Director Walter Meierjohann has announced the cast of the world premiere production of The Funfair, the first production in our brand new home at First Street.
The Funfair, an adaptation by Olivier award-winning playwright Simon Stephens of Ödön von Horváth’s classic 1932 play Kasimir and Karoline, features a cast of 14 actors and actor-musicians, and runs between Thursday 14 May – Saturday 13 June.
Wigan-born Ben Batt plays Cash, whose break-up with sweetheart Caroline opens the action. Ben has recently finished filming the BBC’s new production of The Go-Between, alongside Vanessa Redgrave, Jim Broadbent, and Lesley Manville. He also starred in The Village, filmed near to Manchester in Hayfield, Glossop, and Chapel-en-le-Frith, on BBC1, and has credits in Shameless, Scott & Bailey, on the big screen in Captain America: The First Avenger. On stage, his notable credits include As You Like It at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, and Making Noise Quietly at the Donmar Warehouse in London.
Caroline is played by Katie Moore, who was a nominee for Best Supporting Actress at the recent Manchester Theatre Awards for her portrayal of Rita in Billy Liar at the Royal Exchange. She is well known to TV viewers as Susy in The Paradise (BBC1), Janice in Doc Martin (ITV), Marion in Call the Midwife (BBC1), and as Tanya in E4’s popular science-fiction comedy-drama Misfits. The character of Billy Smoke is played by Ian Bartholomew, who won a Manchester Evening News Theatre Award for his portrayal of Mr Doolittle in Pygmalion at the Royal Exchange Theatre in 2010. He worked with Walter Meierjohann the previous year, taking the title role in the director’s The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui at Liverpool Playhouse.
Christopher Wright, a stalwart of over 20 productions at the Library Theatre Company prior to it merging with Cornerhouse to form HOME, takes the role of David Spear; Salford University graduate Chris Jack is the funfair’s Ringmaster; Manchester School of Theatre at Manchester Metropolitan University graduate Kate Dobson plays Maria; CiCi Howells, who appeared in the national tour of Saturday Night Fever as well as Polly Peachum in Graeae Theatre’s tour of The Threepenny Opera, plays Juanita; and Sally Hodgkiss, who combines her acting career with work on the comedy circuit, plays Elli.
Victoria Gee, who has toured nationwide with leading director Max Stafford-Clark’s Out of Joint Company, plays Esther; Welsh actor James Lusted, a regular on a number of dramas on S4C, takes on the role of the narrator and Tiny; fellow Welsh actor Rhodri Meilir, best known for the portrayal of Alfie Butts in BBC1’s long-running sitcom My Family, plays Chase; Max Runham, who trained at Rose Bruford and appeared with CiCi Howells in Graeae’s The Threepenny Opera, will be part of the Funfair band, Michael Ryan, who will appear in Joe Wright’s forthcoming film Pan alongside Hugh Jackman, Kathy Burke, and Paul Kaye, about the early life of Peter Pan, plays Frankie Marr; and musician Barbara Hockaday, who has appeared on a number of occasions in recent years at Bolton Octagon, completes the cast.
The Funfair will be directed by our Artistic Director of Theatre, Walter Meierjohann, whose widely acclaimed award-winning site-specific production of Romeo & Juliet, his first production for us, was a complete sell-out in Manchester’s historic Victoria Baths in September 2014.
The Funfair reunites the team behind Romeo & Juliet – Director Walter Meierjohann, Dramaturg Petra-Jane Tauscher, Designer Ti Green, who scooped the Best Design award at the recent Manchester Theatre Awards, and Lighting Designer Mike Gunning. It also features video designs by Louis Price, who worked on Meierjohann’s 2011 Liverpool Playhouse production of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui. The Musical Director is composer Dave Price, and Louis Hammond returns as Casting Director.
The Funfair runs from Thu 14 May – Sat 13 Jun in Theatre 1. Book tickets and find out more information here.