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Full Cast Announced For Nuffield Southampton Theatres' Production Of THE GRAPES OF WRATH

With Nuffield Southampton Theatres' production of Fantastic Mr Fox about to start its tour at Lyric Hammersmith, Director Sam Hodges today announces casting for the forthcoming production of John Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Grapes of Wrath, adapted by Frank Galati.

The American dust bowl. The height of the Great Depression. One family begins an epic journey, driven as much by fear as by hope. Route 66 to California, the Promised Land. In search of work. A new life.

NST Associate Abbey Wright directs a cast including Ben Bland (Connie), Daniel Booroff (Noah), BrenDan Charleson (Casy), Charlie Folorunsho (Pa), Shiv Jalota (Al), Jim Kitson (Uncle John), Pamela Merrick (Granma/Elizabeth Sandry), Amy Molloy (Rose of Sharon), Harry Napier (as cast), Alexander Newland (Muley, Narrator, Vocalist), Heronimo Sehmi (Grampa), André Squire (Tom Joad) and Julia Swift (Ma), alongside a 50-strong community company made of up local residents in each tour venue.

The co-production with Nottingham Playhouse, Royal & Derngate, Northampton and West Yorkshire Playhouse opens in Southampton on 14 March, before touring to each of the co-producing venues. Running in tandem with the show at each venue are a series of initiatives in support of refugees, asylum seekers and migrant communities, including free ticket schemes and workshops to overcome language barriers.

Abbey Wright said today, "The Grapes of Wrath is uncannily relevant to the world we find ourselves in today; increasing mechanisation, displacement of people, economic and environmental crisis. Across the world we have seen fear and hatred entering political discourse on immigration and identity. At the heart of The Grapes of Wrath is the need for community and love. Steinbeck invites us to ask ourselves 'Who is our family?', 'Who are our children?'".

This vital new production features a community company with live music from Matt Regan (Greater Belfast).

Frank Galati won the 1990 Tony Award for Best Play for his dramatisation of The Grapes of Wrath (he also won the Tony Award for Best Director). Since this success with The Grapes of Wrath, Galati has gone on to adapt As I Lay Dying and Haruki Murakami's After the Quake and original work, such as Everyman. He was an associate director at the Goodman Theatre from 1986 to 2008 where his productions included She Always Said, Pablo, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to the Forum, Passion Play and The Winter's Tale. Galati and co-writer Lawrence Kasdan adapted the novel The Accidental Tourist for a film, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, a BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and a Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. The pair won a USC Scripter Award for the screenplay.

BrenDan Charleson plays Casy. His theatre credits include Insignificance, The Herbal Bed, Under Milk Wood, The Aristocrats, Glengarry Glen Ross, Roots, Taming of The Shrew, Dancing At Lughnasa, Arden Of Faversham, The Suicide, Measure For Measure, The Two Princes, Brassed Off and To Kill A Mockingbird (all for Theatr Clwyd), Talent, Diana Of Dobson's, Bus Stop (New Vic Stoke), The Rise & Fall Of Little Voice (West Yorkshire Playhouse/Birmingham Rep) and The Accrington Pals (Manchester Royal Exchange). His recent television work includes Trollied, Da Vinci's Demons, Indian Doctor; and recent film work includes Killer Elite.

Charlie Folorunsho plays Pa. His theatre work includes The Trial (Young Vic), The Arrival (Tamasha), Satyagraha (Improbable Theatre and Metropolitan Opera House), Class Club (Barbican), Fermentation (Grid Iron), Peter Pan (Kensington Gardens), Slamdunk and African Cargo (Nitro), The Fireworkmakers' Daughter and The Evocation of Papa Mas (Told By An Idiot), Timon of Athens and The Lower Depths (Cardboard Citizens), A Christmas Carol (Lyric Hammersmith), To Kill a Mockingbird and The Resistible Rise Of Arturo Ui (Mercury Theatre Colchester).

André Squire plays Tom Joad. His theatre work includes Lonely Cowboy and The Refugee Boy (West Yorkshire Playhouse) and Our Style is Legendary (Nottingham Playhouse). For television his work includes The Vice, Jamie Johnson, West 10 Ldn; and for film, Bypass.

Julia Swift plays Ma. Her theatre work includes Philadelphia Here I Come, Orpheus Descending (Donmar Warehouse), Suddenly Last Summer (Comedy Theatre), Broken Glass (National Theatre), Chekhov's Women (Queen's and Lyric Theatres), Revelations (Hampstead Theatre), Seduced (Finborough Theatre), Ambulance (Royal Court Theatre), Time and The Conways (Old Vic and tour), The Provok'd Wife (The Old Vic), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Regents Park Open Air Theatre), The Merchant of Venice (Broadway), Two Gentlemen of Verona, All's Well That Ends Well and Electra (all RSC). Her television work includes The Caucasian Chalk Circle and Broken Glass; and for film, Song of Songs.

