Full Casting announced for the world première of Howard Brenton’s The Shadow Factory

Samuel Hodges

Samuel Hodges

Director of Nuffield Southampton Theatres, Samuel Hodges, today announced the full cast for the company’s inaugural production at NST City – the world première of Howard Brenton’s The Shadow Factory, which Hodges directs. Veteran of stage and screen Anita Dobson joins the cast as Lady Cooper/Ma (Wicked, Apollo Victoria Theatre; The Merry Wives of Windsor, RSC; Frozen, National Theatre) along with Shala Nyx who plays Polly. Dobson, known for playing the iconic role of Angie Watts in EastEnders, and Nyx join David Birrell (Fred/Hugh), Catherine Cusack (Lil/Sylvia), Lorna Fitzgerald (Jackie Dimmock), Hilton McRae (Lord Beaverbrook) and Daniel York (Len Gooch) to complete the company. The Shadow Factory opens on 15 February, with previews from 7 February, and runs until 3 March.

This world première will open Southampton’s brand-new theatre, NST City, conceived by NST’s director Samuel Hodges and 59 Productions – the Tony Award-winning artists behind the video design of the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony.

Alongside the production, the company will mount The Shadow Factory Exhibition, giving audiences the opportunity to step into the stories behind The Shadow Factory in an installation featuring the visually stunning moving set designed by 59 Productions.

NST City is part of Studio 144, Southampton’s new £30m city centre arts venue situated in the heart of the city centre. This new venue will include a flexible 450 seat main house theatre, a 133 seat studio, screening facilities, rehearsal and workshop spaces, and bar and restaurant managed by Southampton ‘s 2017 Business of the Year winner, Mettricks. NST City will transform NST’s ability to show high quality professional work from local, national and international artists and allow the programme to include dance, film and music.

The Shadow Factory tells the story of Southampton’s courage in 1940 during The Battle of Britain. Southampton is home to the country’s only hope of victory: the Spitfire. But when the Luftwaffe drops 2,300 bombs in three devastating raids, the city goes up in flames and the Woolston Supermarine Spitfire factory is destroyed. From the ashes, a story of chaos, courage and community spirit emerges.

Howard Brenton has written over 50 plays. His most recent credits include Miss Julie (The Theatre By The Lake & The Jermyn Street Theatre), Paul (National Theatre), In Extremis (Shakespeare’s Globe and tour retitled Eternal Love), Never So Good (National Theatre), Anne Boleyn (Shakespeare’s Globe, plus revival and tour, winner of the WhatsOnStage Best Play Award and UK Theatre Awards Best Touring Production), 55 Days (Hampstead Theatre), #aiww: The Arrest of Ai Weiwei (Hampstead Theatre), The Guffin (one act play, NT Connections), Drawing The Line (Hampstead Theatre), Doctor Scroggy’s War (Shakespeare’s Globe), Ransomed (one act play, Salisbury Playhouse), Lawrence After Arabia (Hampstead Theatre) and The Blinding Light (Jermyn Street Theatre). Versions of classics include The Life of Galileoand Danton’s Death (National Theatre) and Goethe’s Faust (RSC). Other adaptations include The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists (Liverpool Everyman and Chichester Festival Theatre) and Dances of Death (Gate Theatre). For television, he wrote 13 episodes of the first four series of the BBC Television Drama Spooks (winner of the BAFTA Best Television Drama Series 2003).

David Birrell plays Fred/Hugh. His theatre credits include The Wind in the Willows (UK tour), The Death of King Arthur (Sam Wanamaker Playhouse), Peter Pan, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Ragtime (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), The Last Days of Troy (Royal Exchange/Shakespeare’s Globe), Passion, Grand Hotel (Donmar Warehouse), Spamalot (Palace Theatre),Oh! What A Lovely War (National Theatre), The Gates of Paradise, The Jewess of Toledo, The Venetian Twins, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Moby Dick, The Tempest, Murder in the Cathedral, Hamlet, Columbus, Romeo and Juliet (RSC); and for television, Holy Flying Circus, Buried and Angels.

 Catherine Cusack plays Lil/Sylvia. For theatre her credits include A Parting from the BodyFragileFactory Girls (Arcola Theatre), The Seagull(UK tour), All That Fall (Jermyn Street Theatre and New York), Bingo (Chichester Festival Theatre and Young Vic), The Two Character Play(Jermyn Street Theatre/USA), What Fatima Did (Hampstead Theatre), Our Lady of Sligo (National Theatre), Measure for Measure (ETT), Prayers of Sherkin (The Old Vic), Mrs Warren’s Profession (Lyric Hammersmith) and Phaedra’s Love (Gate Theatre). For television her credits include The Last Days of Anne BoleynJonathan CreekBallykissangel and Cadfael; and for film, Finding NeverlandConspiracy of SilenceBoxed and The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne.

 Anita Dobson plays Lady Cooper/Ma. Her extensive theatre credits include The Merry Wives of Windsor (RSC), Budgie (Cambridge Theatre), The Three Sisters (Royal Court Theatre), Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme (National Theatre), Kvetch (Garrick Theatre), Lovely Shayna Maidel(Ambassador’s Theatre), Charley’s Aunt (Aldwych Theatre), The Vagina Monologues (Arts Theatre/UK tour), Frozen (National Theatre / Olivier Award nomination), Chicago (Adelphi Theatre), Thoroughly Modern Milly (Shaftesbury Theatre), Hello Dolly! (Theatre Royal Lincoln/ UK tour),Calendar Girls (Noël Coward Theatre), Bette and Joan (Arts Theatre) and Wicked (Apollo Theatre). For television her extensive work includesEastEnders (as series regular Angie Watts),  Leave Him To HeavenNannySplit EndsThe World Of Eddie WearyRed DwarfSmokescreenI’ll Be Watching YouDangerfieldThe Famous FiveHighlanderGet Well SoonJunkSunburnThe StretchHearts and BonesUrban GothicThe Last Detective, Gigglebiz, Hotel BabylonMoving OnPompidouArmadaCall The Midwife and The Rebel; and for film, Seaview KnightsBeyond BedlamThe Tichborne ClaimantThe Revengers’ ComediesDarkness FallsCharlie, SolitaryThe Rise Of The KraysThe Fall Of The KraysLondon Road and the upcoming The Fight.

