Troupe Announces Full Cast For The World Premiere Of Joy Wilkinson's THE SWEET SCIENCE OF BRUISING At Southwark Playhouse

Troupe Announces Full Cast For The World Premiere Of Joy Wilkinson's THE SWEET SCIENCE OF BRUISING At Southwark PlayhouseTroupe today announces the full cast for the World Première of Joy Wilkinson's The Sweet Science of Bruising. Kirsty Patrick Ward directs Bruce Alexander (Professor Charlie Sharp), James Baxter (Paul Stokes), Sophie Bleasdale (Violet Hunter), Joe Coen (Gabriel Lamb), Ashley Cook (Doctor James Bell), Caroline Harker (Aunt George), Kemi-Bo Jacobs (Anna Lamb), Alice Kerrigan (Emily), Jessica Regan (Matilda 'Matty' Blackwell) and Fiona Skinner (Polly Stokes). The production opens at Southwark Playhouse on 5 October, with previews from 3 October, and runs until 27 October.

''When that bell rings, your life is entirely in your hands.''

London, 1869. Four very different Victorian women are drawn into the dark underground world of female boxing by the eccentric Professor Sharp. Controlled by men and constrained by corsets, each finds an unexpected freedom in the boxing ring. As their lives begin to intertwine their journey takes us through grand drawing rooms, bustling theatres and rowdy Southwark pubs where the women fight inequality as well as each other. But with the final showdown approaching only one can become the Lady Boxing Champion of the World...

Based on historical research into 19th century women's boxing, The Sweet Science of Bruising is a fascinating new play by Joy Wilkinson (Verity Bargate Award winner). Featuring an ensemble cast and thrilling up-close boxing matches, this is an epic tale of passion, politics and pugilism.

Joy Wilkinson is an award-winning writer working across theatre, film, television and radio. Her stage plays have been widely produced in the UK and internationally, and she has won prizes including Soho Theatre's Verity Bargate Award and the International Student Playscript Competition. Her plays include Fair (Finborough Theatre/Trafalgar Studios/UK tour), Now is the Time (part of the Tricycle Theatre's Olivier Award-nominated 'Afghanistan' season which toured the USA and was revived in 2017 by Teatro Elfo Puccini, Milan), Acting Leader ('Women Power and Politics' season, Tricycle Theatre) and Britain's Best Recruiting Sergeant (Unicorn Theatre). She has been awarded two attachments at the National Theatre Studio and is published by Oberon Books and Nick Hern Books. For television, Wilkinson was a graduate of the first BBC Drama Writers Academy, and her screen credits include Casualty, Holby City, Doctors and Land Girls. She will also be a writer on the upcoming series of Doctor Who. In addition she wrote Nick Nickleby, a critically-acclaimed five-part modernisation of Nicholas Nickleby for BBC1. Wilkinson's extensive work for BBC Radio 4 includes a five-part spin-off from the hit Danish drama Borgen as well as

numerous adaptations and original plays.

Bruce Alexander plays Professor Charlie Sharp. His theatre credits include Wild Honey, Life After Scandal (Hampstead Theatre), A View from Islington North (Arts Theatre), Accolade (St. James Theatre), A View from the Bridge (Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse Theatres), Ciphers (Bush Theatre), The White House Murder Case, The Company Man, The Beggar's Opera (Orange Tree Theatre), Plenty (Sheffield Theatres), Waste, The Tempest (Almeida Theatre), The Reporter, The History Boys, The Mandate (National Theatre), Pravda (Chichester Festival Theatre/Birmingham Rep), Carver (Arcola Theatre), Pericles (Lyric Hammersmith), King Lear (Shakespeare's Globe) and The Knickers (Bristol Old Vic). His television credits include Love and Marriage, Coming Home, Into the Storm, A Short Stay in Switzerland, The Trial of the King Killers, The Innocents, A Christmas Carol, Beyond Fear, Murder in Mind, Head Over Heels, Specials, Thatcher: The Final Days, Waterfront Beat and Tiny Revolutions; and for film, Between Two Women, Dead, Tomorrow Never Dies, Ladybird, Ladybird, Nostradamus, Century and The Long Good Friday.

