Hampstead Theatre today announces full casting for the European premiere of Jordan Tannahill’s Botticelli in the Fire which will be directed by Blanche McIntyre. This hot-blooded and seductive reimagining of Renaissance Italy questions how much of ourselves we are willing to sacrifice when society comes off the rails. The cast will consist of Hiran Abeysekera, Stefan Adegbola, Dickie Beau, Adetomiwa Edun, Louise Gold, Sirine Saba and Howard Ward.
Florence, circa 1482. Playboy Sandro Botticelli has it all: talent, fame, good looks. He also has the ear - and the wife - of Lorenzo de Medici, as well as the Renaissance’s hottest young apprentice, Leonardo.
But whilst he is at work on his breakthrough commission, ‘The Birth of Venus’, Botticelli’s devotion to pleasure and beauty is put to the ultimate test. As plague and dissent sweep through the city, the charismatic friar Girolamo Savonarola starts to stoke the fires against the liberal elite. Botticelli finds the life he knows breaking terrifyingly apart, forcing him to choose between love and survival.
Jordan Tannahill is a Canadian playwright, novelist, and director. His plays have been translated into multiple languages and widely honoured. Jordan is the youngest two-time winner of a Governor General's Literary Award, the preeminent state-sponsored literary honour in Canada, having won for his plays Botticelli in the Fire and Sunday in Sodom in 2018, and Age of Minority: Three Solo Plays in 2014. His plays, performance texts, and productions have been presented at venues including the Young Vic, Sadler's Wells, The Kitchen (NYC), The Lincoln Centre (NYC), Festival d'Avignon (France), Volkstheater (Vienna), Canadian Stage (Toronto), The National Arts Centre of Canada (Ottawa), The Edinburgh International Festival and the West End. His books include the autofiction novel Liminal (House of Anansi, 2018), and Theatre of the Unimpressed: In Search of Vital Drama (Coach House Press, 2015). His virtual reality performance Draw Me Close, produced by the National Theatre and the National Film Board of Canada, was presented at the Tribeca Film Festival and Venice Biennale in 2017, and ran at the Young Vic earlier this year. Jordan has also worked in dance, most recently writing the text for Akram Khan's celebrated pieces Xenos and Outwitting the Devil, both currently touring internationally. From 2012 - 2016, in collaboration with William Ellis, Jordan ran the alternative art space Videofag out of their home in Toronto’s Kensington Market neighbourhood. Over the four years of its operation, Videofag became an influential hub for queer and avant-garde work in Canada. The Videofag Book was published by Book*hug Press in 2017.
Blanche McIntyre was Director in Residence at the National Theatre Studio and the Finborough Theatre (2009). Work as a theatre director includes Bartholomew Fair (Sam Wanamaker Playhouse); Tartuffe (National Theatre); Women in Power (Southampton Nuffield); The Winter's Tale; The Comedy of Errors and As You Like It (all Shakespeare's Globe); The Writer (Almeida); Titus Andronicus and The Two Noble Kinsmen (both RSC); The Norman Conquests (Chichester Festival Theatre); Noises Off (Nottingham Playhouse); Welcome Home Captain Fox! (Donmar); The Oresteia (HOME - Manchester); Arcadia (ETT); Accolade (St James’); Tonight At 8.30 (Southampton Nuffield/ETT); The Nutcracker (Southampton Nuffield); Ciphers (Out of Joint/Bush/Northcott, Exeter); The Birthday Party (Manchester Royal Exchange); The Seagull (Southampton Nuffield/Derby Theatre/UK tour - Best Director TMA 2013 UK Theatre Awards); Liar, Liar (Unicorn); The Only True History of Lizzie Finn (Jagged Fence/Southwark Playhouse); The Seven Year Itch (Salisbury Playhouse); Repentance and Behind the Lines (double bill ANGLE at the Bush); Foxfinder (Finborough); When Did You Last See My Mother? (Trafalgar Studios); Robin Hood (Latitude Festival/National Student Drama Festival); Pinching For My Soul (Focus Theatre, Dublin); Open Heart Surgery (Southwark Playhouse); Accolade (Finborough - Best Director and Best Production at Off West End Theatre Awards 2011 - Time Out's Best Fringe Show 2011 – most promising newcomer award); A Model For Mankind (Cock Tavern Theatre); Molière, Or The League of Hypocrites (Finborough); Birds (Southwark Playhouse - Secrets season); Three Hours After Marriage (Union Theatre); Wuthering Heights (Birmingham Rep/UK tour); Doctor Faustus and The Devil Is an Ass (both White Bear Theatre); The Master and Margarita (also as writer of the adaptation of the novel - Greenwich Playhouse). Film work as co-writer includes The Hippopotamus, based on the novel by Stephen Fry. Work as an Opera director includes The Marriage of Figaro and Tosca (both English Touring Opera).
