Daniel Evans today announces the full cast for the world première of Flowers for Mrs Harris by Richard Taylor and Rachel Wagstaff – the final production he will direct as Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres.
The full cast is Moyo Akandé (Flower Girl/Juanita), Clare Burt (Mrs Harris – pictured), Anna-Jane Casey (Violet Butterfield/French Char Lady – pictured), Rebecca Caine (Lady Dant/Mme. Colbert – pictured), Luke Dale (Terry), David Durham (Major/ M. Armand/ French Waiter/ Customs Officer), Louis Maskell (Bob/ Andre), Mark Meadows (Albert Harris/ Marquis de Chassagne), Laura Pitt-Pulford (Pamela/Natasha – pictured) and Nicola Sloane (Countess/Seamstress/Sybil Sullivan).
1947. London. Mrs Harris spends every day cheerfully cleaning for her clients. She wants for nothing. Or so she thinks… One day, she happens upon something that takes her breath away – a Christian Dior dress. And something deep within her awakens.
She sets out on an unthinkable quest to have a Dior dress of her own. On her incredible journey, Mrs Harris realises that she can finally let go of her past.
This is the story of one woman’s dream of achieving the impossible. This is the story of the extraordinary Mrs Harris.
Richard Taylor composed music and lyrics for The Go-Between (West Yorkshire Playhouse, Derby Live, Northampton Theatres), which won Best Musical Production at the 2012 UK Stage Awards. Other stage work includes the operas Ludd and Isis (Royal Opera House, Covent Garden); the Royal Philharmonic Society Award-winning Confucius Says (Hackney Empire), The Jonah Boy (Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough), and the original stage musical adaptation of Mary Hayley Bell’s Whistle Down The Wind (TMA Award nomination, Best Musical). Taylor has composed the score for over 60 plays, regionally and West End, including most recently Macbeth, The Sheffield Mysteries and Afterplay for Sheffield Theatres, King Lear and Lorca’s Yerma for the West Yorkshire Playhouse (where he has composed for over twenty productions, including two years as resident composer sponsored by the PRS Foundation), as well as many productions for Manchester’s Library Theatre, notably TMA Best Children’s Production winner Tom’s Midnight Garden.
Rachel Wagstaff’s stage adaptation of Sebastian Faulks’s bestselling novel, Birdsong, was staged at the Comedy Theatre, West End, 2010-11, directed by Trevor Nunn. A new production of her adaptation successfully toured the UK regionally 2013, 2014 and 2015. Her plays include The Soldier (Edinburgh Festival, 2004, The George Bernard Shaw Theatre, RADA), Night Sky (Old Vic for Index on Censorship), That Girl (produced at Soho Theatre by DryWrite), as well as one of the Old Vic New Voices Twenty Four Hour plays (2005). Moonshadow, the musical she co-wrote with Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens), was previewed at the Royal Albert Hall in 2010, and then produced at the Princess Theatre in Melbourne in June 2012. For radio, she adapted Sebastian Faulks’ novel The Girl at the Lion d’Or for a five part series for Radio Four, and her Afternoon Play, When I Lost You, co-written with writer Duncan Abel, was transmitted on Radio Four.
Moyo Akandé plays Flower Girl/Juanita and recent theatre credits include Only The Brave (Wales Millennium Centre), The Witches (Dundee REP), Skins & Hoods (Institut Français-Edinburgh Festival), White Christmas (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Wallace (The Arches), Macbeth, Lightning Child (Shakespeare’s Globe), Thoroughly Modern Millie (Watermill Theatre), Sunshine on Leith (Dundee REP), Peter Pan (National Theatre of Scotland/Barbican) and The Wizard of Oz (Royal Festival Hall, Southbank). For television her credits include Bob Servant Independent and Lip Service.
Clare Burt returns to Sheffield Theatres to play Mrs Harris. She previously appeared in the award-winning This is My Family (also national tour). For theatre, her work includes A Streetcar Named Desire, Vernon God Little (Young Vic), London Road ,The Miracle, DNA and Babygirl, Coram Boy and Sunday in the Park with George (National Theatre), Into the Woods, Company and Nine (Donmar Warehouse) and Now You Know (Metropolitan Room New York/ Pizza on the Park). For television, her work includes Top Boy, WPC 56, Criminal Justice, Company, M.I.T. and Wednesday at Eight; and for film, London Road, Rufus Norris’ BIFA award-winning film Broken, and X&Y.
Anna-Jane Casey returns to Sheffield Theatres to play Violet Butterfield/French Char Lady – she previously appeared in Company, Sweet Charity and Piaf. Her recent theatre credits include Mack & Mabel (Chichester Festival Theatre & UK tour), Jerry’s Girls (St James Theatre), Forbidden Broadway (Menier Chocolate Factory and Vaudeville Theatre), Billy Elliot (Victoria Palace Theatre), Aladdin (Hackney Empire), The Comedy of Errors (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Bells are Ringing (Union Theatre) and Spamalot (Playhouse Theatre). Television credits include Family Guy and The Royal; and for film, Beyond the Sea.
