Casting announced for Isley Lynn’s The Swell at the Orange Treet Theatre

Casting has been announced for the world premiere of Isley Lynn’s lesbian drama The Swell at the Orange Tree Theatre in London.

Hannah Hauer-King will direct Jessica Clark, Ruby Crepin-Glyne, Viss Elliot Safavi, Saroja-Lily Ratnavel, Shuna Snow, and Sophie Ward in Isley Lynn’s thrilling romantic drama.

This Orange Tree Theatre co-production with Damsel Productions and The Women’s Prize for Playwriting is a thrilling romantic drama, featuring a live vocal score, spanning decades of love, sacrifice, and betrayal.

Artistic Director Tom Littler said today: “The Swell is funny, romantic, and tender, with a perfectly engineered plot: I couldn’t put it down. Isley Lynn has been building a reputation as one of the most exciting playwrights around: The Swell is set to be her best yet. I’m delighted that we’ve assembled this wonderful ensemble cast.”

Director of The Swell, Hannah Hauer-King, and co-founder of Damsel Productions said today: “When Isley and I developed this play with Hightide back in 2017, we couldn’t have hoped for a better home than the Orange Tree. The in-the-round intimacy of the space is perfect for a play that manages to be both laugh-out-loud funny, and filled with tragedy and loss. And though it is a play that puts six queer female characters centre stage, it really is a play for everyone. The questions it asks about relationships, fidelity and trust, will resonate for anyone who has been in love.”

Ellie Keele, co-founder of Women’s Prize for Playwriting said today: “The Swell was one of only 40 plays shortlisted for the 2020 Women’s Prize for Playwriting, out of a total 1162 entries. It was a sure-fire entry on the shortlist on the basis of its lyrical tenderness perfectly counterpointing its epic sweep. We don’t read many plays that can execute that combination so exquisitely. Added to that, Isley’s dialogue is perfectly pitched and compelling and her characters are some of the most interesting and plausible that I’ve ever come across in a play. I have no doubt that audiences will delight in this play just as much as our reading panel did. Isley Lynn is one of our finest writers for the stage and we (the Women’s Prize for Playwriting) are thrilled to be co-producing The Swell.”

The creative team includes designer Amy Jane Cook, lighting designer Elliot Griggs, sound designer and composer Nicola T Change and assistant director Sam Woo.

The Swell runs from 24 June until 29 July 2023 at Orange Tree Theatre

Cast biographies

Jessica Clark’s theatre credits include Sap (Soho Theatre), The Wife of Willesden (Kiln Theatre), Passengers (Vacuum Theatre), The Funeral Director, The Hear, And This, And Now (Southwark Playhouse), Ninas Got News (Pleasance Dome), Rotterdam (Trafalgar Studios and Theatre503), Skin A Cat (Theatre503), and Romeo and Juliet, The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Wind in The Willows, The Secret Garden, Macbeth, and The Comedy of Errors (Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre). For television her credits include, Call the Midwife, All Creatures Great and Small, Death in Paradise, and Versailles .

Ruby Crepin-Glyne’s theatre credits include The Tempest (Pleasance), Road (Northern Stage), Measure for Measure (The Sam Wanamaker Festival), Pool (No Water) (Royal Court Theatre) and Winter Wonderland (Soho Theatre).

Viss Elliot Safavi’s theatre credits include For Services Rendered (Jermyn Street Theatre), Bitched (Kali Theatre), The Taming of The Shrew (Shakespeare’s Globe), How He Lied to her Husband (Tristan Bates Theatre), The Gift (Criterion Theatre), Love from a Stranger (Jubilee Hall), Smother (Clink Hostel), and Invasion! (Soho Theatre). For television her credits include Tehran, The Split, D.I Ray, Suspicion, Not Going Out, and The Buccaneers.

Saroja-Lily Ratnavel’s theatre credits include, Chasing Hares (Young Vic Theatre), Electric Rosary (Royal Exchange Theatre), and The Key Workers Cycle: The Social Care Workers Play, and Name, Place, Animal, Thing (Almeida Theatre). For television, Bravo Two Charlies.

Shuna Snow‘s theatre credits include The Ministry of Lesbian Affairs (Soho Theatre), Decisions Decisions (Pleasance Science Fiction Theatre Festival), Whisky Galore (UK tour), Brideshead Revisited (York Theatre Royal), Twelfth Night (The Rose Playhouse), Palindrome, Welcome to Ramallah (Arcola Theatre), Little Stitches (Theatre503), Iron (Old Red Lion), Hamlet (US tour), Top Girls, The Winter’s Tale, Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella, Julius Cesar, Death of a Salesman, Betrayal, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Ion, Road, The Triumph of Love, All My Sons, Oh! What a Lovely War, The Caucasian Chalk Circle and Macbeth (Mercury Theatre), Engaging Shaw (Vienna’s English Theatre), Separate Tables (Royal Exchange Theatre) A Shoemaker, A Gentleman (Shakespeare’s Globe), Much Ado About Nothing, Little Eyolf, Kenneth’s First Play, Cymbeline (Royal Shakespeare Company). Her television credits include Big Mood and Clink; and for film, The Boy in The Woods.

Sophie Ward’s theatre credits include The Mirror Crack’d (Salisbury Playhouse), Cancelling Socrates, Flowers of The Forest (Jermyn Street Theatre), The Exorcist, A Judgement in Stone, The Grass is Greener (UK tours), Dark Sublime (Trafalgar Studios), Paradise Circus (Playground Theatre), But It Still Goes On (Finborough Theatre), Mount Vernon (Hudson Guild Theatre, Kings Head Theatre), Brave New World (Royal and Derngate) and Go Back for Murder (Theatre Royal Windsor / UK tour). Her television credits include Troubled Blood, This Sceptred Isle, Agatha Raisin, A Very British Scandal, Picture Perfect Royal Christmas, The Moonstone and Secret State. For film her credits include, Swiperight, Jane Eyre, Book of Blood, Out of Bounds, Nobody Knows Anything!, Crime and Punishment, Bella Donna, Taking Liberty, Wuthering Heights, Waxwork II: Lost In Time, and Young Sherlock Holmes


📷 Main photo: Cast of The Swell - Orange Tree Theatre

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