Olivier Nominee HETTY FEATHER to Make U.S. Premiere in Florida

The Olivier Award nominated Rose Theatre Kingston production of Jacqueline Wilson's critically acclaimed Hetty Feather today announces an international transfer to the Asolo Repertory Theatre in Florida for a limited run from 2 to 26 June 2016. Currently enjoying a major UK tour, the production continues on to Chichester Festival Theatre on 27 January followed by Nottingham Theatre Royal, Oxford Playhouse, Leicester Curve, Rose Theatre Kingston, Southampton Mayflower Theatre, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Clywd Theatr Cymru, Orchard Theatre Dartford, Cardiff New Theatre completing the run at Cheltenham Everyman Theatre before travelling to Sarasota, Florida for its US première.

Sally Cookson directs a cast including Phoebe Thomas who reprises her role as Hetty Feather. Joining Thomas will be Matt Costain (Jem/Matron Bottomly), Sarah Goddard (Peg/Ida), Nik Howden (Saul), Mark Kane (Gideon) and Nikki Warwick (Madame Adeline). Musicians Seamas H. Carey and Luke Potter complete the company.

ROLL UP and join Hetty on her escape from the Foundling Hospital.

TREMBLE as she faces Matron Stinking Bottomly.

THRILL as she discovers the squirrel house and Tanglefields Travelling Circus.

GASP as she endures a night locked in the attic.

QUAKE as she braves the scary streets of Victorian London and

CHEER as she overcomes all in the search to find her real mother and a true family of her own.

Hetty Feather is published by Random House and is the first in a series of five books which includes Sapphire Battersea, Emerald Star, Diamond and most recently Little Stars, launched last autumn. The series has been hugely successful not just in the UK, but also internationally. Last year it was also adapted as a new 10 part television series which aired on CBBC.

Fun facts about Hetty Feather

· Hetty Feather will celebrate its 300th performance at Chichester Festival Theatre this January 2016.

· The show was first performed at the Rose Theatre Kingston on 5th April 2014 and has been seen by over 120,000 people so far.

· Jacqueline Wilson grew up in Kingston-upon-Thames where the production was first staged.

· The Hetty Feather UK and international tours span 34 towns and cities in 3 continents over 55 weeks.

· Hetty Feather has appeared twice in the West End with runs at both the Vaudeville and Duke of York's Theatre and has even performed in Dubai!

· The production is now set to make its way across the pond for its US première in Sarasota, Florida. With Sarasota considered to be the circus capital of the US - this is the perfect destination for Hetty's Floridian adventure.

· Out of the 104 books that Jacqueline Wilson has had published, Hetty Feather is her favourite novel and Hetty is her best character out of the hundreds she has created.

· Her fans agree, having voted Hetty Feather their favourite from among her works.

· The story of Hetty Feather came about from a chance meeting with the then director of the Foundling Museum in London.

· Hetty Feather is Jacqueline Wilson's first period novel, set in Victorian times rather than the modern era.

· Emma Reeves, adaptor of the show, also worked on the TV series of Hetty Feather.

· On the stage version, the show was devised in the rehearsal room over 5 weeks. The devising process involved lots of circus skills training, improvisation, imagination and experimentation.

· Almost all of the music in the show is played live on stage by musicians Luke Potter and Seamas H Carey, including the sound effects!

Phoebe Thomas plays Hetty Feather, reprising her role from the UK tours and run at the Vaudeville and the Duke of York's Theatre. Thomas began performing as a child and was nominated for a BAFTA at the age of 8 years old for her first ever screen performance. Her theatre credits include The Life and Times of Fanny Hill (Bristol Old Vic), Little Women (Duchess Theatre), Playing Fields (Soho Theatre), Annie Get your Gun (Prince of Wales Theatre), The White Album (Nottingham Playhouse), and Final Judgement (Theatre Royal Windsor). For television her credits include The Armada, Holby City (as series regular Maria Kendall), Death in Paradise, Vera, Outnumbered, Teachers, Night and Day, As If, 33 Carnage Crescent, Booze Cruise, Little Devil, Sea of Souls, Inspector Lynley; and for film, Lady Godiva, Permanent Vacation, Millions, Tube Tales 'Circle Line'.

Matt Costain plays Jem/Matron Bottomly. His theatre credits include Romeo and Juliet (Rose Theatre, Kingston), Warhorse, The Birds (National Theatre), Wendy and Peter Pan, Henry IV Parts 1 & 2, Henry V, Henry VI Parts 1, 2 & 3, Richard III (Royal Shakespeare Company), Macbeth, Pericles, Man Falling Down (Shakespeare's Globe), The Tempest (Regent's Park Open Air Theatre), A Midsummer Night's Dream, Dr. Faustus, The Master and Margarita (Chichester Festival Theatre), Treasure Island (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Monkey! (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Papa Please Get The Moon For Me (Bristol Old Vic), The Thought That Counts (Theatre Rites at The Barbican). He has also worked as a director and movement director.

