Latest Press Releases


The Box of Delights by Piers Torday based on the novel by John Masefield
Tuesday 31 October 2023 – Sunday 7 January 2024           
Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
Press Night: Wednesday 8 November, 7pm
Directed by Justin Audibert
BOX OFFICE:, 01789 331111


The Royal Shakespeare Company has today announced casting for its forthcoming production of The Box of Delights which runs in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon between Tuesday 31 October 2023 and Sunday 7 January 2024.

Justin Audibert - Artistic Director of Chichester Festival Theatre and whose previous RSC shows include The Taming of the Shrew, Snow in Midsummer and The Jew of Malta - returns to the RSC to direct what promises to be a magically festive show for the whole family.

Originally produced for Wilton’s Music Hall in 2017, Piers Torday’s reimagining of John Masefield’s much-loved children’s classic tells the story of orphaned schoolboy Kay Harker who finds himself the guardian of a small wooden box with powers beyond his wildest dreams. Caught up in a battle between two powerful magicians - Cole and Abner - Kay fights to save not just the people he loves, but also the future of Christmas itself…

The production will see Justin re-unite with RSC Associate Artist and Olivier award-winning Designer Tom Piper, who most recently designed the RSC’s production of Hamnet which is about to transfer to the Garrick Theatre in London.

Talking about The Box of Delights, Justin said:
“I’m delighted to have the opportunity to work on The Box of Delights again, this time creating a bigger, and even more spectacular production for the Royal Shakespeare Theatre stage.

“It’s a show that features trains, boats, planes, mythical creatures, a good and a very bad magician, and characters that magically turn into tiny versions of themselves, characters that transform into animals that fly through the air and swim in the sea – how exciting is that? We’re telling the story through the imagination of a child, so the staging promises to be a fantastic mix of the inventive and the breath-taking.

“In many ways The Box of Delights was the first fantasy story for children, and with its classic good versus evil narrative, and three young children as the heroes, you can see its influence on books like the Harry Potter series.  I can’t wait for everyone to see it.”

Taking on the roles of the three children in the story are Callum Balmforth as Kay Harker, and Mae Munuo as the fearless Maria Jones, both of whom make their RSC debuts, and Jack Humphrey who returns to the RSC to play the far from fearless Peter Jones.

Callum Balmforth’s theatre credits include: Sleeping Beauty (ABproduction/Ilford), The Pantomime Life of Joseph Grimaldi (Hundred Acre Productions), Elegies for Angels Punks and Raging Queens (HalfMask/Redbridge), Wendy and Peter Pan (Leeds Playhouse/Bunkamura) and Dick Whittington and His Cat (Cambridge Arts Theatre). Earlier this year, Callum featured in the Netflix/Jada Pinkett Smith-produced docu-drama Queen Cleopatra.  

Mae Munuo’s theatre credits include: DNA (The New Wolsey Theatre), The Nutcracker (Bristol Old Vic), The Canterville Ghost, Gulliver’s Travels, The Bolds (Unicorn Theatre), Anansi the Spider (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), September Skies, Centre Ground, How To Become a Revolutionary (Small Truth Theatre) and I’ll Take You To Mrs Cole (Complicité, Theatre Peckham and Edinburgh Fringe Pleasance). Mae is an Associate Artist of Complicité and the New Wolsey Theatre.  

 Jack Humphrey’s RSC credits include:  Henry VI: Rebellion, Henry VI Wars of the Roses and A Christmas Carol. Other theatre credits include: Animal Farm, Othello, Ordinary Miracle (NYT Rep) and Tom’s Midnight Garden (Theatre By The Lake, Keswick). Television credits include: Then Barbara Met Alan (Dragonfly Film and Television) 

Stephen Boxer returns to the RSC to play Grandpa, Ramon Lully, and Cole Hawkings who entrusts the safety of the Box of Delights with Kay. Stephen’s extensive credits with the RSC include: Titus Andronicus, Written on the Heart, The Heresy of Love, The Taming Of The Shrew, The Tragedy of Thomas Hobbes, Bartholomew Fair, Measure for Measure, Twelfth Night, The Herbal Bed, The White Devil, The General From America, The Duchess Of Malfi, Barbarians, Richard III and Rousseau’s Tale. In addition to his other theatre credits, which includes work at the National Theatre, in the West End and on international tours, Stephen’s TV and film work includes: The Crown, Poldark, Foyle’s War, Silent Witness and Casualty, Red Joan and The Iron Lady.

Richard Lynch plays the villainous magician, Abner. Previous RSC credits include: The Mysteries. Other theatre includes: The Corn is Green (National), The Persians, The Iliad, Coriolanus (National Theatre Wales); Macbeth (Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru), The Storm (Almeida); Gas Station Angel (Royal Court); and Afore Night Come (Young Vic).  Television credits include: Broken, The Hollow Crown, Lifeboat, Thicker Than Water, The Healer, and Keeping Faith (BBC); and Hinterland and Pobol y Cwm (S4C).

Nia Gwynne and Claire Price will job-share the role of Sylvia Daisy Pouncer, Abner’s criminal sidekick.

Nia Gwynne’s previous RSC credits include: Timon of Athens, Titus Andronicus, King Lear, Henry IV Part I & II, The Orphan of Zhao, Boris Godunov and The Life of Galileo.  Other theatre credits include: Beneatha’s Place (The Young Vic), Coriolan/us, The Dark Philosophers (National Theatre Wales); Clytemnestra, The Almond & The Seahorse (Sherman Cymru); The Daughter in Law, Dangerous Corner, Love Me Slender, Top Girls (New Vic); and Look Back in Anger (Northern Stage Co). Television and film credits include: The Long Call, Shakespeare & Hathaway, The Syndicate, Casualty, EastEnders, Emmerdale, Darkest Hour and Pride.

