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West End transfer for Headlong and Almeida Theatre's five star co-production of Lucy Kirkwood's Chimerica

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Directed by Lyndsey Turner, Chimerica received its world premiere last month at the Almeida Theatre where it has subsequently been acclaimed by critics and audiences alike.  Set designs are by Es Devlin with costumes by Christina Cunningham, lighting by Tim Lutkin, sound by Carolyn Downing and video design by Finn Ross.  Chimerica will be produced in the West End by Sonia Friedman Productions, Bob Bartner/Norman Tulchin and Jean Doumanian.

The cast includes Stephen Campbell Moore, Benedict Wong, Claudie Blakley, Elizabeth Chan, Vera Chok, Karl Collins, Trevor Cooper, Nancy Crane, Sean Gilder, Sarah Lam and Andrew Leung all of whom will reprise their roles in the West End.  Final casting will be announced shortly.

Tiananmen Square, 1989.  As tanks roll through Beijing and soldiers hammer on his hotel door, Joe – a young American photojournalist – captures a piece of history.  When a cryptic message is left in a Beijing newspaper more than 20 years later, Joe is driven to discover the truth behind the unknown hero he captured on film. Who was he? What happened to him? And could he still be alive?

Stephen Campbell Moore’s (Joe) theatre credits include Berenice at the Donmar Warehouse, Clybourne Park for the Royal Court, All My Sons at the Apollo Theatre and The History Boys for the National Theatre. Amongst his television credits are The Wrong Mans, Hunted, Lark Rise to Candleford, Ashes to Ashes and Hustle. His film work includes Complicit, A Short Stay in Switzerland, Sea Wolf, The History Boys and Bright Young Things.

Benedict Wong (Zhang Lin) was recently seen in Hampstead Theatre’s production of #aiww: The Arrest of Ai Weiwei.  Previously he played Laertes in the critically acclaimed Hamlet at the Young Vic opposite Michael Sheen.  His many film credits include Prometheus, The Lady, Dirty Pretty Things, Moon, Sunshine, Hummingbird and Kick Ass 2.  Wong’s TV credits include Run, Top Boy and The Wrong Mans.

Claudie Blakley (Tessa) recently played Lady Macbeth at Sheffield Crucible where she was also seen in Lear.  Her other theatre credits include The Lady from the Sea at the Almeida Theatre.  She has performed at the National Theatre, Hampstead Theatre, the Young Vic, Royal Court and the Royal Shakespeare Company.  Her television credits include New Tricks, Lark Rise to Candleford and Cranford Chronicles.  Her film credits include Bright Star, Pride and Prejudice and Gosford Park.

Elizabeth Chan’s (Liuli) theatre credits include Inside Out and Monkey for Polka Theatre, The Wheel for the National Theatre of Scotland, Greenland for the National Theatre and Nicholas Nickleby for the Lyric Hammersmith.  Her television credits include Black Mirror: Going Dark and Silent Witness.

Vera Chok’s (Michelle /Mary Chang) theatre credits include Tonseisha – The Man Who Abandoned the World at the Barbican PitLab, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight for New Perspectives UK tour, The Death of Tintagell for saltpeter and When The Lights Went Out for Tara Arts UK tour.  Her screen credits include Panic and Random 11.

Karl Collins (David/Peter/Paul/Officer) was seen on stage at the Tricycle Theatre in One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show. His other theatre credits include Category B and Fabulation also for the Tricycle Theatre and Riff Raff for the Arcola Theatre.  Amongst his television credits are Black Mirror, Death in Paradise, Metrosexuality and The Bill. His film credits include The Unloved, Life and Lyrics and Greenwich Mean Time.

Trevor Cooper (Frank) has been seen at the Almeida Theatre in The Late Henry Moss, playing the title role, as well as roles in Awake and Sing, Measure for Measure and House of Games. His other theatre credits include Heartbreak House for Chichester Festival Theatre, King Lear for the Tobacco Factory, Arcadia at the Duke of York's and The Lieutenant of Innishmore for the Royal Shakespeare Company. His television credits include Vikings, Spooks, Inspector George Gently, Outnumbered, The History of Mr Polly and Trial and Retribution. On film his credits include Somerstown, Happy-Go-Lucky, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, The Gangs of New York and Vanity Fair.

