Sylvia at the Old Vic, 2018 production. Photo by Manuel Harlan

Sylvia to premiere at The Old Vic starring Beverley Knight

Beverley Knight will star in the delayed world premiere of Sylvia at the Old Vic Theatre in London.

Co-written by Zoonation’s Kate Prince and Priya Parmar, with original music by Josh Cohen and DJ Walde, Sylvia is a modern musical celebrating the life of Sylvia Pankhurst, her pivotal role in the campaign for women’s rights and the price of the passion and politics that tore her family apart.

Sylvia will begin performances on 27 January 2023, running to 1 April with a press night on 14 February. The show was originally scheduled to premiere in 2018 but delayed its opening before cancelling press night following a series of issues, including cast illness. Knight appeared in the 2018 production and will reprise the role of Emmeline Pankhurst. Beverley most recently appeared in Sister Act and The Drifters Girl.

Old Vic Artistic Director Matthew Warchus 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 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’.”

Kate said she was “particularly grateful” for this second chance and to be able to finish what she described as the “most extraordinary creative challenge” of her 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,” she said.

The cast of Sylvia includes Kelly Agbowu, Verity Blyth, Kimmy Edwards, Alex Gaumond, Jade Hackett, Todd Holdsworth, Stevie Hutchinson and Kate Ivory Jordan.

Directed and choreographed by Kate Prince, the piece has set and costume by Ben Stones, lighting by Natasha Chivers, sound by Tony Gayle, video & animation by Andrzej Goulding, and wigs, hair & make-up by Cynthia de la Rosa.

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📷 Main photo: Sylvia at the Old Vic, 2018 production. Photo by Manuel Harlan

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