There’s an 80s party going on all summer long, with the cast announced for East London Shakespeare Festival (ELSF)’s rip-roaring take on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. This new production provides summer fun for all the family, with an opportunity like no other for complete escapism in picturesque outdoor settings.
Bringing the residents of Illyria to life this summer are Aaron Douglas (Money, Southwark Playhouse; Interruptions, Jacksons Lane) as Sebastian, Ursula Early (Please Right Back, 1927; The Endings, Soho Theatre; Wives As They Were, UK Tour) as Olivia and Arysha Kelly makes her professional debut as Viola.
Paul Carroll (A Skull in Connemara, Nottingham Playhouse; That Dark Place, Old Red Lion Theatre) takes on the dual roles of Feste and Antonio, alongside Philip Honeywell (Karaoke Play, Bunker Theatre; A Clockwork Orange, Park Theatre) as Malvolio, Alasdair Saksena (King Lear With Sheep, UK & US Tour) as Sir Toby Belch and Kate Thomson-Rahmanian (Helena & Hermia: Untucked, The Other Palace; X&Y, Frantic Assembly) as Maria.
Also taking on dual roles are Hassan Maarfi (Our Man in Havana, Minerva Theatre; The Mullah of Downing Street, Warwick Arts Centre) as Duke Orsino and Sir Andrew Aguecheek and ELSF’s 2022 ‘Apprentice Actor’ Francesca (Frankie) Alemitu Bertoletti, who is making their performing debut as Curio and Valentine.
Rosie Ward, producer and co-director of ELSF and Community Ensemble Director comments, We are so excited about our fantastic cast. Not only are they awesome actors, they represent the diversity of East London. They are really going to bring the story of Twelfth Night to life.
Ursula Early, producer and co-director of ELSF, says, We couldn’t be more thrilled with the cast, they are all brilliantly talented multi-skilled actors including: actor-musos, cabaret performers, and comedians. We can’t wait to have them giving their 1980s take to the audiences of East London!
Transforming areas across Hackney, Waltham Forest and Redbridge into the world of Illyria, ELSF merges the contemporary culture of East London with the inspirational storytelling of Shakespeare’s plays in outdoor parks and community spaces across the area. Twelfth Night gives local residents a memorable and unique experience of Shakespeare’s much-loved classic tale, with a festival vibe and featuring a community ensemble of local residents at the Waltham Forest venues.
With Pay-What-You-Can performances and heavily reduced school matinees for local schools including a 20-minute pre-show workshop, the company are partnering with local performing arts college Big Creative to provide placements, and Crate St James to offer two Kickstart apprenticeships, offering invaluable behind-the-scenes insight, support with creative career options and new skills for students.
Twelfth Night is touring East London parks from 16th June – 7th August 2022. More information can be found here