Giles Terera and Michael Benz Complete the Cast of POWER OF SAIL at Menier Chocolate Factory

Performances run 20 March – 12 May.

By: Feb. 26, 2024
Giles Terera and Michael Benz Complete the Cast of POWER OF SAIL at Menier Chocolate Factory
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The Menier Chocolate Factory has announced that Giles Terera (Baxter) and Michael Benz (Lucas) join the cast of the European première of Paul Grellong's Power of Sail, directed by Dominic Dromgoole. They join the previously announced Julian Ovenden (Charles Nichols), Tanya Franks (Amy), Katie Bernstein (Maggie), Georgia Landers (Quinn) and Paul Rider (Frank).

This production - co-produced with Daryl Roth who previously collaborated with the Menier on the critically acclaimed production of Indecent - opens on 28 March, with previews from the 20 March, and runs until 12 May.

All hell breaks loose when Harvard professor Charles Nichols invites a contentious white nationalist to his yearly symposium. His colleagues are very concerned about how this will affect both his and the University's reputation; his students are vociferously protesting.  However, Charles refuses to budge. Is there another agenda?

Penned by Paul Grellong, whose television credits include The Boys and Law & Order: SVU, this moral thriller investigates the thin line between hate and freedom of speech - who bears the ultimate cost?  This European première, directed by Dominic Dromgoole, promises to be one of the most talked-about plays of the year.

Giles Terera plays Baxter. His theatre work includes Clyde's, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (Donmar Warehouse), Blues for an Alabama Sky - Olivier Award nomination for Best Actor, Othello, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Hamlet, Death and the King's Horseman, The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other, Troilus and Cressida, Candide, Honk!, The Darker Face of the Earth, Walk in the Light, Mind the Gap (National Theatre), The Meaning of Zong (which he also wrote, Bristol Old Vic/Royal Lyceum Edinburgh/Liverpool Playhouse/Barbican), Rosmersholm (Duke of York's Theatre), Hamilton - Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical (Victoria Palace Theatre), The Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare's Globe/international tour), King John (Shakespeare's Globe/UK tour), Pre Imagination - The Songs of Leslie Bricusse (St James Theatre), The Book of Mormon, Rent (Prince of Wales Theatre), The Tempest (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Don't You Leave Me Here (Leeds Playhouse), The Playboy of the Western World (Abbey Theatre, Dublin), Avenue Q (Noël Coward Theatre), The Rat Pack (Novello Theatre/international tour), Jailhouse Rock (Theatre Royal Plymouth/Piccadilly Theatre), 125th Street (Shaftesbury Theatre), You Don't Kiss (Stratford Circus), Up on the Roof (Chichester Festival Theatre), The Tempest (RSC), Six Degrees of Separation (Sheffield Theatres), Generations of the Dead (Young Vic), Bill Shakespeare's Italian Job (Playbox Theatre, Warwick), The Demon Headmaster and The Animals of Farthing Wood (Pleasance Theatre).  For television, his work includes Flack and Horrible Histories; and for film, Death of England, The Current War, London Boulevard and Muse of Fire (his documentary created with Daniel Poole).

Michael Benz plays Lucas. His theatre work includes The Little Foxes (Manhattan Theatre Club), The Importance of Being Earnest (Vaudeville Theatre), Twelfth Night (Sheffield Theatres and UK tour), Travesties (Bay Street Theatre, New York), Hamlet (Shakespeare's Globe and tour), The American Clock, The December Man (Finborough Theatre), The Tempest, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (Theatre Royal Haymarket), As You Like It (Shakespeare's Globe), and Romeo and Juliet (RSC). His television work includes Up Here, For All Mankind, Time After Time, Downton Abbey, Mike and Angelo, and Little Lord Fauntleroy; and for film, Martin Eden, Joker, Greyhound, The Wife, and Snowden.

Julian Ovenden plays Charles Nichols. His theatre work includes South Pacific (Chichester Festival Theatre/Sadler's Wells), All About Eve (Noël Coward Theatre), The Treatment (Almeida Theatre), My Night With Reg (Donmar Warehouse/Apollo), Show Boat (Lincoln Center), Sunday in the Park With George (Théatre du Châtelet, Paris), Finding Neverland (Curve, Leicester), Death Takes a Holiday (Roundabout Theatre, New York), Annie Get Your Gun (Young Vic), Marguerite, A Woman of No Importance (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Butley (Booth Theatre, New York), Grand Hotel, Merrily We Roll Along (Donmar Warehouse) and King Lear (RSC). For television, his work includes Trigger Point, Avenue 5, Bridgerton, Adult Material, Knightfall, The Crown, Major Crimes, Person of Interest, Death in Paradise, Downton Abbey, The Assets, Cosmos: A Space Odyssey, Smash, Any Human Heart, Foyle's War, Charmed and The Forsyte Saga; and for film, The People We Hate at the Wedding, The Lost Girls, Made in Italy, Christmas Survival, Head of Honey, Made in Italy, The Confessions, Colonia, Allies and First Night.

