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Full cast announcement for #HashtagLightie at Arcola Theatre

hashtaglightieElla is popular, addicted to social media, Queen of the Selfie, and mixed race. Her thriving YouTube channel has makeup tips, opinions, and videos of her boisterous family. But after one of her videos goes viral, Ella finds herself in the centre of a social media storm that leads to a family meltdown. With her identity and perception of beauty challenged, can Ella promote self-love without fueling hate?

Following a sell-out weeks run #Hashtag Lightie returns to the Arcola for a full run with original cast members including Devon Anderson (Sonny Valentine in Hollyoaks and Billie Jackson in EastEnders). Written by Lynette Linton (resident assistant director at Donmar Warehouse) and director Rikki Beadle-Blair MBE (Team Angelica, Theatre Royal Stratford East) the show is a heart-warming and hilarious exploration of the conflicting ideas of what it means to be mixed race in Britain today. #Hashtag Lightie is nominated for the Alfred Fagon audience award.

The full cast is: Devon Anderson, Grace Cookey-Gam, Adele James, Sophia Leonie, John Omole and Jamie Richards.

Director, Rikki Beadle-Blair MBE says: “A funny and moving play with timeless themes of identity and belonging that screams ‘Right Now’. I had to direct this. It demanded my heart and soul.”

Lynette Linton is a director and playwright. She trained on the StoneCrabs Young Directors Course where she was also awarded the Jack Petchy award. Linton was nominated for a Stage Debut Awards for Best Director. She is co-founder of production company Black Apron Entertainment and the current resident assistant director at the Donmar Warehouse. Linton was a former associate director of the Gate Theatre, where she directed Assata Taught Me by Kalungi Ssebandeke in May 2017. Writing credits include: Step (rehearsed reading, and school tour, Theatre Royal Stratford East); Service (Boom Festival, Bush Theatre); Chicken Palace (Theatre Royal Stratford East); which she also co-directed, and Ergo Sum (Theatre Deli). Directing credits include: Indenture (Dark Horse Festival); Assata: She Who Struggles (5 minute play at The Young Vic); Naked (Vault Festival 2015); Pornado (Theatre Royal Stratford East); This Wide Night (Albany Theatre); and co-director on Chicken Palace (R&D, and full show, Theatre Royal Stratford East). As Assistant Director: Gutted (Theatre Royal Stratford East); Image of An Unknown Young Woman and The Christians (Gate Theatre); Live Lunch’s A View from the Moon, and Torn (Royal Court).

Rikki Beadle-Blair (Director)
Named fourth in this year’s rainbow list of the UK’s hundred most influential LGBT+ people, Rikki Beadle-Blair MBE is a writer, director, composer, choreographer, designer, producer and performer. He has won several awards including the Sony Award, the Los Angeles Outfest Screenwriting and Outstanding Achievement awards. In 2016 he was made an MBE (Member of the British Empire) by HRH Queen Elizabeth II. His projects include several feature films and TV series, including Blackbird starring Oscar-winning actress, Mo’nique; Stonewall for the BBC; Metrosexuality for Channel 4; Noah’s Arc for MTV LOGO, and FIT, KickOff and Bashment for his own company, Team Angelica.

He is one of the creative directors of the Visionary Youth Project for young European Film Activists. Rikki also works extensively in theatre and has written 28 plays in the last decade that have been performed at Theatre Royal Stratford East, the Bush Theatre, the Soho Theatre, the Tristan Bates Theatre and the Contact Theatre in Manchester. Rikki is a committed mentor to many writers, actors, composers and directors.

Devon Anderson plays Aaron. He is best known for his roles as Billie Jackson in EastEnders; Taj Lewis in the CBBC sitcom Kerching!, and Sonny Valentine in Channel 4’s Hollyoaks. Most recently he played Shahid in Sinbad (SKY). He has numerous other television credits to his name and in theatre he has worked at the National Theatre, Theatre Royal Stratford East and the Lyric Hammersmith. He also worked as a presenter on CBBC.

Jamie Richards plays David. He trained at The Oxford School of Drama. His theatre credits include Our Town (Pegasus Theatre Oxford); Into the Woods (The Theatre Chipping Norton); Kasimir and Karoline (Battersea Arts Centre); The Abattoir Pages (The Old Abattoir); A Karaoke Wedding and Joking Apart (The Union Theatre). Film credits: Sleeper: A Vampire Movie (Catsby Films). TV credits: Luther and What Remains (BBC).

Grace Cookey-Gam plays Melissa. She trained at the City Lit, graduating in 2013. Recent roles include Viv in Di and Viv and Rose (Stephen Joseph Theatre & the New Vic), Agnes in triple Offie nominated The Awakening (Brockley Jack), Ottalan in TV pilot Dawn (MGM), Tyrant Season 3 (Fox TV) & Justice League (Warner Bros). Grace is also a singer, with a music degree from Birmingham University, and busy voice over with a love for audio drama. She regularly reads for the Liars League and was a BBC Radio Drama Norman Beaton Fellowship semi-finalist in 2015.

Adele James plays Ella. She is a South London born actress and University of Bristol Drama graduate. 2016 was a prosperous year for Adele, having won an Award for Best Lead Actress at DOFIFF and affording her the chance to work as lead and supporting roles in several independent British film, web series and TV projects; such as Who I Am (2016), Red Light (2017) and That’s What She Said (2017), which Adele is also the co-creator, writer and producer of.

Sophia Leonie play Aimee. She is an actress and writer from London who trained at East 15 Acting School. Sophia’s short film Love and More Important Things, which she wrote, produced, co-directed and acted in, premiered at this year’s British Urban Film Festival. Other short film credits include: Shrinking Violet which can be seen on the channel HD shorts. Sophia has also acted in BBC’s flagship show Casualty and Channel 4’s acclaimed drama Topboy.  Feature Film credits include: British Independent Film nominee Dreams of a Life and Amina. Sophia also writes a successful lifestyle blog on issues of culture and identity, which can be found at: sophiandstuff.com

John Omole trained at Rose Bruford drama school. Since graduating he has had roles on Channel 4’s Hollyoaks. He has worked extensively in theatre including shows at Theatre Royal Stratford East, Theatre 503, and with the Thelmas Theatre Group. He has also just filmed series two of the award-winning E4 show Chewing Gum.

Age recommendation 14+
14/11/2017–02/12/2017
Box office: https://www.arcolatheatre.com/

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