Nancy Crane’s (Martha/Doreen/Maria Dubiecki) more recent theatre credits include The Children’s Hour at the Comedy Theatre, Design for Living at the Old Vic and Now or Later for the Royal Court.  Her television credits include Nixon’s The One, Upstairs, Downstairs and Cambridge Spies.  On film her credits include The Special Relationship and The Road to Guantanamo.

Sean Gilder (Mel Stanwyck) has previously been seen in Enemies and The Earthly Paradise at the Almeida Theatre, Little Malcolm and his Struggle Against the Eunuchs for Hampstead Theatre, All’s Well That Ends Well for the Royal Exchange Theatre and Our Boys for the Donmar Warehouse.  His extensive television credits include Inspector George Gently, The Shadow Line, Shameless, State of Play and New Tricks.  On film his credits include Selfish Giant, King Arthur and Gangs of New York.

Sarah Lam’s (Feng Meihui/Ming Xiaoli) more recent theatre credits include Factors Unforeseen for the Orange Tree and Mail Order Bride for the Theatre Royal Northampton. She has previously been seen in productions at the National Theatre and the Royal Court.  On television her credits include No Problem!, Angels and Brookside.  On film her credits include Hamlet and China Connection.

Andrew Leung’s (Young Zhang Lin/Benny) theatre credits include #aiww: The Arrest of Ai Weiweiat Hampstead Theatre, Minaturists 33 and A Leap of Faith for the Arcola Theatre, Man in the Middle for Theatre 503 and Romeo and Juliet, Uncle Vanya and All My Sons for East 15. His television credits include Phone Shop and Ahead of the Class.  On film his credits include Comes a Bright Day and The List.

Lucy Kirkwood’s plays are The Small Hours, co–written with Ed Hime for Hampstead Theatre, Beauty and The Beast for the National Theatre, Bloody Wimmin for the Tricycle’s Women, Power and Politics season, It Felt Empty When the Heart Went at First But It is Alright Now for Clean Break Theatre Company at the Arcola, Guns or Butter for The Union Theatre Terror Festival, Psychogeography and Tinderbox for the Bush Theatre an Grady Hot Potato for Bedlam Theatre.  Kirkwood adapted Hedda Gabler for the Gate Theatre and has written for C4’s Skins. Her play NSFW opened at the Royal Court in 2012, directed by Simon Godwin.

Lyndsey Turner’s Royal Court production of Posh completed its run in the West End in August 2012 and her production of Philadelphia, Here I Come! ran at the Donmar Warehouse last year.  Turner’s other productions for the Royal Court includes Contractions, A Miracle and Our Private Life.  She is Associate Director at Sheffield Theatres where her work includes Alice and The Way of the World. Her other theatre credits include Edgar And Annabel and There Is A War for the National Theatre, Joseph K and Nocturnal for the Gate, My Romantic History for Traverse, Bush, Sheffield Theatres and The Lesson  for the Arcola.

Headlong is one of the UK's leading theatre companies, dedicated to new ways of making theatre, collaborating with the most exciting and adventurous theatre artists in the country and providing them with the time, resources and creative support to allow them to make their most challenging work. Previous work include The Effect and Earthquakes in London at the National Theatre, DECADE at St Katharine Docks and the multi award-winning ENRON at the Royal Court, in the West End and on Broadway.

The Almeida Theatre is a 325 seat theatre in the heart of Islington, North London, producing a diverse range of British and international drama with some of the world's best artists, and has developed a reputation as a local theatre with world profile.  Almeida Projects links the theatre's work with their local community and the annual Almeida Festival celebrates the best of new and international theatre bringing fresh voices to the Almeida stage. Aspen is the Almeida’s Principal Partner, and their support ensures continued bold programming and artistic endeavour.

Chimerica is a Headlong and Almeida Theatre co-production produced in the West End by Sonia Friedman Productions, Bob Bartner/Norman Tulchin and Jean Doumanian.

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