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Full casting announced for Jessica Swale’s Nell Gwynn

Nell GwynnFull casting has been announced for the West End transfer of Jessica Swale’s new play Nell Gwynn, directed by Christopher Luscombe. The production stars Gemma Arterton in the title role, with the full cast including Paige Carter, Michele Dotrice, Matthew Durkan, Michael Garner, Greg Haiste, George Jennings, Ellie Leah, Peter McGovern, David Rintoul, Anneika Rose, Nicholas Shaw, David Sturzaker, Jay Taylor, Sasha Waddell and Sarah Woodward.

Following its critical acclaim and a sell-out run at Shakespeare’s Globe, Nell Gwynn will be in the West End for a strictly limited season from Thursday 4th February 2016.

It is 1660. The Puritans have run away with their drab grey tails between their legs. Charles II has exploded onto the scene with a love of all things loud, French and sexy. And at Drury Lane, a young Nell Gwynn (Gemma Arterton) is selling oranges for sixpence. Little does she know who’s watching.

Award-winning Gemma Arterton (The Duchess of Malfi, Made in Dagenham, Quantum of Solace) stars as cheeky, charming and clever Nell Gwynn, one of the first, and most acclaimed, women to appear on the London stage.

Jessica Swale’s blissfully entertaining new play charts the rise of an unlikely heroine, from her roots in Coal Yard Alley to her success as Britain’s most celebrated actress, and her hard-won place in the heart of the King. But at a time when women are second-class citizens, can her charm and spirit protect her from the dangers of the court? And at what cost?

Gemma Arterton has most recently starred as Rita O’Grady in Made in Dagenham (Adelphi Theatre) for which she won the Evening Standard ‘Best Newcomer in a Musical’ Award. Her other theatre credits including The Duchess of Malfi (Shakespeare’s Globe), The Little Dog Laughed (Garrick Theatre), The Master Builder (Almeida) and Love’s Labour’s Lost (Shakespeare’s Globe). Gemma’s previous film credits include The Voices, alongside Ryan Reynolds and Anna Kendrick; the title role in Gemma Bovery; Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters; Song for Marion; Byzantium; Runner, Runner, alongside Ben Affleck and Just Timberlake; A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s adventue; the title role in Tamara Drewe; Clash of the Titans; Disney’s Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time; The Disappearance of Alice Creed; The Boat that Rocked; iconic Bond Girl Strawberry Fields in Quantum of Solace; Three and Out; and St Trinian’s, for which she was nominated for an Empire Award and won a National Movie Award. Television credits include Tess in the BBC adaptation of Tess of the D’Urbevilles and Liza in Capturing Mary.

Michele Dotrice plays Nancy. Michele became a household name when she starred opposite Michael Crawford as his long-suffering wife Betty in the much-loved BBC sitcom Some Mothers Do Ave ‘Em. Her recent theatre work includes The Importance of Being Earnest (Vaudeville Theatre), When We Are Married (Garrick Theatre), Richard III, Henry V, The Jew Of Malta and Private Lives (RSC). Michele’s extensive television work includes Miss Marple, Big School, Henry IV, A Thing Called Love, The Way We Live Now, The Winslow Boy, The Sextet and Middlemarch. Film credits include Captain Jack, The Witches, And Soon The Darkness and Jane Eyre.

Michael Garner plays Thomas Killigrew. Michael’s extensive list of theatre credits include Told Look Younger (Jermyn St Theatre), The Three Sisters (Southwark Playhouse), The Merry Wives of Windsor (Shakespeare’s Globe and US tour), Alphabetical Order (Hampstead Theatre), A Small Family Business (Watford Palace Theatre), Art (National tour), An Evening with Gary Lineker (Duchess Theatre), Roots (National Theatre), Sleeping Nightie (Royal Court Theatre),The Caucasian Chalk Circle (Young Vic), Educating Rita (Palace Theatre, Westcliffe), Hamlet, (Oxford Playhouse and International Tour), Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and Cider with Rosie (Oxford Playhouse Company). Television and film credits include London’s Burning (Nine series), Vital Signs, Thin Air, Eastenders, Playing for Real, Spender and Thacker, Doc Martin, Rogue Trader, Ten Minutes and Legend 17.

Greg Haiste returns to the role of Edward Kynaston. Greg’s previous theatre credits include Richard II (Shakespeare’s Globe), The 39 Steps (West End), A Christmas Carol (Royal & Derngate, Northampton), Lysistrata, Love’s Labour’s Lost (The Rose Theatre, Kingston), The Play What I Wrote (National Tour), The Missionary’s Position (Penny Dreadful), Low Pay, Don’t Pay (Salisbury Playhouse), and The Lady in the Van (Birmingham Rep/West Yorkshire Playhouse). Television credits include Home Fires, Heartbeat, Jane Hall, Emmerdale and Touch Me, I’m Karen Taylor. Greg is also a comedy writer/performer in the award-winning double act Haiste and Lawrence.

