The Lyric Hammersmith Theatre is thrilled to announce the cast and creative team for its first autumn SPRINGBOARD show Lysistrata, a re-imagined classic, showcasing emerging young West London talent and exciting new writing. The cast features all ten trainees of this year’s SPRINGBOARD, a ground-breaking, free two-year training programme providing unrivalled theatre-based training and development opportunities to nurture the next generation of performers from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds and groups underrepresented in theatre. SPRINGBOARD is kindly supported by Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Emmanuel Kaye Foundation who have helped to launch the programme through funding over the next three years for the first 30 trainees.
Commissioned by the Lyric for our SPRINGBOARD 2022 trainees, Lysistrata is a modern retelling of Aristophanes' seminal comedy, written by Sophie Ellerby (Three, Arcola) and directed by the Genesis Future Directors Award-winning Diyan Zora (Klippies, Young Vic).
The witty, sharp, and highly topical comedy follows the story of the title character Lysistrata, a medical student who decides to withhold her medical expertise at a sit-in protest at a STI clinic as a result of the NHS being consistently underfunded and the government’s further cuts to vital medical bursaries. It brings together a strong ensemble of ten SPRINGBOARD trainees, including Adelaide Adegoke as Cleo; Kane Feagan as Marie; Chanel Fernandes as Lysistrata; Rees Jenkins as Callum; Georgia-Rose Oliver as Kylie; Sam Purkis as Hugo; James Douglas-Quarcoopome as Michael; Ryan Stevens as Darren; Wilf Walsworth as Nicolas; and Romario Williams as Eli. This inaugural SPRINGBOARD production runs in the Studio at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre from 08 – 10 September.
Sophie Ellerby, Writer, said: “Medical students in the UK have faced various cuts to their bursaries over the last few years that have left them struggling financially. With a job that’s so demanding, physically and mentally, it feels insane to me that these students are not being properly supported. Since the pandemic we have all witnessed how important the NHS is for the nation. This adaptation of Lysistrata examines privilege, protest and power through the lens of student experience.
Expect big bold characters, riotous humour, drinking games and a protest party. The SPRINGBOARD group are a brilliant bunch of young talent, they’ve been so positive and engaged throughout the development of the play. I look forward to seeing them bring the characters to life and really make them their own.”
Diyan Zora, Director, said: “Sophie Ellerby’s new version of Lysistrata is such an exciting and fresh take on this infamous comedy. Our setting is a modern day STI clinic, where a young doctor leads a medical student strike for the NHS. The play zones in on one of the most pressing political issues of our time, whilst keeping the raucous humour and wit that makes the original so extraordinary.
I am thrilled to be working with this daring and talented group of SPRINGBOARD trainees. Their energy and talent is off the charts, and through a year of bespoke training with the Lyric, they have become a proper ensemble.”
Rachel O’Riordan, Artistic Director at Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, said: “I am delighted to announce our inaugural SPRINGBOARD Autumn show ‘Lysistrata’ in our Studio this September. SPRINGBOARD is our bold new initiative at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, providing a major alternative performance pathway into employment for future theatre-makers from currently underrepresented backgrounds. The training programme directly speaks to our profound commitment to equality of opportunity, and builds on our long and influential history of talent development. We are so proud of the first cohort of 10 inspiring SPRINGBOARD trainees and are pleased to share Sophie Ellerby and Diyan Zora’s bold, relevant and timely re-imagining of this classic.”
‘We’re striking. No treatments. No shifts. No seminars.’
Between working a zillion part-time jobs and campaigning to save the NHS, sixth year medical student Lysistrata is struggling to stay afloat. When a viral social media thread calls for all medical students to strike, she knows the perfect place to stage her protest - the local STI clinic. But the students' sit-in is interrupted by a surprising patient whose personal predicament provides Lysistrata an opportunity for great political change… an itch too fortuitous not to scratch.
Lyisistrata is written by Sophie Ellerby, directed by Diyan Zora, set and costume design by Alys Whitehead, lighting design by George Ogilvie, sound design and composition by Russel Ditchfield.
Adelaide Banks – Cleo
Adelaide Banks is a SPRINGBOARD trainee. Her most recent theatre credits include Elephant in the Room (Lyric Hammersmith Theatre); The Great Barbeque (Theatre Peckham); A City Shaken; Summer (Bush Theatre). Radio plays include: Eulogies (Lyric Hammersmith Theatre).
James Douglas-Quarcoopome – Michael
James Douglas-Quarcoopome is a SPRINGBOARD trainee. Previously, James performed on the Lyric main house stage as part of the large-scale community show Heart of Hammersmith (Lyric Hammersmith Theatre). Other theatre credits include: Baby Blues (Bread and Roses Theatre); The Sun Will Rise (Etcetera Theatre); Breadcrumbs (National Youth Theatre); This Is How We Die (Arcola Theatre). Film includes: After School Session (Jordan Walsh); Straight through the Crew (Black Math pictures). Radio includes: Mindful (Grow Fm); Weekly Planet (Insanity radio 103.2fm).
