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Casting announced for the world premiere of Alan Bennett’s Allelujah! at the Bridge Theatre

Casting news

AS rehearsals begin, casting has been announced for the world premiere of Alan Bennett’s Allelujah!. Directed by Nicholas Hytner, it runs at the Bridge Theatre from July 11 to September 28, 2018.

The line up includes Samuel Barnett, Sam Bond, Jacqueline Chan, Jacqueline Clarke, Sacha Dhawan, Rosie Ede, Patricia England, Deborah Findlay, Peter Forbes, Julia Foster, Manish Gandi, Colin Haigh, Richard Hart, Nadine Higgin, Nicola Hughes, Anna Lindup, Louis Mahoney, David Moorst, Jeff Rawle, Cleo Sylvestre, Gwen Taylor, Sue Wallace, Simon Williams, Duncan Wisbey and Gary Wood.

Allelujah! is designed by Bob Crowley, with choreography Arlene Phillips, lighting by Natasha Chivers and music by George Fenton.

The Beth, an old fashioned cradle-to-grave hospital serving a town on the edge of the Pennines, is threatened with closure as part of an NHS efficiency drive. Meanwhile, a documentary crew eager to capture its fight for survival follows the daily struggle to find beds on the Dusty Springfield Geriatric Ward, and the triumphs of the old people’s choir (newest member: the Pudsey Nightingale).

Allelujah! will be the tenth collaboration between Bennett and Hytner. They first worked together on Bennett’s adaptation of The Wind in the Willows for the National Theatre in 1990. Then followed The Madness of King George III, The Lady in the Van and The History Boys, all of which were also seen on film, The Habit of Art, People and the double bill Untold Stories.

Alan Bennett is a playwright, screenwriter, actor and author. Following a hugely successful writing and performing debut in 1960 at the Edinburgh Festival with Beyond The Fringe, his first play Forty Years On was produced in 1968. Bennett is the recipient of numerous awards for his work with Hytner including, for The History Boys, the Olivier, the Critics’ Circle, the Evening Standard and South Bank Show awards as well as multiple Broadway honours.

The cast of Allelujah! with Alan Bennett and Arlene Phillips. Photo credit Luke Varley.

Nicholas Hytner is, with Nick Starr, Founding Director of the London Theatre Company. He was Director of the National Theatre from 2003 to 2015, when his directing credits included The History Boys, Hamlet, One Man, Two Guvnors, and Othello. His films include The Madness of George III, The Lady in the Van and The History Boys. His book Balancing Acts was published by Jonathan Cape last year. Hytner also directed Young Marx, the opening production at the Bridge Theatre, as well as Julius Caesar.

Image (bottom): The cast of Allelujah! with Alan Bennett and Arlene Phillips. Photo credit: Luke Varley.

Tickets: £15 to £65 with reduced prices for previews and midweek matinees. A limited number of premium seats are also available. A special allocation of £15 seats are held for Young Bridge, a free scheme for those under 26. To book, call the box office on 0333 320 0051 or e-mail boxoffice@bridgetheatre.co.uk.

Also at the Bridge Theatre: Pulitzer Prize-winning Elizabeth Strout’s My Name is Lucy Barton, starring Laura Linney (June 2 to June 23) and Martin McDonagh’s new play A Very Very Very Dark Matter, starring Jim Broadbent (October 10 to December 29, 2018).