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Cast announced for new East Anglian 'relocation' of The Birds and the Bees

The Birds and the Bees cast (L-R) Sion Tudor Owen, Richard McIver, Louise Gold, Laura Doddington,
The Birds and the Bees cast (L-R) Sion Tudor Owen, Richard McIver, Louise Gold, Laura Doddington,

Casting has been revealed for James McDermott’s new East Anglian ‘relocation’ of The Birds and the Bees.

The reimagined production of the hit Canadian comedy by Mark Crawford is to tour the East of England from March.

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The New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich will be partnering with Norwich Theatre, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds and John Stalker Productions for the tour.

Commissioned by John Stalker Productions, James McDermott’s new version of the 2016 Canadian play relocates the play’s setting from modern-day Canada to North Norfolk in England’s East Anglia.

On Sarah’s East Anglian farm the honeybees are dropping like flies – just like her love life. Her husband bolted twenty years ago and she hasn’t slept with anyone since. Her middle-aged daughter Gail’s marriage is going up in smoke just like her turkey farm and neighbour Earl is fighting a losing battle with his sugar beet yield and his ‘no strings’ relationships.

Then along comes city-dwelling bio-student Ben to study those pesky poorly performing pollinators. He could probably also have a look at Sarah’s turkeys, which can’t seem to mate without a human helping hand. Perhaps some local mead and the annual Turkey Day’s Dance will sort everything out – and not just for the birds.

As the consequences of that momentous night unfold Sarah, Gail, Earl and Ben discover the best way out of a crisis is to commit to those closest to you – just watch out and don’t get stung

The cast of the UK premiere will be: Laura Doddington (The Midwich Cuckoos) as Sarah, Louise Gold (Gypsy, Fiddler on the Roof) as Gail, Richard McIver (Half-Full) as Ben and Sion Tudor Owen (Carrie’s War, White Christmas) as Earl.

The Birds and the Bees will be directed by the New Wolsey’s Artistic Director Peter Rowe with design by Dawn Allsopp, lighting design by Richard G Jones and casting direction by Debbie O’Brien.

The production will run at the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich from 25 March – 9 April before heading on tour to Norwich Theatre from 20-30 April and Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds from 3-7 May. The production will also be livestreamed for four performances during its run at the New Wolsey Theatre from 7-9 April.

Tickets for tour dates at New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich and Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds are now on sale via their respective websites and box offices with tickets for Norwich Theatre’s run going on sale on Friday, 28 January.

Mark Crawford said of the UK debut of his play: “I’m very excited for The Birds and the Bees to have its UK premiere this spring. This production transplants the play from rural Canada to East Anglia. An ocean divides us, but there’s so much we have in common—turkey farming, bee colony collapse, and a love of characters running round in their knickers.

“I can’t wait for audiences to experience this new version of the play set closer to home. No matter where it takes place, some things are universal: sex is funny, families are complicated, and despite our best intentions, things don’t go according to plan.”

James McDermott added of adapting the play: “I’m very excited to be relocating Mark’s hilarious heart-warming relationship comedy to North Norfolk. It’s my first adaptation and I really connected with the themes of the play as in my work I’ve always been obsessed with exploring sexuality, intergenerational relationships and the natural world. I’m sure audiences will connect with this timely tale and the four hilarious lovable characters at the heart of it”

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