We are excited to share that we’ve just announced the cast for Pulitzer Prize-winner Annie Baker’s masterpiece Circle Mirror Transformation, directed by Bijan Sheibani who most recently directed a sell-out run of Inua Ellam’s Barber Shop Chronicles at the National Theatre, and is currently directing a revival of his production of The Brothers Size at the Young Vic by the Oscar-winning writer of Moonlight, Tarell Alvin McCraney.
In its first major revival since the acclaimed Royal Court production in 2013, Circle Mirror Transformation’s five-strong cast will feature some of the UK’s most distinguished names from stage and television, comprising actress and writer Amelia Bullmore (Scott & Bailey, Twenty Twelve, The Crucible) as Marty; Sian Clifford (Fleabag, Gloria) as Theresa; Con O’Neill (Frank, Cucumber, Ordinary Lives, Harlots, A View From The Bridge, Happy Valley) as Schultz; Yasmin Paige (Submarine, Pramface, Ah, Wilderness!) as Lauren; and Anthony Ofoegbu (Spooks, Moonfleet, Casualty) as James.
In a small town in Vermont, New England, five unlikely strangers come together in their community centre for a creative drama class for adults. The free-spirited Marty, recently divorced Schultz, former actress Teresa, the self-conscious high school student Lauren, and Marty’s quiet husband James. Over six weeks of drama exercises and games ranging from the hilarious to the heart-breaking, their lives become entangled and transformed in the most humorous and moving ways.
Annie Baker, the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for drama, is considered one of the most talented and sought-after playwrights to have emerged in recent years. Circle Mirror Transformation, her second play, won the 2010 Obie Award for Best New Play, and was voted one of the top 10 plays by the New York Times, Time Out, and the New Yorker.
Bijan Sheibani was Artistic Director of Actors’ Touring Company between 2007-10, and an Associate Director of the National Theatre between 2010-15. He has most recently directed a critically acclaimed production of Inua Ellams’ new play Barber Shop Chronicles at the National Theatre.
After its second sold out London run, Barber Shop Chronicles will tour to Sydney, Perth and Wellington. At the National, Sheibani has also directed productions including Our Class, The Kitchen, A Taste of Honey, Emil and the Detectives, and a schools’ version of Romeo and Juliet. His recent production of David Bruce’s new opera Nothing for Glyndebourne was nominated for the 2017 Southbank Sky Arts Award for Best Opera.
University of Manchester graduate Amelia Bullmore, who plays Marty, is a well-known face on TV, with leading roles in Scott and Bailey (some episodes of which she also wrote), Happy Valley, and BBC2’s hilarious London Olympics satire Twenty Twelve. She also played Alan Partridge’s put-upon girlfriend Sonja in the second series of I’m Alan Partridge. Early in her career, she played Steph Barnes in ITV Granada’s Coronation Street for five years from 1990. On stage, her many roles include Ruth in The Norman Conquests at London’s Old Vic and on Broadway for director Matthew Warchus.
The role of Theresa is played by Sian Clifford, who starred as Claire in BBC3’s BAFTA-winning comedy show Fleabag and will feature as Martha Crawley in the upcoming ITV series Vanity Fair. Her recent stage parts include playing the title-role in Gloria at the Hampstead Theatre.
Con O’Neill, who appears as Schultz, also has a host of major TV credits to his name, including alongside Amelia Bullmore in Happy Valley. Other leading roles include Channel 4’s Cucumber and drama Ordinary Lies on BBC1, both of which were set in Manchester. He also played legendary record producer Joe Meek in both the stage and film versions of Telstar. His most recent stage appearance in the north-west was as jaded lecturer Frank in Willy Russell’s Educating Rita at the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse in 2015.
Yasmin Paige, who plays Lauren, starred on the big screen in Richard Ayoade’s Submarine, and is also familiar from playing Beth in BBC’s heart-warming comedy Pramface, about a young couple about to become parents.
Anthony Ofoegbu, who completes the cast as James, has TV credits in Spooks, Moonfleet, and Casualty, and also appeared in Death and the King’s Horseman at the National Theatre for Rufus Norris, and in Athol Fugard’s My Children! My Africa! at the Trafalgar Studios in London. He spent a lot of 2017 in three Royal Shakespeare Company productions – Antony And Cleopatra directed by Iqbal Khan, Julius Caesar directed by Angus Jackson, and Titus Andronicus directed by Blanche McIntyre.
Walter Meierjohann, our Artistic Director of Theatre, said: “I cannot emphasise enough how thrilled we are to host a production by Annie Baker – I see her as the most exciting contemporary American playwright. Her very musical ear for dialogue, her emphasis on ordinary people, and her beautiful heightened naturalistic plays, make her a Chekhov of the 21st century.
“In a season where we programmed People Places & Things (which had a strong link to Chekhov’s The Seagull) and Uncle Vanya, it is befitting that we now look at Circle Mirror Transformation, a Chekhov for our times. I’m also very excited to welcome Bijan Sheibani to HOME. He is a very talented director who has worked extensively at the National, and at the Young Vic, where we met during my time there as Associate Director. I cannot wait to see him bring Circle Mirror Transformation to life on our stage with an extraordinary cast.”
Circle Mirror Transformation runs at HOME between Fri 2 – Sat 17 March. Book your tickets and find out more here.