This week Tilted Wig Productions and Malvern Theatres open a national tour of the Charles Dickens classic, Great Expectations at Malvern Theatres (Press Night at Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford on Wednesday 21 February). Nichola McAuliffe takes the role of Miss Havisham in this powerful new stage adaptation by Ken Bentley, directed by Sophie Boyce Couzens and designed by James Turner. Lighting design is by Richard Williamson, Sound Design by Max Pappenheim and the composer is Ollie King.
The cast also includes Séan Aydon (Pip), James Camp (Herbert Pocket), Isla Carter (Estella), Eliza Collings (Mrs Joe), James Dinsmore (Jaggers), Edward Ferrow (Joe Gargery) and Daniel Goode (Magwitch).
Following a terrifying encounter with an escaped convict, young Pip is given an unexpected chance to better himself by visiting the reclusive and mysterious Miss Havisham. In the decaying grandeur of her house, Pip falls in love with Estella and helped by an anonymous benefactor, he moves to the bustling city to pursue his dream of winning Estella’s heart and becoming part of the educated elite.
Peopled by some of Dickens’ most colourful and memorable characters and painted in rich, vivid colour this new production promises a powerful and theatrical telling of Dicken’s universally loved masterpiece.
Olivier Award-winning actress Nichola McAuliffe is best known for her role in the long-running TV series Surgical Spirit, the films Tomorrow Never Dies and Chéri and for her many stage appearances including Kiss Me Kate for the RSC, The Night of the Iguana in the West End and Alan Bennett’s The Lady in the Van.
Sophie Boyce Couzens directed the premiere of Zero Down (Theatre 503) in 2015 and its successful transfer to the Pleasance Courtyard at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2016. In 2014 she directed the first major UK stage revival of Caryl Churchill’s The After-Dinner Joke at the Orange Tree Theatre. In 2015, Sophie was Associate Director on the West-End transfer of James Fritz’s Olivier Award nominated Four Minutes, Twelve Seconds at Trafalgar Studios 2. Other Directing includes Romeo and Juliet (Strawberry Hill House), Dead Things (White Bear Theatre), And Other Stories (Orange Tree Theatre), In the Absence of Grace and Girl, Seventeen (Drayton Arms Theatre, MISK Theatre Productions), Chris’ Mass Protest (The Tristan Bates Theatre, Lonesome School Boy Productions), On the Road to West Egg (Bread & Roses Theatre Company).
Ken Bentley has written original plays and adaptations in a number of genres for the stage and for audio. Recent audio work includes: an adaptation of H.G. Wells’s The Island of Doctor Moreau starring Ronald Pickup; Doctor Who: The Eye of Harmony starring John Hurt; and, The Hunted which was shortlisted for the BBC Audio Drama Awards in 2016.
As a prolific director of audio plays for Big Finish Productions Ken has been a finalist in the BBC Audio Drama Awards in 2015 and 2016; and won in 2017 for Doctor Who: Absent Friends starring Paul McGann, Nicola Walker and Hattie Morahan.
James Turner trained on the Motley Theatre Design Course, and was awarded Best Set Designer at the 2013 Off-West-End Awards for Mercury Fur. Other designs include Blush (Soho Theatre/UK Tour), Before The Party (Salisbury Playhouse), Home Truths (Cardboard Citizens), Educating Rita (Hull Truck Theatre), Dan and Phil: The Amazing Tour Is Not On Fire (London Palladium/International Tour/YouTube Red Original), Toast (Park Theatre/UK Tour/59E59 New York), Love and Information, Clybourne Park, In Arabia We’d All Be Kings (RADA), A Further Education, State Red (Hampstead Theatre), Brenda (Hightide Festival/Yard Theatre), Cuddles (Oval House/UK Tour/59E59 New York), The Deep Blue Sea (Watermill Theatre), Buckets, When We Were Women (Orange Tree Theatre), Dracula (LAMDA), The Father, Donkey Heart (Trafalgar Studios 2), Our Ajax, I Am A Camera (Southwark Playhouse), A Life (Finborough Theatre), Mercury Fur (Old Red Lion/Trafalgar Studios 2), Thrill Me (Charing Cross Theatre/Arcola Theatre/UK Tour), The British Online Creator Awards 2016 (London Palladium). He was Associate Designer on A View from the Bridge (Young Vic/West-End/Goodman Theatre, Chicago), Antigone (Barbican/International Tour), The Rome Season (RSC/Barbican).
15 - 17 Feb Malvern Theatres
20 – 24 Feb Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford
27 Feb – 3 Mar Theatr Clwyd, Mold
6 – 10 Mar Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds
12 -17 Mar Richmond Theatre
19 – 24 Mar Palace Theatre, Southend
27 – 31 Mar Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne
3 – 7 Apr Buxton Opera House
10 – 14 Apr Theatre by the Lake, Keswick
19 – 21 April Theatre Royal, Windsor
24 – 28 Apr Theatre Royal, Winchester
2 – 5 May Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
8 – 12 May Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
22 – 26 May New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth
29 May – 2 June Churchill Theatre, Bromley
4 – 9 June Theatre Royal, Bath
19 – 23 June Exeter Northcott Theatre