Peter McGovern plays Ned Spigget. Peter’s list of theatre credits include The Christmas Truce, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Love’s Labour’s Won (Royal Shakespeare Company), Squirrels (Orange Tree), The Madness of George III (Apollo Theatre / No 1 Tour), The History Boys (No 1 UK Tour), An Inspector Calls, Vincent in Brixton, The Shape of Things (Theatre by the Lake), The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (Royal & Derngate Northampton), KES (Liverpool Playhouse / No 1 UK Tour) and Enjoy (Gielgud Theatre / No 1 UK Tour).

David Rintoul returns to the role of Lord Arlington. David has an extensive list of theatre credits including As You Like It, A Mad World My Masters (Shakespeare’s Globe), Sergeant Ola and His Followers, Etta Jenks (Royal Court), Richard II, Richard III (Phoenix Theatre), Lady Windermere’s Fan, The Winslow Boy (Chichester), An Ideal Husband (Old Vic), The World Turned Upside Down, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Trojan War Will Not Take Place, The Rivals, Remembrance of Things Past (National Theatre), Henry IV Parts 1 & 2, Edward III, The Island Princess, The American Pilot, Breakfast with Mugabe (RSC), Dirty Dancing (Aldwych) and Funny Girl (Sheffield Crucible). Film and television credits include Legend of the Werewolf, Unrelated, My Week with Marilyn, Is Anybody There?, The Iron Lady and Pride and Prejudice.

Anneika Rose returns to the role of Rose Gwynn. Anneika has previously performed in Richard II (Shakespeare’s Globe), Dara, Behind the Beautiful Forevers (National Theatre), Midsummer Night’s Dreaming, The Empress, The Tempest, Romeo and Juliet (RSC), Ten Women (Oval House), Anon (Welsh National Opera), Blabbermouth, Dear Scotland (National Theatre of Scotland), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Royal Lyceum Theatre) and Arthur and George (Birmingham Rep). Her television credits include Doctors, Field of Blood, Taggart, Personal Affairs, Above Suspicion and No Holds Bard.

Nicholas Shaw plays John Dryden. Nicholas’ previous theatre credits include Wolf Hall & Bring Up The Bodies (RSC), Rutherford And Son, Hamlet (Northern Broadsides), Light Hearted Intercourse (Bolton Octagon), A Provincial Life (National Theatre Of Wales), Tis Pity She’s A Whore, We Sing Faster (Liverpool Playhouse), (Glyndebourne/Opera Comique/Bam New York), Romeo And Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Regent’s Park Theatre), Merchant Of Venice and Holding Fire (Shakespeare’s Globe). His television and film credits include Land Girls, Foyles War, Doctors, All About Me, Cortes, Goldplated, Heartbeat, The Romantics, Afterlife, The Rotters Club and The Torment.

David Sturzaker returns to the role of Charles II. David’s previous theatre credits include Richard II, The Merchant of Venice, The Winter’s Tale, Troilus and Cressida, Titus Andronicus, The Comedy of Errors (Shakespeare’s Globe), The White Devil (RSC), Eternal Love, Anne Boleyn (English Touring Theatre), The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, (Chichester/West End), A Doll’s House (Royal Exchange, Manchester), Four Nights in Knaresborough (Southwark Playhouse), As You Like It (Rose Theatre, Kingston), Bash (Trafalgar Studios), Journey’s End (West End) and Romeo and Juliet (Bath UK tour). David’s television credits include Da Vinci’s Demons, Murder on the Homefront and Doctors.

Jay Taylor returns to the role of Charles Hart. Jay’s previous theatre credits include Troilus and Cressida, Titus Andronicus (Shakespeare’s Globe), Wolf Hall (RSC, Aldwych, Broadway), Accolade (St James Theatre), I Heart Peterborough (Soho Theatre/Pleasance Edinburgh, Tour); The Ducks (Tristan Bates Theatre); The Fading Hum (Manchester 24/7 Festival); SH*TMIX (Trafalgar Studios) and The Police (White Bear Theatre). Film and television credits include A Fantastic Fear of Everything, Red Tails, Donkey Punch, Release, Promise, Good Night, Blooded, Silk, Sirens, Midsomer Murders, Teaboys and Daphne.

