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Linda Bassett, David Burke and More Cast in Donmar's ROOTS - Full Cast Announced!


Donmar Warehouse presents Arnold Wesker's ROOTS, 03 October 2013 - 30 November 2013, Press Night: Tuesday 8 October 2013. Director: James MacDonald, Designer: Hildegard Bechtler, Lighting Designer: Guy Hoare, Sound Designer: Ian Dickinson for Autograph, Video Designer: Dick Straker

Full cast: Linda Bassett, David Burke, Lisa Ellis, Ian Gelder, Nic Jackman, Michael Jibson, Carl Prekopp, Jessica Raine and Emma Stansfield.

"The world's bin growing for two thousand years and we heven't noticed it"

Roots is the exquisite centrepiece of Wesker's seminal post-war trilogy, a landmark achievement of 20th century British theatre. James MacDonald makes his Donmar debut with this portrait of a young woman finding her voice at a time of unprecedented social change. Jessica Raine, whose television work includes the lead role in the BBC series Call the Midwife and whose stage credits include Harper Regan, Rocket to the Moon (National Theatre), The Changeling (Young Vic) and Punk Rock (Lyric Hammersmith), will play Beatie, with Linda Bassett, whose extensive credits include, for film, East is East and Calendar Girls and on stage People(National Theatre), Love and Information and In Basildon (Royal Court), as her mother.

It's 1958. Beatie Bryant has been to London and fallen in love with Ronnie, a young socialist. As she anxiously awaits his arrival to meet her family at their Norfolk farm, her head is swimming with new ideas. Ideas of a bolder, freer world which promise to clash with their rural way of life.

Arnold Wesker, F.R.S.L. (Playwright) born London 1932, has written over 45 plays the most well-known being The Wesker Trilogy (Chicken Soup with Barley, Roots, I'm Talking About Jerusalem), The Kitchen, Chips With Everything, and Shylock, most of them performed worldwide. He has written two opera librettos, published volumes of fiction and non-fiction, poetry, a book for young people, an autobiography - As Much As I Dare (1992). His work has been translated into 17 languages. Wesker may be unique in having had sixteen world premieres abroad. In the last seven years he has written five new plays and other works, including his first novel, Honey, published by Simon & Schuster 2005. In 2008 he published his first volume of poetry All Things Tire of Themselves. In that year he also completed a commission, to celebrate 75 years of the BBC World Service, for a radio play, later adapted for the stage - The Rocking Horse Kid. He has just completed his latest new play Joy and Tyranny. The recipient of honorary degrees and prizes, Wesker's vast archives have recently been purchased by Texas University. He was knighted in the 2006 New Year's Honours list for services to world drama.

James MacDonald (Director) was Associate Director of the Royal Court from 1992 to 2007 during which time he directed Drunk Enough to Say I Love You (also Public Theater, New York), Dying City (also Lincoln Center, New York), Fewer Emergencies, Lucky Dog, Blood, Blasted and 4.48 Psychosis and more recently Cock, Love and Information and Circle Mirror Transformation (Royal Court in Haggerston). His other directing credits include The Arrest of Ai Wei Wei, And No More Shall We Part (Hampstead Theatre), King Lear, The Book of Grace, Top Girls (Broadway/MTC), A Delicate Balance, Judgment Day, The Triumph of Love (Almeida), Dido, Queen of Carthage, The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other, Exiles (National Theatre) and Glengarry Glen Ross in the West End.

Linda Bassett (playing Mrs Bryant) has previously performed at the Donmar in Phaedra. Throughout her prolific career she has performed at The National Theatre, Royal Court and RSC. Her television credits include The Life & Adventures of Nick Nickleby, Lark Rise to Candleford and Grandma's House. She is best known for her roles in feature films East is East, The Reader, Calendar Girls, The Hours and Effie.

David Burke (playing Stan Mann) has previously performed for the Donmar in The Prince of Homburg, Hamlet (Donmar West End),John Gabriel Borkman and Mary Stuart. Throughout his career he has performed in numerous productions for The National Theatre, RSC and in the West End. He is perhaps best known for his role as Dr Watson in the television series The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Other television credits include Spooks and Waking the Dead. He recently starred in the feature film The Woman in Black.

Lisa Ellis' (playing Jenny Beales) theatre credits include The Canterbury Tales (RSC & West End), David Copperfield (West Yorkshire Playhouse), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Sheffield Crucible), Got To Be Happy (Bush Theatre) and A Christmas Carol (Chichester Festival Theatre). Television credits include EastEnders and Foyle's War.

Ian Gelder (playing Mr Bryant) has previously performed at the Donmar in Good and The Front Page. He has had a prolific theatre career performing at The National Theatre, RSC, Royal Court, in the West End and at regional venues. Most recently he has been at the Royal Court in The Low Road and King Lear at the Almeida. His television credits include Mr Selfridge, Game of Thrones andPsychoville.

Nic Jackman (playing Mr Healey) makes his professional theatre debut in Roots. His television credits include BBC legal drama Silk.

Michael Jibson (playing Jimmy) has previously performed in Road Show (Menier Chocolate Factory), The Comedy of Errors(Manchester Royal Exchange), A Midsummer Night's Dream and Timon of Athens (Shakespeare's Globe) and Our House (West End). He recently starred in the feature film LES MISERABLES and his television credits include Burton and Taylor, Hatfields & McCoys and Band of Brothers.

Carl Prekopp's (playing Frank Bryant) recent theatre credits include Love on the Dole (Finborough Theatre), Baal & Richard III(Riverside Studios) and Calendar Girls (West End and tour). Television credits include Lewis and Law & Order: UK.

Jessica Raine (playing Beatie) is perhaps best known for playing the lead role in the BBC drama, Call the Midwife. Her theatre credits include The Changeling (Young Vic), Rocket to the Moon, Earthquakes in London, Gethsemane and Harper Regan (all National Theatre), Punk Rock (Lyric Hammersmith) and Ghosts (West End). She recently starred in the feature film The Woman in Black and television credits include Doctor Who, An Adventure in Space and Time and Garrow's Law.

Emma Stansfield's (playing Pearl) theatre credits include Mrs Warren's Profession (Royal Lyceum Edinburgh / Nottingham Playhouse),Mephistopheles, Tales from the Vienna Woods, The Tempest and Sparkleshark (all National Theatre).. Her television credits includePrivates, Coronation Street, Skins, The Tudors and Fanny Hill.

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