Claire Price’s previous RSC credits include: The Taming of the Shrew, Measure for Measure, Brand, Volpone and Don Carlos. Other theatre credits include: Something In The Air (Jermyn Street), Raya (Hampstead), King Lear (Duke of York’s), Poison (Orange Tree), Things we Do for Love (Theatre Royal Bath), The Winter’s Tale, The Daughter in Law, Company, The Pride, Much Ado About Nothing, Don Carlos, Mean Tears, Richard III and The Tempest (all Sheffield Crucible). Television and film credits include: Call the Midwife, Poirot, Rebus, Midsomer Murders, Dalziel & Pascoe, Rosemary & Thyme and The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

The full cast is: Nana Amoo-Gottfried (Joe/Ensemble); Callum Balmforth (Kay Harker); Stephen Boxer (Cole Hawkings/Ramon Lully/Grandpa); Melody Brown (Mayor/Dame Eleanor of Chasuble/Ensemble); Alex Cardall (Ensemble/Puppeteer); Tom Chapman (Rat/Puppeteer); Janet Etuk (Herne the Hunter); Nia Gwynne (Sylvia Daisy Pouncer); Jack Humphrey (Peter Jones); Tom Kanji (Charles); Richard Lynch (Abner); Annette McLaughlin (Caroline Louisa); Mae Munuo (Maria Jones); Claire Price (Sylvia Daisy Pouncer); Molly Roberts (Ellen/The Head/Ensemble); Rhiannon Skerritt (Ensemble/Puppeteer); Timothy Speyer (Bishop/Ensemble); and Rosie Wyatt (Papergirl/Duchess of Musborough/Ensemble).  Full actor bios can be found here

Justin Audibert is the Artistic Director of Chichester Festival Theatre, and former Artistic Director of the Unicorn Theatre.  RSC directing credits include: The Taming of the Shrew, Snow in Midsummer and The Jew of Malta.  His work at The Unicorn includes: The Three Billy Goats Gruff, Pinocchio by Eve Leigh, Anansi the Spider (also at Open Air Theatre Regents Park); The Canterville Ghost by Anthony Weigh after Oscar Wilde; Beowulf by Chris Thorpe and My Mother Medea by Holger Schober. In 2012 he was the recipient of the Leverhulme award for Emerging Directors from the National Theatre studio and was one of The Guardian’s 12 theatre stars for 2020.

Piers Torday, who has adapted the original John Masefield novel, is a children’s writer. His first book, The Last Wild was published in 2013 and was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. His other work for children includes The Wild Before, The Frozen Sea and The Lost Magician. He also writes short stories, and has adapted A Christmas Carol for the stage.

Joining Justin on the creative team are: Tom Piper (Designer); Prema Mehta (Lighting); Ed Lewis (Music); Claire Windsor (Sound); Simon Pittman (Movement); Nina Dunn and Matthew Brown (Video); Samuel Wyer (Puppetry); Kev McCurdy (Fights); Réjane Collard-Walker (Dramaturg); Matthew Dewsbury CDG (Casting).

The Headline Sponsor of The Box of Delights is Pragnell, a longstanding supporter of the RSC.

For further media enquiries, please contact:
Dean Asker, Senior Media Relations Officer, RSC or 0778 9937759


THE BOX OF DELIGHTS by Piers Torday based on the novel by John Masefield
Tuesday 31 October 2023 – Sunday 7 January 2024           
Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
Directed by Justin Audibert

Press Night: Wednesday 8 November, 7pm

Chilled performance: 16 November (1.15pm)
Captioned performance: 24 November (7.15pm)
Handheld Captioned performance: 25 November (1.15pm)
Audio Described and Chilled performance: 2 December (1.15pm)
Relaxed performance with Integrated BSL Interpreter (Audio Described and Captioned):
7 December (1.15pm)
Handheld Captioned performance: 14 December (7.15pm)
Audio Described performance: 15 December (7.15pm)
Captioned performance: 4 January (1.15pm)
Performance with Integrated BSL interpreter: 5 January (7.15pm)


The RSC is supported using public funding by Arts Council England 
The work of the RSC is supported by the Culture Recovery Fund
The RSC is generously supported by RSC America
Headline Sponsor of The Box of Delights - Pragnell
The Box of Delights is supported by Season supporter Charles Holloway
TikTok £10 Tickets sponsored by TikTok
The RSC Acting Companies are generously supported by The Gatsby Charitable Foundation
New Work at the RSC is generously supported by The Drue and H.J. Heinz II Charitable Trust 

Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) 
The Royal Shakespeare Company creates exceptional theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, London and around the world, performing plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, as well as commissioning a wide range of original work from contemporary writers. Our purpose is to ensure that Shakespeare – and theatre as a whole – is for everyone, and we do that by unlocking the power of his plays and live performance, and with our learning and education work throughout the UK and across the world. 

Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the 

Pragnell offers the widest and most beautiful selection of fine jewellery, watches and silver, both antique and modern, in the UK. As a sixth-generation, family-owned company, the Pragnell name symbolises its innate commitment to quality.

TikTok is the leading destination for short-form mobile video. Our mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy. TikTok's global headquarters are in Los Angeles and Singapore, and its offices include New York, London, Dublin, Paris, Berlin, Dubai, Jakarta, Seoul, and Tokyo. 




You might also like