The Old Rep, Birmingham has announced the professional cast for its festive family production, The Wind in the Willows (21 Nov-31 Dec). This new production of Kenneth Grahame’s classic children’s novel follows the success of last year’s Treasure Island and is again produced in partnership with Scott Ritchie Productions and Birmingham’s centre of excellence for creative, digital and performing arts, Birmingham Ormiston Academy (BOA).
Me and Lexie went along on Saturday to watch the show after a bit of shopping and lunch. It was Lexie's first time at The Old Rep, she was memorized by the whole show. The show was full of energy and a lovely twist on a classic tale.
In line with the renewed vision of this historic and iconic theatre to develop, celebrate and showcase the talent of the city, Scott Ritchie Productions and BOA have cast the lead roles of Toad, Mole, Ratty, Badger and Chief Weasel entirely from Midlands-based professional actors.
Scott Ritchie, Producer of The Wind in the Willows, said: “Competition for the lead roles in The Wind in the Willows was extremely tough, with over 150 local professional performers taking part in three rounds of auditions. I am so proud that all of our cast are based in the Midlands, really showcasing the talent this region has to offer. The Wind in the Willows truly is a home-grown production, which is really important to me, BOA and The Old Rep.”
Executive Director of The Old Rep, Chris Sudworth, explains further: “The Old Rep re-launched two years ago as a young people-driven venue, committed to supporting the creative community of Birmingham and beyond. In line with this commitment, I am delighted that the producers took a deliberate decision to cast our festive family show entirely with Midlands-based actors, showcasing the excellent, professional performers of our region.”
The terrific Mr Toad will be played by former BBC Archers star and Sutton Coldfield resident Dan Hagley. Mei Mac, recently seen in The New Vic’s Peter Pan in Scarlet and the national tour of York Theatre Royal and Tutti Frutti’s The Snow Child, joins the cast as the playful Mole. Ratty will be played by Midlands-born Alec Fellows-Bennett, fresh from a stint at the Windsor Theatre Royal with Bill Kenwright. Uniting the gang of four friends is local boy and recent Birmingham School of Acting graduate Elliot Rodriguez, who plays the warm-hearted, steady Badger. Another Birmingham School of Acting alumnus, Alexia McIntosh, previously of Sister Act, completes the cast in the crucial opposing role of Chief Weasel, where she will lead an ensemble of Birmingham Ormiston Academy (BOA) actors in training, in keeping with the repertory system history of The Old Rep.
The Wind in the Willows will be an irreverent and playful take on the classic tale, packed with energetic performers, original music and anarchic sense of humour. Produced by Scott Ritchie Productions and Birmingham Ormiston Academy, directed by Robert Marsden, former Associate Director of The New Vic Theatre, and designed by Mila Sanders, whose recent work includes designs for The National Theatre, this home-grown adventure is a festive show with a difference, and will be a real treat for all ages this Christmas.
For further information about The Wind in the Willows, or to book tickets, call the Box Office on 0121 359 9444 (open 11am-6pm Tue-Fri, 1pm-6pm Sat) or visit www.oldreptheatre.co.uk (online booking fee applies).