Today, The Old Vic and ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company, in association with Sadler’s Wells, announce the highly anticipated world premiere of the hip hop musical Sylvia, directed and choreographed by Kate Prince and starring Beverley Knight as Emmeline Pankhurst, following its first appearance at The Old Vic in 2018 as a work-in-progress. In a limited run, the production will play from 27 January to 01 April 2023, with a press performance on Tuesday 14 February 2023.
Matthew Warchus, Artistic Director of The Old Vic, said: ‘At long last, we are delighted to deliver the completed version of this hugely uplifting show, which first appeared at The Old Vic in an embryonic workshop version four years ago. Even then, this thrillingly kinetic, fun and emotional show was a giant hit with audiences and I’d urge you not to miss the much-anticipated finished article.’
Kate Prince, Writer, Director & Choreographer of Sylvia and Artistic Director of ZooNation, said: ‘As ZooNation celebrates our 20th anniversary this month, I’m incredibly grateful to be able to announce, together with The Old Vic, the premiere of our musical Sylvia, celebrating the story of Sylvia Pankhurst and the Suffragette movement – five years after I first started writing it, and four years after it was first shared with audiences as a ‘work in progress’. I’m particularly grateful for this second chance and to be able to finish what has been the most extraordinary creative challenge yet of my life! I’m over the moon that Beverley Knight is returning to the role of Emmeline Pankhurst and that Sharon Rose will be joining the cast as her daughter Sylvia. The musicians, performers and creatives collaborating together on Sylvia are all extraordinary. They inspire me every day. I’m truly excited to finally share this work and Sylvia’s wonderful, inspiring story.’
We are delighted to announce the return of the award-winning singer and actress Beverley Knight (The Drifters Girl, Sister Act) to the role of Emmeline Pankhurst.
Beverley Knight said: ‘I am so happy to be reprising my role as Emmeline Pankhurst in the utterly brilliant Sylvia.The workshop version in 2018 pointed the way to what I believe will be a British musical theatre game-changer, both in the way the story is told through music and movement and in pulling in a different demographic to experience the joys of theatre.’
Joining Beverley in the cast is Kelly Agbowu as Mrs Drummond/Mrs Savoy, Verity Blyth as Clementine Churchill/Mrs Scurr, Kimmy Edwards as Emily Davison/Lillie Hardie/Mrs Watkins, Alex Gaumond as Keir Hardie, Jade Hackett as Lady Jennie Churchill/Mrs Payne, Todd Holdsworth as Silvio Corio, Stevie Hutchinson as Lloyd George/Lord Curzon, Kate Ivory Jordan as Mrs Parsons, Hannah Khemoh as Understudy Emmeline Pankhurst, Jaye Marshall as Ensemble, Razak Osman as Harry Pankhurst/Sir Almroth Wright, Jay Perry as Winston Churchill/George Lansbury, Sharon Rose as Sylvia Pankhurst, Kirstie Skivington as Adela Pankhurst and Ellena Vincent as Christabel Pankhurst. Additional parts will be played by members of the company and further casting to be announced.
The Book for Sylvia is by Kate Prince with Priya Parmar, with Music by Josh Cohen & DJ Walde, Lyrics by Kate Prince, Directed & Choreographed by Kate Prince, Set & Costumes by Ben Stones, Lighting by Natasha Chivers, Sound by Tony Gayle, Video & Animation by Andrzej Goulding, Wigs, Hair & Make-up by Cynthia de la Rosa, Co-Music Supervisors are Mark Dickman & Leonn Meade, Casting by Stuart Burt CDG & Oliver Scullion, Dramaturg is Lolita Chakrabarti, Additional Music by Kate Prince, Additional Lyrics by Tachia Newall, Music Production by Josh Cohen & DJ Walde, Musical Director is Sean Green, Associate Director is Rhimes Lecointe, Associate Choreographer is Jade Hackett, Resident Director & Choreographer is Chris Alozie, Costume Supervisor is Tash Prynne, Musicians’ Contractor is Oli Briant and Creative Consultant is Beverley Knight.
To mark International Women’s Day on Wednesday 08 March 2023, there will be a Voices Off post-show talk with some of the Sylvia cast members who play iconic women from the Suffragette movement.