Casting announced for The Heart of Robin Hood

22 September 2011

Casting announced for world premiere of The Heart of Robin Hood, a new family show at the Royal Shakespeare Company

The Heart of Robin Hood

By David Farr

Directed by Gisli Örn Gardarsson

Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
18 November 2011 – 7 January 2012
Press night: Thursday 1 December 2011, 7pm
Box Office: 0844 800 1110,
www.rsc.org.uk

David Farr has written a new take on the much loved myth of Robin Hood for the Royal Shakespeare Company this Christmas.  The Heart of Robin Hood is a witty, mischievous version of the story in which Robin and his band of outlaws steal from the rich who dare to travel through the mighty forest of Sherwood.

But Robin and his men do not share their spoils with the poor and instead keep it all for themselves. Under the cruel Prince John, the poor are forced to pay unfair taxes, and in this time of chaos and fear, it is down to Marion to protect them and convince Robin that he must listen to his heart if they are to save the country.

The Heart of Robin Hood will be the first family show to be staged in the newly re-furbished Royal Shakespeare Theatre and will run from 18 November 2011 to 7 January 2012.
This bold, innovative production is directed by Icelandic actor and director Gisli Örn Gardarsson, who last performed for the RSC in Don John, a co-production with Kneehigh in which he played the title role.  Gisli's theatre company Vesturport is best known for its acrobatic productions, circus skills and left field set designs and this production promises to be no exception.

Gisli trained as an actor at the Icelandic Academy of the Arts as well as a gymnast.  His directing credits include: Metamorphosis, Love the Musical (which he also wrote), Kommunan, Woyzeck, Faust and a highly successful version of Romeo and Juliet in which he also played Romeo.  The production was seen in Reykavik, the Young Vic and London's West End.

Gisli's acting credits on film include: Hassansin Leader in Disney's Prince of Persia, Benni in Brim, Junior in Kings Road and Eric in Beofwulf and Grendel.  His work on stage includes: A Matter of Life and Death for the National Theatre, Gregor in Metamorphosis directed by David Farr for the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, Titus Andronicus for Vesturport and Like Water for Chocolate for Reykjavik City Theatre.

David Farr is Associate Director of the RSC and he most recently directed King Lear, The Winter's Tale and Pinter's The Homecoming for the company.  For the World Shakespeare Festival 2012 he will lead one ensemble company of fifty RSC actors in a major cycle of plays called What Country Friends is This?  He will direct Twelfth Night and The Tempest.

His writing credits include:  Night of the Soul for the RSC, The Nativity at the Young Vic, The Danny Crowe Show at the Bush Theatre, Elton John's Glasses at Watford Palace and West End, Crime and Punishment in Dalston at the Arcola, and Night of the Soul. He is published by Faber and Faber and his plays have been performed in the USA, Israel, and all over Europe.  He writes regularly for the television series Spooks. His short comedies The Queen Must Die and Ruckus in the Garden have been part of NT Connections 2003 and 2007.

The cast is headed by two young actors making their RSC debuts in the roles of Robin and Marion - James McArdle and Iris Roberts.

James McArdle was nominated for the 2011 Ian Charleson award for playing Malcolm in Lucy Bailey's production of Macbeth at The Globe and A Month in the Country for the Chichester Festival Theatre.  He was also a nominee for the London Evening Standard Award for outstanding performance by a newcomer for Spur of the Moment at the Royal Court.  He played Agathon in Jonathan Kent's Emperor and Galilean at the National Theatre and played Stephen West in ITV's Appropriate Adult and appeared in the BBC's political thriller Page Eight.

Iris Roberts (Marion) has this year appeared in Doctor Faustus and God of Soho (both at The Globe) and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (directed by Jamie Lloyd) at the Donmar Warehouse. Other theatre work includes: Sex Toys, Northern Spirit, Roxane in Cyrano de Bergerac, Nabakov's A Day that Shook the Nation and Skyscraper for the Public Theater, New York.  Iris trained at the Birmingham School of Acting.

Icelandic actor Ólafur Darri Ólafsson makes his RSC debut as Pierre.  He works as an actor, producer and writer and has been in over 40 theatre productions including Mike Leigh's Abigail's Party, Harold Pinter's Celebration and King Lear.  He has appeared in over 15 films and is one of the founders of The Vesturport Theatre Company.

Martin Hutson who plays Prince John recently played Joey in Butley in the West End and Octavius Caesar in Janet Suzman's Antony and Cleopatra at the Liverpool Playhouse.  His previous work for the RSC includes As You Like It (directed by Greg Thompson) and Bill Alexander's production of Titus Andronicus in 2003.

The cast also includes:  Peter Bray (Soldier), Fiona Lait (Bird), Robert Luckay (Much), Emma Manton (Townswoman), Flora Montgomery (Alice), Darwin Shaw (Will), Time Treloar (Gut of Gisbourne), Marcello Walton (Friar and Robert Summers), Lawrence Werber (Makepeace), Michael Walter  (Little John) and Addis Williams (Guy's Henchman).

The part of Jethro will be played by young actors Bailey Fear, Jack Firth and Tom Ransford, and the part of Sarah by Heather Croghan-Miksch, Isabelle Evans and Molly Pipe.

The set is designed by Börkur Jonsson, costumes by Emma Ryott, lighting designed by Björn Helgason and music by Högni Egilsson.  Associate director and movement director Selma Björnsdóttir represented Iceland twice in the Eurovision Song Contest – coming second in 1999.

The play has been commissioned by the RSC, and the RSC Dramaturg is Jeanie O'Hare.  The RSC Literary Department is generously supported by THE DRUE HEINZ TRUST.

For further information, please contact Nada Zakula in the RSC press office on 01789 412622 or nada.zakula@rsc.org.uk

For press tickets and regional enquiries please contact Dean Asker on 01789 412660 or dean.asker@rsc.org.uk

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