Abbey Wright is Associate Director at NST. Her directing credits include The Mountaintop, Diana of Dobson's, Talent, Ghosts (all New Vic), The Cocktail Party (Print Room at the Coronet), The Mentalists (Old Vic Productions/Wyndham's Theatre), The Father, Mrs Lowry & Song (Trafalgar Studios), Dublin Carol (Donmar Warehouse), Five Finger Exercise (Chichester Minerva), The Glass Supper (Hampstead Theatre Downstairs), The Eisteddfod, Holiday (Bussey Building), The Occupied Times, Lakeboat, Prairie Du Chien (all Arcola Theatre), Sixty-Six Books (Bush Theatre), Rose (Pleasance, Edinburgh), The Song of Deborah, Hidden Glory (Lowry Theatre), Confusions, Restoration Sketch Show (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Anne of The Thousand Days (Old Vic Productions/Michael McCabe) and The Ones That Flutter (Theatre503). She is the Artistic Director of tackroom theatre. She was Staff Director to Danny Boyle on Frankenstein at the National Theatre and the Resident Assistant Director at the Donmar Warehouse under Michael Grandage.

TOUR DATES

Nuffield Southampton Theatres

Monday 6 - Saturday 25 March

Box office: 023 8067 1771

www.nstheatres.co.uk

Nottingham Playhouse

Tuesday 28 March - Saturday 8 April

Box office: 0115 941 9419

www.nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk

Royal & Derngate, Northampton

Tuesday 9 May - Saturday 20 May

Box office: 01604 624 811

www.royalandderngate.co.uk

West Yorkshire Playhouse

24 May - Saturday 10 June

Box office: 0113 213 7700

www.wyp.org.uk

ABOUT NUFFIELD SOUTHAMPTON THEATRES

Nuffield Southampton Theatres is one of the UK's leading professional theatre companies. The Company is led by Samuel Hodges, supported by a team of associates: directors Blanche McIntyre, Natalie Abrahami, Michael Longhurst and Abbey Wright, designer Tom Scutt and playwright Adam Brace, and develops and produces work with some of the UK's most exciting and dynamic regional theatres. NST won 'Regional Theatre of the Year' at The Stage Awards 2015 & Best Design UK Theatre 2015 (The Hudsucker Proxy).

In Autumn 2017, NST will take over a second venue in Southampton's new £28M city centre arts venue. This new venue will include a flexible 450 seat main house theatre, a 135 seat studio, screening facilities, rehearsal and workshop spaces. It will transform NST's ability to show high quality professional work from local, national and International Artists and allow the programme to include dance, film and music. NST will run the new city centre venue alongside its existing theatre on the University of Southampton's Highfield Campus.

Laboratory is the creative development programme for new work and new talent; through which NST collaborate with artists at all stages in their careers to experiment with new ideas. All of NST's produced work is developed alongside Laboratory, which provide a programme of talent development opportunities such as creative residencies, scratch nights, networking opportunities and skills development workshops.

NST Connect aims to enrich the experience of its work for all, through a vibrant programme of engagement. NST Connect reaches over 17,000 people through a programme of creative activities, Youth Theatre and Drama Club, adult workshops and outreach projects, including RSC Open Stages.

Nuffield Southampton Theatres is an Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation and a registered charity, receiving additional core funding from the University of Southampton, Southampton City Council and Hampshire County Council.

ABOUT NOTTINGHAM PLAYHOUSE

Nottingham Playhouse has been one of the United Kingdom's leading producing theatres since its foundation in 1948. It welcomes over 130,000 ticket buyers through its doors annually and has an additional footfall of 170,000 visitors to participation events and to Anish Kapoor's stunning Sky Mirror. It creates productions large and small, from timeless classics and enthralling family shows to adventurous new commissions, often touring work nationally and internationally. Its production of The Kite Runner transferred to the West End's Wyndham's Theatre in December 2016. It's current season includes Touched, starring Vicky McClure and Aisling Loftus.

ABOUT ROYAL & DERNGATE, NORTHAMPTON

Royal & Derngate, Northampton, is the main venue for arts and entertainment in Northamptonshire. Last year more than 314,000 people saw shows and films at Royal & Derngate, and another 180,000 saw its co-produced work across the country. Recognised as one of the country's leading regional theatres, Royal & Derngate won the Management Award for Best Presentation of Touring Theatre in the 2015 UK Theatre Awards, and was nominated again in The Stage Awards 2016 for Regional Theatre of the Year (which it won in 2011). Its acclaimed Made in Northampton work has included Arthur Miller's The Hook (world premiere adapted for the stage by Ron Hutchinson), Aldous Huxley's Brave New World (world premiere adaptation by Dawn King) and Festival Of Chaos (Cultural Olympiad 2012). The Herbal Bed (a co-production with English Touring Theatre and Rose Theatre Kingston) won the 2016 UK Theatre Award for Best Touring Production. The theatre also runs a wide-ranging Get Involved participatory programme which reached over 21,500 people last year, through projects in schools, within the community and at the theatre.

ABOUT West Yorkshire Playhouse

West Yorkshire Playhouse has a reputation both nationally and internationally as a leading UK producing theatre. The theatre is a cultural hub, a place where people gather to tell and share stories and to engage in world class theatre. From large scale spectacle to intimate performance The Playhouse develops and makes work for the stage, for found spaces, for touring, for schools and community venues. Alongside work for the stage The Playhouse is dedicated to providing creative engagement opportunities, building and running sustainable projects that reach out to a diverse range of communities. Supporting new and emerging artists is key and the theatre provides creative space for new writers, directors, companies and individual theatre makers to refine their practice. Highlights of the Spring Summer 2017 Season include a contemporary and resonant Romeo and Juliet directed by Amy Leach, and Ode to Leeds inspired by a group of Leeds directed by Artistic Director, James Brining.



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