Doncaster’s Cast venue unveils spring season line-up

Cast, Doncaster's new theatre.
Cast, Doncaster's new theatre.
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After welcoming over 40,0000 people through its doors in its opening season, Cast, Doncaster’s new £22m performance venue, has announced a spring season packed with work from leading national and international companies alongside work made in Doncaster.

Running from January – May 2014, Cast’s spring season includes the critically acclaimed stage adaptation of Sebastian Faulks’ world famous novel, Birdsong from 27 – 31 May.

Adapted by Rachel Wagstaff and directed by Alastair Watley and fresh from a UK tour seen by over 75,000 people, Birdsong is set in pre-war France, where young Englishman Stephen Wraysford embarks on a passionate and dangerous affair with the beautiful Isabelle Azaire that turns their world upside down.

As war breaks out over the idyll of his former life, Stephen must lead his men through the carnage of the Battle of the Somme and through the sprawling tunnels that lie deep underground.

Cast is also working in association with South Yorkshire-based Musical Director Matt Bugg on Miss Nightingale The Musical, which comes to Doncaster following a West End run and UK tour.

Playing at Cast for one night only on Thursday 10 April, this hit musical set in forties London, tells the story of Feisty Northern singer Maggie and her songwriter, George, who are struggling to find their big break.

Award-winning director and choreographer Benji Reid joins writer Mary Cooper at Cast on Saturday 15 February, for a new, fast and funny re-telling of Pinocchio. Produced in association with Cast, and relocated in Manchester’s Moss Side in 1976, the show features body-popping and puppetry, music and animation and is a retelling of Carlo Collodi’s children’s classic like no other.

The season also includes new productions from Yorkshire venues including Hull Truck and Derby Theatre’s A Taste of Honey, a new production of Shelagh Delaney’s hugely influential 1961 play, directed by Mark Babych in what will be his debut production as Hull Truck Theatre’s new Artistic Director, (13 – 17 May). Cast will also play host to the new production of Bouncers directed by John Godber for Wakefield Theatre Royal (27 February – 1 March).

Puffball, a new production devised and performed by world class circus artists and a young LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) cast in collaboration with renowned artist Mark Storor, on 1 and 2 May. Produced by The Roundhouse, in association with Cast, Manchester Contact and Manchester Royal Exchange, the show is inspired by the cast’s own personal stories – exhilarating, heart-breaking, devastating and joyful – the show is the culmination of a major year-long project working with young people identifying as LGBTQ from towns and cities across the UK. Fusing storytelling with beautiful circus performances, Puffball is set to a live score by award-winning composer Jules Maxwell.

Other highlights from Yorkshire-based companies includes the world premiere of Sheffield-based chamber music promoter Music in the Round’s Shadow Game, a new work by composer Charlotte Bray, one of Britain’s most dynamic living composers, commissioned especially for Doncaster and the opening of Cast (8 February). Charlotte and four members of Music in the Round’s resident ensemble, Ensemble 360, join forces with the Boyce Chamber Orchestra and the Beechfield Youth Orchestra in Doncaster for this World Premiere performance with over 70 musicians on stage! Huddersfield-based Dark Horse also bring their show Sing Something Simple to Cast from 12 – 14 March.

Following their performance at Cast’s opening weekend in September, Sadler’s Wells brings its critically acclaimed international festival of hip-hop dance theatre, Breakin’ Convention, to Doncaster on 10 May, including free events throughout the afternoon before the show. A Sadler’s Wells Project in association with Dance Consortium, Breakin’ Convention is hosted and curated by UK hip hop theatre artist Jonzi D and this year features ILL-Abilities (International), a b-boy company that challenges the misconceptions about people with Disabilities, Ukweli Roach (UK), with an ensemble performance about temptation and vice, and Wanted Posse (France) .

Keen to work with new writers from the region, Cast, in association with Right Up Our Street, will also be launching Scripted, a season of masterclasses, script slams, readings and performances of new writing. The first two script slams will take place on 19 March and 25 June and submissions for scripts are open now!

Graham Whitehead, Head of Marketing and Communications at Cast comments: “We are delighted that so many people have taken Cast to their hearts in our opening season. As we move into our second season we continue to develop new partnerships and relationships with leading companies that work nationally and internationally, to bring exciting and fresh new work to the town. This is still very much the start of our journey and the celebrations continue. We hope to see many more people joining us and finding out what Cast has to offer.”

Tickets for Cast’s opening season are on sale via Doncaster Ticket Office on 01302 303 959 and from www.castindoncaster.com