Full Cast Set For the RSC's KYOTO

Performances run in The Swan Theatre from 18 June – 13 July 2024.

By: May. 02, 2024
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Full Cast Set For the RSC's KYOTO

The RSC and Good Chance have announced full casting for the world premiere of Kyoto; a major new production which places audiences at the heart of the historic 1997 Kyoto climate summit.

Premiering in The Swan Theatre from 18 June – 13 July 2024 with Press Night on Tuesday 25 June, this fast-paced political thriller reunites the creative team behind the multi award-winning hit The Jungle; which began life in the refugee camps of Calais in 2015 and went on to become a sell-out hit in the UK and internationally.  

RSC Co-Artistic Directors, Daniel Evans and Tamara Harvey said; “In building our inaugural season at the RSC, we set ourselves the challenge of reaching across borders, to seek out the most exciting writers, directors and actors of our times and asking them which stories they feel a passionate need to tell. To be working with Good Chance and their long-term collaborators Stephen Daldry and Justin Martin on this powerful and urgent new play is a particularly thrilling example; one which speaks directly to how the RSC can be in conversation with the world.”

Written by Good Chance co-founders, Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson and directed by Stephen Daldry (Stranger Things The First Shadow, Billy Elliot, The Inheritance) and Justin Martin (Stranger Things The First Shadow, Prima Facie), this breathless and gripping tale recounts the fateful hours of tense negotiation which lead up to the historic signing of the UN's landmark climate conference in December 1997.

Global in scale and yet personal at heart, big oil, big money and big egos clash in the battle to secure the world's first legally binding emissions targets…and to make the impossible, for the first time, seem possible.

Making his RSC debut in the role of American oil lobbyist and master strategist is Tony award-nominated actor Stephen Kunken.

Stephen was most recently seen as James Jesus Angelton in the BAFTA nominated series A Spy Among Friends opposite Damian Lewis and Guy Pearce for Britbox. He is well known as Chief Compliance Officer Ari Spyros over the 7 seasons of the Showtime series Billions and as Commander Warren Putnam over the 5 seasons of Hulu's award-winning show, The Handmaid's Tale. His additional television credits include The Affair, The Goodwife, Unforgettable, Blue Bloods, The Sopranos and The Apple Family Plays and more. Amongst his film work Kunken can be seen Co-starring in Woody Allen's Café Society, Hill Billy Elegy, directed by Ron Howard, Jason Bourne, directed by Paul Greengrass, Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street, Steven Spielberg's Bridge of Spies, and Ang Lee's Taking Woodstock. His directorial debut Before, During, After took home top prizes at four International Film Festivals and is distributed by Gravitas Ventures.

On stage Kunken received a 2010 Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Play honouring his performance as "Andy Fastow" in Enron (Broadhurst Theater). He has also appeared on Broadway in The Columnist (Samuel J. Friedman Theatre), High (The Booth Theater), Rock ‘n' Roll (Bernard Jacobs Theater), Frost/Nixon; Outer Critics Circle and Drama League Nominations (Bernard Jacobs Theater), Festen (Music Box Theater) and Proof (Walter Kerr Theatre). His recent off-broadway credits include: An American Daughter (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Apple Family Plays (The Public Theater), Nikolai and the Others (Lincoln Center Theater), and Our Town (Barrow St. Theatre).

Joining Stephen are Jenna Augen (Shirley Pearlman), Jorge Bosch who plays Argentinian ambassador Raul Estrada Oyuela, Vincent Franklin (Fred Singer), Dale Rapley (Bert Bolin) and Olivia Barrowclough (Secretariat).

Representing the National Delegations are Andrea Gatchalian as Kiribati / AOSIS, Raad Rawi as Mohammad Al Sabban / OPEC, Kwong Loke as Prof. Shukong Zhong / China, Nancy Crane as USA/Wirth/Eisenstat, Ingrid Oliver as Angela Merkel / Germany, Jude Akuwudike as Prof. Mark Mwandosya / Tanzania, Ferdy Roberts as UK/Prescott/Houghton and Togo Igawa as Hiroshi Ohki / Japan.

Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson said, “Good Chance began nine years ago in the Calais Jungle refugee camp, where thousands of people from dozens of countries lived side by side. Together with camp residents we built a theatre, and for eight months made art of all kinds and cultures. Since then, we have created work that celebrates and interrogates our differences and our common human experience, always asking – how can we live together?  

Kyoto is a play about how to agree, in a world awash with disagreement. In many ways, the Kyoto Protocol should never have happened. How could 176 countries find consensus on a subject as complex and important as climate change, especially as powerful forces worked to undermine the process at every stage? And yet, against all the odds, they did. We're thrilled and honoured to be creating Kyoto with the RSC as part of Daniel and Tamara's first season.”

Stephen Daldry and Justin Martin added, “This play marks our first time directing for the RSC, an exciting moment for us both to take part in a new chapter in the RSC's story.

Kyoto is a play which speaks directly and urgently to the world we live in and the ecological crisis in which we find ourselves. In the spirit of the 1997 climate summit, we are blessed to be working with a truly international company of artists; all of whom bring their own unique perspectives, cultures and experience”. 

Joe Robertson and Joe Murphy's debut play, The Jungle, came from their seven months running a theatre, the Good Chance Dome, in the Calais refugee camp. It premiered at the Young Vic in 2017, before transferring to the West End, St. Ann's Warehouse (New York), Curran (San Francisco) and Shakespeare Theatre Company (Washington DC). The play received universal acclaim, the South Bank Sky Arts Award for Theatre, and an Obie Award. In 2021, Good Chance embarked upon The Walk, an 8,000km festival across Europe with a 3m tall puppet of Little Amal, inspired by the character from The Jungle. Their work with Good Chance brings people together through theatre and art to create surprising stories that spark new conversations and encourage action on complex urgent issues of our time, migration, climate crisis and polarisation, all with displaced artists centre-stage.

Stephen Daldry is an award-winning theatre, film and television director and producer. He has directed theatre productions for the West End and Broadway, including Billy Elliot, The Inheritance and An Inspector Calls, winning multiple Olivier and Tony awards. His latest play Stranger Things: The First Shadow opened at The Phoenix Theatre in December 2023. Stephen has directed 6 feature films which have all been nominated for major industry awards. Netflix's The Crown, on which he serves as Executive Producer, recently released the final season, with Stephen directing the last episode. Stephen served as producer on the opening and closing ceremonies for the London 2012 Olympics and was Artistic Director on Vogue World London in 2023. Stephen is the Chairman of refugee arts charity Good Chance and was the director of their award-winning production The Jungle. He serves on the board of The Perlman Performing Arts Center in New York.

Justin Martin is a multi-award-winning director working in theatre, film and television. Most recently he co-directed the Olivier Award winning and critically acclaimed Stranger Things: The First Shadow with Stephen Daldry, currently running at The Phoenix Theatre. In 2022/2023 he directed Jodie Comer in her Broadway and West End stage debut Prima Facie by Suzie Miller. The sold-out, award-winning production received rave reviews and 23 awards including the Olivier Award for Best New Play. The NT Live of the production smashed box office records becoming the highest grossing event cinema release of all time. In 2021 Justin co-directed the BAFTA Award-winning film Together starring James McAvoy and Sharon Horgan. More recently he directed all six episodes of David Ireland's hit series The Lovers for Sky Atlantic, Sundance and AMC starring Johnny Flynn and Roisin Gallagher. His award-winning production of The Jungle (co-directed with Daldry) played a sell-out return season in New York and Washington DC, following seasons in San Francisco, New York, the West End and at the Young Vic. Justin is an associate artist for Good Chance.

The full creative team comprises; Miriam Buether (Set Designer), Natalie Pryce (Costume Designer) Aideen Malone (Lighting Designer), Christopher Reid (Sound Designer), Akhila Krishnan (Video Designer), Gemma Stockwood (Dramaturg) and Julia Horan CDG (Casting Director).



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