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Ruth Wilson to star in the London premiere of The El. Train

The El TrainRuth Wilson will star in the London premiere of  The El. Train: three one-act plays by Eugene O’Neill.

Combining live music with totally immersive design, all housed in the intimate setting of the Grade II listed Hoxton Hall, and for one brief and exclusive run, the event will begin with the three short plays, performed in the old music hall and featuring passionate tales of low-life, impoverished New York in the early part of the twentieth century.

These intensely dramatic plays, with their themes of heaven and hell, of sin and redemption, will be followed by a night of hard liquor and live music at O’Neill’s very own New York watering hole, the Hell Hole Saloon.

Three one-act plays by Eugene O’Neill (The Web, Before Breakfast and The Dreamy Kid). The plays, written between 1913 and 1918, are being presented together for the first time. Ruth will act in The Web and Before Breakfast, directed by Sam Yates, and will make her directorial debut with The Dreamy Kid.

Hoxton Hall, largely untouched since it was built in 1863, will be transformed into a New York tenement block in the pre-prohibition era, with exposed brickwork, iron fire escapes and el. Train tracks, juxtaposed alongside exquisitely detailed representations of the homes of O’Neill’s characters.

Before Breakfast, Directed by Sam Yates
Mrs Rowland’s marriage to Alfred is reaching its bitter resolution. Once destined for great things, Alfred’s early promise as a poet has dwindled. Mrs Rowland’s struggle to support him reaches breaking point in this blackly comic work.

The Web, Directed by Sam Yates
On a stormy night, Rose, a prostitute suffering with advanced consumption, argues violently with her pimp. A neighbour, Tim, decides that tonight is the night when enough is enough. A violent, passionate and romantic melodrama about two characters struggling to escape their past and imagine a brighter future.

The Dreamy Kid, Directed by Ruth Wilson
As Mammy Saunders lies dying, her only wish is to see her grandson Abe, the Dreamy Kid, a young man drawn into gang violence, and on the run from the law for murder. A thrilling play about a family, faith and redemption.

SAM YATES – Director
Directing credits include Cornelius by J.B. Priestley (Finborough Theatre and 59E59 Theatre, New York), Mixed Marriage (Finborough Theatre), Flesh and Blood by William Gaminara (Chichester Festival Theatre, rehearsed reading), Electra and Oedipus (Garrick Theatre, Stockport) and The Turke (Arcola Theatre). Sam was Artistic Associate at Royal and Derngate Theatres, under Laurie Sansom from 2011-2013. He trained with directors Michael Grandage, Jamie Lloyd, Trevor Nunn, Josie Rourke and Phyllida Lloyd. In 2014 he directs Billy Liar at Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, his home town.

Ruth WilsonRUTH WILSON – Director  Cast (Rose / Mrs Rowland)
Ruth won the 2012 Olivier Award for Best Actress for her performance in the title role “Anne Christie” and the 2010 Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Stella in “A Streetcar Named Desire” both at the Donmar Warehouse. Her other stage credits include Philistines at the National Theatre and Through A Glass Darkly at the Almeida Theatre. Ruth’s most recognised roles on television include playing Jane in Jane Eyre and Alice Morgan in BBC’s Luther. Her film credits include Anna Karenina, The Lone Ranger, and most recently Saving Mr. Banks with Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson.

SIMON COOMBS – Tim / Dreamy
Simon Coombs trained at RADA. Stage credits include All My Sons (Royal Exchange Theatre), Othello & A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Grosvenor Park), A Soldier In Every Son, King John, Richard Iii (Royal Shakespeare Company), Emperor & Galilean (National Theatre), Enron (West End & Tour), A Raisin In The Sun (Royal Exchange Theatre), What Fatima Did (Hampstead Theatre) TV includes The Doors (ITV), Cardinal Burns (E4), Being Human, Mouth To Mouth (Both BBC3) and Holby City (BBC1).

Stage credits include A Season in The Congo (Young Vic), A Few Man Fridays (Riverside Studios), Yerma (Gate), The Swan/There Is A War (National Theatre), Category B, Detaining Justice, Let There Be Love, Blues For Mr Charlie (Tricycle), The Bacchae (The Lyric Hammersmith / Lincoln Center NY), Dirty Butterfly(Soho), Gaddafi (English National Opera), Peepshow (Frantic Assembly), Babies, Yard Gal, Crave,  (Royal Court)
Screen includes: The Bible (Channel 5), Top Boy, The Mimic(Channel 4), Shoot The Messenger, Waking The Dead, Baby Father, Hope I Die Before I Get Old, The Bill, (BBC), Bad Girls, The Bill, (ITV), Blooded(Magma Pictures), Three And Out (Rovinge Ltd) and Blues For Nia (Eclipse).

