Susie McKenna (Writer /Director) has worked as an actress and director touring nationally and in the West End for over 25 years and is currently Creative Director of Hackney Empire. Her directing credits include the critically acclaimed Blues In the Night (Hackney Empire 2014) A Midsummer Night’s Madness (Hackney Empire, New York and Edinburgh Festival), La Varieté, Once on This Island (Hackney Empire), Sit and Shiver (assisting Steven Berkoff), A Christmas Carol (Arts Theatre, London) and Once on this Island (Hackney Empire, Birmingham Rep, Nottingham Playhouse). Her and Steve Edis’ production of Ian Serrailier’s The Silver Sword opens in Coventry this week before embarking on a national tour. Her acting credits include Chicago, Ragtime, Cats and The Witches of Eastwick in the West End and national tours of Hair, The Rocky Horror Show and Jesus Christ Superstar.

Steven Edis (Musical Composer) returns once again to create a magical mix of musical mash-ups, chart remixes and an original score. Steven has worked with the National Theatre, in the West End and on a variety of prestigious projects as composer, arranger and orchestrator. Credits include Volpone (RSC), The Captain of Köpenick (National Theatre), She Loves Me and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Chichester Festival Theatre), A Chorus of Disapproval, Flare Path and Birdsong for the West End. Steven brings his vast experience to create a musical score that rivals a West End musical.

A Hackney Empire Pantomime
Press Night: Thu 26 Nov, 7pm

Written and Directed by Susie McKenna
Music: Steven Edis
Design: Lotte Collett
Musical Director: Mark Dickman
Choreographer: Carl Parris
Lighting: David W Kidd
Sound Design: Andy Hedges
Assistant Director: Tony Whittle
Creature Design: Scott Brooker

Sat 21 Nov 2015 – Sun 3 Jan 2016

Wednesday 23rd September 2015


  • Neil Cheesman

    First becoming involved in an online theatre business in 2005 and launching londontheatre1.com in September 2013. Neil writes reviews and news articles, and has interviewed over 150 actors and actresses from the West End, Broadway, film, television, and theatre. Follow Neil on Twitter @LondonTheatre1

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