Full Casting Announced for I CAPTURE THE CASTLE

In 2017 Watford Palace Theatre proudly presents the world premiere musical I Capture the Castle, based on the iconic novel by Dodie Smith, and co-produced with the Octagon Theatre Bolton and Kevin Wallace Limited, in association with Deborah Ward. Brigid Larmour directs Suzanne Ahmet (Topaz), Kate Batter (Rose), Theo Boyce (Simon), Luke Dale (Neil), Lowri Izzard (Cassandra), Isaac Stanmore (Stephen), Julia St John (Mrs Cotton), Ben Watson (James) and Shona White (Leda).

Set in the Bohemian England of the 1930s, Dodie Smith's worldwide bestselling classic is a warm and sharply funny coming-of-age story. The script by Teresa Howard (Grock (Chichester Festival Theatre) and Possessed (a new musical play with Steven Edis)) tells the story through the eyes of seventeen year old narrator Cassandra, opening with the famous line:

'I write this sitting in the kitchen sink..'

The original music by composer Steven Edis (The Silver Sword Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Oklahoma, Royal and Derngate, Volpone RSC) has influences of swing, tango, beguine, English folksong and a hint of Cole Porter.

Artistic Director of Watford Palace Theatre Brigid Larmour (Jefferson's Garden by Timberlake Wertenbaker, Coming Up by Neil d'Souza, Love Me Do by Marks and Gran) brings her trademark blend of emotional storytelling and physical theatre to this exciting new British musical.

Cassandra is writing a diary about her eccentric family: her irritating elder sister Rose; her unconventional stepmother Topaz; her orphaned admirer Stephen; and her novelist father James, who hasn't written a word in years. They are behind with the rent for the tumbledown castle that seemed so romantic when they moved in. The roof is leaking, it never stops raining and the family is surviving on oatcakes and eggs.

But the new landlord is a wealthy young American, with an attractive younger brother, and spring is in the air. Perhaps things are about to change.

Brigid Larmour, Artistic Director of Watford Palace Theatre, said today:

'There is something magical about Dodie Smith's story about finding your way into adulthood. Steven and Teresa have written a fresh, passionate adaptation, and it is exciting to be reimagining this extraordinary book as a piece of contemporary music theatre.'

I Capture the Castle opens on Wednesday 5 April until Saturday 22 April, with previews from Friday 31 March.

The production will go on general sales at Watford Palace Theatre from Wednesday 18 May.

I Capture the Castle is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.


Suzanne Ahmet plays Topaz. Her theatre credits include Peter Pan (National Theatre), Peter Pan in Scarlet, The Hoard Festival, Around the World in 80 Days, Arabian Nights (New Vic, Stoke), The Light Princess (Tobacco Factory & Peepolykus), The Winter's Tale (Sheffield Crucible), Much Ado About Nothing, Dangerous Corner (Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds), The Moon The Moon (Unlimited Theatre), The Knowledge Emporium, (Slung Low), I Had A Black Dog, His Name Was Depression (Small Nose) and Women Of Hope (Arora Arts, The Richmix & Amnesty International). For television, her work includes Gittens, Jonathan Creek and The Judas Tree.

Kate Batter plays Rose. Her theatre work includes This Little Life of Mine (Park Theatre), The Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary (The Royal Albert Hall), The Phantom of the Opera (Her Majesty's Theatre), The Sound of Music (UK Tour), Best Friends and Butterflies (Shoreditch Festival), and Ash (Arcola Theatre). Her television work includes Mr Selfridge, Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary, Happy Family and Inside Out-Titanic Baby; and for film, The Procedure.

Theo Boyce plays Simon. This production marks is professional theatre debut.

Luke Dale plays Neil. For theatre his credits include Flowers for Mrs Harris (Sheffield Crucible) and The Lover's Melancholy (Shakespeare's Globe); and for television, Genius: Einstein and Holby City.

Lowri Izzard plays Cassandra. Her theatre credits Much Ado About Nothing (Faction Theatre) and The Tempest (Flute Theatre/Orange Tree Theatre). Her short film credits include Tick Tock and A Proper Little Family.