Hiran Abeysekera plays Leonardo Da Vinci. Hiran trained at RADA, and his theatre credits includes Life of Pi (Sheffield Crucible); Akhrot (Royal Court/Edinburgh Fringe); The Prisoner (Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord); Cymbeline and Hamlet (both RSC); Peter Pan (Regent's Park); Behind the Beautiful Forevers and War Horse Prom (both National Theatre); Rats Tales (Manchester Royal Exchange) and Tartuffe (English Touring Theatre). Television work includes Holby City; Find Me in Paris and A Midsummer Night's Dream.Radio work includes Tumanbay; Broken Paradise and The last time I saw Richard.
Stefan Adegbola plays Poggio Di Chullu. Theatre work includes Red Dust Road (National Theatre of Scotland/HOME Manchester); Richard III (Headlong, UK tour); Titus Andronicus (RSC); The Convert (Gate); After Independence (Arcola, Papatango theatre company); The Christians (Gate/Traverse); The Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare’s Globe/Globe World tour); Widower’s Houses (Orange Tree); The Comedy of Errors (Shakespeare’s Globe); The Epic Adventure of Nhamo the Manyika Warrior and his Sexy Wife Chipo (Tiata Fahodzi Theatre company, UK tour); Othello (Riverside Studios) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Noel Coward). Film work includes The Mire. Short film work includes Anemone. Television work includes Enterprice and Doctor Who. Radio work includes The Boneless Wonder.
Dickie Beau plays Sandro Botticelli. Theatre work includes Re-Member Me (Almeida/Public Theatre, New York/Melbourne International Arts Festival/Perth Festival - nominated for a 2019 Helpmann Award); Sheppey (Orange Tree - Off West End Theatre Award for Best Supporting Actor); The Tempest (Salzburg Festival); Dickie Beau: Unplugged (Adelaide Cabaret Festival/Push Festival Vancouver/Fusebox Festival Texas); Lost in Trans- (Southbank Centre/Progress Festival Toronto/City of Women Festival Ljubljana); Blackouts: Twilight of the Idols (Soho/UK tour/Abrons Playhouse New York); Camera Lucida (Barbican - Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award); Kvetch (King’s Head); Masking Tapes (Almeida); Copyright Christmas (Barbican) and The Jew of Malta (Teatro Della Contraddizzione, Milan). Film work includes Bohemian Rhapsody; Colette; Chasing Chaplin and Country of Hotels. Television work includes The Windsors and The Amazing Mrs Pritchard. Other live art and performance projects include Border Force (Duckie); Simon Vincenzi’s Luxuriant (Malta Festival, Poznan); Mel Brimfield’s The Palace That Joan Built (Art on the Underground, Theatre Royal Stratford East); The Readers Wifes Fan Club (Duckie); An Audience with Willy Little (Mel Brimfield, John Hansard Gallery); This is Not a Dream (BFI, Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club) and Retroflection (Project Arts Centre Dublin, Royal Vauxhall Tavern).
Adetomiwa Edun plays Lorenzo De Medici. Adetomiwa graduated from RADA. Theatre work includes Translations (National Theatre - 2019 WhatsOnStage Awards nomination for Best Supporting Actor) and Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare’s Globe). Television work includes Alabama; Merlin; The Hour; Bates Motel; Lucifer and Elementary.
