Girl From The North Country to return to the West End for eight weeks only

Girl From The North Country

The critically-acclaimed hit Girl from the North Country, written and directed by Conor McPherson with music and lyrics by Bob Dylan, is to play at the Gielgud Theatre in the West End for a limited season from 10 December 2019 to 1 February 2020. Girl from the North Country opens in the West End following a run at the Royal Alexandra Theatre, Toronto, opening 28 September 2019, and prior to the Broadway production opening in March 2020 at The Belasco Theatre.

An instant classic’ The Times *****
Piercingly beautiful’ The Independent *****
Conor McPherson weaves magic with Bob Dylan’s songs’ The Observer *****

‘A Ravishing Production! Bob Dylan’s songs have never sounded so heartbreakingly personal and universal. As close as mortals come to heaven on earth’ New York Times
The full cast for Girl from the North Country at the Gielgud Theatre includes Daniel Bailey (Ensemble), Colin Bates (Gene Laine), Katie Brayben(Elizabeth Laine), Anna Jane Casey (Mrs Burke), Nicholle Cherrie (Ensemble), David Ganly (Mr Burke), Simon Gordon (Ensemble), Steffan Harri(Elias Burke), David Haydn (Ensemble), Rachel John (Mrs Neilsen), Sidney Kean (Mr Perry), Finbar Lynch (Reverend Marlowe), Donald Sage Mackay (Nick Laine), Gloria Obianyo (Marianne), Ferdy Roberts (Dr Walker), Wendy Somerville (Ensemble), Gemma Sutton (Katherine Draper), Shaq Taylor (Joe Scott) and Alan Vicary (Ensemble).

Girl from the North Country opened at The Old Vic in July 2017 to huge critical acclaim and playing to sold out audiences. It transferred to the Noël Coward Theatre in December 2017 and won the 2018 Olivier Awards for Best Actress in a Musical and Best Supporting Actress in a Musical as well as being nominated in the Best New Musical, Outstanding Achievement in Music and Best Actor in a Musical categories. The production went on to have a sold out run at the Public Theater, New York in 2018. Girl from the North Country opens at the Gielgud Theatre following a run at the Royal Alexandra Theatre, Toronto, from 28 September to 24 November 2019.  The Broadway production will open on 5 March 2020, with previews from 7 February, at The Belasco Theatre.  Casting for the Broadway production is to be announced.

  1. A time-weathered guesthouse in the heartland of America. Only a song can shake off the dust for one group of wayward souls—and old dreams may hold the promise of new beginnings. As they pass in and out of each other’s lives, their stories awaken with passion, fury and extraordinary beauty.

Reimagining the music of Bob Dylan as roof-raising ensemble pieces and soul-stirring solos, celebrated playwright Conor McPherson (The Weir, The Seafarer) writes and directs this heartbreaking and universal story about family and love.

Girl from the North Country features scenic and costume design by Rae Smith; orchestrations, arrangements, and music supervision by Simon Hale, with additional arrangements by Simon Hale and Conor McPherson, lighting design by Mark Henderson; sound design by Simon Baker; movement direction by Lucy Hind and casting by Jessica Ronane CDG.

Girl from the North Country is produced by Tristan Baker & Charlie Parsons for Runaway Entertainment, Steven Lappin, Sony Music Entertainment UK, David Mirvish and The Old Vic

Daniel Bailey (Ensemble). Theatre includes: Jesus Christ Superstar (Barbican Centre); Wizard of Oz (Pitlochry Festival Theatre); King (Hackney Empire); Priscilla Queen of the Desert (Queens Theatre, Hornchurch); Hair (The Vaults); Motown the Musical (Shaftesbury Theatre); Wheel of Misfortune (The Old Red Lion Theatre); The Lion King (Lyceum Theatre); South Pacific (UK tour); Blues Brothers (Erasmus Theatre) and Hair(Bronowski Productions).

Colin Bates (Gene Laine). Theatre includes: Billy Elliot the Musical (West End); The Effect (Off-Broadway); Oliver! (UK Tour); A Picture of Dorian Gray (A Noise Within) and Switzerland (Geffen Playhouse). Film and TV includes: The Good ShepherdNaked NormandyLa PrièrePachamama,Nice Talking to YouDating My MotherT11 IncompleteSneaky PeteThe ShowChildren’s HospitalOne Life to Live and Ghost Recon Wildlands 2.

