This autumn the New Vic brings its most spectacular show ever back to its in-the-round stage. New Vic Artistic Director Theresa Heskins and Upswing Artistic Director Vicki Dela Amedume MBE will direct Astley’s Astounding Adventures, following on from their successful collaboration on Olivier award-winning The Worst Witch.
New Vic Artistic Director Theresa Heskins said: “Philip Astley, the inventor of the modern circus, came from Newcastle-under-Lyme so it feels fitting to be celebrating the life of this local hero during the borough’s 850th anniversary year by bringing back one of our most spectacular shows, Astley’s Astounding Adventures. Our partnership with Upswing will see us engaging in artform development, creating a unique theatre/circus fusion. We can’t wait for this show to return to our stage, having intrigued and astonished audiences who have asked us to bring it back.”
Upswing Artistic Director and New Vic Associate Director Vicki Dela Amedume MBE said: “We are thrilled to be working with the New Vic to bring back this joyful work. Astley’s Astounding Adventures fuses circus and theatre to tell a wonderful story in an extraordinary way. I cannot wait to see the reaction from our audience members and truly celebrate Newcastle-under-Lyme’s legacy by artistically bringing the circus home.”
Astley’s Astounding Adventures, taking to the New Vic stage from Saturday 23 September to Saturday 21 October, is the story of Philip Astley, born in Newcastle-under-Lyme, who became the international impresario that invented circus – the spectacular phenomenon that continues to capture the hearts of millions of people all over the world.
Written by Staffordshire-born writer Frazer Flintham (Into the Night, Original Theatre, The Throne, New Vic), the production combines the directing talents of Theresa Heskins (Marvellous, New Vic and @sohoplace; Tom, Dick and Harry, New Vic and Alexandra Palace) and Vicki Dela Amedume MBE, who most recently collaborated together on the Olivier award-winning West End production The Worst Witch.
Bringing the spectacular show to life are an 18-strong company including Martin Bassindale (Richard II, Henry V, Royal Shakespeare Company) as Clown / Sir Prickling / King, Danielle Bird (Alice in Wonderland, Beauty and the Beast, New Vic) as Patty Jones, Darcy Braimoh (Saudade, Re Nua Production) as John Astley, Gareth Cassidy (The Card, Ladies’ Day, New Vic) as Clown / Alfie Burrell, Adrian Decosta (Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs, Lyric Hammersmith, The Taming of the Shrew, Royal Shakespeare Company) as Charles Hughes, Michael Hugo (Alice in Wonderland, Marvellous, New Vic) as Zipper, Siu-See Hung (Romeo & Juliet with the London Symphony Orchestra, Barbican, The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Nighttime, National Tour) as Clown / Young Philip / Dibdin / The Little Military Horse, and Nicholas Richardson (Tom, Dick & Harry, Beauty and the Beast, New Vic) as Philip Astley.
Circus Performers Rafiq Ffinch-Shah (Bromance by Barely Methodical Troupe, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Underbelly Festival, Warwick University Theatre and Cambridge Theatre), Joseph Hamilton (Oliver, Grand Opera House), Tamzen Moulding (Benvenuto Cellini, L’Amour de loin, English National Opera) and Lee Partridge (Anthropoda, Paper Doll Militia; Mirrette, Short Film); live musicians trumpeter Cameron Lockett, Musical Director and violinist Farhaan Shah (Coppelia – A Mystery, Beauty and the Beast, New Vic), percussionist Sophie Smith (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, BOST Liverpool Empire, Oliver!, Buxton Opera House), cellist Eleanor Toms (Tom’s Midnight Garden, The Minack Theatre, Treasure Island, New Vic), trombonist Miri Wallich (Astley’s Astounding Adventures, New Vic) and Aerialist/Rigger Graeme Clint complete the company.
The production forms part of a new annual programme of work developed in partnership by the New Vic and Upswing to experiment with the fusion of theatre and circus to push the boundaries of the combined artform.
Astley’s Astounding Adventures is filled with fast-paced action, laugh-out-loud humour, gripping drama and breath-taking circus. Audiences can expect all the spectacle of the original 2018 production with some new, extra special surprises!
Astley’s Astounding Adventures takes to the stage at the New Vic from Saturday 23 September to Saturday 21 October 2023. Tickets are on sale now, priced from £10.00 to £30.50. For more details and to book, call the Box Office on 01782 717962 or visit newvictheatre.org.uk.