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Cat On A Hot Tin Roof Comes To Ipswich

Leicester’s Curve theatre, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse and English Touring Theatre (ETT) have revealed the full company for the upcoming co-production of Tennessee Williams’Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, directed by Anthony Almeida, having opened at the Curve on 3 September, it is now touring venues across England and Wales.

On a sweltering Mississippi night, the lies are as stifling as the heat.

Maggie has fought up from poverty, only to find herself in a passionless, burning marriage. Her husband Brick Pollitt, a former pro footballer, drinks to drown out the hurt he has bottled up inside.

When the entire Pollitt family meet for Big Daddy’s 65th birthday, the claws are out. As shattering truths threaten to spiral out of control, the family set out to protect themselves, and each other, from falling apart.

Following the success of Curve’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire, this bold new revival of Tennessee Williams’ lyrical Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece is a blazing portrayal of what it takes to survive in a society where we’re all desperate to feel free.

Siena Kelly, who was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Award for her role in Channel 4’s Adult Material at this year’s BAFTAs, will play the role of Maggie, with Oliver Johnstone (All My Sons, Old Vic; SkyFall, Eon Productions) as her distant and troubled husband Brick. Teresa Banham (The Crown, Netflix; Robin Hood, BBC) will appear as Big Mama and Peter Forbes (Follies, National Theatre; Judy, Pathé) will play Big Daddy, the Pollitt family’s vivid patriarch.

Joining the cast as Gooper and his wife Mae are Sam Alexander (The Watsons, Chichester Festival Theatre) and Shanaya Rafaat (Jude, Hampstead Theatre). Suzette Llewellyn (EastEnders, BBC) will play Doctor Baugh, with Minal Patel (A Christmas Carol, Dominion Theatre) as Reverend Tooker.

The drama opened at Leicester’s Curve 3 – 18 September, and is now touring to Liverpool Playhouse 22 September – 2 October, Marlowe Theatre 6 – 9 October, The New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich 12 – 16 October, Theatr Clwyd 19 – 23 October, concluding at Mast Mayflower Studios Southampton 26 – 30 October.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is directed by Anthony Almeida, winner of the 2019 Royal Theatrical Support Trust (RTST) Sir Peter Hall Director Award. The production is also supported by grant funding from the RTST.

Speaking about the company, director Anthony Almeida said: “Medea, Hamlet, Hedda Gabler – throughout stage history: a singular heavyweight part headlines our greatest plays. But in his typical swagger, Tennessee Williams tore up the rules: he wrote not just one, but four colossal, enigmatic roles. It’s going to be dynamite to witness these talented actors go head-to-head onstage. This entire cast are electric. I’m excited for us to begin rehearsals.”

Rosanna Vize will design the set for the production, with associate designs and costume designs from Sarah Mercadé. Joshua Gadsby will provide lighting designs, Giles Thomas will compose new music and create the sound design, and movement direction will come from Gemma Payne. The show is cast by Ginner Schiller and the production team is completed by Curve’s Birkbeck Trainee Director Jennifer Lane Baker as Assistant Director, Production Manager Sam Paterson, Company Stage Manager Helen Gaynor, Deputy Stage Manager Robyn Clogg and Assistant Stage Manager Zoe Leonard.

The roles of the Pollitt family children will be played by local young people at Leicester’s Curve, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse and across the tour.

Curve’s Chief Executive Chris Stafford and Artistic Director Nikolai Foster said:

“We are thrilled our co-production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof will finally make it onto stages this autumn. Anthony Almeida is a director of outstanding talent and we are excited to welcome him to Leicester. Anthony has assembled an astonishing creative team and acting company, who we’re certain will thrill audiences across the tour.

“These are challenging times to produce theatre and we are indebted to our partners at English Touring Theatre, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse, and Mark Hawes and Sir Geoffrey Cass at the Royal Theatrical Support Trust for their unyielding support and collaborative spirit, ensuring this ambitious production can go and can be shared with audiences across the country.”

Mark Da Vanzo, Chief Executive at Liverpool and Merseyside Theatres Trust, said:

“We’re delighted to be working with our friends at the Curve and English Touring Theatre to bring this wonderful, bold new revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof to the Liverpool Playhouse. A particular highlight is that local young people will have the chance to be cast and act alongside a very distinguished and talented cast. It’s likely to be a sell-out tour so don’t miss this opportunity to see Tennessee Williams’ classic play”.

Richard Twyman, Artistic Director and Sophie Scull, Executive Producer at ETT said:

“We are extremely proud to be partnering with Leicester Curve and Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse on this RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award winning production. This award provides a vital opportunity for an early career artist to make work for audiences nationally, in some of the UK’s most significant and dynamic theatre spaces, and never has that felt so essential. The RTST 2019 winner, Anthony Almeida, is a remarkably talented director and we’re so excited by the outstanding cast and creative team he’ll be working with. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is the first show ETT will be touring to (indoor) theatres since the pandemic began, and we can’t wait to share this beautiful piece with audiences in Leicester, Liverpool, Canterbury, Ipswich, North Wales and Southampton.”

Tickets for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof are on sale now. To find out more and book tickets for The New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich run between 12 – 16 October, visit  wolseytheatre.co.uk.

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