Casting for Caryl Churchill’s Blue Heart announced

Tobacco Factory Theatres and the Orange Tree Theatre are delighted to be embarking on a new co-producing partnership to stage the first major revival of Caryl Churchill’s Blue Heart. Tobacco Factory Theatres and Orange Tree Theatre are thrilled to make the link between the two organisations as they each expand their individual in-house production portfolios. Blue Heart brings both organisations together to work again with key creatives David Mercatali and Angela Davies, who have worked on previous projects with both organisations.


Gillian Axtell, Alex Beckett, Amanda Boxer, Amelda Brown, Andy de la Tour, Maroussia Frank, Mona Goodwin, Janet Henfrey and Tracey Lee Sharples will appear in Caryl Churchill's two exhilarating one act plays, which have not been seen for nearly twenty years in a Tobacco Factory Theatres and Orange Tree Theatre co-production. Directed by David Mercatali it plays in Bristol from 22 Sep – 1 Oct and at the OT from 13 Oct – 19 Nov. 

Heart’s Desire sees a family awaiting their daughter’s return from Australia, though in a series of alternative scenarios, the play collapses as it keeps veering off in unexpected and ridiculous directions.

Blue Kettle tells the story of conman Derek and the five women he misleads into believing he is their biological son. Try as he might, Derek’s plans are scuppered as the play is invaded by a virus.

In Churchill’s ever-inventive style, the plays pull apart language and structure in a way that is theatrically remarkable and fast paced, in a stirring yet truthful exploration of family and relationships.

Caryl Churchill is one of the country’s foremost contemporary playwrights. Her incredible career includes the plays Top Girls, Cloud Nine, A Number and Escaped Alone.

Award-winning and esteemed director David Mercatali returns to Tobacco Factory Theatres and the Orange Tree following his previous direction of highly acclaimed productions at both theatres. At Orange Tree Theatre, David directed the world premiere of Alice Birch’s Little Light. At Tobacco Factory Theatres, David directed Philip Ridley’s Dark Vanilla Jungle in 2014 and the premiere, in spring 2015, of Radiant Vermin which transferred for a run in New York earlier this year. He has also directed the premieres of four other Philip Ridley plays (Tonight with Donny Stixx, Tender Nepalm, Feathers in the Snow and Moonflence) in addition to other productions including Cargo (Arcola); Johnny Got His Gun, Our Ajax (Southwark Playhouse); and Black Jesus and Coolatully (Finborough).

Gillian's Axtell's theatre credits include Broken Hearted (Derby); Vieux Carre (Manchester Library Theatre); Too Far to Walk (King's Head); and Suddenly Last Summer (Nottingham Playhouse). TV Includes 50 Ways to Kill Your Lover, EastEnders, Doctors and Casualty. Films include Blackwood.

Alex Beckett's theatre credits include: Edward II (National Theatre); The Changeling (Young Vic); Praxis Makes Perfect (National Theatre Wales); Much Ado About Nothing (Wyndham's); Caryl Churchill's Fen (Finborough). TV includes W1A, Twenty Twelve, I Live with Models, Cuffs, The Scandalous Lady W and A Touch of Cloth. Films include Youth and Survivor.

Amelda Brown's theatre credits include: Adler & Gibb (Royal Court); Gone to Earth, The Clearing (Shared Experience); and Abigail's Party (West End). TV includes HG Wells: The Moth, Call the Midwife, Waking the Dead, Ashes to Ashes, Spooks, Derailed and Bleak House. Films include Monochrome, Love in the Post, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, The Boat That Rocked, V for Vendetta and My Sister in This House.

Amanda Boxer's theatre credits include: Medea, The Odyssey and The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Almeida); Relative Values (Bath/West End); Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (West Yorkshire Playhouse); The Prisoner of Second Avenue (Vaudeville); The Pain and the Itch (Royal Court); and The Graduate (Gielgud). TV includes Doctors, Casualty, Silent Witness, The Queen, Bodies, The Shellseekers, The Commander and Trial and Retribution. Films include Chatroom, United 93, Russian Dolls and Saving Private Ryan.

Andy de la Tour's theatre credits include Medea and Celebration (Almeida); People and No Man's Land (National Theatre); The Cutting of Cloth (Southwark Playhouse); The Last Yankee (Print Room); and Lay Down Your Cross (Hampstead). Films include Le Confessioni, Dough, 44" Chest, Asylum, Oliver Twist and Pandemonium.   

Maroussia Frank's work in theatre includes The Last Confession and Heartbreak House (Chichester); Looking for Vi (Riverside Studios); A Midsummer Night's Dream, Twelfth Night (Oxford Playhouse/European tour).

Mona Goodwin's work in theatre includes The Conspirators, Julius Caesar and The Tempest (Orange Tree); The Snow Queen (Royal & Derngate); Sundowning (Pursued by a Bear); Finding Noor (Citizens, Glasgow); Far From the Madding Crowd, Where Have I Been All My Life (New Vic, Stoke): Cling to Me Like Ivy (Birmingham Rep); Spring Awakening: The Musical (Novello). TV includes Capital, Marvellous and Black Mirror. Films include Brighton Rock, Infliction and Freefall.

Janet Henfrey's theatre credits include: Man (Young Vic), Baby Doll (Nuffield), All's Well That Ends Well (National Theatre), The Importance of Being Earnest (Vaudeville); Robert Wilson's The Black Rider (Barbican/San Francisco/New York). TV includes: Toast, Wolf Hall, Doctor Who, Father Brown and As Time Goes By. Film includes: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, London Road, Mr Turner, The Omen, An Ideal Husband and The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover.

Tracey Lee Sharples' theatre work includes Freedom Fighter, Called Up (Ten Ten Theatre); The Improvised History of the World (Tête à Tête Opera); and Grease and The Witches of Eastwick in Australia. 

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