News: Final casting confirmed for UK tour of Party Games!

Ryan Early will play the role of spin doctor Seth Dickens in the world premiere of Party Games! by Michael McManus (Maggie & Ted), presented by the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford.  Previews will begin on 2 May 2024, with a press night on Tuesday 7 May at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre.  The UK Tour schedule has been completed with Cambridge Arts Theatre, where the production will play from 4 to 8 June (full tour list below).

Ryan Early (Darren Vance in Coronation Street, Dan in Almost Never for CBBC and Lee Bryce in The Archers for BBC Radio 4) joins the previously announced Matthew Cottle (Stan Laurel in the film Chaplin, Martin in BBC’s Game On, ITV’s Unforgotten, Dave in BBC’s Citizen Khan and Edward in Channel 4’s The Windsors) as Prime Minister John Waggner, Debra Stephenson (Diane Powell in Playing the Field, Shell Dockley in Bad Girls, Frankie Baldwin in Coronation StreetThe Impressions Show and Dead Ringers) as Deputy Leader Lisa Williams, Natalie Dunne (Anna Schmidt in The Third Man at Menier Chocolate Factory, Your Christmas Or Mine? for Amazon, Trying for Apple TV and Locked Up Abroad for Disney+) as Anne Waggner, the Prime Minister’s wife, Krissi Bohn (three years as Jenna Kamara in Coronation Street and a storyteller on the CBeebies series Treasure Champs and a series regular in the CBBC series Biff & Chip) as Private Secretary Candice Edwards, Jason Callender (Upstart Crow and The Play That Goes Wrong in the West End, Malory Towers for the BBC and 4 O’Clock Club for CBBC) as would-be Chief of Staff Luke Roberts and William Oxborrow (The Madness of GeorgeIII at the National Theatre, the title role in The Picture of Dorian Gray at Gate Theatre, Dublin, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and A Clockwork Orange for the RSC and The Clandestine Marriage and Guys and Dolls in the West End) playing multiple roles.

Directed by the Director and Chief Executive of the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Joanna Read, Party Games! is written by a man who was on the inside of party politics, Michael McManus, who worked in Central Office while Margaret Thatcher and John Major were Prime Ministers and as a special adviser to a number of UK ministers between 1992 and 1995. He was then head of Ted Heath’s private office from 1995 to 2000 and the Conservative Party candidate for Watford in 2001.

Party Games! is set in the UK in 2026.  John Waggner, newly elected leader of the hastily formed centrist One Nation Party, presides over a hung parliament, a discontented electorate and striking cheesemakers.  He and his power-hungry MPs must cling onto authority through whatever shaky means possible.  Can one man, a Svengali spin doctor, and some dodgy data unite the country?   And what role can his wife, the King and a large spider play in keeping the lights on, not to mention his trusty AI?

Party Games! is an Yvonne Arnaud original production, directed by Joanna Read and designed by Francis O’Connor, with lighting design by Chris Davey and sound design and original music by Beth Duke.


Age Guidance: 12+ (contains swearing)

2-11 May                                 The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford                  
14-18 May                               Theatre Royal Windsor                                      
21-25 May                               New Theatre, Cardiff                                               
4-8 June                                  Cambridge Arts Theatre                                         
12-15 June                              Worthing Connaught Theatre                                 
18-22 June                              Theatre Royal Bath
25-29 June                              Malvern Festival Theatre                                 

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