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Casting and creatives announced for David Copperfield at The Barn Theatre

David Copperfield

Casting and creatives have been announced for The Barn Theatre’s upcoming David Copperfield musical.

The Barn Theatre in Cirencester will present the world premiere production from 28 September to 30 October as part of its new autumn season.

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David Copperfield, which has the full title of The Personal History, Adventure, Experience and Observation of David Copperfield, The Younger of Blunderstone Rookery (Which He Never Meant to Publish on Any Account), is a three-hander, actor-musician play with music, based on the Charles Dickens classic of the same name.

The rite-of-passage story, which Charles Dickens confessed was the “favourite child” of all his works, follows a young man full of hope, learning about life from an eccentric cast of characters on his journey into adulthood.

Frequent Barn Theatre collaborator Simon Reade (Private Peaceful, An Elephant in the Garden) adapts the piece with original music by Chris Larner (An Instinct for Kindness, The Barber of Seville), Copperfield is joined by a pair of actor-musicians who take the audience on a vibrant, colourful, magical, journey of musical discovery from the world of toy theatre to the world of David Copperfield.

Simon Reade will reunite with directorial team Alexander Knott & Zöe Grain from BoxLess Theatre, who were behind the critically acclaimed 2020 production of his Private Peaceful stage adaptation.

2020 Royal Central School of Speech & Drama graduate Phillip Olagoke (Farewell Leicester Square) will play the title role of David Copperfield with Rosalind Ford (Gin Craze, Once) as Mr Micawber, Agnes, Little Em’ly (& 17 more) and Reuben Greeph (Little Miss Sunshine, Six) as Uriah Heep, Betsey Trotwood, Mr Peggotty (& 17 more).

Reade said of the adaptation: “Charles Dickens had an unrequited love affair with the theatre. An occasional dramatist and amateur actor, his novels were influenced by – and in turn influenced the Victorian theatre of his day.

“David Copperfield is also Dickens’ most overtly autobiographical novel (it can be no coincidence that Charles Dickens’s initials are inverted to become David Copperfield’s initials), a proto-auto-fiction that is, unusually for him, written in the first person, by a narrator eager to recall his life in the moment while resisting the painful benefit of hindsight – and the foreboding of foresight of what is already known.

“The Personal History, Adventures, Experience and Observation of David Copperfield will be playful and theatrical and dramatic. Like David Copperfield’s life. Like Dickens’s life. Like life. It could not be a more perspicacious narrative for our own unbelievable times.”

The Barn Theatre production, in association with BoxLess Theatre, will also feature design by Tara Usher (Little Baby Jesus, Queen of the Mist) with musical direction by Francesca Fenech, AV design by Charles Flint, lighting design by Sam Rowcliffe-Tanner (Stones in His Pockets, Private Peaceful) and sound design by Harry Smith (The Picture of Dorian Gray, Private Peaceful).

Tickets are now on sale from £11.50, with family ticket deals available for all the Barn’s upcoming 2021 productions, at barntheatre.org.uk.

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