Casting news aplenty!

I round up some of the recent casting news, including Queen Margaret at the Royal Exchange, Wasted at the Southwark Playhouse, Measure for Measure at the Donmar and The Woods at the Royal Court.

Shakespeare wrote more lines for Queen Margaret than he did for King Lear yet we know very little of her. Jeanie O’Hare re-acquaints us with one of Shakespeare’s major but rarely performed characters in her new play Queen Margaret. In a production that draws on original language from Shakespeare, director Elizabeth Freestone and Jade Anouka as Margaret, retell an iconic moment in British History through the eyes of the extraordinary Margaret of Anjou. This captivating exploration of The Wars of the Roses seen through the eyes of this astonishing, dangerous and thrilling woman opens the Royal Exchange’s Autumn Winter 2018/19 Season.

Anouka is joined by Islam Bouakkaz (Prince Edward/Rutland), Lorraine Bruce (York), Samuel Edward-Cook (Suffolk/Clifford), Dexter Flanders (Edward IV), Helena Lymbery (Hume), Lucy Mangan (Joan of Arc), Roger Morlidge (Gloucester), Kwami Odoom (Somerset/Richard), Bridgitta Roy (Warwick) and Max Runham (Henry VI).

Casting has also been announced for Wasted, the brand new rock musical about the Brontës at Southwark Playhouse’s Large space in September, directed by Adam Lenson (The Rink) with music by Christopher Ash (Showstoppers) and book and lyrics by Carl Miller (Emil and the Detectives, National Theatre).

Natasha Barnes (Funny Girl, Cinderella) plays Charlotte Brontë with Siobhan Athwal as Emily Brontë, Molly Lynch as Anne Brontë and Matthew Jacobs Morgan as Branwell Brontë

Equally exciting is the news that Lesley Sharp is returning to the stage as initial casting is announced for The Woods at the Royal Court Upstairs. She’ll be appearing alongside Finn Bennett and Tom Mothersdale in Robert Alan Evans’ new play.

Jack Thorne’s TV adaptation of Philip Pullman’s classic His Dark Materials has revealed some more names in its main cast – but where’s Serafina Pekkala?!

Ariyon Bakare – Lord Boreal
Geoff Bell – Jack Verhoeven
Georgina Campbell – Adele Starminster
James Cosmo – Farder Coram
Richard Cunningham – Gustaf
Anne-Marie Duff – Ma Costa
Mat Fraser – Raymond Van Geritt
Daniel Frogson – Tony Costa
Philip Goldacre – Sub Rector
Dafne Keen – Lyra Belacqua
Will Keen – Father MacPhail
Lewin Lloyd – Roger Parslow
Simon Manyonda – Benjamin De Ruyter
James McAvoy – Lord Asriel
Lin-Manuel Miranda – Lee Scoresby
Lucian Msamati – John Faa
Clarke Peters – Dr. Carne
Ruth Wilson – Marisa Coulter

I’m still none the wiser as to exactly how Josie Rourke’s Measure For Measure will play out . Not only is it set in both 1604 and 2018, “within every performance, Hayley Atwell and Jack Lowden will alternate the roles of powerful Deputy and powerless Novice.” Nevertheless, I remain most intrigued at the prospect, thougFinn Bennett, Tom Mothersdale and Lesley Sharph less enthused at the thinkpieces that are bound to accompany it.

Along with Atwell and Lowden, we will find Ben Allen (Frederick), Matt Bardock (Lucio), Nicholas Burns (The Duke), Jackie Clune (Pompey), Rachel Denning (Mistress Overdone), Molly Harris (Francisca), Adam McNamara (Provost), Raad Rawi (Escalus), Sule Rimi (Claudio), Anwar Russell (Thomas) and Helena Wilson (Mariana)

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