Isaac Stanmore plays Stephen. His theatre credits include Peter Pan in Scarlet (Oxford Playhouse), Secret Santa (Arts Theatre), Robin Hood & Marian, Dracula (New Vic); Hetty Feather (Rose Theatre Kingston/UK Tour/Vaudeville), Macbeth (UK & Gulf Tour), Peter Pan, Does My Society Look Big In This?, Wild Oats (Bristol Old Vic) and Knives In Hens (Greenwich Theatre). For television, his work includes The Incredible Adventures of Professor Branestawm and Christmas Angel.

Julia St John plays Mrs Cotton. Theatre credits include Larkrise (Almeida Theatre), Nana for Shared Experience (Almeida Theatre), A Tale of Two Cities (Cambridge Theatre Company), The Three Sisters (Chichester Festival Theatre), The Madness of George The Third (West Yorkshire Playhouse and Birmingham Rep) and The Archbishop's Ceiling (Southwark Playhouse). For television credits include The Brittas Empire, GBH, A Question of Attribution, The Grand, The Victoria Wood Show, Gone to the Dogs, The Glass, Harry Enfield and Chums, The Blackheath Poisonings, Poirot, The Line of Beauty, Julian Fellowes Most Mysterious Murders and A Place of Execution; and for film, The Young Victoria.

Ben Watson returns to Watford Palace to play James, he previously performed in Jack and the Beanstalk. Other theatre credits include Cinderella and the Glass Slipper (Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds), The Jungle Book (Birmingham Stage Company) and Cahoot's Macbeth (Kings Head Theatre). For television his credits include CBBC Morning Links with Dan and Jeff, Captivating Faces, Shock Treatment and Make Us a Movie; and for film, In the Mix, Hidden Face, Hereos and Villains, Ten Minutes and Nine Days of Hell.

Shona White plays Leda. Her theatre work includes The World Goes Around (Stephen Joseph Theatre), Mamma Mia! (Novello Theatre), Sunny Side Of The Street (Jermyn Street Theatre), Chess (UK tour and Toronto), Wicked (Apollo, Victoria), Shout (UK tour and Arts Theatre), All the Fun of the Fair (Garrick Theatre), The Rocky Horror Show (UK tour and Playhouse Theatre), Merrily We Roll Along (Donmar Warehouse) and LES MISERABLES (UK tour). Other work includes, solo cabaret and concert artist appearances at the Pheasantry, Pizza on the Park, Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Royal Albert Hall in an Elton John concert, and guest performer on Friday Night Is Music Night (BBC Radio 2).

Teresa Howard - Book & Lyrics

Teresa is a Writer, Librettist & Lyricist and is on the board of Mercury Musical Developments (MMD) She has been Resident Writer for Winchester School of Art, taught play-writing at the Holborn Centre for Performing Arts and has also worked for the literary department of The Royal Court Theatre. Recently she was Writer in Residence on a fellowship from the Hosking House Trust in Stratford, supported by the Arts Council of England for development work. She has given talks on writing at University College Oxford, and been critic and presenter for BBC World Service. She is a maker of Tiny Shows with the Copenhagen Interpretation and Women Who Write Musicals. Current projects include Possessed, a new Pre-Raphaelite musical play with book and lyrics by Teresa and music by Steven Edis at Camden Peoples' Theatre, directed by Madeleine Edis, a commission for an original musical theatre project which is in development with Hackney Empire and an Anglo/Indian musical.

Teresa's stage plays include: Bader and Doolittle (Commissioned by JABOD for the RAF); Grock (Chichester Festival Theatre, with Derek Royle); Stonefist (Soho Theatre); Rev. Luke's Useful Show (Old Fire Station Oxford) and Music on the Metro (Winchester). Teresa also created and wrote a TV series called Protectors, commissioned by Talisman Films. Her children's audio book, The Lonely Monster, with songs by Olivia Caldwell, was produced by HD Productions. She also writes articles for magazines and journals including The Spectator and Blackwell's - The Art Book.

Steven Edis - Music

Steven composes and arranges music for Film, TV and Theatre.