Kane Feagan – Marie
Kane Feagan is a SPRINGBOARD trainee and recipient of the 2022 Bill Cashmore Award for her original play Wasted, which will headline the Lyric’s seventh annual Evolution Festival in Spring 2023. She most recently performed on the Lyric’s main house stage as part of the chorus in Patrick Marber’s cult-classic Closer (Lyric Hammersmith Theatre). Other theatre credits include: Aladdin; The MOB Reformers; Eclipse; Passin' Thru and The Intervention (Lyric Hammersmith Theatre). Kane also recently performed The Maladies as part of the Almeida Young Company at the Yard and is currently working on a show with the Bush Young Company.
Chanel Fernandes – Lysistrata
Chanel Fernandes is a SPRINGBOARD trainee and actress from West London. She is also a writer and recipient of the Bill Cashmore Award 2022 for her original play Wasted which will headline the Lyric's Evolution Festival in Spring 2023. She is a violinist and lover of football.
Chanel's stage credits include Phoebe/Hannah/Jenny (Cover) in Mike Bartlett's Scandaltown (Lyric Hammersmith Theatre), Kara 1 in A Letter to Lacey (Bush Theatre), Linda Loman in Death of a Salesman (University of Warwick), Ophelia in The Secret Love Life of Ophelia (Greenwich Theatre), and projects with The National Youth Theatre of GB. Her screen credits include What's Love Got To Do With It? (Working Title/StudioCanal), The Wall: A Giga Love Story (Iconoclast Germany), Sparks (Channel 4), and she has recently been cast in an upcoming TV series.
Rees Jenkins – Callum
Rees Jenkins is a SPRINGBOARD trainee. Most recent theatre credits include: (This isn't) A True Story (Almeida Theatre); The Red Shoes (Pleasance Theatre); Drama, Baby (Bush Theatre). His film credits include Business, As Usual, a short-film in collaboration with Roundhouse and the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre.
Georgia-Rose Oliver – Kylie
Georgia-Rose Oliver is a SPRINGBOARD trainee. Previously, Georgia-Rose trained on the Playing Up Course with the National Youth Theatre, where she also performed in Summer Fest. Most recently, she performed on the Lyric’s main house stage as part of the chorus in the 25th anniversary revival of Patrick Marber’s Closer (Lyric Hammersmith Theatre). She also worked on the radio play Eulogies, a response project to Sian Carter’s family drama Running With Lions (Lyric Hammersmith Theatre) and participated in the Lyric’s annual Evolution Festival, a platform highlighting innovative stage and screen work from young artists.
Sam Purkis – Hugo
Sam Purkis is a SPRINGBOARD trainee. Sam most recently performed on the Lyric main house stage as part of the chorus in Patrick Marber’s iconic play Closer as well as the annual Evolution Festival (Lyric Hammersmith Theatre), a platform highlighting innovative stage and screen work from young artists. Sam’s previous training includes National Youth Theatre and Hackney Showroom Young Actors. Theatre includes: King Lear (Chichester Festival Theatre/Duke of York’s Theatre); Sweet Bird of Youth (Chichester Festival Theatre); Coming Out as a Gay Basher (Bush Theatre/Hackney Showroom/Old Diorama); F OFF (Criterion); On Bower Hill (Arts Theatre); Crime and Punishment (Periplum Theatre Tour); Summer Fest (The Bunker Theatre); Richard II (RADA GBS Theatre). Film includes: Journeyman (Jonny Massahi); Acronymity (Team Angelica); Negative (Lyric and Roundhouse Film). Writing includes: Shortflix Sky Arts Development Finalist and seven published works in the FIERCE and COMMON books by Team Angelica Publishing.
Ryan Stevens – Darren
Ryan Stevens is a SPRINGBOARD trainee. Ryan participated in both START and the annual Evolution Festival at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, both aimed at training, showcasing, and celebrating stage and screen work from young artists.
Wilf Walsworth – Nicolas
Wilf Walsworth is a SPRINGBOARD trainee. Wilf most recently performed on the Lyric main house stage as part of the chorus in Patrick Marber’s modern classic Closer and was also seen in Heart of Hammersmith last year. He has previously trained with the Actors Class and National Youth Theatre. Wilf played the roles of Caliban and Ferdinand in Shakespeare in the Squares’ production of The Tempest. Other stage credits include: Buried (New York Musical Theatre Festival); My Mate Dave Died (Edinburgh Fringe). While studying at Sheffield University, he took on numerous roles including Benjamin in The Graduate, Hannay in The 39 Steps, and Melchior in Spring Awakening.