Louise Gold plays Madre Maria. Theatre work includes The Last Ones (Jermyn Street); The Nap (Sheffield Crucible); The Good Person of Szechwan (Young Vic); Noises Off (Piccadilly); The Cherry Orchard (RSC); The Caucasian Chalk Circle and Our Country's Good (both Edinburgh Lyceum); The Taming of the Shrew (Southampton Nuffield) and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Regent’s Park). Musical work includes Fiddler on the Roof (Playhouse/Menier Chocolate Factory); Gypsy (Savoy); Pippin (Menier Chocolate Factory); Oliver! (Drury Lane); Mary Poppins (Prince Edward); Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Palladium); The Water Babies and The Gondoliers (Chichester Festival Theatre); Follies (Royal Festival Hall); Mamma Mia! (Prince Edward); Kiss Me Kate (Regent's Park); Lady Into Fox (UK Tour); Assassins (Donmar); Calamity Jane and Merrily We Roll Along (both Leicester Haymarket); The Boys From Syracuse (Regent’s Park); Anything Goes (Prince Edward); Zeigfeld (Palladium); The Pirates of Penzance (Drury Lane) and The Lost Musicals Seasons. Film work includes Billy the Kid and the Green Baize Vampire; Topsy Turvey and The Pirates of Penzance. Television work includes Strike Back; Holby City, Coronation Street; The Alan Clark Diaries; 'Allo 'Allo; Blackadder I; Laugh? I Nearly Paid My Licence and The House of Eliott. Puppeteering work includes The Muppet Show; Spitting Image; The Muppet Christmas Carol; Furchester Hotel and The Dark Crystal.
Sirine Saba plays Clarice Orsini/Venus. Sirine Trained at RADA. Recent theatre work includes Wife (Kiln); The Winter’s Tale and King Lear (both Shakespeare’s Globe); Goats (Royal Court); Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere (Young Vic); iHo (Hampstead Theatre); Another World; Nation and Sparkleshark (National Theatre); The Invisible (Bush); The Crossing Plays and Fireworks (both Royal Court); Next Fall (Southwark Playhouse); Holy Warriors and Antony and Cleopatra (both Shakespeare’s Globe); The Winter’s Tale; The Taming of the Shrew; A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Twelfth Night and HMS Pinafore (all Regent’s Park); The Fear of Breathing (Finborough); Baghdad Wedding (Soho); Testing the Echo (Tricycle); Beauty and the Beast; Midnight’s Children; The Tempest; The Winter’s Tale; Pericles; A Midsummer Night's Dream; Tales From Ovid and A Warwickshire Testimony (all RSC) and Scorched (Old Vic Tunnels). Film work includes The Black Forest; Exhibition and I Am Slave. Television work includes Holby City (series regular); Cleaning Up; Why It’s Kicking off Everywhere; EastEnders; Unforgotten – Series 2; Doctors; Silent Witness; The Bill and Prometheus. Extensive radio work includes Savages; The Bethlehem Murders; Borderland; Wide Sargasso Sea; Tumanbay; The Trespasser’s Guide to the Classics; Anthony and Cleopatra; The Brick; The Insider; The Reluctant Spy; The Deportation Room and Marley Was Dead.
Howard Ward plays Girolamo Savonarola. Recent theatre work includes The Hunt (Almeida); The Winter’s Tale and Eyam (both Shakespeare’s Globe); Oslo (Harold Pinter Theatre); Wild Honey (Hampstead Theatre); German Skerries (Orange Tree); Pride and Prejudice (Sheffield Crucible); The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Apollo/National Theatre); A Walk on Part (Soho); The Golden Dragon (Actors’ Touring Co.); The Changeling (Young Vic); London Road (National Theatre); Wanderlust (Royal Court); Henry V and Much Ado About Nothing (both RSC); War Horse (National Theatre/West End); The English Game (Headlong); A Couple of Poor, Polish Speaking Romanians (Soho) and Attempts on her Life (Royal Court). Film work includes The Children Act and London Road. Television work includes Manhunt; Carnival Row; Little Boy Blue; The Jury; Drifters; Coronation Street; Downton Abbey; Lady Chatterley’s Lover; Midsomer Murders; Toast; Parade’s End; Hidden; Ghost Squad; The Government Inspector; Blair on Trial; Heartbeat; EastEnders; Casualty; Holby City and Insiders.
Hampstead Theatre, Eton Avenue, London, NW3 3EU