Recent credits include:

Where is Peter Rabbit (Composer) (Old Laundry Theatre Windermere), A Christmas Carol (Musical Supervisor/Arranger) (Noel Coward Theatre), The Silver Sword (Composer/Co Lyricist/Musical Director) Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Crush The Musical (Orchestrator/Musical Supervisor) Belgrade Theatre Coventry/UK Tour, Volpone (Composer) RSC, Oklahoma (Orchestrator/Arranger) Royal and Derngate/UK Tour, Ace Of Clubs (Arranger) Union Theatre, Grand Hotel (Musical Director) Guildhall School, Cinderella (Musical Supervisor/Composer/Arranger) Imagine Theatre/De Montfort Hall, Mother Goose (Musical Supervisor/Composer/Arranger) Hackney Empire, Aladdin (Musical Supervisor/Arranger) Imagine Theatre/De Montfort Hall, Leicester, Richard III Nottingham Playhouse/York Theatre Royal, Relative Values (Musical Consultant) Theatre Royal Bath/UK Tour/West End, High Society (Arranger) UK Tour/Music & Lyrics, The Captain Of Köpenick (Composer/Arranger) National Theatre, Olivier, A Chorus Of Disapproval (MD/Arranger/Performer) Harold Pinter Theatre. Chaplin (Orchestrator/Musical Director) Guildhall School of Music & Drama, The Lion In Winter (Music Consultant/Composer) Theatre Royal Haymarket, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (Orchestrator) Chichester Festival Theatre, Flarepath (Music Consultant) Theatre Royal Haymarket, She Loves Me (Orchestrator) Chichester Festival Theatre, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Composer) Chichester Festival Theatre/Theatre Royal Haymarket, The Invisible Man (Composer/Musical Director) Menier Chocolate Factory, Birdsong Comedy Theatre, Inherit the Wind, Old Vic Theatre. A Christmas Carol (Composer) Tiny Tim Productions at the Arts Theatre, Cyrano De Bergerac (Composer) Chichester Festival Theatre, Mother Goose (Composer/Musical Director) Hackney Empire, Gigi (Orchestrator) Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, The Music Man (Arranger/Musical Supervisor) Chichester Festival Theatre.

Teresa Howard and Steven Edis have formed their own Production Company called Kelmscott Productions and worked in partnership with Oxford Playhouse, Hackney Empire and Watford Palace Theatre on developing their shows. In partnership with Watford they received an Arts Council grant for a Research and Development Workshop of I Capture the Castle and also a substantial sum towards this production of the show.

Brigid Larmour - Director

Brigid is Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Watford Palace Theatre.

Productions directed for the Palace include: Coming Up by Neil D'Souza, Jefferson's Garden by Timberlake Wertenbaker; Love Me Do (co-directed with Shona Morris) and Von Ribbentrop's Watch by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran; Fourteen by Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti; Perfect Match by Gary Owen (part of the Ideal World season), We That Are Left and Mrs Reynolds and the Ruffian; Ronald Harwood's Equally Divided; Charlotte Keatley's Our Father and My Mother Said I Never Should; Alan Ayckbourn's Time of My Life and Absent Friends; Shakespeare's As You Like It; and pantomimes Robin Hood, Sleeping Beauty and Dick Whittington by Andrew Pollard.

Brigid is a producer, director, dramaturg and teacher with experience in the subsidised and commercial theatre and television. From 1998 to 2006 she was Artistic Director of West End company ACT Productions, and adviser to BBC4 Plays. From 1993 to 1998 she directed a series of promenade Shakespeares, Shakespeare Unplugged, for RNT Education.

From 1989 to 1994 she was Artistic Director of Contact Theatre, Manchester, commissioning the first British plays responding to the rave scene (Excess/XS), and the implications of virtual reality (Strange Attractors, a multimedia promenade production, by Manchester poet Kevin Fegan). She trained at the RSC, and as a studio director at Granada TV.

Watford Palace Theatre

Is a 21st century producing theatre, making new work across the art forms of theatre, dance, outdoor arts and digital, and developing audiences, artists and communities through exciting opportunities to participate.

Watford Palace Theatre commissions and produces plays from a range of new and established writers . Recent productions include Folk by Tom Wells (in co-production with Birmingham Rep and Hull Truck Theatre), Wipers by Ishy Din (in co-production with Curve Leicester and Belgrade Thearte, Coventry), Laila (in co-productions with Rifco) Poppy + George by Diane Samuels; Coming Up by Neil D'Souza; Jefferson's Garden by Timberlake Wertenbaker; Love Me Do by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran; An Intervention by Mike Bartlett (in co-production with Paines Plough); Shiver by Daniel Kanaber; the Ideal World season of three new plays-Perfect Match by Gary Owen, Virgin by E.V.Crowe (in co-production with nabokov), Override by Stacey Gregg; Jumpers for Goalposts by Tom Wells (in co-production with Paines Plough and Hull Truck Theatre); Our Brother David by Anthony Clark; Our Father by Charlotte Keatley; and Family Business by Julian Mitchell.