CHRISTIAN EDWARDS – Sullivan / Member of the Band
Stage credits include Radio Times, Uk Tour, The Snow Queen (Rose Theatre Kingston), https://www.londontheatre1.com/london-theatre/an-inspector-calls/An Inspector Calls, English Theatre Frankfurt; Oliver! (Theatre Royal Drury Lane), The Go-Between (Trafalgar Studios), Spend, Spend, Spend (Watermill Theatre), She Stoops To Conquer, Wild Honey, Arcadia (Pitlochry), A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, Fantastic Mr Fox (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Bank/Ticky Tock, King’s Head; The Twits (Pilot Theatre), The Importance Of Being Earnest, Taming Of The Shrew (Oxford Shakespeare Company), Oliver Twist (Library Theatre Manchester), Romeo And Juliet (Stafford), Billy Liar (Uk Tour) and Three Sisters (Playhouse).

NICOLA HUGHES – Mammy Saunders / Lead Vocalist
Nicola was nominated for the 2007 Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her leading performance in Sir Trevor Nunn’s Porgy and Bess at the Savoy Theatre. Other stage credits include The Color Purple (Menier Chocolate Factory), Fosse (Prince of Wales Theatre) for which she was nominated for Best Actress in a Musical, Chicago, Damn Yankees (Adelphi), Crazy For You (Prince Edward Theatre), Marilyn and Ella (Theatre Royal Stratford East), South Pacific (Grange Park Opera), Simply Heavenly (Young Vic).
TV includes The Royal Body Guard, Eastenders, Parents of The Band, Jonathan Creek (BBC1), and Rock Rivals (ITV). Nicola’s solo album entitled ‘Nicola Hughes’ produced by TCM Music is available on iTunes.

ADAM SOPP – Mickey / Member Of The Band
Adam Sopp trained at The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Stage credits include BACKBEAT (West End/Toronto/Los Angeles), This Place Means (Greenwich & Docklands International Festival), Naked Soldiers (Warehouse Theatre), The Daughter in Law (New Vic Theatre), A Chorus Of Disapproval (Mercury Theatre/Ipswich Wolsey), All Quiet On The Western Front (Nottingham Playhouse), In Parenthesis (Ambassadors Theatre Group), Les Miserables (West End) And Oliver! (West End)
TV & Film Includes: The Lost Honour (Carnival), Father Brown, WPC 56, Holby City, Doctors, Casualty 1907, Teenage Kicks (ITV) and Abroad (Abroad Films).

Ony Uhiara trained at Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Stage credits include Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare’s Globe), How To Be An Other Woman (Gate), Eurydice (Young Vic), Noughts and Crosses (RSC), Pericles, Winter’s Tale, Days Of Significance (RSC Stratford), Motor Town, Fallout (Royal Court)
TV & Film Includes: Law and Order (Kudos), Stolen (RSJ Films), White Van Man (Granada for BBC3), Criminal Justice, Barclay, Doctors, Holby City, The Crouches, Waking The Dead (BBC), Rosemary And Thyme (Carlton), The Bill (Thames), Proof (Subotica) and Sixty 6 (Working Title).

ZUBIN VARLA – Steve / Alfred / Member Of The Band
Zubin Varla trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Stage credits include The Enchantment, Attempts On Her Life, The Life Of Galileo And Cyrano De Bergerac (The National); Julius Caesar (Lyric Hammersmith) Two Gentlemen Of Verona, Midnight’s Children, The Tempest, Roberto Zucco, Bartholomew Fair, Faust, The Painter of Dishonour And Romeo & Juliet (RSC), Paradise Regained (Royal Court);
TV & Film includes Strike Back Series 4 (currently on Sky 1), Garrow’s Law, Hustle, Little Dorrit, Silent Witness, Spooks (Bbc1) & Saddam’s Tribe (Channel 4), Mad, Sad and Bad and Jacob. He has recorded with Nitin Sawhney on his album Human. His other albums include Jesus Christ Superstar and Chess. Varla plays with the Bergonzi Quartet.

Hoxton Hall has been pioneering East London creative activity since 1863 and is one of the last surviving Victorian Music Halls. In the Music Hall era Shoreditch boasted more than ten Music Halls and although only two remain in East London, the area is once again a hot bed of creativity and young talent. www.hoxtonhall.co.uk

NEIL AUSTIN – Lighting Design, ALEX BARANOWSKI – Original Composition, LUCY CASSON – Casting Director, JAMIE JACKSON – Assistant Director, Richard Kent – Design, ANNE MCNULTY – Casting Consultant, RORY MULLARKEY – Lyricist / Dramaturg.

Hoxton Hall has been pioneering East London creative activity since 1863 and is one of the last surviving Victorian Music Halls. In the Music Hall era Shoreditch boasted more than ten Music Halls and although only two remain in East London, the area is once again a hot bed of creativity and young talent.

The El. Train will run for a limited four-week season from 6th December until 30th December 2013


  • 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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