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Emma Rice and Michael Morpurgo's '946' to Make American Premiere at Berkeley Rep

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Berkeley Rep today announced the American premiere of 946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips adapted by Michael Morpurgo (War Horse) and Emma Rice, with Rice also directing.

Presented in association with Kneehigh and Birmingham Repertory Theatre, 946 begins previews on Friday, December 2 and runs until Sunday, January 15. Individual tickets start at $29 and can be purchased online at berkeleyrep.org or by phone, 510 647-2949. Press night will be on Wednesday, December 7.

The theatrical alchemists who brought Tristan & Yseult and The Wild Bride to Berkeley Rep return with a tender new coming-of-age tale that uncovers the secrets behind World War II's D-Day landings. In the idyllic seaside village of Slapton, the lives of 12-year-old Lily, her family, and her fiercely independent cat Tips are barely touched by war...until American soldiers occupy their house and land. With swingin' live music, enchanting puppetry, and signature stage sorcery, 946 is a story of love, war, and prejudice that crosses borders both geographical and generational.

"946 is a fantastical and celebratory piece that brings together English and American actors to tell a true story of the relationships between English villagers and American GIs," says Tony Taccone, Berkeley Rep's Michael Liebert Artistic Director. "Emma Rice brings her singular wit and imagination to transforming a moving children's tale into a true cross-generational epic theatrical experience."

946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips is based on Morpurgo's children's book The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips and was adapted into a theatrical presentation for all ages by Morpurgo and the show's director Emma Rice. The show had its world premiere at Kneehigh Asylum in Cornwall, UK, in summer 2015, and ran to wide acclaim at Shakespeare's Globe in London (where Rice is now artistic director) in September 2016. Following a UK tour and the presentation at Berkeley Rep, the show continues on a U.S. tour to Los Angeles and New York City.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS:

Michael Morpurgo (Adaptor)

Michael is one of the UK's best-loved authors and storytellers. He was appointed Children's Laureate in May 2003, a post he helped to set up with his friend TEd Hughes in 1999. He was awarded an OBE for services to Literature in the Queen's Birthday Honours in 2007. He has written over 130 books with world sales of over 34 million copies, including Kensuke's Kingdom, which won the Children's Book Award 2000 and was shortlisted for the Whitbread Children's Book Award and the Carnegie Medal in 2000. His novel, Private Peaceful, a harrowing story about the First World War, was published in autumn 2003. It won the 2004 Red House Children's Book Award and the Blue Peter Book Award in 2005. His novel Shadow, about a boy from Afghanistan and the dog he befriends, won the Red House Children's Book Award 2011, voted for by children. Pinocchio by Michael Morpurgo, illustrated by Emma Chichester-Clark, was published in September 2013. His newest novel, An Eagle in the Snow, was published in autumn 2015. Many of Michael's books have been adapted for the stage. These include Private Peaceful, Kensuke's Kingdom, Why the Whales Came, The Mozart Question, and most notably, the National Theatre's production of War Horse. This production of Michael's moving and powerful story of survival on the Western Front reached number one in the Observer's top 10 theatre performances and was also awarded the best design prize in the Evening Standard Theatre Awards. This production moved to New York where it has been awarded five Tony Awards. The film of War Horse by Steven Spielberg was released in January 2012. In 1976, Michael and his wife, Clare, started the charity Farms for City Children. They help to run three farms around the country, in Gloucestershire, Pembrokeshire, and North Devon. Each farm offers children and teachers from urban primary schools the chance to live and work in the countryside for a week, and gain hands-on experience.

Emma Rice (Director/Adaptor/Choreographer)

Emma is the artistic director of Shakespeare's Globe and directed this season's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. For the last 20 years she has worked for Kneehigh as an actor, director, and artistic director. Her productions for Kneehigh include 946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips, The Red Shoes, The Wooden Frock, Nights at the Circus, The Bacchae, Tristan & Yseult, Cymbeline, A Matter of Life and Death, Rapunzel, Brief Encounter, Don John, Midnight's Pumpkin, The Wild Bride, Wah! Wah! Girls, and Steptoe and Son. Other work includes the West End production of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Oedipussy (Spymonkey), The Empress (Royal Shakespeare Company), An Audience with Meow Meow (Berkeley Rep), Rebecca (a David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers Production in association with Kneehigh), and most recently The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk for Kneehigh (in association with Bristol Old Vic).

