Royal Stratford East's EQUUS Opens Today

Royal Stratford East's EQUUS Opens Today

English Touring Theatre and Theatre Royal Stratford East present Ned Bennett's bold new production of Peter Shaffer's critically-acclaimed classic, psychological thriller Equus.

Bennett directs Robert Fitch (Frank Strang/Horse), Keith Gilmore (Harry Dalton/Nurse/Horse), Ethan Kai (Alan Strang), Syreeta Kumar (Dora Strang/Horse), Norah Lopez Holden (Jill Mason/Horse), Ruth Lass (Hester Salomon/Horse), Ira Mandela Siobhan (Young Horseman/Nugget) and Zubin Varla (Martin Dysart) completes the cast.

The production opens at Theatre Royal Stratford East on 21 February, with previews from 15 February and runs until 23 March prior to embarking on a UK tour to Cambridge Arts Theatre, Theatre Royal Bath, Bristol Old Vic, The Lowry, Northern Stage and Yvonne Arnaud Theatre.

Inspired by a true story, Peter Shaffer's gripping and transfixing psychological thriller is re-imagined by award-winning theatre director Ned Bennett in this major new revival for 2019.

Equus explores the complex relationships between devotion, myth and sexuality.

When teenager Alan Strang's pathological fascination leads him to blind six horses in a Hampshire stable, psychiatrist Dr. Martin Dysart is tasked with uncovering the motive behind the boy's violent act. As Dysart delves into Alan's world of twisted spiritualty, passion and sexuality, he begins to question his own sanity and motivations in a world driven by consumerism.

Sir Peter Shaffer's (1926 - 2016) plays include The Salt Land, The Prodigal Father, Balance of Terror, Five Finger Exercise (Evening Standard Drama Award), The Private Ear, The Public Eye, The Royal Hunt of the Sun, Black Comedy, White Lies, The Battle of Shrivings, Yonadab, The Gift of the Gorgon, Lettice and Lovage and Amadeus (Evening Standard Drama Award and Tony Award for Best Play). His plays adapted for film include Five Finger Exercise, The Royal Hunt of the Sun, Equus and Amadeus (Academy Award for Best Picture), for television The Salt Land and Balance of Terror, and for radio The Prodigal Father and Whom Do I Have the Honour of Addressing?. In 1994, Shaffer was Visiting Professor of Contemporary Drama at St. Catherine's College, Oxford. He was awarded the CBE in 1987 and was knighted in 2001.

Robert Fitch plays Frank Strang/Horse. His theatre credits include Jerusalem, Journey's End (The Watermill Theatre), Much Ado About Nothing (Mercury Theatre Colchester), A Midsummer's Night's Dream (Stafford Festival Shakespeare), Anne Boleyn (Shakespeare's Globe / ETT tour), Edward II (Rose Theatre), Terms of Endearment (York Theatre Royal), The Wings of The Dove (Minerva Theatre), Dangerous Corner (Theatre Royal Windsor) and Wait Until Dark (Garrick Theatre).

Keith Gilmore plays Harry Dalton/Nurse/Horse. His theatre credits include Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare's Globe). Film credits include Ghost Recon: Future Soldier.

Ethan Kai plays Alan Strang. His theatre credits include Goats (Royal Court Theatre) and Returning to Haifa (Finborough Theatre). His television credits include Emmerdale as series regular Kasim Sabet; and for film, Instrument of War.

Syreeta Kumar plays Dora Strang/Horse. Her theatre credits include The Breakfast Plays (Traverse Theatre), Made in India, The Husbands (Soho Theatre), Twelfth Night, Midnight's Children, Hamlet, Camino Real, Much Ado About Nothing (Royal Shakespeare Company) and Little Red Riding Hood (Theatre Royal Stratford East). Television credits include Coronation Street as series regular D.C. Leslie.

Norah Lopez Holden plays Jill Mason/Horse. Theatre credits include The Winter's Tale (Shakespeare's Globe), The Almighty Sometimes, Our Town (The Royal Exchange), Othello (The Tobacco Factory), Ghosts (HOME).

Ruth Lass plays Hester Salomon/Horse. Theatre credits include The Tempest (Barbican, BITE Festival), Hamlet (LIFT Festival), Wagner Dream (Barbican), Martin Yesterday (Royal Exchange Theatre), Live Like Pigs (Royal Court Theatre) and The House of Bernarda Alba (Young Vic).

Ira Mandela Siobhan plays Young Horseman/Nugget. Theatre credits include Feast (The Young Vic), Lifeguard (The National Theatre of Scotland) and FELA! (The National Theatre).

Zubin Varla plays Martin Dysart. His theatre credits include Fun Home, Bartholomew Fair (Young Vic), The Enchantment, Attempts on Her Life, The Life of Galileo, Cyrano de Bergerac, Celestine, The Hour That We Knew Nothing Of Each Other (National Theatre), Julius Caesar (Lyric Hammersmith), Two Gentlemen of Verona, Faust (Swan Theatre), Midnight's Children, The Tempest (Barbican), Roberto Zucco (The Other Place), The Painter of Dishonour (Gulbenkian Studio), Twelfth Night (Donmar Warehouse), Paradise Regained (Royal Court Theatre), In the Heart of America (Bush), Teeth 'n' Smiles (Sheffield Crucible), Jesus Christ Superstar (Lyceum Theatre), Beautiful Thing (Duke of York's Theatre), Dr Foster (Menier Chocolate Factory), Hello and Goodbye (Southwark Playhouse), A Connecticut Yankee in the Court of King Arthur, Romeo and Juliet, Lady Be Good (Regent's Park Open Air Theatre), Antigone for Warehouse Productions (Old Vic) and Amadeus (UK Tour). Television credits include Deep State as Said, Our Girl as Qaseem, Strike Back as Leo Kamali, Saddam's Tribe, Little Dorrit and Holby City as series regular Rafi Raza.

Ned Bennett directs Equus. He is an award-winning theatre director, who trained at The Royal Court Theatre, the National Theatre and LAMDA. His work includes the Evening Standard Award-winning An Octoroon, which opened at the Orange Tree Theatre in Spring 2017 and transferred to the Dorfman last year, and Buggy Baby which opened at the Yard Theatre in March 2018. He directed the Bruntwood Prize-winning Yen at the Manchester Royal Exchange which transferred to the Royal Court in 2016, and Pomona which was commissioned by the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama and transferred to the Orange Tree, and then to the National Theatre. Pomona and Yen won Bennett the UKT Best Director award 2015. Pomona won four Off-West End awards: Best Director, Best Production, Best New Play and Best Lighting Design.



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