Lorna Fitzgerald plays Jackie Dimmock. She is perhaps best known for her role as Abi Branning in EastEnders having played this role since 1996. Other credits for television include The Golden HourAccording to Bex and Cherished. This production marks her professional stage debut.

Hilton McRae plays Lord Beaverbrook. His many theatre credits include Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Ambassadors Theatre / Broadway), 1984 (Playhouse Theatre), End of the Rainbow (Trafalgar Studios – Olivier Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor), My One and Only (Piccadilly Theatre), Mamma Mia! (Prince Edward Theatre), Les Miserables (Palace Theatre) Miss Saigon (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane), Rabbit (Trafalgar Studios), Piaf (Piccadilly Theatre), Uncle Vanya (Almeida Theatre) and Timon of Athens and Caroline or Change (National Theatre). For television, credits include Injustice, ZenRed Riding Trilogy – 1983The Execution of Gary GlitterFrances TuesdayMurder CityBaby FatherSerious & OrganisedDeacon BrodieKing of HeartsFirst TakeTo Each His OwnRoll Over BeethovenPoppyland and Forever Young. For film, credits include Darkest HourDenialThe Sense of an EndingMacbethFar from the Madding CrowdMansfield ParkReturn of the Jedi,Secret RaptureGreystoke and The French Lieutenant’s Woman.

Shala Nyx plays Polly. Her credits for theatre include Cookies (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Every You, Every Me (Oxford Playhouse), Henry Vl parts one two and three (Wales Millenium Centre), Dogtag (Theatre West), Bollywood Jack (Tara Arts), Her (one woman show for Half Moon Theatre/Brolly Productions), Love for LoveThe Heresy of Love (Bristol Old Vic),Romeo and Juliet/As You Like It (GB Theatre). For television her credits include, Gregor MacGregor, Bottom Knocker Street; and for film, Knock Down GingerA Safe Space and Bare All.

 Daniel York plays Len Gooch. His theatre credits include The Merchant of VeniceThe Country WifeMoby Dick, Snow in Midsummer, Dido Queen of Carthage (RSC), Welcome Home Captain Fox! (Donmar Warehouse), The World of Extreme Happiness (National Theatre), Une Tempete (Gate Theatre)Porcelain (Royal Court Theatre)The Changeling (Southwark Playhouse)Branded (The Old Vic) and Turandot (Hampstead Theatre). For television his credits includeWhitechapelMoving OnWaking the Dead, Peggy Su!Chambers, Supper at EmmausA Fish Named Tao; and for film, Scarborough, The Receptionist, Rogue Trader, The BeachFarawayAct of Grace and Doom.

Samuel Hodges is Director of The Shadow Factory and of Nuffield Southampton Theatres (NST). His productions for NST includes Dedication – Shakespeare and Southampton, and The Glass Menagerie. Previously he founded the HighTide Festival Theatre in 2007 and was the Artistic Director for five years, during which time he produced over 25 new plays, co-producing with the National Theatre, The Old Vic and the Bush Theatre, amongst others. Between 2012 and 2014, he ran the Criterion Theatre in London’s West End, for whom he curated a late-night programme and a one-off summer season of new work to celebrate the London Olympics.

59 Productions is the multi award-winning company of artists behind the video design of the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games and War Horse, the design and creative direction of the record-breaking David Bowie is exhibition, and video design of Christopher Wheeldon’s celebrated stage adaptation of An American in Paris (Tony Award in 2015). Led by directors Leo Warner, Mark Grimmer, Lysander Ashton and Richard Slaney, 59 Productions are world-leading specialists in design for stage and live events. They are the go-to team for generating creative and technical ideas to realise ambitious artistic projects across a range of disciplines: from architectural projection mapping to exhibition design, VR experiences to events, theatrical design to technical consultancy. In 2017, 59 Productions began producing its own theatrical work, opening its first full scale production, Paul Auster’s City of Glass (HOME, Manchester, Lyric, Hammersmith).  Current and upcoming projects also include, Oslo (Lincoln Center, National Theatre and currently Harold Pinter Theatre), The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs(Santa Fe Opera), Marnie (The Met Opera & ENO), Reflections (a four-day projection-mapping event to mark the twentieth anniversary of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao) and A Perfect Harmony (specially-commissioned as the centrepiece of the weekend-long celebrations for the re-opening of Washington’s Freer|Sackler museums in October 2017).




The Shadow Factory                                                                                                                                       Listings

Studio 144, Above Bar, Southampton SO14 7DU

Box Office: 023 8067 1771 / ww.nstheatres.co.uk

Monday – Friday10am – 6pm

Saturday: 10am – 4pm


16 Feb -2 Mar 11am –4pm (excluding matinee performance days and Sundays)

Step into the stories behind The Shadow Factory in this installation featuring the visually stunning moving set designed by 59 Productions, the Tony Award-winning design team behind the London 2012 Opening Ceremony. FREE