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Cathy Tyson To Lead THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST at Birmingham Rep and Leicester Curve

Today, Curve Artistic Director, Nikolai Foster, announces the cast for his production of THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST. BAFTA and Golden Globe-nominated actress Cathy Tyson will star as the iconic Lady Bracknell in Foster's stylish reimagining of Wilde's much-loved comedy. Cathy is best known for her role in the multi-award winning film Mona Lisa, classic ITV drama series Band of Gold and her stage work with the RSC and Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse.

Foster also directs Darren Bennett as Lane & Merriman, Angela Clerkin as Miss Prism, Edward Franklin as Algernon Moncrief, Dominic Gately as Dr Chasuble, Fela Lufadeju as Jack Worthing, Sharan Phull as Cecily Cardew. The Importance of Being Earnest will open at Birmingham Repertory Theatre from 9-14 September before completing its run at Curve from 11-29 October.

Bachelor Jack Worthing and his best mate Algernon Moncrieff hope to marry society's most eligible ladies, Gwendolen Fairfax and Cecily Cardew. But the lads' courtship of the women is far from straight forward. With double identities, handbag mishaps and hostile encounters with the formidable Lady Bracknell, the pair become embroiled in a web of mistaken identities with hilarious consequences.

Regarded as one of the finest comedies in the English language, Wilde's play explodes with his trademark razor-sharp wit and uncovers the hypocrisies of a society where what is seen on the outside is very different to the truth that lies beneath.

Join Jack and Algernon for this stylish new production and follow our charming pair as they discover "the vital importance of being earnest".

Nikolai Foster and Curve Chief Executive Chris Stafford said today: "With our friends at the Rep, we are all excited to be working on Wilde's mighty play and to be sharing one of the greatest comedies in the English language with audiences in Leicester and Birmingham. As well as being richly entertaining, the play holds up a dazzling mirror to society and asks important questions of our times. The wealth of acting talent in our country never fails to astonish and we are delighted Cathy Tyson is Lady Bracknell, leading an exceptional company. Our Cecily, Sharan Phull, was a member of Curve Community Company, so we are really proud to welcome Sharan back to Curve."

The Designer is Isla Shaw (Ishy Din's Wipers & The Witches). Curve Associate Artist Dougal Irvine is the Composer. The Lighting Designer is Ben Cracknell and the Sound Designer is Birmingham Repertory Theatre's Dan Hoole.

Casting for the role of Gwendolen is to follow.

Darren Bennett returns to Curve following Legally Blonde to play Lane & Merriman. His other theatre credits include Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Savoy Theatre), Aladdin (O2 Arena), Annie, Fiddler on the Roof, Singin' in the Rain (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Merrily We Roll Along (Theatre Clywd), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Crazy For You, West Side Story, The Songbook Of Judy Garland, Cats, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, The Boyfriend (all UK tours) and The Mousetrap (St Martin's Theatre).

Angela Clerkin plays Miss Prism. Her theatre credits Everyone (BAC), The Haunting of Hill House (Liverpool Playhouse), Early Days of a Better Nation (Coney, UK tour), Chris Goode & Co's Monkey Bars (Traverse- Fringe First winner, and UK tour) and Panic (Barbican, Sydney Opera House, UK tour). Her television credits include Doctor Who, Humans, My Family, Sugar Rush, The Office and for film,Dean Spanley.

Edward Franklin as Algernon Moncrief. His theatre credits include Hay Fever (Bath Theatre Royal, UK & Australian tour and West End), Shakespeare In Love (Noel Coward Theatre), Twelve Angry Men (Garrick Theatre), Dances of Death, Wittenberg (Gate Theatre) and Many Moons (Theatre 503). His television credits include Doctor Thorne, Being Human and Married, Single, Other. For film, his credits include Denial, Home, Brain Hack.

Dominic Gately plays Dr Chasuble. His theatre credits include Beryl (West Yorkshire/Rose Theatre Kingston), Barnbow Canaries,Refugee Boy, Scuffer, Monkey! and Company Along the Mile (West Yorkshire Playhouse), The Good Person of Sichuan (Mercury Theatre Colchester), Kes (Liverpool Playhouse/Touring Consortium) and The Diary of Anna Frank (York Theatre Royal/Touring Consortium). His television credits include Paradox and Walk Like a Panther.

Fela Lufadeju returns to Curve, following performances in Drunk and Chicago, to play Jack Worthing. His other theatre credits include Beautiful (Aldwych Theatre), Dessa Rose (Trafalgar Studios), Cool Rider (Duchess Theatre), Hairspray and Dirty Dancing(both UK tours).