Katie Brayben (Elizabeth Laine). Theatre includes: Honour (The Park Theatre); A Walk on The Moon (The American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco); The Spoils (Trafalgar Studios); My Mother Said I Never Should (St James Theatre); Beautiful -The Carole King Musical (Aldwych Theatre, Winner of Best Actress in a Musical Olivier Award 2015); King Charles III (Almeida and Wyndham’s Theatres); American Psycho (Almeida Theatre);Joking Apart (Nottingham and Salisbury Playhouse); Ragtime The MusicalA Midsummer Night’s Dream (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre); 13(National Theatre); John and Jen (Landor); Friday 4pm (Arcola Theatre); Company (Southwark Playhouse); Is Everyone OK? (nabakov and NuWrite); Counted? (UK Tour); The Great British Country Fete (Bush); Skin Tight (Riverside Studios); Mamma Mia! (Ten year anniversary cast and International Tour and West End); Return To The Forbidden Planet (UK Tour) and Some Girls are Bigger Than Others (Lyric Hammersmith, Dublin Theatre Festival). Her film and television credits Self Help – A Serial Killer’s Guide To LifeLuther, The AlienistDoctor WhoKing Charles III andVera.

Anna-Jane Casey (Mrs Burke). Theatre includes: Calendar Girls (UK Tour); Billy Elliot (West End, UK and International Tour); Stepping Out (West End); Annie Get Your GunFlowers For

Mrs Harris, Sweet CharityPiaf (Sheffield Theatres); Mack and Mabel (Chichester Festival theatre and UK Tour); Spamalot (Playhouse Theatre, London); Sunday in the Park with GeorgeForbidden Broadway (Menier Chocolate Factory); Hobson’s ChoiceMack and Mabel (Watermill, Newbury).

Film and TV includes: Family GuyCoronation StreetThe RoyalDoctorsEastEnders,

The BillHeartbeatHolby City and Beyond the Sea.

Nicholle Cherrie (Ensemble). Theatre includes: Richard II (Shakespeare’s Globe); Leave Taking (The Bush Theatre); Mamma Mia (Cyprus) and Jesus Christ Superstar (Regents Park Open Air Theatre). Television Includes: Doctors.

David Ganly (Mr Burke). Theatre includes: Girl from the North Country (Noel Coward Theatre); On Blueberry Hill (Dublin Theatre Festival); Once(Olympia Theatre Dublin); Lonesome West (Tron Theatre); The Plough & the Stars (Abbey Theatre Dublin and Irish & US Tour); Shakespeare in Love(Noel Coward Theatre); Threepenny Opera (Gate Theatre); King Lear (Theatre Royal Bath); Cinderella (Lyric Hammersmith); Macbeth (Sheffield Crucible); The Lonesome West (Druid Theatre, The Royal Court, Sydney Festival and Lyceum, Broadway); Of Mice and Men (The Watermill); The Wizard of Oz (London Palladium); The Beauty Queen of Leenane (Young Vic) for which David received an OFFIE nomination for Best Actor; Chicago(Cambridge Theatre London); The Weir (Gate Theatre); Translations (National Theatre) and The Full Monty (Prince of Wales Theatre). Film and TV includes: Citizen Charlie, Sunset Song, Body of Lies, Hippie Hippie Shake, Dorothy Mills, Widow’s Peak and Space Truckers.

 Simon Gordon (Ensemble). Theatre includes: Bat Out Of Hell The Musical (Dominion Theatre, London Coliseum, International Tour); Moulin Rouge!Julius CaesarParadeAlba Nuadh (RADA). Film and TV includes: Scrambled EggsSuperstarRoby and The Gates of Nargara and Milk.

 Steffan Harri (Elias Burke). Theatre includes: Shrek in Shrek The Musical (UK & Ireland Tour); Les Misérables (Queens Theatre); Monty Python’s Spamalot (Playhouse Theatre); Hollti (Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru); Little Shop of Horrors (Aberystwyth Arts Centre) and Children Of Eden (Prince of Wales Theatre). Television includes: Rownd a Rownd.

