Youthful actors visit revenge on the Playhouse

Thursday 9th April 2009

Something altogether out of the ordinary is set to arrive at Nottingham Playhouse very soon, in the form of THE VISIT. A jet-black comedy of revenge and greed from the Swiss playwright Friedrich Dürrenmatt, the play is staged by Nottingham Playhouse Youth Theatre and marks an unusual level of commitment to young people’s drama. Directed and designed by theatre professionals, this ambitious production is the first full-length play presented by the Playhouse’s Youth Theatre – and for the second year running, their work will be presented on the main stage. Twenty-five young performers aged 14-18 have been selected to take part, from the four youth theatre groups which already ran during half-term weeks in Gedling, Broxtowe, Rushcliffe and the City of Nottingham. In addition to the onstage cast, the Stage Manager and a five-strong technical team are also drawn from local schools. THE VISIT comes to Nottingham Playhouse for three nights, from Thursday 23 to Saturday 25 April at 7.45pm (Box Office: 0115 941 9419).

Written in 1956, THE VISIT is a shocking fable of the corrupting power of money, all the more powerful in our own time of celebrity worship and financial turmoil. Fallen on hard times, a small mid-European town fêtes the homecoming of Claire Zachanassian, who left under a cloud many years beforehand but has since attained great fame and fortune. However, it emerges that the reason for Claire’s return is to avenge herself on popular resident Anton, who reduced her to shame and desperate poverty all those years ago by denying his paternity of her child. Now she offers untold riches to the town and each of its citizens – as long as they agree to help her exact her revenge…

The cast members are drawn from all over Nottinghamshire and beyond. Claire is played by Imogen O’Sullivan from Bingham’s Toot Hill School and Anton by James Somervell of the Minster School, Southwell. Other roles are taken by Rowan Andrew-Smith (Carlton le Willows School), Shannon Anstee (All Saints’ School, Mansfield), Matthew Barlow (Bilborough College), Tom Blatherwick (South Wolds School, Keyworth), Gemma Casely-Kirk (Carlton le Willows School),* Gillian Chivinge* (Becket School, Wilford), Rebecca Coxon (Nottingham High School for Girls), Charlotte Doherty (Bilborough College), Michael Fairless (Chilwell School), Owen Foster (Bilborough College), Bethany Fox (Bilborough College), Ethan Gaetzee (Wheldon School, Carlton), Joe Hennessy (South Wolds School), Lewis Macdonald (West Bridgford School), Matthew Maltby (Trinity School, Aspley), Hazel Monaghan (Minster School), Matthew Morrison (Brunts School, Mansfield), April Myers (South Nottingham College), Anisah Osman-Britton (Manning School for Girls), Tom Parkinson (Carlton le Willows School), Heather Smith (Bilborough College), Andrew Tinley (George Spencer School, Stapleford) and Marcus Walters (Colonel Frank Seely School, Calverton).

Working with Nottingham Playhouse’s regular staff, the Stage Manager is also a member of the Youth Theatre – Lauren Holmes from Redhill School in Arnold – and five more students form a technical team: David Alvey (Fernwood School, Wollaton), Christina Hall (Chilwell School), Miranda Stewart (Fernwood School), Harry Stockwell (Loughborough Grammar School) and Richard Zamorski (Gedling School). In the spirit of gaining a comprehensive experience of theatre, Youth Theatre members are also involved in marketing and publicising the show, creating amongst other things a Facebook group and a trailer on YouTube.

Directing THE VISIT is Sarah Stephenson, who is Education Officer at Nottingham Playhouse and who also directed last year’s Youth Theatre production of Find Me on the main stage. The show is designed by Sakina Karimjee.