Creative Associates are central to Watford Palace Theatre's vision: these include Resident Companies Rifco Arts and Tiata Fahodzi; Mahogany Opera Group: Scamp Theatre; Kate Flatt; Shona Morris; Charlotte Keatley; Gary Owen; Alice Birch and Timberlake Wertenbaker.

Octagon Theatre Bolton
Is an artistic hub, producing new and accessible art for all, and they create theatre for all ages, interests, and demographics in the belief that it can enrich our communities and fundamentally change peoples' lives for the better. They celebrate Bolton's contemporary voice and cultural heritage, and our diverse, high quality artistic offer reflects the dynamic community we serve. They progressively define, evolve and redefine the ways in which we can tell great stories inside our unique building, outside in our regional communities, and online, connecting with our new national and international friends. They share Bolton with the world and the world with Bolton.

Under their new Artistic Director Elizabeth Newman, the Octagon is recognised as a home for playwrights and theatre makers. They support, develop and present work from an emerging generation of artists. This work happens alongside our established companies who are keen to experiment and develop new approaches to their work. They aim to prioritise the development and presentation of work with culturally diverse and disabled artists.

Kevin Wallace Limited
As in-house producer to Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Really Useful Group (RUG), Kevin Wallace's responsibilities included Celebration, Andrew Lloyd Webber's Birthday Concert (Royal Albert Hall, London), Whistle down the Wind, The Beautiful Game, Closer to Heaven (West End, London). He also established productions of The Phantom of the Opera in Switzerland, Belgium, Mexico and Denmark; a US tour of Cats; the original production of Sunset Boulevard, directed by Trevor Nunn, in Germany; the new UK touring production of Sunset Boulevard directed by Robert Carsen starring Faith Brown; the UK tour of Jesus Christ Superstar, and won an International Emmy Award as Executive Producer of the film based on that production.

For Kevin Wallace Limited (KWL) he produced The Emperor Jones, Our Town, Eurovision (all in London), and co-produced Loserville (London), and the transfer of Gagarin Way and Eden (both at The Arts Theatre, London).

With Saul Zaentz, he produced The Lord of the Rings (Toronto and London). He was Consultant Producer for the stage production of King Kong produced by Global Creatures (Australia).

KWL and The Saul Zaentz Company have a new production of The Lord of the Rings in pre-production.

Gabriela, a new musical by the Brazilian writer and director João Falcão, based on the novel Gabriela, Clove & Cinnamon by Jorge Amado, commissioned by KWL, opens in Sao Paulo this year.

In the UK, in addition to collaborating with Brigid Larmour and Watford Palace Theatre on I Capture the Castle, KWL has The Monster Bride, a new musical by Brendan Cull, Boris Cezek and Kristian Spiteri in development.

Kevin Wallace is a member of The League of Independent Producers, a full member of the Society of London Theatre, and a Governor of Rose Bruford College.

Watford Palace Theatre
Friday 31 March - Saturday 22 April 2017
Performance times: Evenings 7.30pm, Matinees 2pm: Thu 6, Sat 8, Tue 11, Thu 13, Sat 15, Tue 18, Thu 20, Sat 22.
PRESS NIGHT | Wed 5 April 2017, 7pm

Post show Q&A: Mon 10 Apr. 7.30pm
Audio Described: Sat 22 April, 2pm
Captioned: Wed 12 Apr, 7.30pm
Tickets £15 - £24.50
Box Office: 01923 225671

Octagon Theatre, Bolton
Wed 26 April - Sat 6 May 2017
Performance Times: Evenings: 7.30pm, Matinees 2pm: Wed 26, Sat 29 April, Wed 3, Sat 6 May
Ticket Prices £11 - £27.50
Post show talk: Thu 27 April
Audio Described: Thu 4 May, 7.30pm
BSL: Tue 2 May, 7.30pm
Captioned: Fri 5 May, 7.30pm
Box Office: 01204 520661

Further tour dates to be announced.

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