Rebecca Caine plays Lady Dant/Mme. Colbert. Her theatre credits include Living on Love (Asolo Rep, Sarasota), The Sound of Music (Kilworth House Theatre), The Mikado (Charing Cross Theatre), Salad Days (Riverside Studios), Darling Of the Day (Union Theatre), Les Miserables (Queen’s Theatre), The Phantom of the Opera (Her Majesty’s Theatre), and My Fair Lady (national tour). Her many opera credits include Lulu, Vixen, Pamina, Despina, Micaëla, (Canadian Opera Company) Pamina (Glimmerglass), Pamina, Musetta, Susanna (ENO) and Ophelia Hamlet, Aminta Il re pastore, Anna 1 Seven Deadly Sins Opera North).
Luke Dale plays Terry. He has recently graduated from Guildhall School of Music and Drama. His theatre credits include The Lover’s Melancholy (Shakespeare’s Globe); and for television, Holby City.
David Durham plays Major/ M. Armand/ French Waiter/ Customs Officer. His recent theatre credits include Jesus Christ Superstar (national tour), The Lion King (Lyceum Theatre), Follies (Royal Festival Hall), Ragtime (Piccadilly Theatre), As You Like It (Nottingham Playhouse). Opera credits include Trouble in Tahiti (Brunel Shaft Theatre), La Traviata (Soho Theatre), and Pagliacci (Kings Head). For television, his work includes Law and Order, Merlin and A Touch of Frost; and for film, Scared and Babymother.
Louis Maskell returns to Sheffield Theatres to play Bob/ Andre – he previously appeared in My Fair Lady. His other credits include West Side Story (UK Tour), The Fix (Union Theatre); Rattigan’s Nijinsky (Chichester Festival Theatre) and Iolanthe (Wilton’s Music Hall). For television his work includes Endeavour and Atlantis.
Mark Meadows plays Albert Harris/ Marquis de Chassagne – he previously appeared at Sheffield Theatres in High Society. His other theatre credits include The Magna Carta Plays, A Man of No Importance, The Spire, The Herbal Bed, Epsom Downs (Salisbury Playhouse), King John (Shakespeare’s Globe), Urinetown (St James Theatre), The Thrill of Love (New Vic, Stoke), Betty Blue Eyes (Novello Theatre), Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), 5/11, King Lear, Six Pictures of Lee Miller (Minerva Theatre, Chichester) and Mary Poppins (Prince Edward Theatre). His television work includes Nicholas Nickleby; and for film, High Heels and Lowlifes.
Laura Pitt-Pulford plays Pamela/Natasha. Her theatre credits include Oliver!, The Sound of Music, Piaf, Hello Dolly! (Curve), The Smallest Show on Earth (UK tour), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), The Return of the Soldier (Jermyn Street Theatre), The Light Princess (National Theatre), A Man of No Importance (Salisbury Playhouse), Mack and Mabel and Parade (Southwark Playhouse), title role in Sweet Charity (Belfast MAC), The Little Prince (Lyric Belfast), Guys and Dolls (Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, Clwyd Theatre and Salisbury Playhouse) and Copacabana (Watermill Theatre, Newbury).
Nicola Sloane returns to Sheffield Theatres to play Countess/Seamstress/Sybil Sullivan – she previously appeared in My Fair Lady and Me and My Girl. Her other theatre credits include Way Upstream (Chichester Festival Theatre), London Road, Anything Goes, Love’s Labour’s Lost (National Theatre), To Kill a Mockingbird (Royal Exchange), A Little Night Music (Garrick Theatre), The Sound of Music (Palladium Theatre), Two Cities (Salisbury Playhouse), Acorn Antiques The Musical! (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Anything Goes (Theatre Royal Drury Lane), A Chorus of Disapproval, The Beggar’s Opera, The Government Inspector, The Winter’s Tale and The Merry Gentleman (Theatre Royal Bristol), Spend Spend Spend (Piccadilly Theatre and tour) and Enter the Guardsman (Donmar Warehouse). For television her credits include Home Fires, Call the Midwife and Dancing on the Edge; and for film she has appeared in The Danish Girl, The Tale of Tales, London Road, The Theory of Everything, Mr Turner, Les Miserables, Broken and Season of the Witch.
Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres Daniel Evans directs. For the company, he previously directed Show Boat (transferring to the West End), The Effect, Anything Goes (also UK tour), The Sheffield Mysteries, Oliver!(Best Musical Production, WhatsOnStage Awards 2015), This Is My Family (UK Theatre Award for Best Musical Production – also on tour), The Full Monty (UK Theatre Award for Best Touring Production – also national tour and West End), My Fair Lady (Best Musical Production, WhatsOnStage Awards 2014), Macbeth, Othello, Racing Demon as part of The David Hare Season, and An Enemy of the People – the opening production of his inaugural season. He also recently directed American Buffalo in the West End. As an actor, his work for Sheffield Theatres includes Company, The Pride, Cloud Nine and The Tempest. An award-winning actor and director, Evans’ work includes Sunday in the Park with George (Menier Chocolate Factory, Wyndham’s Theatre and Broadway) – a role for which he won the Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical (his second Olivier Award, the first being for Merrily We Roll Along in 2001) and a Tony Award nomination. His extensive credits include work with the Donmar Warehouse, RSC, Royal Court Theatre and National Theatre. Evans is a Fellow of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.