Oriel Theatre Company Sets Cast of THE TULIP TREE

Drayton Arms Theatre today announces the cast for Oriel Theatre Company's production of Oliver Michell's new play The Tulip Tree. Antonio Ferrara directs Piers Hunt (Paul Verrell), Alexander Shenton (J. Enoch Powell), Helen Reuben (Barbara Kennedy) and Peter Wicks (Edward Campion). The play opens on Thursday 2 April, with previews from 31 March and runs until 25 April.

This controversial piece, gives the audience an opportunity to see beyond the politician and his Rivers Of Blood speech, to reveal a young brigadier, lecturer and poet, who wrote for the woman, he believed, was destined to be his wife.

Enoch Powell - loathed as a racist, revered as a prophet. A professor at 25. A brigadier at 32. Hailed as an intellectual prodigy, Powell was predicted to be a future Prime Minister. But the moment that shaped his destiny had nothing to do with race, politics or Rivers of Blood. The Tulip Tree tells the story of Powell's relationship with Barbara Kennedy, a woman who challenged Powell's outlook and influenced the man he went on to become.

Oliver Michell was the recipient of the 'Best Play' award at the Oxford University New Writing Festival in 2012. Michell founded The Oriel Theatre Company whilst at UEA and the Company produced his play Major Kovalyov at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2013. His adaptation of Sophocles' Philoctetes was shortlisted for the King's Cross Award for New Writing and his short fiction has been shortlisted for the International Short Fiction prize. Michell's scripts and short stories have been published in the UK and internationally.

Piers Hunt plays Paul Verrell. His theatre credits include Grand Budapest Hotel (Secret Cinema), Misalliance (Tabard Theatre), Flight and Mandrake (Jack Studio Theatre) and previously played Paul Verrell in The Tulip Tree (Oriel Theatre Company, Edinburgh Fringe 2014).

Alexander Shenton plays J. Enoch Powell. His theatre credits include The Merchant of Venice (Lazarus Theatre Company, The Brockley Jack) Tangent (The New Diorama), Pier Pressure (Lissomlilt) and previously played J. Enoch Powell in The Tulip Tree (Oriel Theatre Company, Edinburgh Fringe 2014)

Helen Reuben plays Barbara Kennedy. Her theatre includes The Elves and the Shoemaker (Courtyard, Hereford), Happy to Help (Park Theatre), Richard III (Gatehouse), Kiss me Kate (Upstairs at the Gatehouse), Feathers in the Snow (Southwark Playhouse), Miniaturists 38 (Arcola), A Night at the Musicals (Greenwich Theatre), The Light in the Piazza and The Pillowman (Curve Theatre, Leicester) and The Wizard of Oz and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Leicester Haymarket).

Peter Wicks plays Edward Campion. His theatre credits include Sisters and None But Friends (Rose Theatre Kingston), The Hound of the Baskervilles (Yvonne Arnaud, Guildford), You Obviously Know What I'm Talking About (Roundhouse, Theatre503, Edinburgh Festival), The Lady Revealed (Tristan Bates), Ghost Stories of an Antiquary (The White Bear Theatre), The Shoemaker's Wonderful Wife (King's Head Theatre), Greed and The Time Is Now (New Wimbledon Studio), Spring Awakening (Edinburgh Festival) and Stuck In A Rut (Underbelly, Edinburgh Festival).

Antonio Ferrara directs. Antonio is the Associate Director for the Drayton Arms Theatre. Previously he has been Associate Director for Omnibus Arts Centre, Literary Manager for Jermyn Street Theatre, Resident Director for Theatre Royal Stratford East and Senior Reader for Theatre503. Directing credits for the Drayton Arms Theatre include: The Vikings at Helgeland, Cymbeline and The Man Who Would Be King. Other directing credits include NewsRevue (Canal Café Theatre), After Circles (Theatre503, Underbelly) and Playlist (Theatre503, Etcetera Theatre). From 31 March 2015, Antonio will take over as the Artistic Director for the Drayton Arms Theatre.

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