Nandi Bhebhe (Tips the Cat/Harry)

Nandi trained at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. Previous theatre credits include A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare's Globe); 5,6,7,8 (Royal Court); Episodes of Blackness (Vocab Dance Company); Fela! (National Theatre/Broadway/U.S. tour); A Season in the Congo (Young Vic Theatre); White Out (Barrowland Ballet Dance Company); and 946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips (Kneehigh).

Seamas Carey (Musician)

Seamas is a performer, composer, and silent film pianist who grew up in Cornwall. Theatre work includes Hetty Feather (Kenny Wax, Novel Theatre & William Archer); Neptunalia (cscape dance); Wolf's Child, Yule-Tide Ark-Ive, and 100: The Day Our World Changed (Wild Works); Two Punks and a Tandem, The Elves and the Shoemaker, The Ballad of a Thin Man, and The Tallest Horse on Earth (Silly Boys); The Ugly Sisters (Bec Applebee); The Giants (Wassail Theatre); Dracula and Great Expectations (Rabbit Theatre); The Winter's Tale, Moominland Midwinter, and Heidi: A Goat's Tale (the Egg, Theatre Royal Bath); The Little Match Girl (Dot & Ethel Theatre); Winter Dance Symposium (Falmouth University); The Tempest (Miracle Theatre); Griselda's Grandad (Shanty Theatre); and The Last Illusion and The Strongman and The Lion Tamer (Bash Street Theatre). He has also facilitated workshops with Travelling Light Theatre and guest lectured on silent film music at Falmouth University. Silent film compositions include One Week, The High Sign, Steamboat Bill Jr, and Sherlock Jr (Buster Keaton); The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Robert Wiene); The Adventures of Prince Achmed (Lottie Reiniger); Shoulder Arms, A Dog's Life, and Easy Street (Charlie Chaplin); Blackmail (Alfred Hitchcock); and Sunrise (F.W. Murnau).

Emma Darlow (Madame Bounine)

Emma trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. Theatre credits include Pinocchio (Iris Theatre), Playing for Time (Sheffield Crucible Theatre), Grimeborn: Napoleon Blown Apart (Arcola Theatre), Here is Where We Meet (Marlowe Theatre Studio), The Collected Works of Billy the Kid (Bouffes du Nord), and Stitched Up and As You Like It (Broken Holmes Productions). Film includes Planted Evidence, After a Home Tie, and Taking the Light.

Ncuti Gatwa (Adi)

Ncuti trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Previous theatre includes A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare's Globe); Victoria, Hecuba, The BFG, And Then There Were None, Cars + Boys, and A Woman in Mind (Dundee Rep); Romeo and Juliet (Home, Manchester); Shakespeare in Love (West End); 946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips (Kneehigh); and Lines (Yard Theatre). Television includes Bob Servant and Stonemouth.

Kyla Goodey (Lily's Mum)

Kyla trained at Desmond Jones School of Mime and Physical Theatre and Clowning. Theatre credits include A Curious Evening of Trance and Rap (Brighton Festival/UK tour); Charity Shop Cabaret (Trifle Gathering, Edinburgh Fringe); Don Quixote and Tregeagle (Kneehigh, UK/European tour); Gastronomic (Hoodwink, UK/European tour); Hamlet (Cube, UK tour); Hamlet, Quasimodo, and Twelfth Night (Miracle, Minack Theatre); Streaming (Pipeline, the Pleasance); Sex and Docks and Rock and Roll (Red Ladder, City Variety Leeds); The Thing about Psychopaths (Red Ladder, the Park); and Wolf's Child (Wild Works, Norfolk, and Norwich Festival). Film includes A to B, Worag, Wind, and Spat de Wertha. Television includes Doc Martin.