Cathy Tyson plays Lady Bracknell. Her theatre credits include Golden Girls (RSC), The Taming of the Shrew (Regent's Park Open Air Theatre), The Merchant of Venice (Birmingham Repertory Theatre), Pygmalion, Educating Rita (Theatr Clywd), Bright Phoenix, The May Queen (Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse) and Mum's the Word (West End). Her television credits include Coming Up: Hooked, Band of Gold, Scully, Always & Everyone, Night & Day, M.I.T., Bonkers, A Thing Called Love, The Liverpool Nativity, Perfect and Rules of Engagement. Her film credits The Marker, Chick Lit, The Mona Lisa, Priest, The Lost Language of Cranes, The Old Man Who Read Love Stories, Business As Usual and Ollie Kepler's Expanding World. She received BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations for her role in the film Mona Lisa. She has also won the Los Angeles Film Critic Association Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Sharan Phull was a member of Curve Community Company. Her theatre credits include Bend It Like Beckham: The Musical (West End), Rent, Annie Pereira's Bakery at 76 Chapel Road, Sweeney Todd, Okay Tata Bye Bye (Curve), Stranger In The Kitchen (Off The Fence Theatre Company) and The Visit (Nottingham Playhouse). Sharan returns to Curve to play Cecily Cardew.

Nikolai Foster is Artistic Director at Curve. Born in Copenhagen, Denmark, he grew up in North Yorkshire. Nikolai trained at Drama Centre London and at the Crucible, Sheffield. Since taking up his post in January 2015, Foster has directed Legally Blonde (also at the Daegu International Opera Festival, South Korea), Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's adapted by Richard Greenberg (running in the West End until 17 September), Roald Dahl's The Witches (also on tour in the UK & at the Lyric Theatre Hong Kong), Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire, Shakespeare's Richard III, Timberlake Wertenbaker's Our Country's Good, a performance to celebrate the reveal of the tomb of King Richard III at Leicester Cathedral and Jonathan Harvey's Beautiful Thing (a co-production with Nottingham Playhouse & on UK tour).

Isla Shaw is the designer. Her previous work for Curve includes The Witches (Curve, Leicester & UK and Hong Kong Tour). Her other credits include What Falls Apart (Live Theatre), Angelina Ballerina (Nick Brooke & Bos Productions),A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare's Globe), The Snail and The Whale (Tall Stories), The Gruffalo (Tall Stories, Lyric Hammersmith), The Gruffalo's Child (Tall Stories, The Arts Depot) and Twinkle Twinkle (Tall Stories, The Roundhouse).

Dougal Irvine is the composer and a Curve Associate Artist. For Curve his previous work includes The Witches (Curve Leicester & UK and Hong Kong tour). His other composer credits include The Buskers Opera (Park Theatre), Laila(Rifco), Teddy (Southwark Playhouse), The Interventionists (Lyric Hammersmith), The Snow Queen (Nuffield/Royal and Derngate), Future Fest (Lyric Hammersmith), Angry Birds (The Space, Havring), The Other School (St. James Theatre/NYMT), Captured By The Dark (Stop Gap Theatre), Blood Wedding and The Bacchae (Royal and Derngate) and A Song Cycle For Soho (Soho Theatre).

Ben Cracknell is the lighting designer. His previous work for Curve includes Breakfast At Tiffany's (also UK tour) and Beautiful Thing(also UK tour). Other work includes Dracula (Siam Pic Ganesha Theatre, Bangkok), Kiss Me Kate (Opera North), Annie (UK Tour), (Curve, UK Tour), 1984 (Altes Schauspielhaus, Stuttgart), Saturday Night Fever (Theatre Royal, Bath & Tour), Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It (Stafford & Ludlow Shakespeare Festival), I Dreamed a Dream, Chess, Jolson & Co. & The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (Tours for Michael Harrison). His television credits include: Quadrophenia and Lenny Henry sings the Blues; The 2012 & 2013 Classic Brit Awards (The Royal Albert Hall, London) and The 2011 - 2015 Olivier Awards (Royal Opera House for ITV & BBC).

Birmingham Repertory Theatre

Fri 9 Sep - Sat 24 Sep

Press Night: 14 September 7pm

Curve

6 October - 29 October

Press night: 11 October 7pm

CURVE

Box Office: 0116 242 3595

Monday - Saturday: 10am - 8pm (6pm non-performance days)

Sunday: one hour before the performance.

www.curveonline.co.uk

Birmingham Repertory Theatre

Box Office: 0121 236 4455

www.birmingham-rep.co.uk


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From This Author Marianka Swain