Full Casting Announced For Mercury Theatre Colchester And Tbo Productions' Brand New Musical PIECES OF STRING

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Mercury Theatre Colchester and TBO Productions today announce full casting for the world première of their brand-new musical - Pieces of String, with book, music and lyrics by Gus Gowland. Ryan McBryde directs Carol Starks (Jane), Andy Coxon (Ed), Marilyn Cutts (Rose), Ella Dunlop (Gemma), Lauren Hall (Anna), Joel Harper-Jackson (Tom), Craig Mather (Edward) and Gary Wood (Harry).

Open auditions were held in Colchester to cast Young Rose, and the part will be alternated by three young people local to the theatre. Pieces of String, designed by 2017 Linbury Prize Finalist Fin Redshaw, opens on 27 April at the Mercury, with previews from 20 April and runs until 5 May.

When Jane returns from her father's funeral to start clearing the house she grew up in - packing away the family photographs, closing a chapter - she isn't prepared for the untold story she's about to discover threaded through her past, a story that threatens to unravel her relationship with her own children and shake her understanding of who she is.

A new musical set simultaneously in the 1940s and in the present day, Pieces Of String tells how Jane's father, Edward, came back from the Second World War with a secret that would change his life forever - a secret that he would carry until the day he died.

With hauntingly beautiful music and a heart-rending human story, Pieces Of String is a tender, funny, emotionally-charged exploration of how three generations of one family learn to deal with a story that nobody's been brave enough to tell until today. Times may have changed but some battles still need to be fought.

Carol Starks plays Jane. Her theatre credits include Roundabout (Park Theatre/59E59 Theatre NYC), Before the Party (UK tour), Dirty Dancing (Aldwych Theatre), Hedda Gabler (Donmar Warehouse - Ian Charleson award commendation), The Robbers and Aurelie, My Sister (Gate Theatre), Sweeney Todd and The Crucible (National Theatre). Her television credits include Wallander, Shameless, Blue Murder, Family Affairs, William & Mary, Redcap, Peak Practice, Reckless, Keeping Mum, Family Money, Trust Me, Lipstick On Your Collar, The Guilty, May To December, Vincent Van Gogh and The Ginger Tree.

Andy Coxon plays Ed. His theatre credits include Hair (The Vaults), Yank! (Charing Cross Theatre), The Last Five Years (Kulturhaus, Frankfurt), Sister Act (Kilworth House Theatre), 20th Century Boy - The Marc Bolan Musical (UK tour), Another Way (Cockpit Theatre), Les Misérables (Queen's Theatre), The Rocky Horror Show and Evita (European tour); and for film, Les Misérables and The Agency.

Marilyn Cutts plays Rose. Her theatre work includes Funny Girl (Menier Chocolate Factory and Savoy Theatre), The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Never Forget (Savoy Theatre), Wicked (Apollo Victoria), The Rose Tattoo, Oklahoma! (National Theatre), La Traviata (Donmar Warehouse) and Show Boat (London Palladium). For film, her work includes Les Miserables.

Ella Dunlop plays Gemma. Her theatre credits include The Passing of The Third Floor Back (Finborough Theatre), The Comedy of Errors (Northcott Theatre, Exeter) and Conscience (Leicester Square Theatre).

Lauren Hall plays Anna. Her theatre credits includes Mrs Henderson Presents (Royal Alexander Theatre Toronto), Annie Get Your Gun (Sheffield Crucible Theatre), Annie (UK tour), Gypsy (The Savoy Theatre), Singin' in The Rain (UK tour and Tokyu Theatre Orb Japan), Loserville (Garrick Theatre and West Yorkshire Playhouse), Jersey Boys (Prince Edward Theatre), 42nd Street (Chichester Festival Theatre), High School Musical 2 (UK tour) and The Showgirl Within (Garrick Theatre).

Joel Harper-Jackson plays Tom. His theatre credits include Myth: The Rise and Fall of Orpheus (The Other Palace), The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (UK tour), Jesus Christ Superstar (Regent's Park Open Air Theatre), Beautiful - The Carole King Musical (Aldwych Theatre) and Picture Perfect (St James Theatre).

Craig Mather plays Edward. For theatre his credits include The Wind in the Willows (London Palladium), Les Misérables (Queen's Theatre), Sweeney Todd (Harrington's Pie Shop/West End), Tonight's the Night (UK tour) andSpring Awakening (English Theatre Frankfurt). His television credits include Pompidou; and for film, Alice Through the Looking Glass and Cinderella.

Gary Wood plays Harry. His theatre credits include A Pacifist's Guide to the War on Cancer (National

Theatre and national tour), The House of In Between, The Infidel - The Musical (Theatre Royal Stratford East), Our Country's Good, Dara (National Theatre), A Chorus Line (London Palladium) and Wicked (Apollo Victoria); and for film, World War Z and Walking on Sunshine.

Gus Gowland most recently wrote a short musical, Sick!, performed at LOST Theatre as part of Accidents & Emergencies, while his short play Clocks & Teapots was performed at RADA Studios and the London Transport Museum as part of London Omnibus. He co-wrote and directed Barren, Love Love Love (Canadian Fringe Tour), wrote and performed in Tell Me on A Thursday at the Camden Fringe and wrote two songs for Copyright Christmas, for Olivier Award-winning theatre collective Duckie at the Barbican. He has produced and directed a season of Miniscule Musicals at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, one of which was performed at the Duckie 10th anniversary birthday party at South Bank Centre; he also co-wrote the song Home, with Alistair Brammer for the MAD Trust album - The West End Goes MAD for Christmas. Gowland was shortlisted for the inaugural Perfect Pitch award in 2013 and his songs Take Me Back and Turning Stones have been shortlisted for the Stiles & Drewe Best New Song Prize. In addition, he was also one of 5 music industry experts to form the UK jury for the Eurovision Song Contest in 2014.

Ryan McBryde directs. His credits include The Invisible Man (Queens Theatre, Hornchurch), Before the Party, Faust I, 1984, Spring Awakening,The Crucible (Schauspielbühnen, Stuttgart), Angus, Thongs and Even More Snogging (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Hamlet - The Musical (Royal & Derngate, Northampton and Richmond Playhouse), Saturday Night Fever (Theatre Royal Bath and UK tour), The House of Mirrors and Hearts, The Jabberwocky (Arcola Theatre), A Day at the Racists (Finborough Theatre), The RSC's 50th Anniversary Gala, On the 20th Century (Union Theatre), The Life, The Ruling Class, Sweet Charity, Spring Awakening - The Musical, The Who's Tommy, The Full Monty, Hysteria, Hair, Deathtrap and The Fox (The English Theatre, Frankfurt).

Production supported by the Linbury Trust

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