David Haydn (Ensemble). Theatre includes: Cat on a Hot Tin RoofThe Wedding Singer (Summer Rep Theatre); Gaslight (Ed Mirvish Theatre); Stones in His Pockets (Popular Productions); The Irish Curse (Edinburgh and Dublin Festivals); Jamie the Saxt (Finborough Theatre); Kinky Boots(Adelphi Theatre); The Secret Garden (Barn Theatre); The Burnt Part Boys (Park 90); I Dreamed a Dream (UK Tour); Parade (Southwark Playhouse); Fame (UK Tour) and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (UK Tour).

Rachel John (Mrs Neilsen). Theatre includes: Hamilton (Victoria Palace Theatre); The Color

Purple (Concert – Cadogan Hall); The Bodyguard (Dominion Theatre and Toronto); Memphis (Shaftesbury Theatre); RENT (UK Tour); We Will Rock You (Dominion Theatre and UK Tour); Sister Act (London Palladium); The Legend of the Lion King (Disneyland Paris) and The Lion King (Asian Tour and Lyceum Theatre).

Sidney Kean (Mr Perry). Theatre includes: Berberian Sound Studio (Donmar Warehouse), Toby Belch is Unwell a One man show (London, Prague, Bristol & Edinburgh, Fetch Theatre), Fever Chart (Trafalgar Studios, Theatre Royal York), Legal Fictions (Savoy Theatre), Public Interest (New Diorama) Henry1V Part 1(NTC), The Odd Couple (MK Productions). TV work includes: Coronation Street, Silent Witness, The Fear, The Long Firm, Frost, Doc Martin, Poirot, 2Point4 Children, The Bill, EastEnders, Brookside, Lovejoy, Grange Hill, Casualty, Blakes 7, Robin Hood, Raphael The Mortal God, Warship, King Oedipus (Play for Today), Dixon of Dock Green. Film includes: Hatton Garden The Heist, The Village in The Woods, Orthodox, Lifeforce, Queen of Hearts, Revelation Hanuman, Lucas & Albert, Subverted, Gli Zii. Radio includes King Street and King Street Revisited(BBC), The Government Inspector (BBC) Travels With My Aunt (BBC) Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (BBC) and 30 episodes of the highly acclaimed, amusing and comical Mission Improbable as Agent X The Master of Disguise (BBC World Service).

Finbar Lynch (Reverend Marlowe). Theatre includes: Girl from the North Country (Noel Coward Theatre); The Lady from the Sea (Donmar Warehouse); Richard III (Almeida Theatre); Ma Rainey’s Black BottomThe HothouseAntony and CleopatraNot About NightingalesKing Lear(National Theatre); Antigone (Barbican Centre / World Tour); The Silence of the Sea (Trafalgar Studios); Desire Under The ElmsThe Big Fellah (Lyric Hammersmith); The Fairy Queen (Glyndebourne / Paris / New York); The Duchess of MalfiDancing at Lughnasa (The Old Vic); Faith Healer (Bristol Old Vic); The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist (Chichester Festival Theatre / Liverpool Everyman); The Fastest Clock in the Universe (Hampstead Theatre / Leicester Curve); Portrait of a LadyA Doll’s House (Bath Theatre); Love’s Labour’s Lost (Rose Theatre Kingston); Three Sisters on Hope Street (Hampstead Theatre / Liverpool Everyman); Ghosts (Gate Theatre); The TempestJulius CaesarA Midsummer Night’s DreamMeasure for MeasureCoriolanusThe AlchemistThe VirtuosoAmphibiansA Woman Killed with KindnessThe Two Gentlemen of Verona (RSC). Film and TV includes: TreadstoneThe Mallorca FilesThe DevilsThe FeedFoyle’s WarDCI BanksBreathlessThe MusketeersGame of Thrones, Silk, Inspector George Gently, Richard II, Proof, Dalziel and Pascoe, Waking the Dead, Red Cap, Atilla the Hun, Second Sight, Mind Game, Holby City, Small World, Between the Lines, Glenroe, Adventures of a Mathematician, The World We Knew, Black 47, Property of the State, Suffragette, Child 44, Departure, The Numbers Station, Matilde, To Kill a King, Lost Batallion, King Lear, Scold’s Bridle, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Schooner and Rawhead Rex.

 Gloria Obianyo (Marianne Laine). Theatre includes: Antony and Cleopatra (National Theatre); Jesus Christ Superstar (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre); The Grinning Man (Bristol Old Vic); The Wild Party (The Other Palace); The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (Donmar Warehouse) and Fanny and Alexander (The Old Vic). Film and TV includes High Life, Dune and Good Omens.

