Casting has been announced for the European premiere of Lauren Gunderson’s award-winning comedy The Book of Will.
This hilarious love letter to theatre is a co-production from Octagon Theatre Bolton, Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch and Shakespeare North Playhouse.
Directed by the Octagon’s Artistic Director, Lotte Wakeham, The Book of Will tells the hilarious and moving story of the breath-taking race against time to gather all of Shakespeare’s works and save them for the ages.
This wonderfully witty, funny and fast-paced play tells the story of The King’s Men as they band together for a near-impossible plan – to collect all of Shakespeare’s plays and compile the First Folio. No easy feat, and what follows is a bonkers race against time through 1620s London.
The full cast includes: Hollyoaks stars Jessica Ellis and Helen Pearson alongside Zach Lee (ITV’s Coronation Street, Emmerdale); Tomi Ogbaro (Seagulls, Octagon Theatre Bolton, The Wonderful World of Dissocia, Theatre Royal Stratford).
They will be joined by Radio 4 favourite Carrie Quinlan (BBC Radio 4’s John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme, Orpheus Descending, Theatr Clwyd/Menier Chocolate Factory); Russell Richardson (ITV’s Coronation Street, Last Tango in Halifax); Callum Sim (ITV’s Emmerdale and Coronation Street) and Tarek Slater (The Jungle Book, Oldham Coliseum, Beauty and the Beast, the Dukes).
Completing the cast is Bill Ward (ITV’s Coronation Street, Emmerdale & BBC’s Eastenders); and Andrew Whitehead (The Book Thief, Octagon Theatre Bolton, A Christmas Carol, Hull Truck).
Opening at Queens Theatre Hornchurch from Thu 27 April – Sat 13 May, before transferring to Octagon Theatre Bolton from Wed 17 May – Sat 3 June and Shakespeare North Playhouse from Thu 19 October – Sat 11 November.
The creative team includes: Carla Goodman (designer); Simeon Miller (lighting designer); Andy Graham (sound designer); Jonnie Riordan (movement director); Olivia Barr (casting director); Natalie Grady (accent coach); Ryan McVeigh (assistant director); and Ngozi Ugochukwu (observer director).
On the casting announcement, The Book of Will director Lotte Wakeham commented: “I am thrilled to announce this incredibly talented cast of actors and fantastic creative team for our highly anticipated co-production of The Book of Will. Our brilliant playwright Lauren Gunderson is one of the most frequently produced playwrights in the world, and I’m delighted to share her talent with UK audiences, where I’m sure she’ll quickly become a firm favourite.”
“2023 marks 400 years since the First Folio was first published, so I am really excited that this European premiere production will honour this special anniversary, which celebrates the legacy of our greatest playwright in a thoroughly joyful and accessible way, whether you’re a die-hard Shakespeare fan or completely new to his work.”
“It is wonderful to be collaborating with Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch and Shakespeare North Playhouse so audiences across the country will get to enjoy this hilarious love letter to theatre.”