Chris Jared (Grandad Present/Vicar/Lily's Dad)

Chris trained at Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Theatre credits include Hamlet, As You Like It, All's Well that Ends Well, and The Taming of the Shrew (Royal Shakespeare Company); Coriolan/us and Praxis Makes Perfect (National Theatre Wales); The Duchess of Malfi (Nottingham Playhouse); The Late Henry Moss (Southwark Playhouse); Cyrano de Bergerac (Royal and Derngate, Northern Stage); The Revenger's Tragedy (Hoxton Hall); Three Sisters (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester); Much Ado About Nothing (Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park); and Emperor and Galilean (National Theatre). Film includes Robin Hood, The Drop, and Clown Café.

Pat Moran (Music Director/Musician)

Pat trained at California Institute of the Arts. He recently appeared in A Midsummer Night's Dream at Shakespeare's Globe as musical director/musician. Pat was part of the original company of 946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips. Other recent projects include Tristan & Yseult (Kneehigh/U.S. tour), Sleeping Beauty (Bristol Old Vic), and An Audience with Meow Meow (Berkeley Rep). Pat has written original music and lyrics for over a dozen professional produced theatre productions and served as resident composer/lyricist/musical director/multi-instrumentalist for the San Francisco Mime Troup from 2007-13.

Katy Owen (Lily Tregenza)

Katy trained at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Previous theatre credits include A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare's Globe), Rebecca and 946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips (Kneehigh), The World of Work (Difficult Stage), Apparitions of Spirits with the Forsythe Sisters (Gaggle Babble), Maudie's Rooms and Plum and Cinders (Sherman Cymru), and Under Milk Wood (Royal and Derngate, Northampton). Film and television includes Daddy's Girl, Shopping for Happiness, What We Did on Our Holidays, A Certain Date, and The Devil's Violin.

Mike Shepherd (Grandma Present/Grandad Past)

Mike is an actor, director, teacher, and the artistic director of Kneehigh. He started Kneehigh in 1980 and has worked almost exclusively for the company ever since. Mike is a pioneer of Kneehigh's transportable venue the Asylum and actively involved in the Kneehigh Rambles. Rambles are currently themed Run for your Life and as well as working with community groups and individuals in Cornwall, have been working with refugees in the Calais Jungle and the homeless in Bogota, Colombia. Work as director includes Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs) (Kneehigh, UK, and international tour), A VERY OLD Man with Enormous Wings (Little Angel Theatre, Islington), and The Tin Drum (Kneehigh, 2017 tour). Work as actor includes Tristan & Yseult, Steptoe and Son, Midnight's Pumpkin, The Red Shoes, The Bacchae, Cymbeline, The Wooden Frock, A Matter of Life and Death, and Don John (Kneehigh). Film includes Anna Karenina and Pan. Mike is a member of the Globe's Creative Cabinet and looks forward to Kneehigh's ongoing association with this exciting powerhouse of a theatre.

Adam Sopp (Boowie/Barry)

Adam trained at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Theatre credits include Sunny Afternoon (Hampstead/West End), Symphony (Waterloo Vaults), The El Train (Hoxton Hall), Backbeat (West End/world tour), This Place Means (Greenwich & Docklands International Festival), Naked Soldiers (Warehouse Theatre), The Daughter-in-Law (New Vic), A Chorus of Disapproval (Ipswich Wolsey/UK tour), All Quiet on the Western Front (Nottingham Playhouse/UK tour), (In Parenthesis) (Churchill Theatre, Bromley), and LES MISERABLES and Oliver! (West End). Television and film includes Stan Lee's Lucky Man, The Lost Honour of Christopher Jeffries, Father Brown, WPC 56, Holby City, Doctors, Casualty 1907, Teenage Kicks, Abroad, and Grange Hill. Alongside acting, Adam is an accomplished musician and has written music for theatre and computer games.

Akpore Uzoh (Blues Man/Old Adi)

Akpore trained at Guildhall School of Music and Drama and previous theatre credits include A Day in the Life (STET the English Theatre), Go Make You Ready (China tour), The Lights (the Spring), Cherry Pickin' Your Blossom (Albany Theatre), Rebellion (Hackney Empire), Blacks (Stratford Theatre), and Torn (Arcola Theatre). As director: What's Beneath the Hoodie (Stratford Circus Theatre). Film: as a writer/director A Day in the Life.

