Caryl Churchill’s Cloud Nine At Almeida Theatre

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Thea Sharrock will direct Caryl Churchill’s Cloud Nine, previewing at the Almeida Theatre from 25 October with press night on 31 October, running until 8 December. Designs are by Peter McKintosh, with lighting by Peter Mumford, sound by Gregory Clarke, music by Stephen Warbeck and choreography by Scarlett Mackmin.

Set in colonial Africa and modern-day Britain, Caryl Churchill’s landmark play Cloud Nine is about relationships – between women and men, men and men, women and women. It is about sex, work, mothers, Africa, power, children, grandmothers, politics, money, Queen Victoria and sex.

The cast is James Fleet (Clive/Cathy), Mark Letheren (Joshua/Gerry), Tobias Menzies (Harry Bagley/Martin), Bo Poraj (Betty/Edward), Joanna Scanlan (Maud/Victoria), Sophie Stanton (Ellen/Mrs Saunders/Lin) and Nicola Walker (Edward/Betty).

James Fleet is currently playing MEP Philip Wardrobe in Richard Bean’s political farce In The Club at Hampstead Theatre. His other theatre credits include Habeas Corpus for Theatre Royal Bath, Mary Stuart for the Donmar Warehouse, Three Sisters for the Playhouse Theatre, Art for Wyndhams’ Theatre and many productions for the Royal Shakespeare Company including The Taming of the Shrew, Volpone, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Peter Pan. His many television credits include Hugo in the BBC’s hit comedy The Vicar of Dibley, Midsomer Murders, Sea of Souls, Monarch of the Glen and Brotherly Love. His film credits include A Cock and Bull Story, The Phantom of the Opera, Charlotte Gray, Sense and Sensibility and Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Mark Letheren’s theatre credits include Find the Lady for the Young Vic, The Secret Rapture for Chichester Festival Theatre, Been so Long for the Royal Court, Ghost Sonata for The Gate, Hard Shoulder for Riverside Studios and Beautiful Thing for the Bush Theatre. His television work includes Wire in the Blood, Waking the Dead, Judge John Deed, Silent Witness and Pie in the Sky. His film credits include Wilde, Restoration and SW9.

Tobias Menzies’ theatre credits include The Cherry Orchard for Sheffield Crucible, The History Boys for the National Theatre, Hamlet for Theatre Royal Northampton, Sergeant Musgrave’s Dance for the Oxford Stage Company, Three Sisters for the Playhouse Theatre, Platonov for the Almeida Theatre Company and The Way of the World for the Royal Exchange Theatre. His television credits Persuasion, Rome, A Very Social Secretary, Foyle’s War and Longitude. His film credits include Atonement, Casino Royale, Pierrepoint and Finding Neverland.

Bo Poraj’s theatre credits include Hilda for Hampstead Theatre, Easter, Americans and Three Sisters for Oxford Stage Company, Dr Faustus for the Young Vic, The Tempest for the Royal Shakespeare Company and Remembrance of Things Past, Fair Ladies at a Game of Poem Cards and Mother Courage all for the National Theatre. His television credits include The Golden Hour, D Day, Underworld and Ny-Lon. His film work includes Stormbreaker and Enigma.

Joanna Scanlan’s theatre credits include Vernon God Little for the Young Vic, Madam Bovary for Shared Experience, After the Dance for Salisbury Playhouse, Top Girls for Oxford Playhouse and the Aldwych and A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Albery Theatre. Her extensive television credits include The Thick of It, Little Britain, Doc Martin, My Family, Vanity Fair, One Foot in the Grave and Jayne Eyre. Her film work includes The Other Boleyn Girl, Notes on a Scandal, Kinky Boots and Girl with a Pearl Earing.

Sophie Stanton’s theatre credits include Dying for It for the Almeida, Market Boy for the National Theatre, Top Girls for Battersea Arts Centre, Beautiful Thing for the Bush and Donmar Warehouse, Sleeping Around for Pains Plough and Bright for Soho Theatre. Her television credits include Fingersmith, Coupling, Hidden City, EastEnders, Tough Love and Gimme, Gimme, Gimme. Her film credits include Grow Your Own, Closer, Shadowlands and Beautiful Thing.

Nicola Walker’s theatre credits include Fresh Kills, The Libertine/Man of Mode and Hated Nightfall all for the Royal Court, Tales from Vienna Woods, Edmond and Free for the National Theatre, The Dead Eye Boy for Hampstead Theatre and A Lie in the Mind and Passion Play for the Donmar Warehouse. Her television credits include Oliver Twist, Spooks, Red Cap, Moll Flanders and Milner. Her film work includes Shoot Dogs, Shiner and Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Multi award-winning Caryl Churchill wrote her first stage play, Owners, in 1972 for the Royal Court where she was Resident Dramatist. Her many plays include Drunk Enough to Say I Love You?, A Number, Far Away, Serious Money, Blue Heart, This is a Chair and Top Girls. Her other plays include Fen, A Mouthful of Birds, A Dream Play and The Skriker. Churchill has also written for television – After Dinner Joke, Turkish Delight and The Judge’s Wife, and for the radio – Perfect Happiness, Henry’s Past, Abortive and Identical Twins. Cloud Nine was first staged by Joint Stock and premiered in London at the Royal Court in 1979. In 1981 Cloud Nine opened in New York where it played for two years off-Broadway and has since been staged world-wide.

Thea Sharrock most recently directed Peter Shaffer’s Equus at the Gielgud Theatre. Her other theatre credits include A Voyage Round My Father which transferred from the Donmar Warehouse to Wyndham's Theatre and Heroes also at Wyndham’s Theatre, as well as Private Lives, Don Juan and Blithe Spirit for Bath Theatre Royal, Tejas Verdes for The Gate where she was Artistic Director, Free for the National Theatre’s Loft Season and A Doll’s House, Mongoose, Trip’s Cinch and The Sleepers Den all for Southwark Playhouse where she was also Artistic Director. Her Gate Theatre production of Emperor Jones opens at the National Theatre this month. Thea Sharrock previously directed Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls at Battersea Arts Centre as the recipient of the James Menzies-Kitchin Memorial Trust’s Young Director of the Year Award 2000. Later her production toured the UK before a run at the Aldwych Theatre in 2002. -- www.almeida.co.uk

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