Sarah Goddard plays Peg/Ida. Her theatre credits include Much Ado About Nothing, Cyrano (OSC), The Taming of The Shrew (Orange Tree Theatre), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Sprite), The Steppe Brothers (Rejects Revenge), Agamemnon (AOD), Twelfth Night (Bold 'n' Saucy), Dr. Faustus (Brute Farce), Marat/Sade (Arcola Theatre), Cinderella (West Yorkshire Playhouse).

Nik Howden plays Saul. Recently, his theatre work includes Fly Eddie Fly (Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham) and Stick Man (Spiegeltent, Edinburgh). His television work includes Ashes to Ashes, Doctor Who, Grandpa in my Pocket, and as Stan Laurel in the BBC4 film Stan.

Mark Kane plays Gideon. His stage credits include The Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare's Globe), Cinderella: A Fairytale (Tobacco Factory), Stick Man (Scamp Theatre), The Ugly Duckling (Travelling Light), Julius Caesar (Barbican), and Scenes From An Execution , Dumbstruck, Flora the Red Menace, and Twelfth Night (all for Dundee Repertory Theatre). For television, his credits include Pregnancy and Witches.

Nikki Warwick plays Madame Adeline. Alongside theatre she has worked extensively in aerial circus, cabaret and physical theatre. Nikki was joint artistic director of Puppetual Motion, a successful circus-cabaret company. She has worked with many circus-theatre companies in the UK and Australia.

Seamas H. Carey performs as a musician. He plays accordion, piano and double bass and has toured internationally. He is a founder member and joint artistic director of Bristol based theatre company 'Silly Boys', with whom he performs, composes and co-writes. Carey also lectures young people on music. His focus is on music for silent film, theatre soundtrack, performing and puppetry. He regularly accompanies silent films with live piano soundtracks.

Luke Potter performs as a musician. His theatre credits include Cinderella (Unicorn Theatre), To Kill a Mockingbird (Regent's Park Open Air Theatre). He was Associate Musical Director for The Story Giant (Marine Theatre) and Composer for Outpost (Green Ginger, Tobacco Factory, Norland Visual Theatre). His music credits include as composer and performer with 'Yes Sir Boss' and a performer on both Ergo Schmidt's album 2 and Joss Stone's album LP1.

Jacqueline Wilson (novelist) is one of Britain's most popular authors, selling over 38 million books in the UK alone. Her most successful and enduring creation is the Tracy Beaker series. In 2002 she was awarded the OBE for services to literacy in schools and in 2008 she became Dame Jacqueline Wilson. In the same year she became the Foundling Museum's first Coram Foundling Fellow. From 2005 to 2007 she was the Children's Laureate. Her 100th book Opal Plumstead was published in 2014 and her latest title, Katy, was published last year.

Emma Reeves (playwright) has worked with Wilson on a number of projects, most notably writing the television adaptations for the Tracy Beaker series. Her stage adaptations include Carrie's War (West End & UK tour), Little Women and Cool Hand Luke in the West End. Other television credits include Young Dracula, Sadie Jones, Belonging, The Murder of Princess Diana (Lifetime Channel), Half Moon Investigations, Spirit Warriors and Doctors. Her 13 part series, Eve (co-created with Leopard TV for CBBC) started transmitting in January 2015. In 2011, Emma was nominated by the Writers' Guild for Best Children's Television Script for Tracy Beaker Returns: What You Don't Know and again in 2013 for The Dumping Ground. In 2012, Tracy Beaker Returns won the RTS award for Best Children's Drama with Emma's nominated script Money.

Sally Cookson (director) is an Associate Artist at Bristol Old Vic, where her productions have included Sleeping Beauty, Jane Eyre (and National Theatre transfer), The Boy Who Cried Wolf, Peter Pan, Treasure Island, Aesop's Fables, Pains of Youth, Pericles, Strange Case and The Visit. Her on-going collaboration with Travelling Light Theatre has resulted in her directing over ten productions for the company, including the Olivier Award nominated Cinderella, Boing!, Cloudland, Bob The Man on The Moon, How Cold My Toes, Shadow Play, Clown, Lenny, Home and Papa Please Get The Moon For Me. For The Tobacco Factory, theatre includes 101 Dalmatians, Cinderella, The Ugly Duckling, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. Her other theatre work incudes Romeo + Juliet (Rose Theatre Kingston), Varmints (Sadler's Wells), We're Going on a Bear Hunt (Kenny Wax Family Entertainment Ltd), Lost and Found (Polka Theatre), Stick Man, Aesop's Fables, Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales (Scamp Theatre), Sapling Song, As Far As I Can Sea (National Trust), The Mermaid And The Mirror (Half Moon), and Jump (Myrtle Theatre).

Designs are by Katie Sykes, original music and score by Benji Bower with additional composition by Seamas H Carey and Luke Potter, aerial direction by Gwen Hales, lighting design by Aideen Malone, and sound design by Leigh Davies.

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