Casting has been revealed for Dawn King’s explosive new play The Trials at the Donmar Warehouse in London.
Heartstopper’s Joe Locke will make his stage debut with cast also featuring fellow Heartstopper cast member Will Gao.
Locke and Gao will perform as the jury alongside Elise Alexandre, Francis Dourado, Jowana El-Daouk, Pelumi Ibiloye, Honor Kneafsey, Joe Locke, Rue Millwood, Charlie Reid, Meréana Tomlinson, Taya Tower and Jairaj Varsani.
West End veterans and tv stars Nigel Lindsay (Death in Paradise, No Offense) and Sharon Small (Silent Witness, Call the Midwife) have been cast as the defendants.
Michael Longhurst, Donmar Warehouse Artistic Director said “Dawn King’s explosive new play about the climate crisis demands we consider the generation most affected. I am proud that as part of our casting process for The Trials the Donmar has created an extensive engagement programme with young Londoners from our community, opening routes into the industry and platforming the next generation of actors and activists.”
As part of the casting process, 1372 young people were engaged through schools and community groups and a further 206 young people were engaged in intensive development workshops for the play at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (RCSSD), with support from National Youth Theatre. During this phase of the project, the participants worked with Dawn King, had sessions in voice, movement and performance skills, took part in sessions on climate activism, and devised new work on the subject of climate justice. Over half of the company will make their professional debuts at the Donmar this Summer.
Principal Lecturer and Course Leader of MA Applied Theatre at RCSSD, Professor Selina Busby, commented “This project is really exciting, the Donmar’s approach to involving local communities and young people in their work is unique and highly ambitious. We have loved partnering with them on the project and it was a vital opportunity for so many young people to be involved in theatre making at a time when cuts to school theatre provision and to the arts and youth services are reducing these opportunities.”
The play is set in the near future and revolves around a trial where children jurors judge the older generation’s contributions to the climate crisis. A finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, it received its world premiere at the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus in 2021.
The UK premiere of The Trials is directed by Natalie Abrahami.
The Trials will run from 12 August 2022 until 27 August 2022 the Donmar Warehouse, London.