James Baxter plays Paul Stokes. His theatre credits include Petrification (UK tour), Silk Road (Edinburgh Festival Fringe), Old Vic New Voices: The 24 Hour Plays (The Old Vic), Present Tense, Jump!, Swansong (Live Theatre), The Christmas Office Party (Hull Truck Theatre), Scarborough (Live Theatre/Edinburgh Festival Fringe), Pink Floyd's The Wall (The Customs House, South Shields) and Fine Fine Fine (Gala Theatre, Durham). His television credits as series regular include Leroy in Still Open All Hours and Jake Doland in Emmerdale. Other television credits include Harriet's Army, Love Life and Joe Maddison's War.

Sophie Bleasdale plays Violet Hunter. Her theatre credits include A Crazy Little Thing Called Love (RADA Festival), Mr Foote's Other Leg (Hampstead Theatre/Theatre Royal Haymarket), Mock Tudor (Pleasance London/Latitude Festival/Old Red Lion Theatre/Edinburgh Festival Fringe), Under the Whaleback (Royal Court Theatre) and A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (Harold Pinter Theatre). Her television credits include Close to the Enemy and Six Wives with Lucy Worsley.

Joe Coen plays Gabriel Lamb. His theatre credits include A Dark Night in Dalston (Park Theatre), The Mighty Walzer, Edward II (Royal Exchange Theatre), The Rubenstein Kiss (Nottingham Playhouse/Yvonne Arnaud Theatre), Bad Jews (Theatre Royal Bath/St. James Theatre/Arts Theatre), The Black Diamond (Punchdrunk) and Birdsong (Comedy Theatre). His television credits include The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies; and for film, Son of God and City Rats.

Ashley Cook plays Doctor James Bell. His theatre credits include The Cardinal (Southwark Playhouse), Flowering Cherry and F***ing Men (Finborough Theatre), Absent Friends, The Importance of Being Earnest (UK tour), The White Carnation (Finborough Theatre/Jermyn Street Theatre), The Art of Concealment, How to Cook a Country (Riverside Studios), The Mousetrap (St. Martin's Theatre), A Doll's House, The Importance of Being Earnest (New Theatre Royal Lincoln), The Bootmaker's Daughter (Brighton Festival), Stonewall (Edinburgh Festival Fringe/The Drill Hall), Romeo and Juliet (Derby Playhouse), Love and Understanding (Battersea Arts Centre) and King Lear (The Old Vic/UK tour). His television credits include Patrick Hamilton: Words, Whisky and Women; and for film, Llar and A Mind of Her Own.

Caroline Harker plays Aunt George. Her theatre credits include The Chalk Garden, Entertaining Angels (Chichester Festival Theatre), Sean Hughes' Blank Book (Soho Theatre), Blithe Spirit (York Theatre Royal), Pride and Prejudice (Regent's Park Open Air Theatre), The Village Bike (Sheffield Theatres), Tusk Tusk, The Strip, The Editing Process (Royal Court Theatre), All Mouth (Menier Chocolate Factory), Present Laughter (Theatre Royal Bath), Battle Royal (National Theatre), Falling (Hampstead Theatre), Things We Do For Love (Duchess Theatre), A Mongrel's Heart (Royal Lyceum Theatre) and Hidden Laughter (Vaudeville Theatre). Her television credits include The Commander: The Devil You Know, The Man Who Lost His Head, Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, Hans Christian Andersen: My Life as a Fairy Tale, I Saw You, Armadillo, Keeping Mum, Holding On, Harry Enfield and Chums, The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders, Honey for Tea, Middlemarch, Riders and Growing Rich; and for film, Lady Godiva: Back in the Saddle and The Madness of King George.

