FIRST LOOK: Promo images released for Wildcard Theatre’s Tempest at Pleasance London, 11 Mar – 3 Apr

Cast announced for new show Tempest from
company behind Edinburgh Fringe hit
The Pleasance, Carpenters Mews, North Road, London, N7 9EF
Friday 11th March – Sunday 3rd April

The cast has been announced for Tempest, the highly anticipated new production from Wildcard Theatre, the multi award-winning company behind Electrolyte. Applying their gig-theatre style to Shakespeare’s final play, Wildcard heightens the narrative with incredible live music and breath-taking design to question what it means to be human. Directed and adapted by James Meteyard (Electrolyte, Pleasance Theatre; Redemption, The Big House), and with original music by BBC Young Composer of the Year Jasmine Morris, this is Shakespeare like you have never experienced it before

The cast of talented actor-musicians includes Loren O’Dair (Dream, RSC; Peter Pan, National Theatre) as Ariel, Tashinga Bepete (The Railway Children Return, Studio Canal; Red Rose, BBC/Netflix) as Ferdinand, Ben Simon (Romeo and Juliet, The Dukes Theatre Company; Dunsinane, RSC) as Sebastian, Ruby Crepin-Glynne (Road, Northern Stage; The Syndicate, BBC) as Miranda, Gigi Zahir (Haus of Cray, Royal Vauxhall Tavern; 5 Guys Chillin’, Kings Head/Assembly Roxy) as Trinculo and Antonio, Alexander Bean (Good Morning Britain (Voiceover); Teddy, Southwark Playhouse) as Caliban, Eleanor House (Long Shadows, Birmingham Rep; Doctors, BBC)as Stephano, Rob Meteyard (The Uses of Poetry, Barnstable Fringe) as Gonzalo, and Kate Littlewood (The Last Days of Don Juan, Worlds Apart, RSC) as Prospero.

Wildcard’s notorious gig-theatre style has achieved critical acclaim – most notably, Electrolyte won five awards, including the prestigious Mental Health Fringe Award. Entirely underscored by live music, featuring newly composed songs, as well as Shakespearean originals, this adrenaline-fuelled reimagining brings a fresh perspective to a timeless classic. Tempest is performed by nine actor-musicians, with a detailed sound design that immerses the audience in a rich audio world. The exhilarating fusion of live music and theatre serves to make productions more accessible and attracts a demographic of audience that has low engagement with the arts. Accessibility is at the heart of the piece – this is a show that truly speaks to a modern, younger and more diverse audience, who may not think Shakespeare is usually for them

Banished to a mystical island with nothing but their magical books, Prospero waits in isolation for twelve long years. Consumed by a desire for revenge, they forge a new life with their daughter Miranda, slave Caliban and servant-spirit, Ariel. Using Ariel, and all his qualities, Prospero conducts a terrible storm to shipwreck their enemies, stranding them in Prospero’s new kingdom. Divided, lost and confused, the group find themselves at the mercy of twisted vengeance. But will Prospero’s bitterness destroy them, or will humanity prevail?

The visually striking production features bold and vibrant set, costume and lighting design to accentuate the themes and questions within the text – with special effects to create a unique, visceral experience and explore the characters’ heightened world of high fashion. The audience are therefore taken to some of the darker and more uncomfortable moments in the play, in order to draw parallels with our own world. Ultimately, this is a play about humanity vs society. It is about the age-old structures that we have fabricated in our society to create imbalance, and how these take us away from what is at the core of our humanity: love, compassion and care.

Director James Meteyard comments, I’ve been thinking about this show for about five years now and working on it for about three! I love Shakespeare and truly believe he’s the UK’s most culturally significant playwright. But I often feel that when his plays are presented in the theatre, they’re inaccessible, boring or not engaging, particularly for a younger or non-traditional theatre-going audience. After seeing how well these demographics engaged with gig-theatre on Electrolyte, I wanted to apply this form to Tempest – a play whose central character Prospero has been in Isolation for 12 years, a feeling we can all relate to following the last couple of years. It has wizards, spirits, monsters, a drag queen, live looping, rock, funk, drum and bass, rap and a bold and vibrant set and costume design. At its core, this production will examine our society and ask: what does it mean to be human? I’m excited to look at these age-old themes through a modern lens as I’m confident they’ll resonate just as powerfully today as when they were first written

Tempest is supported by: Arts Council England, Ian McKellan on Stage, Cockayne Foundation, Jerwood Space and Watermill Theatre