First Look: The Little Mermaid Production Shots

Rehearsals begin for a heart-warming tale of icy adventures at Bristol Old Vic this Christmas with THE SNOW QUEEN

Casting is announced as rehearsals begin today for Bristol Old Vic’s thrilling new version of Hans Christian Andersen’s timeless story The Snow Queen for Christmas 2016. This electrifying coming-of-age tale celebrates the things that make us different and the value of true friendship.

The Snow Queen at Bristol Old Vic.

The Snow Queen at Bristol Old Vic. Photo by Jack Offord, Design by Extra Strong

Best friends Gerda and Kai have grown up in a world of safety, surrounded by love and immersed in the tradition of storytelling and folk music. However, when children start disappearing from the village, the tale of the mysterious Snow Queen becomes all too real. After Kai goes missing, a determined and spirited Gerda embarks on an ambitious and dangerous journey to save her friend before the Snow Queen destroys his heart.

The Snow Queen continues the Bristol Old Vic tradition of presenting innovative family shows over the festive period and will be directed by Lee Lyford. Lee is an Associate of the egg, Theatre Royal Bath and Joint Artistic Director of Gallivant, with recent productions of Around the World in 80 Days, The Nutcracker and Alice Through The Looking Glass (all for the egg) receiving critical acclaim. He brings his mischievous, magical brand of theatre-making to Bristol Old Vic this year to capture the imaginations of boys and girls of all ages.

Emily Burnett plays Gerda. Emily trained at RWCMD before making her professional debut at Soho Theatre in 2015 in First Love is the Revolution. She won a Welsh BAFTA for her performance in the short film Sweet Sixteen and was part of the BBCR4 drama Wide Sargasso Sea. This will be her first appearance at Bristol Old Vic.

Steven Roberts plays Kai. Best known for his role as George Smith in the long-running E4 drama Hollyoaks until 2014, before appearing in the UK tour of The History BoysFracked!(Chichester Festival Theatre) and The Kitchen Sink (New Vic).

Familiar favourites of Bristol Old Vic also return for Christmas; Miltos Yerolemou makes a welcome return after his unforgettable role as ‘Bottom’ in Bristol Old Vic’s international hit production A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2013). Best known for his role as Syrio Forel in Game of Thrones, he has appeared in many other television and film hits including Wolf Hall, Critical(Sky), Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Danish Girl.

Zara Ramm is also welcomed back after her memorable roles in Bristol Old Vic productions including Pink Mist, Swallows and Amazons, World Cup Final 1966 and Life Raft. She is also a familiar face to younger audiences for her role as “Mum” in the pre-school series Grandpa in my Pocket starring alongside James Bolam.

The cast is completed by Peter O’Toole prizewinner Dylan Wood (who recently appeared as Edgar in the 250th anniversary production of King Lear for Bristol Old Vic starring Timothy West), Jessica Hayles (Richard III, Wales Millennium Centre) Joanna Holden (Hound of the Baskervilles, York Theatre Royal; Ghost Train, Manchester Royal Exchange).

Featuring live music and original songs, this epic adventure will combine the award-winning talents of composer Gwyneth Herbert and writer Vivienne Franzmann.

Vivienne Franzmann is a superstar of the writing world. A drama teacher in secondary schools for 12 years, her first play Mogadishu was one of four winners of the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting in 2008 and went on to be awarded the George Devine Award for Most Promising Playwright in 2010. In 2012 Vivienne was writer in residence for Clean Break Theatre Company, for whom she wrote Pests (Royal Exchange and Royal Court Theatre Upstairs). Vivienne has also written for Channel 4, BBC 1, Radio 4 and Radio 3. She has recently been nominated for a Bafta for her BBC film for children Lizard Girl.

Composer Gwyneth Herbert is a strikingly original performer, award-winning composer and versatile musical adventurer. With one foot in the jazz world and the other somewhere in the future, she has worked in collaboration with writers, musicians, directors, clowns, pirates and young people to make a huge cannon of genre-defying work.


Shakespeare’s Globe announces full casting for Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Matchgirl and Other Happier Tales, directed by Emma Rice

Shakespeare’s Globe is delighted to announce full casting for Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Matchgirl and Other Happier Tales, adapted and directed by Emma Rice. Inspired by Andersen’s beautiful and devastating tale, and incorporating several of his other beloved stories – ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’, ‘Thumbelina’, and ‘The Princess and the Pea’ – it is written by the award-winning Joel Horwood (I Caught Crabs in Walberswick, Mikey the Pikey, Food, I Heart Peterborough).

The role of Ole Shuteye will be played by Paul Hunter. Paul’s previous work for Shakespeare’s Globe includes The Mystery Plays, Much Ado About Nothing, Troilus and Cressida, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Under the Black Flag. Other recent theatre includes Gaslight (Northampton Theatre), The Fantasticks (West End) and Rapunzel (Kneehigh). Paul is also the co-founder and Artistic Director of Told by An Idiot. Recent credits with them include The Fahrenheit Twins (Barbican/ Tour) and The Perfect Mind (Young Vic). Screen credits include, for Warner Brothers, The Jungle Book and Pan, for Disney, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Cinderella and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and Marvellous (BBC).