Romario Williams – Eli
Romario Williams is a SPRINGBOARD trainee. Previously, Romario was part of the TYPT programme at Talawa Theatre Company. In the past, he has trained with the National Youth Theatre and performed in The MOB Reformers as part of the Lyric ensemble. He also performed as part of the New Views Festival at the National Theatre. Romario was also in the independent production of the di black bwoy.
Sophie Ellerby – Writer
Theatre includes: Painkiller (Stratford East Young Company, current); To Whom It May Concern (Cardboard Citizens, current); Playing Up (director, National Youth Theatre, current); Lit (HighTide and Nottingham Playhouse, 2019, remounted digitally in 2021); Function (The Criterion Theatre for National Youth Theatre, 2018); Three (Arcola Theatre for National Youth Theatre, 2017); Lit (HighTide Festival, Aldeburgh Cinema, Mirth Marvel Maud Walthamstow, Nottingham Playhouse, 2017); Guts (Playground Festival, Nottingham Playhouse, 2017).
Screen includes: The Walk (in development, BFI-funded Short); Seaview (Head Writer, webseries for Belgrade Theatre, 2021); Lit (screen adaptation, in development with Griffin Films). Fellowships: The Bush Theatre Allotment Week (2020); Writer in Residence, Pentabus Theatre Company (2018/2019); Paines Plough Roundabout Workshop (2018); HighTide’s First Commission Scheme (2016); National Youth Theatre Epic Stages (2016).
Diyan Zora – Director
Diyan is a British Iraqi theatre director and writer based in London. As winner of the 2021 Genesis Future Directors Award, Diyan directed Klippies by Jessica Sian at the Young Vic Theatre. She is a member of the Bush Theatre's 2022 Emerging Writer's Group. Theatre includes: Tom Fool (Orange Tree Theatre); Klippies (Young Vic), Ms Y. (Young Vic); Chronicles of a City We Never Knew (Gate Theatre); Gather Ye Rosebuds (Theatre503); Twelfth Night (Cockpit Theatre); Othello (Barons Court Theatre).
As Associate Director: LOVE (& European Tour), Faith Hope and Charity (National Theatre); The Ferryman (Gielgud Theatre).
As Assistant Director: Fireworks (Royal Court); Evening at the Talkhouse (National Theatre).
Alys Whitehead – Set and Costume Designer
Alys Whitehead is a Set and Costume Designer based in London and the South East. She likes working with new and abstract writing and is passionate about making relevant, exciting work thoughtfully and with a particular aim to be as sustainable and waste-free as possible. She is an Associate Designer of Dissident Theatre and 3 time OFFIE award nominee.
Previous credits include: What Makes A Town (2022) Watermill Theatre; Big Fish (postponed until 2023) Wycombe Swan Theatre. SAD (2022) Omnibus Theatre [OFFIE nominated Set Design]; Lysistrata Jones (2022) Arts Ed London; Rage + Consent (2021) Drama Centre London; Maddie (2021) Arcola Outside; Snowflakes (2021) Old Red Lion Theatre [OFFIE nominated Set and Costume Design]
George Ogilvie – Lighting Designer
George has, in over his 25 years as the Studio and Events technical manager, designed lighting for the vast majority of the Lyric’s youth, educational and partner organisations shows in the Studio. He has also lit shows for the Dende collective, Theatre Soleil and Pins and Needles. He designed the lighting for the Lyric’s annual Christmas favourite Raymond Briggs Father Christmas. In his career George has worked in nearly every conceivable department in Theatre which he feels gives him a well-rounded and passionate feel for live performance. He is looking forward very much to working on Lysistrata.
Russell Ditchfield– Sound Designer and Composer
Russell is a Sound Designer and Composer from Lancashire. Credits include: Peter Rabbit (Blenheim Palace); Puck (Shakespeare Birthplace Trust); Groan Ups (Vaudeville West End & UK Tour); Going The Distance (Oxford Playhouse, Lawrence Batley & The Dukes Theatre); Merry Christmas Carol (Royal Court Liverpool); Home, I’m Darling (Bolton Octagon); Macbeth (Lawrence Batley Theatre); Parakeet (Ed. Festival); My Beautiful Black Dog (Bush Theatre); Fear and Misery of the Third Reich & Katzenmusik (A. Lloyd Webber Theatre); Carousel (Mack Theatre); Man of Mode (Mack Theatre).
As Associate: Bloody Elle (Royal Exchange Manchester); A Pretty Shitty Love (Theatre Clwyd). Russell’s compositions have been played on BBC Radio 1, 2 and 6music.