Casting Announced for Gary Owen's Radically Reimagined THE CHERRY ORCHARD

Casting Announced for Gary Owen's Radically Reimagined THE CHERRY ORCHARD

The cast for Gary Owen's new version of The Cherry Orchard, which transfers the action to early 1980s Pembrokeshire, will feature a broad range of talents from stage and screen including a number of actors from Wales. The production will run from 13-28 October 2017 at the Sherman Theatre in Cardiff.

Denise Black, whose stage appearances include a Manchester Evening News Award-winning performance in Roots at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre (2010), the role of Mari Hoff in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (2004), the 2010 national tour of Calendar Girls and the first UK tour of Sister Act (2011) will play Rainey, a character modelled on Chekhov’s Ranevskaya. Denise is also known for her long running role as hairdresser Denise Osbourne in Coronation Street and appearances in Russell T. Davies’ Queer as Folk and Cucumber. 

Simon Armstrong, another Coronation Street veteran who more recently appeared in Twelfth Night at Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre, joins the cast as Gabriel (Gaev). Game of Thrones aficionados may recognise him as Qhorin Halfhand, the Nights Watchman who sacrifices his life to Jon Snow.

Morfydd Clark, tipped by the Guardian as a rising star of 2017 following her performance as Cordelia alongside Glenda Jackson in King Lear at the Old Vic, Les Liasons Dangereuses at the Donmar and Gary Owen's Royal Court debut Violence and Son, will play Anya. Morfydd has also given notable screen performances opposite Kate Beckinsale in Love and Friendship and with Maxine Peake in The Falling.

Richard Mylan joins the cast following his acclaimed performance in Killology to play Ceri, inspired by Trofimov. Richard has worked extensively in theatre, film and television (including playing Oliver in cult BBC sitcom Coupling) since his West End debut in 1992, in particular in several productions with Frantic Assembly. Hedydd Dylan (Valerie) recently starred as Constance Chatterley in the Sheffield Theatres production of Lady Chatterley's Lover which then toured. Matthew Bulgo will take the role of Lewis (Lopahkin). The cast is completed by Alexandria Riley as Dottie (Dunyasha) who most recently performed in Alan Harris's How My Light Is Spent at Sherman Theatre, a co-production with Royal Exchange Theatre and Theatre by the Lake.

Following her recent collaborations with Gary Owen on Killology (Royal Court and Sherman Theatre) and the award-winning Iphigenia in Splott in 2015, The Cherry Orchard will be directed by Rachel O'Riordan, the first time the duo have worked together on an adaptation of a classic.

Published in 1904 shortly before the Russian Revolution, Chekhov's comedy play captures a world on the brink of social upheaval. It is a witty, compassionate study of humanity's flaws, foibles and our refusal to face what is right in front of us. Owen's take on The Cherry Orchard places the action in another time on the cusp of huge social change - early 80s Britain at the outset of Margaret Thatcher's regime.

The action is set in a rambling, ramshackle old manor house on the sun-kissed south Pembrokeshire coast where Rainey raised her children, surrounded by golden beaches and lush green orchards. But the untimely death of her beloved son and husband sent her fleeing to London, abandoning what remained of her family. Now, with the bank threatening to repossess, Rainey is forced back home to face her ghosts - and her furious daughters - or lose everything.

The Cherry Orchard has been specially selected as a cornerstone of Wales' Russia 17 season that marks the centenary of the Russian revolution with a range of events which capture the social and cultural revolutions of the era, and Wales' historic connections with the Russia of the time.


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