Thursday, 6 August 2009

Mixed Up North - casting news

We set to launch the new season with a World Premiere that has its roots close to home. Mixed Up North is based on real events which took place while trying to unite the divided communities in Burnley. It’s a co-production with the internationally renowned theatre company Out of Joint and is directed by their celebrated Artistic Director Max Stafford-Clark. You can read more about the production here.

Stafford-Clark says
“I was invited to the Royal Society for a debate on racism, at which the playwright David Edgar talked about the difficulty for an ethnic group to integrate into parts of society already dominated by another group. For example, he said that it was unsurprising that no Asian had played cricket for Yorkshire. He suggested that if we really wanted to integrate, we needed to create brand new spaces, and mentioned this theatre group founded to bring together young people from Bangladeshi and White communities. I thought this was fascinating, so Robin and I and the London Academy of Musical and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA) students went to Lancashire to meet the people involved, and made their stories into a play. The LAMDA students were very talented and I’m delighted to have been able to cast many of them in the play’s first professional production.”

Mixed Up North follows the story of Trish, who leads a youth theatre group in Burnley that is designed to unite young people from the divided racial communities. As the harassed director Bella struggles to share her artistic vision with the cast, the compelling stories of the young stars and their dedicated community workers unfold. And as the final dress rehearsal begins, tensions rise and bonds fracture.

David Thacker, the Artistic Director of the Octagon, said:
“I am thrilled that one of the leading directors of new plays in the country, if not the world, will be launching my first season at the Octagon. Mixed Up North is a vibrant new play that shows the way that young people from Burnley worked to overcome the things that divide them and work together.”

The cast of fourteen features the Olivier Award-winning Celia Imrie; whose credits include Calendar Girls, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Dinnerladies and Acorn Antiques. She shares the role with Judith Amsenga. Burnley-born Muzz Khan will be appearing at the Octagon for the first time, and he will be juggling his role in Mixed Up North with his other job as a DJ at London’s Pacha nightclub. Also making their Octagon debuts will be Lisa Kerr, Asif Khan, Kashif Khan, Rose Leslie, Tyrone Lopez, Kathryn O’Reilly, Claire Rafferty, Stephanie Street, Mia Soteriou, Lorna Stuart and Matthew Wait, best known as Luke Warren in Casualty.
For more information or to book online visit or call the Ticket Office on 01204 520661.
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