Full Cast announcement for the Sherman Theatre and Royal Exchange Theatre spring production of BIRD

04 Apr 2016

Winner of a Judges award in the 2013 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting, this is the World Premiere of Bird a stunningly poetic new play by Welsh playwright Katherine Chandler and a co-production between two of the leading producing houses in the UK, Sherman Theatre and Royal Exchange Theatre. With a cast of talented Welsh and Manchester performers and directed by Sherman Theatre’s Artistic Director Rachel O’Riordan, this story of unstoppable friendship will premier in Cardiff 13 – 28 May, before heading to Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester 8 – 25 June.

You know what Ava means?
Bird.
That’s what you are. You’re a little bird.

Ava, the central character is played by Swansea actress Georgia Henshaw, who has appeared regularly in TV hits Banana & Cucumber on C4 and E4, as well as shows such as Waterloo Road and The Crash on BBC. She began acting aged 8 and at just 15 stared in her first major movie as a member of the ACE gang in the hit Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging.

Ava’s best friend Tash is played by RADA graduate Rosie Sheehy. Since graduating in 2015 Rosie has been snapped up by some of the top UK producing houses including Bristol Old Vic and Paines Plough. Originally from Port Talbot, Rosie now comes back home for her first professional run in Wales.

The role of Claire, Ava’s mother is played by one of the most recognisable faces in theatre Siwan Morris who recently starred in Gary Owen’s prolific Violence and Sons at the Royal Court Theatre. Her other work includes working with Bristol Old Vic, Bath Theatre Royal, Ludlow Festival Theatre, Lyric Theatre, Theatre Clwyd and National Theatre Wales’s Tonypandymonium and A Good Night Out in the Valleys. She is often recognised for her role as Angie in Skins and regularly appears on BBC, S4C, ITV and C4.

Guy Rhys, studied at the Drama Centre and has an illustrious career to date. Some of his credits include working with National Theatre in Pomona with Orange Tree Theatre and Royal Exchange Theatre, My Father Odysseus with Unicorn Theatre, Rafta Rafta with the Bolton Octagon & New Vic Theatre and Mother Courage and Her Children with National Theatre. Hailing from Manchester originally, Guy plays the role of Lee.

Alongside them is the fresh talent of Cardiff local Connor Allen who plays the role of Dan. Connor trained at University of South Wales, Trinity Saint David’s and has since worked with National Theatre Wales and Taking Flight Company. This will be his first main role in a professional company as the character of Dan.

Originally awarded the Bruntwood Prize in 2013 Bird is a stunning new script from Sherman Theatre’s playwright in Residence Katherine Chandler. It will be directed by Rachel O’Riordan, the Sherman’s Artistic Director who comments:

“We are delighted to welcome a stunning cast to the Sherman for Bird by Katherine Chandler. This world premiere of our co-production with the Royal Exchange Theatre is a moving and startling play. The cast are all extraordinary actors from Wales or Manchester and we are proud to welcome them all to the Sherman stage.”

Raw, delicate and bold. Bird is a story about growing up outside a family but inside the fiercest of friendships. Ava and Tash are up on a cliff. Looking out at the flocking birds. And at their future. On the cusp of adulthood and leaving the care home they’ve always known, the friends test their freedoms and practise living in the world. Ava confronts the mother she left behind. Tash looks for a home. And both girls live dangerously with the men who surround them.

"I’m fascinated by how people cope with the challenges and changes in life without the basic foundations of love and family. Bird explores the absence of those two things and the impact they might have on us. But it’s essentially a story about friendship and love, found against the odds." Katherine Chandler, Playwright

Katherine Chandler is a Welsh playwright and screenwriter. Her play Before It Rains won the Writers Guild Playwright award at the Theatre Critics of Wales Awards. Katherine also won the BBC and National Theatre Wales inaugural Wales Drama Award. Bird is the latest production from Sherman Theatre following the success of Iphigenia in Splott, which is currently touring the UK to universal critical acclaim. This is the Sherman’s first co-production with Royal Exchange Theatre who have also received excellent critical response for recent productions such as Sarah Frankcom’s and Maxine Peake’s The Skriker, which was recently broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and which features in the new BBC 2 documentary series The Secret History of My Family.

The Sherman is one of Wales’ leading producing houses and is revenue funded by the Arts Council Wales.

Bird opens on May 12 – 28 at the Sherman before transferring to Royal Exchange Theatre from 8 – 25 June. To book tickets click here or call 029 2064 6900

Bird cast

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