Tanya Franks returns to the Menier to play Amy – she previously appeared in The Truth (also Wyndham's). Her other theatre work includes Othello, Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads (National Theatre), East (Edinburgh and West End), The Good Person of Sichuan (Mercury Theatre, Colchester) and Sherlock Holmes – The Best Kept Secret (West Yorkshire Playhouse).  Her television credits include Mum, EastEnders (as series regular Rainie Cross),  Pulling (as series regular Karen), Family Affairs (as series regular Karen Ellis) Grantchester, Vera, Broadchurch (as Lucy Stevens) and Liz and Dick; and for film, Aux, We Steal the Old Way,  Pieces, The Magnificent Eleven, Get Lucky and One Day.

Katie Bernstein returns to the Menier to play Maggie – she previously appeared in Habeas Corpus. Her other theatre credits include The Man in the White Suit (Theatre Royal Bath/Wyndham's), The Play that Goes Wrong (Duchess and UK tour), Mrs Henderon Presents (Noël Coward Theatre), Urinetown (St James/Apollo) and Rent (UK tour). Her television credits include The Devil's Hour (Amazon Prime) and the upcoming The Tattooist of Auschwitz (Sky).

Georgia Landers plays Quinn. Her theatre work includes Rock n Roll (Hampstead Theatre), Measure for Measure (Shakespeare's Globe), The Winter's Tale, The Comedy of Errors (RSC), Anna, Antony and Cleopatra (National Theatre) and A Woman of No Importance (Vaudeville Theatre). For television her work includes The Girl Before, Press and The Looming Tower; and for film, Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.

Paul Rider plays Frank. His theatre work includes The Comedy of Errors, The Tempest, Cymbeline, Julius Caesar, Doctor Scroggy's War, The Knight of the Burning Pestle, The Duchess of Malfi, Henry V, Henry IV Parts 1 & 2, Love's Labour's Lost, We the People, Coriolanus, Under the Black Flag (Shakespeare's Globe), Don't Destroy Me (Arcola Theatre) ,Don Perlimplin (Cervantes Theatre) Staircase, Cutting of the Cloth (Southwark Playhouse), Chicago (Phoenix and Cambridge Theatres), A Woman of No Importance (Vaudeville Theatre and UK tour), Wise Children (Bristol Old Vic), Hairspray (UK tour), Chekhov in Hell (Plymouth Theatre Royal and Soho Theatre), Comedians (Lyric Hammersmith), Dying for It (Almeida Theatre), Women Beware Women (RSC), Singer (Tricycle Theatre), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Albery), The Changing Room (Royal Court at Duke of York's), and Teechers, and Bouncers (Arts Theatre). His television work includes Dangerous Liaisons, Doc Martin, Horizon – Einstein, French and Saunders, My Family, Victoria Wood With All the Trimmings, Dinnerladies, Murder Most Horrid, The Bare Necessities, Broker's Man and The Ritz; and for film, Lion Versus The Little People, The War Below, Pond Life, Undercliffe, Making Noise Quietly, A c*ckand Bull Story, Honest and Topsy Turvy.

Paul Grellong's other plays include Manuscript, produced by Daryl Roth at the Daryl Roth Theatre, which has since been performed internationally; Radio Free Emerson (winner of the Elliot Norton Award from the Boston Theater Critics Association for Outstanding New Script), which was commissioned and produced by Rhode Island's Gamm Theatre. His plays have been read and workshopped at Center Theatre Group, MCC, Trinity Repertory Company, Symphony Space, Echo Theater Company, and the Cape Cod Theatre Project. His television credits include The Boys, Scorpion, Revolution, and Law & Order: SVU. He lives in Los Angeles, where he is an alumnus of the Playwrights Union.

Dominic Dromgoole returns to the Menier to direct – he previously directed Marjorie Prime for the company. He launched a new theatre company, Classic Spring, which produced a year-long celebration of Oscar Wilde in 2017/18 directing the first play in the season, A Woman of No Importance, at the Vaudeville Theatre. Dromgoole was Artistic Director of Shakespeare's Globe from 2006 to 2016. In that time the Globe grew into an international theatre of progressive ambition and radical scope. Amongst other projects, he created a UK-wide touring operation and grew this touring internationally, culminating in a two-year tour of Hamlet which travelled to every country in the world. In 2012, he directed the Globe to Globe Festival, which hosted companies from 37 different countries. He was previously Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre – during his tenure between 1990-1996 he nurtured upcoming talents by premiering 65 new plays from a host of now influential writers such as Billy Roche, Irvine Welsh and Naomi Wallace. He then moved onto the Oxford Stage Company which he ran from 1999 to 2005. He launched a new film company, Open Palm Films, and made his first feature, Making Noise Quietly, in the summer of 2016.  The film, released by an adaptation of Robert Holman's play of the same name, starred Deborah Findlay, Barbara Marten, Trystan Gravelle and Matthew Tennyson, and was released by Verve in 2019. He is  the author of the recently published Astonish Me! First Nights That Changed the World as well as Hamlet: Globe to Globe, The Full Room: An A-Z of Contemporary Playwriting and Will and Me: How Shakespeare Took Over My Life, which won the inaugural Sheridan Morley award.