Photo Flash: Full Cast Unveiled for TO SIR WITH LOVE Tour
The full cast for To Sir With Love, joining the previously announced Olivier Award winning actor Matthew Kelly (Florian), is Mykola Allen (Denham), Harriet Ballard (Monica), Peta Cornish (Gillian), Kerron Darby (Seales), Ansu Kabia(Ricky), Paul Kemp (Weston), Heather Nicol (Pamela) and Nicola Reynolds(Clinty).
The World Premiere of To Sir With Love is a Touring Consortium Theatre Company/ Royal & Derngate Northampton co-production, 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 Britton, lighting by Johanna Town, sound by Ivan Stott, 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.
Mykola Allen's stage credits include Dracula for the Touring Consortium Theatre Company and My Boy Jack on UK Tour. Mykola's screen credits include Land Girls,Being Human, Waterloo Road, My Parents Are Aliens, Sweet Medicine, Private Peaceful, Crusade: A March Through Time and Benjamin Britten: Peace And Conflict.
Harriet Ballard's stage credits include The Importance Of Being Earnest at the Theatre Royal Haymarket and A Short History Of The Royal Court at The Royal Court. Harriet's screen credits include Lewis, Switch, and Fragmentation.
Peta Cornish's stage credits include The Dug Out, On The Piste and The Wild Partyall for the Tobacco Factory Theatre, Eva at the High Tide Festival, The Welsh Boy at the Theatre Royal Bath, and The Great Gatsby at the King's Head Theatre. Peta's screen credits include the Victoria Wood Christmas Special 2009, and William And Mary.
Kerron Darby's stage credits include The Boy Who Fell Into A Book at Soho Theatre, Fit And Proper People for the RSC and Soho Theatre, and The Knowledgeand Little Platoons both for the Bush Theatre. Kerron's screen credits include The Knife That Killed Me, Doctors, Casualty, Beautiful People and Silent Witness.
Ansu Kabia's stage credits include The Merry Wives Of Windsor, Antony And Cleopatra, King Lear, and The Mouse And His Child all for the RSC, She Rode Horses Like The Stock Exchange for the Old Vic New Voices, A Few Man Fridaysat Riverside Studios, and The Great Theatre Of The World at the Arcola Theatre. Ansu's screen credits include Wizards Vs Aliens, 10 Days To War, Casualty and City On Fire.
Paul Kemp's stage credits include Seven Year Twitch and How To Be Happy both for the Orange Tree Theatre, Wind In The Willows at the West Yorkshire Playhouse,The Lady From The Sea for the Manchester Royal Exchange, The Crucible at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, and Woman In Mind at the Vaudeville Theatre, West End and Stephen Joseph Theatre. Paul's screen credits include When Saturday Comes, Life On Mars, Maxwell, The Trial Of Tony Blair, The Bill and Black Books.
Heather Nicol's stage credits include Correspondence workshop for the Old Vic New Voices and Paines Plough, Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace Theatre, Babes In The Wood for Pale Productions, Les Miserables and Oliver! both for Imagine Productions and Cinderella at Billingham Forum. Heather's screen credits include My Phone Genie, Casualty, Doctors, Ballet Shoes and Celebrate Oliver!
Nicola Reynolds' stage credits include Dead Funny at Theatr Clwyd, Maid Marion And Her Merry Men at Bristol Old Vic, and Cinderella at the Oldham Coliseum. Nicola's screen credits include Stella 2, Ideal, The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Murder,Lucky Bag, Clocking Off, Coronation Street, The Machine and Human Traffic.
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 Godotat 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 and Victory 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 includingAdventure 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.
Mark Babych is Artistic Director of Hull Truck Theatre and was previously Artistic Director of the Octagon Theatre, Bolton. His directing credits include Wuthering Heights (Welsh Tour), Cooking With Elvis at Derby Theatre, All The Way Home at the Library Theatre in association with The Lowry, The Railway Children at York Theatre Royal/Waterloo Station (TCTC), And This Those Feet, The Seafarer and The Caretaker at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton and Blonde Bombshells of 1943 at Hampstead Theatre/Octagon Theatre.
Led by producers Jenny King and Matthew Gale, the Touring Consortium was formed seventeen years ago to tour large scale quality drama with integrated education programmes to a circuit of seven regional theatres. That circuit of venues comprises Blackpool Grand Theatre, Cheltenham Everyman Theatre, Darlington Civic Theatre, Bradford Alhambra, Edinburgh King's, Wolverhampton Grand, Nottingham Theatre Royal and the Dartford Orchard.
The Touring Consortium Theatre Company have additionally now joined forces with York Theatre Royal, Royal & Derngate Northampton and Pilot Theatre Company to create five touring productions over three years together with a creative learning and participation programme and a shared digital hub called 'Theatre Cloud'. Each of the five productions will be co-produced with either York or Northampton and then toured to all members, with Pilot Theatre working with both producing theatres and TCTC to develop and deliver the outreach, audience development and digital programmes.
The Touring Consortium Theatre Company will be announcing the next two productions in September. These will be chosen to engage young and diverse audiences in drama which addresses contemporary and topical issues. The varied programme of work will include three World Premieres. Advance production work will include workshops with partnership schools, local casting, live broadcast of debates on the themes of upcoming productions, masterclasses on-line and a variety of activities related to the programme.
* Matthew Kelly will be performing selected performances at Oxford Playhouse and the Orchard Theatre, Dartford.
For more information about TCTC see www.touringconsortium.com
L-R Harriet Ballard (Monica) & Mykola Allen (Denham)
L-R Ansu Kabia (Ricky) and Mykola Allen (Denham)
Ensemble, To Sir With Love
Ansu Kabia (Ricky)