Akiya Henry will play (amongst other roles) Thumbelina’s Mother and the Princess in ‘The Princess and the Pea’. Akiya’s previous work for the Globe includes Twelfth Night (Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank), Coriolanus and Under the Black Flag. Other recent theatre includes Sense of an Ending (Theatre 503), Deposit (Hampstead Theatre), The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Unicorn Theatre), Perseverance Drive (Bush Theatre), Words, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Bristol Old Vic), Much Ado about Nothing, Henry V (Shakespeare in a Suitcase/ RSC, New York), Coram Boy (National Theatre) and Skellig (Young Vic). Screen credits include Silent Witness (BBC), Casualty (BBC) and Little Britain (BBC).

The role of Thumbelina (amongst other roles) will be played by Bettrys Jones. Bettrys’ recent theatre includes We Want You to Watch (National Theatre), Praxis Makes Perfect (National Theatre Wales), Edward II, Warhorse (National Theatre / West End), The Mouse and his Child, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Comedy of Errors (RSC) and Sixty Six Books (Bush Theatre). Screen credits include Alice (Ruby Films), Private Peaceful (Fluidity Films) and Little Bird (Litmus Pictures).

Japjit Kaur will be lead vocalist in the show. Japjit’s recent theatre credits include Nirbaya (Assembly Festival / World Tour – winner of the Amnesty International Freedom of Speech, Edinburgh Fringe and Herald Angels Awards), The Jungle Book (West Yorkshire Playhouse), The Empress (Kneehigh / RSC) and Wah Wah Girls (Sadler’s Wells). As a musician her credits include Vocal Music Director for Dara (National Theatre), Singer for England People Very Nice (National Theatre) and Musical Director for Olivier Award Winning Rafta Rafta (National Theatre).

Swallow, Soldier (and other parts) will be played by Kyle Lima. Kyle’s recent theatre includes The Last Mermaid (Wales Millennium Center), World Cup Final 1966 (Bristol Old Vic), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Bristol Old Vic / US Tour) and Flyboy’s (Chapter Theatre Arts). Screen credits include Merlin (BBC) and Burn Burn Burn (Burn Productions).

Jack Shalloo will play Mole and the Prince in ‘The Princess and the Pea’ (amongst other roles). Jack’s recent theatre credits include Groundhog Day (Old Vic), Dead Dog in a Suitcase (Kneehigh), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Neal Street Productions), Goodbye Barcelona (Arcola Theatre), A Clockwork Orange (Stratford East Theatre Royal) and Hamlet: The Musical (Royal and Derngate/ Richmond Theatre). His screen credits include Dickensian (BBC), The Interceptor (BBC) and The Suspicions of Mr Whicher (BBC).

Edie Edmundson is the Puppeteer for the Little Matchgirl. Edie’s recent theatre credits include The Old Woman Made of Stardust (Theatre N16), Houseplay (Edinburgh Fringe 2015), Wondering Hands presents Sex and Puppets (Pleasance Theatre / Brainchild Festival) and Brer Rabbit Meets Brer Santa (Movingstage Marionette Theatre).

The full cast comprises Edie Edmundson, Akiya Henry, Paul Hunter, Bettrys Jones, Japjit Kaur, Kyle Lima and Jack Shalloo.


Mayflower Theatre to host World Premiere of Northern Ballet’s The Little Mermaid in September 2017

Mayflower Theatre in Southampton is to host the World Première of Northern Ballet’s adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale The Little Mermaid from 21 – 23 September 2017. Tickets go on sale from 30 November.

Northern Ballet's The Little Mermaid

Northern Ballet’s The Little Mermaid

Based on the famous fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen, The Little Mermaid tells the story of a young mermaid who is willing to give up everything she knows in a search for love and the desire to gain a human soul. The Little Mermaid will be choreographed by Northern Ballet’s Artistic Director David Nixon OBE whose most recent creations for the Company include Cinderella, The Great Gatsby and Beauty & the Beast. This new production will première in Southampton from 21 – 23 September 2017 before a UK Tour.

David Nixon OBE, Artistic Director at Northern Ballet, said: ‘2017 will be an exemplary example of Northern Ballet’s commitment to continuing to create new work and contributing to the dynamic UK dance scene. With an unprecedented three new full-length ballets in one year, I am delighted that we will be presenting audiences with such a diverse range of new productions. As a company of talented dance actors Northern Ballet is in a privileged position to be able to adapt so many different works and continue to challenge the idea of what stories can be told through dance. The Little Mermaid is an enchanting story and the fantastical underwater world of the mermaids evokes such beautiful imagery that it will be an excellent addition to our repertoire. So many people have grown up with an awareness of this classic tale and so I am looking forward to introducing audiences to the world beyond the waves.’

Tickets for Northern Ballet’s The Little Mermaid (21 – 23 September 2017) are on sale from 30 November from Mayflower Theatre Box Office tel: 02380 711811 or online at Ovation Restaurant bookings: 02380 711833