Kemi-Bo Jacobs plays Anna Lamb. Her theatre credits include Betrayal (Derby Theatre), Hedda Gabler (Salisbury Playhouse) and All My Sons (Royal Exchange Theatre). Her television credits include McMafia, Delicious, Thirteen, The Honourable Woman; and for film, London Has Fallen.

Alice Kerrigan plays Emily. Her theatre credits include Boomerang (Blue Shop Cottage), The Forest (Arcola Theatre) and Julius Caesar (Bristol Old Vic).

Jessica Regan plays Matilda 'Matty' Blackwell. Her theatre credits include Long Day's Journey Into Night (Bristol Old Vic/Wyndham's Theatre/Brooklyn Academy Of Music/Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts), Henry V (Regent's Park Open Air Theatre), Liolà, The Cherry Orchard, The Kitchen, Blood and Gifts (National Theatre), Coalition (Pleasance, London/Edinburgh Festival Fringe), All That Fall (Jermyn Street Theatre/59E59 Theaters, New York), Stars in the Morning Sky (Belgrade Theatre), The Flags (Liverpool's Royal Court), and The Yellow Wallpaper and Striking Distance (Granary Theatre). She was series regular Dr Niamh Donoghue in Doctors. Other television credits include Nowhere Fast, Halloween Comedy Shorts: It Should Have Been Me, Ill Behaviour, Execution, No Signal and Ladies and Gentlemen.

Fiona Skinner plays Polly Stokes. Her theatre credits include The Dark Room, My Imaginary Friend Patrick Stewart (Theatre503), The Full Monty (UK tour), Our Ajax (Southwark Playhouse), Old Vic New Voices: The 24 Hour Plays (The Old Vic), Brave New Worlds (Soho Theatre), 'Ave It (The Old Vic Tunnels) and People Like Us (Vineyard Theatre, New York). Her television credits include Taboo and Our Girl; and for film, A Royal Night Out.

Kirsty Patrick Ward directs. Her credits include Exactly Like You (VAULT Festival Spirit Award at Edinburgh Festival Fringe/The Vaults), Chef (Scotsman Fringe First Award at Edinburgh Festival Fringe/Soho Theatre), I'm Not That Kind of Guy (The Vaults and Paines Plough), Mary Louise (The Vaults), Evita (MT4Uth, Belfast), People Like Us (Pleasance, London), Snow White (UK tour for The Old Vic), A Writer's Response to 'Chavs' by Owen Jones (Lyric Hammersmith), Present Tense (Live Theatre), Brave New Worlds (Soho Theatre), Life Support (York Theatre Royal) and Old Vic New Voices: The 24 Hour Plays (The Old Vic). Work as Associate Director includes The Comedy About A Bank Robbery (Criterion Theatre), Brideshead Revisited (York Theatre Royal/UK tour) and Young Pretender (Edinburgh Festival Fringe/UK tour). Work as Assistant Director includes Othello, King Lear (Shakespeare's Globe), Our New Girl (Bush Theatre) and Bunny which won a Scotsman Fringe First Award (nabokov/Edinburgh Festival Fringe/UK tour).


Troupe's recent production of Rasheeda Speaking by Joel Drake Johnson starred Tanya Moodie and Elizabeth Berrington at Trafalgar Studios and was nominated for five Off West End Awards. Troupe returns to Southwark Playhouse after its critically acclaimed productions of Dear Brutus by J. M. Barrie, which starred Miles Richardson, and The Cardinal by James Shirley, which starred Stephen Boxer and Natalie Simpson for which she won the Ian Charleson Award. It was supported by an inaugural MGCfutures Bursary Award. Troupe's previous rediscoveries at the Finborough Theatre - Rodney Ackland's After October, Robert Bolt's Flowering Cherry and R. C. Sherriff's The White Carnation, which later transferred to Jermyn Street Theatre - have been nominated for a total of five Off West End Awards.

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