PRISCILLA Producers Respond to Casting Controversy – 'We Believe We Have Cast the Very Best Performers to Portray all the Parts'

The tour will star Miles Western, Nick Hayes and Edwin Ray.

By: Apr. 22, 2021
Enter Your Email to Unlock This Article

Plus, get the best of BroadwayWorld delivered to your inbox, and unlimited access to our editorial content across the globe.

Existing user? Just click login.

PRISCILLA Producers Respond to Casting Controversy – 'We Believe We Have Cast the Very Best Performers to Portray all the Parts'

It was recently announced that the UK tour of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert would be resuming in June 2021. However, the casting of the tour has caused backlash after a cis male was cast in the role of Bernadette after the production held an open casting call for trans performers. Miles Western, Nick Hayes and Edwin Ray are set to star in the musical.

The producers released the following statement addressing the backlash:

Our Production of Priscilla was originally cast in 2019 and the tour was interrupted by the pandemic in March 2020. When we originally cast the production we did audition trans performers but despite seeing talent did not find anyone suitable for any role in our production. We believe we cast very talented actors who would tell the story of Priscilla in the best way possible. However as some of our cast were not returning to resume their roles it gave us the opportunity to expand our casting process so this time we included an open casting call for Trans performers because on other shows we have had success with open casting calls. We looked for talented performers who can Act, Dance and Sing but required no previous experience as we have always been prepared to invest our resources in talent. On all our shows we look to find diverse talented performers and look to be inclusive at all times. Every production is a journey and we hoped to find a performer in our open call who could join us on that journey.

Following our open audition process we are delighted that Allie Daniel will join the company as part of the ensemble (a role previously performed by a cis female) and acting as one of our understudies for the role of Bernadette. We chose Allie not because she was a transgender performer but because she was the best actor for the role.

We are aware that for some people casting cis performers in the role of a trans character does not sit well. We believe that inclusivity extends to all members of the company and that all roles are open to everyone. With that principle we believe we have cast the very best performers to portray all the parts in this glorious show which centres its themes about inclusion, acceptance and Tolerance.

Our job in theatre is to tell stories in the best way possible and we believe that by having more diversity and inclusivity in our shows we are better able to do that. We think that the theatre has been trying to lead the way and has made much progress in the last few years but there is always more we can do to reflect the society we live in. The last year while our industry has been shutdown has given us opportunity to reflect on how we do things and there have been many discussions on how we can improve. As Producers we are very happy with our casting process and the excellent talented performers we have engaged for our production.

The tour first opened in September 2019 and had just announced an extension in March 2020 when performances had to be paused due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert The Musical will officially re-open at Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham on 23 June 2021 before touring to Leeds Grand Theatre, Hull New Theatre, Theatre Royal Bath, Royal & Derngate, Northampton, Glasgow King's Theatre, New Wimbledon Theatre, Oxford New Theatre, Birmingham Hippodrome, Palace Theatre, Southend, Curve Leicester, Bristol Hippodrome, Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, New Victoria Theatre Woking and Churchill Theatre, Bromley, prior to a much hoped for return to the West End.

Miles Western will take on the role of Bernadette, with Nick Hayes as Adam/Felicia and Edwin Ray playing Tick/Mitzi. They are joined by Daniel Fletcher (Bob), Rebecca Lisewski (Marion), Kevin Yates (Miss Understanding), Gracie Lai (Cynthia) and Ronan Burns (Frank). The Divas will be played by Claudia Kariuki, Rosie Glossop and Aiesha Pease, and the cast is completed by Emma Katie Adcock, Jak Allen Anderson, Allie Daniel, Martin Harding, Clarice Julianda, Jemima Loddy, Nathan Ryles, Tom Scanlon and Jermaine Woods.