Ferdy Roberts (Dr Walker). Theatre includes: Twelfth NightMacbethA Midsummer Night’s DreamThree Sisters, Water (Lyric Hammersmith); Twelfth Night (Tricycle Theatre); The Caucasian Chalk Circle (National Theatre); Silence (RSC); Faster (London /New York); Fatherland (Royal Exchange); Plaques and Tangles (Royal Court); Lampedusa (Soho Theatre); Shakespeare in Love (Noel Coward Theatre); Open Court, If You Don’t Let Us Dream We Won’t Let You Sleep (Royal Court); WallensteinThe Sea (Chichester Festival Theatre); The Birthday PartyThe Dumb Waiter(Bristol Old Vic); Girl in a Goldfish Bowl (Sheffield Crucible);  Frankenstein (Derby Playhouse); Another Country (West End) and The Changeling, Beautiful ThingThe Rise And Fall Of Little Voice (Salisbury Playhouse). Film and TV includes: Dark AngelFoyles War, Whistleblower, The Bill, Goldplated, Your Mother Should Know, Holby City, Doctors, A Touch Of Frost, What You Will, Mr Nice, Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll and Honest.

 Donald Sage Mackay (Nick Laine). Theatre includes: True West (Vaudeville Theatre); Angry Alan (Edinburgh Fringe First Award, Soho Theatre, Aspen Fringe); White Guy on the Bus (Finborough Theatre); Moon for the Misbegotten (Lyric, Belfast); Linda (MTC); Fred’s Diner and The Other Place (Magic), Our Town (ATL), stop. reset. (Signature), Blood & Gifts and His Girl Friday (La Jolla Playhouse); Game’s Afoot (Cleveland Play House) and Six Degrees of Separation (Old Globe). Film and TV includes: Deep State, Treadstone, Looming Tower, Modern Family, Mad Men, Frasier, Masters of Sex, Elementary, Blue Bloods, Good Wife, House, West Wing, NCIS, Law and Order: SVU, Criminal Minds, Weeds, The Shield, Star Trek Enterprise, According to Jim, ER, Scrubs, The Practice, Providence and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

Wendy Somerville (Ensemble). Theatre includes: Local Hero (Royal Lyceum Theatre); School of Rock (Gillian Lynne Theatre); The 306: Day(National Theatre of Scotland); Cinderella (London Palladium); Threepenny Opera (National Theatre); Billy Elliot (Victoria Palace Theatre); Hairspray(Shaftesbury Theatre & UK and Ireland Tour); Sweeney Todd (Adelphi Theatre, Chichester Festival Theatre); Les Misérables (Queen’s Theatre) and Writer’s Cramp (Saint-Saëns Festival). Television includes: Classical Brit Awards 2011, Royal Variety Performance and 25th Anniversary Concert 2010 – Les MisérablesBilly Elliott the Musical – LiveRoyal Variety Performance 2007 – Hairspray. Recordings include Sweeney Todd London cast recordingScrapbook and Michael Ball Past and Present

Gemma Sutton (Katherine Draper). Theatre includes: Follies (National Theatre); Sweet Charity (Watermill Theatre); The Rink (Southwark Playhouse) Winner of Offie for Female performance in a Musical; A Christmas Carol the Musical (LMTO); Strictly Ballroom (West Yorkshire Playhouse, Princess of Wales Theatre, Toronto); The Go Between (Apollo Theatre); Gypsy (Savoy Theatre); Sound of Music (Cairo), Gypsy (Chichester Festival Theatre); Carousel (Arcola Theatre); Blues in the Night (Hackney Empire); Chicago (Leicester Curve Theatre); Drunk (Leicester Curve Theatre and The Bridewell Theatre, London); Hairspray (UK Tour); Me and My Girl (Kilworth House Theatre); Legally Blonde (Savoy Theatre); Dames at Sea (Union Theatre); The Kissing Dance (Jermyn Street Theatre); Oklahoma! (UK tour), Gone with the WindImagine This (New London Theatre); A Midsummer Night’s DreamMacbethLady Be Good and The Boy Friend (Regent’s Park Open Air); Children Will Listen (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane) and Crimes of the Heart (Union Theatre). Film and TV includes: West Side Stories, DoctorsCilla. Recordings include: Gypsy London Cast RecordingImagine This Original London Cast Recording.

