Matthew Kelly to Play 'Florian' in Touring Consortium Theatre's TO SIR WITH LOVE, Beg. Sept 6
Matthew Kelly is to play Florian in the World Premiere of the Touring Consortium Theatre Company/ Royal & Derngate Northampton co-production of To Sir With Love, written by E R Braithwaite and adapted by Ayub Khan Din (East is East). Mark Babych will direct To Sir With Love, with design by Mike Britten, lighting by Johanna Towns and choreography by Nick Winston.
It is opening this September in Northampton and then touring nationwide for nine weeks to Cardiff New Theatre, Cheltenham Everyman, Nottingham Theatre Royal, Wolverhampton Grand, Edinburgh King's, Bradford Alhambra, Darlington Civic, Oxford Playhouse* and the Orchard Theatre, Dartford*. This production is the first in a five-show programme of work to be presented over the next two years.
Based on E R Braithwaite's autobiography and adapted by Ayub Khan Din, To Sir With Love is the story of Ricky Braithwaite, an ex-RAF fighter pilot and Cambridge graduate who arrives in London in 1948. Despite his first class degree in electronic engineering, he is turned down for job after job in his chosen profession and discovers the reality of life as a black man in post-war England. Taking the only job he can get, Ricky begins his first teaching post, in a tough but progressive East End school run by the enlightened headmaster 'Florian'. Supported by Florian the determined teacher turns teenage rebelliousness into self respect, contempt into consideration and hate into love, and on the way, Ricky himself learns that he has more in common with his students than he had realised.
Made into a major film in 1967 starring Sidney Poitier and featuring the song To Sir With Love, made famous by Lulu, this new stage adaptation is peppered with the songs and dance of the late 40's, a time of austerity like our own, where love, inspiration and hope win through against all the odds.
Matthew Kelly is a patron of TCTC, which has been awarded 1.1 million pounds from ACE to develop audiences in areas of the UK that depend on touring for theatre. He won an Olivier Award for best actor for his performance in Of Mice and Men in the Touring Consortium production presented by Jenny King and Matthew Gale in the West End in 2004.
Matthew's stage credits include The History Boys at the Sheffield Crucible, God of Carnage at the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton, The Seagull at Southwark Playhouse, Educating Rita at the Menier Chocolate Factory/National Tour/Edinburgh Festival, Legally Blonde on National Tour, Buried Child at Leicester Curve,Waiting for Godot at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, Spamalot on a National Tour, Sign of The Times at the Duchess Theatre, Lend Me A Tenor - The Musical at the Gielgud Theatre, Comedians at the Lyric Hammersmith, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf at Trafalgar Studios, Troilus and Cressida at Shakespeare's Globe andVictory at the Arcola Theatre. His screen credits include Moving On, MI High, Benidorm, Cold Blood - for which he won a Royal Television Society award for Best Performer in Drama, and a silver medal in the New York International Programming Awards, Bleak House, Egypt: The Pharaoh And The Showman, The Temple Of The Sands, Where The Heart Is, Agatha Christie's Marple and Casualty.
Earlier television credits include Sheridan's The Critic, Funny Man, Boon, The Last Of The Summer Wine and Relative Strangers for which he was nominated for an Emmy Award. He also has a wide range of credits as a television presenter including Adventure Of A Lifetime, You Bet!, City Hospital, and Stars In Their Eyes. His film credits include Showreel, Gabrielle And The Doodleman, Tribute and Two Stops To Bank and Tortoise.
To Sir With Love was E R Braithwaite's first book and was written in 1959. Later publications include Paid Servant, A Kind of Homecoming, Collected Short Stories, Choice of Straws, Reluctant Neighbours, Honourary White and Billinglsy, The Bear with the Crinkled Ear.
Ayub Khan Din is the celebrated author of East is East (1997), which was staged at The Royal Court Theatre and subsequently adapted into a hugely successful feature film. The Play and film have won a Writer's Guild Award for Best New Writer and a British Academy Award respectively. Later plays include Last Dance at Dum Dum (1999), Notes on Falling Leaves (2004), All the Way Home, and Rafta Rafta (2007), which won a Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy. A film adaptation, All in Good Time, was released in 2012, a year after his sequel to East is East named West is West. Ayub's most recent plays have been All The Way Home, directed by Mark Babych at the Lowry Theatre in Salford, and musical comedy Bunty Berman Presents, produced on Broadway by The New Group.