Sasha Waddell returns to the roles of Lady Castlemaine and Louise de Keroualle. Sasha has an extensive list of theatre credits including Richard II, Yes Prime Minister, Out of Order (British Theatre Playhouse), Noises Off (Old Vic UK tour), The Village Bike (Royal Court Theatre), The Seagull, 8 Women (Southwark Playhouse), Lady Windermere’s Fan (Chichester Festival Theatre), Volcano, The Mousetrap (West End), The Young Idea (Chester Gateway), Twelfth Night (RSC Tour) and The Winter’s Tale (Creation Theatre). Sasha’s film and television credits include Me Before You, The Honourable Rebel, The Missing, Rev, Parade’s End, Midsomer Murders, A Touch of Cloth and The People’s Princess.

Sarah Woodward returns to the roles of Old Ma Gwynn and Queen Catherine. Catherine’s previous theatre credits include Richard II, The Merry Wives of Windsor (Shakespeare’s Globe), The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime (Gielgud Theatre), Love and Information, Jumpy, Presence (Royal Court Theatre), The Cherry Orchard, Present Laughter, Other, Wild Oats(National Theatre), Judgement Day (Almeida Theatre), Rookery Nook (Chocolate Factory), Habeas Corpus (Donmar Warehouse), The Real Thing (Donmar Warehouse/West End/Broadway – Tony Nomination for Best Supporting Actress), Tom & Clem (Aldwych Theatre – Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress); A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet (Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park); Les Liaisons Dangereueses (Playhouse), The Tempest, Venetian Twins and Murder in the Cathedral (RSC). Her film and television credits include I Capture the Castle, Bright Young Things, Close Your Eyes, Endeavour, Outnumbered, The Prime Minister’s Husband, Loving Miss Hatto, DCI Banks and Law and Order.

Jessica Swale delighted audiences in 2013 with her spirited Blue Stockings (Shakespeare’s Globe). Jessica is the Artistic Director of the Red-Handed Theatre Company, which she set up after training at the Central School of Speech and Drama and the University of Exeter. Recent productions include The School for Scandal, Twelfth Night, The Rivals (starring Celia Imrie) and The Belle’s Stratagem, for which she was nominated for the Evening Standard Award for Best Director. She also directed Bedlam at Shakespeare’s Globe in 2010 – the first work by a female playwright ever performed at the theatre.

Christopher Luscombe’s recent directing credits include Spamalot and The Rocky Horror Show (ATG), Love’s Labour’s Lost and Much Ado About Nothing for the RSC, Henry V (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre), The Madness of George III (Bath Theatre Royal), and The History Boys (West Yorkshire Playhouse/Bath Theatre Royal/UK tour). He has also previously directed The Merry Wives of Windsor and The Comedy of Errors (Shakespeare’s Globe). Christopher was nominated for an Olivier Award for his West End revival of When We Are Married. Originally an actor, his screen credits include The Iron Lady with Meryl Streep.

Nell Gwynn is presented in the West End by Nica Burns, Eleanor Lloyd Productions and Paula Marie Black.

Nica Burns’s recent producing credits include The Importance of Being Earnest starring David Suchet, The Duck House starring Ben Miller, Lisa Dwan in Beckett’s trilogy Not I, Footfalls and Rockaby, and Hand to God opening at the Vaudeville in February 2016. Nica is co-owner and Chief Executive of Nimax Theatres.

Eleanor Lloyd’s recent producing credits include 1984 (Playhouse, 2014 & 2015), My Night with Reg (Apollo), Handbagged (Vaudeville and UK tour), The Secret Adversary (Watermill Theatre), Love, Loss & Chianti (Minerva Theatre, Chichester).

Paula Marie Black is a Tony Award-winning producer. Recent London producing credits include The Scottsboro Boys at the Young Vic and Garrick Theatres (winner Evening Standard and Critics Circle Award for Best Musical and seven Olivier Award nominations) and Co-producer of Made in Dagenham starring Gemma Arterton.

Shakespeare’s Globe has a strong tradition of producing new writing, most recently transferring Claire van Kampen’s critically-acclaimed Farinelli and the King to the West End with Sonia Friedman Productions, starring Mark Rylance. A new indoor Jacobean theatre, the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, opened its doors in January 2014 with an inaugural performance of The Duchess of Malfi starring Gemma Arterton. The addition of this new candlelit space has permitted a year-round programme of plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries and productions of new writing. Shakespeare’s Globe was founded by the pioneering American actor and director Sam Wanamaker and is dedicated to the exploration of Shakespeare’s work and the theatre for which he wrote. Since it opened in 1997, the Globe has gained an international reputation for excellence in performance, both at home in Bankside and through its touring productions all over the world.

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  • 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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