Shaq Taylor (Joe Scott). Theatre includes: Hadestown (National Theatre); Sweet Charity (Nottingham Playhouse); Les Miserables (Queen’s Theatre). He was runner-Up in the Stephen Sondheim Student Performer of the Year 2017 (Noel Coward Theatre). Film includes: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

Alan Vicary (Ensemble). Theatre includes: Moll Flanders (Mercury Theatre); Kinky Boots (Adelphi Theatre); A Damsel In Distress (Chichester Festival Theatre); The Crucible (The Old Vic); King Lear (Chichester Festival Theatre, BAM New); Goodnight Mister Tom (Phoenix Theatre, UK tour); The Sound Of Music (Manama, Bahrain, London Palladium); The Secret Garden (Birmingham Rep); The Fantasticks (Duchess Theatre); The Power Of Yes (National Theatre); Carousel (Savoy Theatre); Gone With The Wind (New London Theatre); Mary Poppins (Prince Edward Theatre);Les Miserables (Palace Theatre); Kiss Me, Kate (Victoria Palace Theatre); The Phantom Of The Opera (Her Majesty’s Theatre, UK Tour); The Duchess Of Malfi (Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh); Brigadoon (Victoria Palace Theatre) and Me And My Girl (Adelphi Theatre). Film and TV includes:London Road, Para Handy, Taggart, Timewatch. Recordings include: Cast albums of BrigadoonMary PoppinsThe Sound Of Music and the Original West End Cast recording of Kinky Boots.

Conor McPherson is an acclaimed writer and director. He was born in Dublin in 1971 and attended University College Dublin where he began to write and direct. Stage plays include Rum & VodkaThe Good ThiefThis Lime Tree BowerSt NicholasThe Weir (Olivier, Evening Standard, and Critics Circle Awards); Dublin CarolPort AuthorityShining City (Tony Award nominated);The Seafarer (Tony, Olivier and Evening Standard Award nominated); The Veil, and The Night Alive (New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play, Olivier, Evening Standard and Lucille Lortel Award nominated). Adaptations include Franz Xaver Kroetz’s The Nest, and August Strindberg’s The Dance of Death. Screen credits include the screenplay for the BBC series Paula, broadcast earlier this year.

Bob Dylan is one of our culture’s most influential and ground-breaking artists. Born in Duluth, Minnesota in 1941; self-taught on piano, guitar and harmonica, he travelled to New York City in 1961, quickly establishing himself as an explosive performer in the Greenwich Village music scene. More than half a century later, Dylan continues to perform almost 100 concerts each year. He has released more than 50 albums and written over 600 songs. He’s sold more than 125 million records and is the holder of 11 Grammy Awards. His songs have been covered more than 6000 times by artists as diverse as Duke Ellington, Jimi Hendrix, Guns N’ Roses, Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley and Adele. He is also an accomplished visual artist and author, and in 2016 was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature – the first songwriter to receive such a distinction.

Sheila Atim interview: ‘The government could do with empowering people to get in the driving seat, particularly those who otherwise wouldn’t get the chance.’

In April, Olivier Award winning Actor Sheila Atim said that she wanted to see more women ‘who look like her’ winning Olivier awards. Atim also warned that the industry should not “get complacent” about diversity, saying there is “always work to do”.

Atim is positive about developments but also direct about the pressing importance of diversity on and off stage. “I’m seeing a lot more of friends getting great roles and I’m seeing a lot more of my non-white friends in stronger positions to create work,” says Atim, 27.

Sheila Atim at Olivier Awards 2018

We talk about representation, in all its forms, on and off stage. “Representation is the perfect word,” she agrees. “It is not just the representation on stage. The reality is until you get to the top level you are the last person – as the actor – to come on board a project. In terms of how the shots are called and before we get to the casting process, we need to look at shifting the culture of that group,” Atim says.

“There is definitely a momentum building to take control of our own careers, you can look at it as progress,” she says. “Ultimately, I think it is important that those people are in that space and are aware of the disparities. They have a responsibility to create a channel and have a position where they can genuinely call some shots. If I reach that point, I’m not going to sit there by myself. I will try and do that to make sure I facilitate others – you can’t just talk about it – every forward motion has equal and opposite reaction.”

In 2017 Atim starred as Marianne in Conor McPherson’s stunning Bob Dylan musical Girl From The North Country, taking Dylan’s music and giving it a new spin. This year she took home the best actress in a supporting role in a musical Olivier Award for her exquisite performance.