Ewan Wardrop (Lord Something-or-Others/Mrs Turner)

Previous theatre includes A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare's Globe); Rebecca (Kneehigh/UK tour); The Wind in the Willows (Duchess Theatre/Vaudeville Theatre); The World's Greatest Show (Royal Opera House/UK tour); Pinocchio (Royal Opera House); Formby (UK tour); West Side Story (Sage Gateshead); The Crane Maiden (Kanagawa Arts Theatre); Barbershopera: Apocalypse Noel! (Theatre Royal Plymouth); The Deep Blue Sea and Rattigan's Nijinsky (Chichester Festival Theatre); Enron (Royal Court/Noël Coward Theatre/UK tour); Rebel Harbour (Shanty Theatre); Up from the Waste (Soho Theatre); Johnno (Derby Playhouse); Promises, Promises (Sheffield Crucible Theatre); The Noise of Time (Complicite/world tour); Play Without Words (National Theatre/U.S. tour); Nutcracker! (Sadler's Wells); The Car Man (the Old Vic); Cinderella (Piccadilly Theatre); and Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake (Neil Simon Theatre, Broadway). Ewan runs the comedy morris dance group, the Bo Diddlers.

The creative team includes: Lez Brotherston (scenic and costume designer), Malcolm Rippeth (lighting designer), and Simon Baker (Sound Designer).

For the 2016-17 season, Berkeley Rep recognizes the generosity of season sponsors BART, Peet's Coffee, and Wells Fargo. Individual season sponsors include Jack and Betty Schafer, Michael and Sue Steinberg, and the Strauch Kulhanjian Family. Lead sponsors for 946 include Frances Hellman and Warren Breslau, Stewart and Rachelle Owen, and Mechanics Bank Wealth Management.

ABOUT THE PRODUCERS:

Berkeley Repertory Theatre has grown from a storefront stage to an international leader in innovative theatre. Known for its core values of imagination and excellence, as well as its educated and adventurous audience, the nonprofit has provided a welcoming home for emerging and established artists since 1968. In four decades, four million people have enjoyed nearly 400 shows at Berkeley Rep. These shows have gone on to win five Tony Awards, seven Obie Awards, nine Drama Desk Awards, one Grammy Award, and many other honors. In recognition of its place on the national stage, Berkeley Rep received the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre in 1997. Its bustling facilities - which include the 400-seat Peet's Theatre, the 600-seat Roda Theatre, the Berkeley Rep School of Theatre, the Osher Studio, and a spacious new campus in West Berkeley - are helping revitalize a renowned city. Learn more at berkeleyrep.org

Birmingham Repertory Theatre Company is one of Britain's leading producing theatre companies. Founded in 1913 by Sir Barry Jackson, Birmingham Repertory Theatre Company rapidly became one of the most famous and exciting theatre companies in the country launching the careers of an array of many great British actors including Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson, Edith Evans, Paul Scofield, Derek Jacobi, Elizabeth Spriggs, Albert Finney, and many more. In 2013 the company celebrated its centenary. The Rep's aim is to inspire a lifelong love of theatre in the diverse communities of Birmingham and beyond. As well as presenting over 60 productions on its three stages every year, the theatre tours its productions nationally and internationally, showcasing theatre made in Birmingham. The commissioning and production of new work lies at the core of the Rep's programme and over the last 15 years the company has produced more than 130 new plays. Birmingham-rep.org.uk

Kneehigh are a Cornwall based theatre company with a local, national and international profile. For over 30 years we have created vigorous, popular and challenging theatre and perform with joyful anarchy. We tell stories. Based in breath-taking barns on the south coast of Cornwall, we create theatre of humanity on an epic and tiny scale. We work with an ever-changing ensemble of performers, artists, technicians, administrators, makers and musicians, and are passionate about our multi-disciplined creative process. In 2010 we launched the Asylum, a beautiful and flexible nomadic structure, which means we now have a venue to call home as well as being one of the leading touring theatre companies in the UK. We have now presented 6 Asylum seasons and we will continue to reinvent the space and explore new locations in future years. Alongside our national and international touring and Asylum seasons, we run the Kneehigh Rambles, aiming to engage creatively with communities in Cornwall and beyond through event and adventure.


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