Full Cast Announced For WONDER BOY at Bristol Old Vic as Rehearsals Begin

Performances run 5 - 26 Mar 2022.

By: Feb. 01, 2022
Full Cast Announced For WONDER BOY at Bristol Old Vic as Rehearsals Begin

Hot on the heels of the smash hit Dr Semmelweis comes the next in Bristol Old Vic's Spring season of new writing. Award-winning writer Ross Willis joins forces with Olivier Award-winning director Sally Cookson for Wonder Boy, exploring one boy's search for his own voice and identity.

Casting was announced today and will star Raphel Famotibe as Sonny. Raphel was seen in the acclaimed BAFTA-winning films Rocks and Damilola, Our Loved Boy, and was lead in the BAFTA-nominated short Wale. This is his professional stage debut. He is joined by Juliet Agnes as best friend Roshi who was recently lead in the Channel 4 BAFTA-nominated BBW. Internationally acclaimed actor Amanda Lawrence plays Sonny's teacher, Wainwright. Her theatre work includes The National Theatre's, Angels in America and Top Girls as well as being a familiar face to Bristol audiences through her work with Kneehigh Theatre including Nights at the Circus and Tristan & Yseult. Deaf visual theatre creator Ramesh Meyyappan plays Sonny's fantasy hero, Captain Chatter. He is an acclaimed performer, and two-time winner of the Life! Theatre Awards (Best Actor) and nominated for a Critics' Award for Theatre in Scotland. The cast is completed by Jenny Fitzpatrick as Mum/Fish. Her theatre work includes the title role in Tina: The Tina Turner Musical (West End), Complicite's A Pacifist's Guide to the War on Cancer and The Globe's Boudica. They are joined on stage by musicians Benji and Will Bower.

Wonder Boy was the first play ever written by Willis, a playwright from Bristol, who went on to write the acclaimed production Wolfie, which premiered at Theatre503 setting him out as "a fresh and fearless voice" (Evening Standard) in British theatre. The play won Best New Play at both the Writers' Guild Awards and the Off-West End Awards 2020 and earned him a nomination for Best Writer at the 2019 Stage Debut Awards and Most Promising Playwright in the Evening Standard Theatre Awards.

He won the 2019 Royal Court and Kudos Fellowship and the 2019 Channel 4 Playwright Award. Ross was part of the writers' room for The Outlaws, created by Stephen Merchant and is currently under commission to the Royal Court, Soho Theatre, Paines Plough, LAMDA, the Orange Tree Theatre and the Almeida. He is also an Associate Artist at Pentabus.

Director Cookson first discovered Wonder Boy as part of a season of new works presented by Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in 2019 and was determined to bring it to Bristol Old Vic audiences. She said: "I saw the workshop production of Wonder Boy and was blown away by the writing. I've never seen a piece of writing like that before. Ross is a unique writer with a completely individual voice. It felt so important to tell this story at Bristol Old Vic".

Sally Cookson is responsible for many of Bristol Old Vic's most memorable and beloved productions from the Olivier award-winning A Monster Calls (with Old Vic, London) to Jane Eyre, Peter Pan and Treasure Island. She is joined by long-time collaborators, composer Benji Bower, designer Katie Sykes and Lighting Designer Aideen Malone, with integrated captioning designed by Tom Newell of Limbic Cinema.

The team is completed by Movement Director Laila Diallo, Assistant Director Max Sutherland, Sound Designer Jon Everett, Speech and Language Therapists Deborah Mason and Anna Prince, Deaf Consultant David Ellington, Casting Director Jessica Straker and Costume Supervisor Sophia Khan.

The production is also complemented by a series of workshops and engagement projects around identity, belonging and being heard. Sally explained: "We've talked a lot about community over the last few years in the theatre industry. This is the important thing about theatre; making connections, communicating and sharing ideas. Working hand-in-hand with Bristol Old Vic's Engagement department - the beating heart of the theatre - means we can make this production accessible to people who communicate in a variety of different ways, while also making sure the next generation of writers and directors in Bristol feel connected to the production at a deeper level than ever before."

Performances run 5 - 26 Mar 2022.

Box office: tickets@bristololdvic.org.uk / 0117 987 7877


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