Arinze Kene, Sheila Atim in Girl From The North Country, 2017

She brightens when I ask what that whirlwind was like. I tell her that she owes me an apology for breaking my heart. “I can’t overstate how special that job was and to be able to share it with the people that we shared it with,” she says, cheerfully. “It was like a weird dream that was happening to us all. It felt like one of those moments where I’d say – everything about this is right –everyone gets it – this is it. That is why when people tell me they enjoyed it so much, I still feel moved,” she adds.

We discuss patronage; those privileged few in positions of power who control appointments and decisions. She says: ‘We have to allow people to stand on their own two feet and make sure that everyone’s voices are being heard – this is a larger conversation to do with allyship; you have to allow us to take the steering wheel – otherwise we will remain in a position where we are at someone else’s mercy.”

Now she is starring in an independent film – as shipwrecked twins Viola and Sebastian in a modern screen adaptation of William Shakespeare’s comedy Twelfth Night by Shanty Productions – an independent film production company, co-founded by Rakie Ayola and Adam Smethurst. The play has been adapted for the screen to reflect multicultural Britain today.

Does she see the 400-year-old play as a comedy? “It is a comedy but when I was filming my sections – I was not experiencing comedy,” she exclaims.

Sheila Atim in Shanty Productions Twelfth Night

“There is humour in the conceit of Viola and Sebastian being twins and people thinking that they’re dead, however, the distress they are feeling is very real: Viola thinks her brother is dead and assumes an image of her brother and is worried about her currency of being a woman – that is a really sad story! She has someone who has fallen in love with her but is trying to facilitate a relationship – similarly for Sebastian. It was interesting playing both those characters and seeing the film and being reminded that it is a funny film – it was a great experience. Truly. Around the time we filmed it there had been a lot in the media around the refugee crisis – which this does give nods to. Even now, it feels timely.”

Atim is no stranger to Shakespeare – in 2016 she performed in Phyllida Lloyd‘s acclaimed all-female Shakespeare trilogy at the Donmar. Recently she starred in Othello as Emilia, alongside Mark Rylance, at Shakespeare’s Globe. Does she see herself doing more of the Bard’s work in the future? “I do want to do more,” she says. “However, I feel interspersing Shakespeare with other stuff is great because then it gives me a chance to not get cynical and get back to it,”.

Sheila Atim in Shakespeare Trilogy at the Donmar

“If I stayed in that classical world for too long, though, I wouldn’t be able to marry the good things that come with dealing a piece of work that is 400 years old,” says Atim.

“I don’t believe in loading every production with a concept. I do believe that when you go into a project you have to be very clear about what it is your trying to explore. I think for it to really be worth it – otherwise there is no point in putting on these plays –when I want to be in a Shakespeare play I’m trying to provoke something.”

Atim has been particularly vocal about the importance of a creative curriculum in our state schools. She highlighted this recently when she visited her old school, The Coopers’ Company and Coborn School to speak about the importance of Drama. When I ask her thoughts on new research published that found almost a third of children did not realise that Shakespeare was a playwright and half of secondary pupils have not been to the theatre with school, she says: “I’ll tell you why I find that alarming – not because I think everyone should know who Shakespeare is for any ideological reason. What confuses me about those figures are that Shakespeare is everywhere. There are modern adaptations, films, revivals and we have two fantastic theatres that are dedicated to his work: The RSC and The Globe,”.

“I understand the strain that schools are under – my own school was nearly forced to cut it’s A level drama and music courses because of funding cuts. The message from our current government is one that feels that the arts are a luxury. But art is all around us –the design of a book cover, galleries, music -you can’t escape it. You can try and dress it up and make it for a certain group of people but that is not the case. I find that really worrying because the cultural experience opens up so much for people,” says Atim.

I ask Sheila if there’s anything she’d like to add? “Oh, that’s a good question.”

She thinks for a moment.

“I know that Brexit is coming up but the arts could do with more money, more investment” she says frankly. “The government could do with empowering people to get in the driving seat, particularly those who otherwise wouldn’t get the chance– they can be there and they deserve to be there – charity is great – but we need to allow people to build their own agency. It cannot be forever the case that the arts are waiting for handouts.”

Twelfth Night by Shanty Productions is available to download and watch now on Amazon