Full casting is announced today for Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s acclaimed production of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice which, after sell-out performances in 2013, returns this year to conclude the 2016 summer season ahead of a major UK tour in September. Opening at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley, the tour will then visit Norwich, Cambridge, Salford, Leicester, Woking, Truro, Birmingham and Richmond, with further dates in 2017. There will be a press night at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley on Thursday 22 September at 7.30pm.
The cast will feature Matthew Kelly as Mr. Bennet, Tafline Steen as Elizabeth Bennet, Benjamin Dilloway as Mr. Darcy and Doña Croll as Lady Catherine De Bourgh.
Pride and Prejudice is the third Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre production to tour the UK, following their smash hit productions of To Kill a Mockingbird in 2014/15 and Lord of the Flies in 2015/16.
One of the most universally loved and quintessentially English novels of all time, Pride and Prejudice tells the story of the Bennet family and their five unmarried daughters. A family of humble means, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet see the perfect opportunity to improve their social standing when the wealthy Mr. Bingley and his eligible friend Mr. Darcy move to the neighbourhood. But while Bingley takes an immediate liking to their eldest daughter Jane, the dismissive Darcy instantly clashes with the Bennet’s headstrong second daughter, Elizabeth. As the Bennet sisters haplessly search for love in Jane Austen’s ultimate romantic comedy, it is Mr Darcy who unwittingly finds his match.
First published in 1813, Pride and Prejudice has remained one of the most popular novels in English literature, selling over 20 million copies and spawning numerous adaptations, most notably the 1940 film starring Laurence Olivier and the 1995 BBC adaptation starring Colin Firth. The Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre production of Pride and Prejudice was first staged in 2013 and returns as we approach Jane Austen’s bicentennial in 2017.
Pride and Prejudice is directed by Deborah Bruce, whose theatre credits include The Mysteries and Helen (Globe Theatre); Ingredient X and Made of Stone (Royal Court); Scarborough (Edinburgh Fringe First Award, Assembly Rooms/Royal Court); Blame (Arcola / York Theatre Royal) and Mrs Warren’s Profession (Bristol Old Vic). Set design is by Max Jones, whose credits include The Crucible (Manchester Royal Exchange); The Tempest (Globe Theatre); The Merry Wives of Windsor (RSC) and Of Mice and Men (West Yorkshire Playhouse). Costume design is by Tom Piper, who designed the iconic Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red poppy installation at the Tower of London, commemorating the centenary of the outbreak of World War I. His theatre design credits include Red Velvet (Tricycle Theatre and West End); Love For Love (RSC) and The King’s Speech (UK Tour).
Movement direction is by Siân Williams, Composer is Lillian Henley, Sound Designer is Matt McKenzie for Autograph, Season Associate Director (Voice and Text) is Barbara Houseman and Casting Director is Lotte Hines.
Pride and Prejudice is adapted for the stage by Simon Reade. Simon is currently Producer for Filter Theatre, and was previously Artistic Director at the Bristol Old Vic where he directed his own adaptations of Geraldine McCaughrean’s Not the End of the World and Michael Morpurgo’s Private Peaceful, which has played in London and on tour extensively.
Matthew Kelly has appeared several times in the West End, as the original Stanley in Funny Peculiar, in Waiting For Godot with Ian McKellen and Roger Rees, Tim Firth’s play Sign of the Times, the musical Lend Me A Tenor! and as Lennie in the Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s production of Of Mice and Men at the Savoy Theatre where his performance won him the Olivier Award for Best Actor. His other most recent theatre credits include The Jew of Malta, Volpone and Love’s Sacrifice for the RSC, Toast (Park Theatre/59E59, New York), Twelfth Night (Liverpool Everyman) and The History Boys (Crucible, Sheffield). Television work includes the award-winning thriller Cold Blood, Benidorm and Bleak House – although he is perhaps still best known for presenting ITV’s You Bet! and Stars in their Eyes.
Tafline Steen made her professional debut as Jess in King Charles III at the Almeida Theatre, before reprising her role in the West End and on Broadway.
Benjamin Dilloway has appeared on screen in Kingsman: The Secret Service, New Blood (BBC) and Silk (BBC), with stage work including Of Mice and Men (Birmingham Rep) and King Lear (Almeida Theatre).
Doña Croll is best known for her screen roles as Vera Corrigan in Doctors (BBC) and Pearl McHugh in Family Affairs (Channel 5), with theatre credits including All My Sons (Birmingham Rep), Heresy of Love (Royal Shakespeare Company) and The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Almeida Theatre).
The cast also features Hollie Edwin (professional debut) as Jane Bennet, Mari Izzard (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, RSC) as Lydia Bennet, Leigh Quinn (Henry V, RSC) as Mary Bennet/Annabel De Bourgh, Anna Crichlow (professional debut) as Kitty Bennet/Georgiana Darcy, Jordan Mifsúd (The Silver Tassie, National Theatre) as Mr. Bingley, Steven Meo (The Distance, Orange Tree Theatre) as Mr. Collins, Daniel Abbott (Richard II, RSC) as Mr. Wickham, Kirsty Rider (professional debut) as Caroline Bingley, Francesca Bailey (The Good Soul of Szechuan, Bristol Old Vic) as Charlotte Lucas, Charlotte Palmer (Tennison, ITV) as Mrs. Gardiner and Mark Rawlings (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, West End) as Sir William Lucas.
They join the previously announced Felicity Montagu as Mrs. Bennet. Felicity played the long-suffering PA Lynn in I’m Alan Partridge, both in the TV series and the 2013 film Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, and was most recently seen playing Mrs Mainwaring in the 2016 film remake of Dad’s Army. Other notable roles include Perpetua in Bridget Jones’s Diary, Caroline Bosman in ITV’s Doc Martin and Sue 2 in BBC’s Nighty Night. Other film credits include I Want Candy and Confetti, and other television credits include The Durrells (ITV), Mapp and Lucia (BBC), and three series of Hank Zipzer (CBBC). On stage, Felicity has starred in Quartermaine’s Terms alongside Rowan Atkinson (Wyndham’s Theatre), The Shaughraun (National Theatre) and Angels in America (National Theatre).