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West End transfer for Caryl Churchill's Top Girls

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Max Stafford-Clark’s new production of Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls is to transfer to the Trafalgar Studios following its critically acclaimed, sell-out run at the Minerva Theatre, Chichester. Top Girls, produced in the West End by Sonia Friedman Productions, will run at the Trafalgar Studios from 5 August – 15 October 2011 with press night on 16 August 2011. Designs are by Tim Shortall with lighting by Jason Taylor, sound by Ian Dickinson and video design by Finn Ross. Stafford-Clark’s Out of Joint/ Chichester Festival Theatre co-production reunites him with producer Sonia Friedman, with whom he co-founded Out of Joint Theatre Company in 1993.

The cast is Stella Gonet, Suranne Jones, Catherine McCormack, Lucy Briers, Laura Elphinstone, Lisa Kerr and Olivia Poulet.

It’s Thatcher’s England and hard-nosed, go-getting businesswoman Marlene is hosting a dinner party to celebrate her promotion to MD of the Top Girls Employment Agency. Her guests - all powerful women from myth and history - make for an extraordinary gathering. A provocative study of success, and what happens to those who get left behind.

Stella Gonet plays Isabella Bird/Joyce/Mrs Kidd. Her television credits include the drama series The House of Eliott and Holby City as well as Mo Mowlam, and Persuasion. Her theatre credits include Racing Demon, Skylight, Hamlet and The Voysey Inheritance for the National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company productions of Measure For Measure, Three Sisters and The Revenger’s Tragedy and Women, Power and Politics for the Tricycle Theatre.

Suranne Jones plays businesswoman Marlene. She has most recently been seen on television as DC Bailey in the new ITV1 detective series Scott and Bailey, playing opposite Lesley Sharp. Her other television credits include Vincent, Unforgiven, Five Days and Single Father as well as the role of Karen McDonald in Coronation Street which she played for over four years. Her stage credits include A Few Good Men in the West End, the touring production of Terms of Endearment and Blithe Spirit at the Royal Exchange Theatre.

Catherine McCormack plays Lady Nijo/Win. McCormack’s screen credits include Braveheart, Dangerous Beauty, Spy Game and 28 Weeks Later. Her theatre credits include an Olivier Award nominated performance in All My Sons, Honor and Dinner all for the National Theatre, the West End production of The 39 Steps, The Lady from Dubuque at the Theatre Royal Haymarket and A Doll’s House and The Portrait of a Lady for the Theatre Royal Bath and the Rose Theatre Kingston.

Lucy Briers plays Pope Joan/Louise. Her theatre credits include Behud for Soho Theatre, Bedroom Farce and Miss Julie for the Rose Theatre, Kingston, Ivanov at the Donmar and Wyndham’s Theatres, Some Kind of Bliss at the Trafalgar Studios, The Voysey Inheritance for the National Theatre and Cloud Nine, Teeth ‘n’ Smiles and Don Juan for Sheffield Theatres. Her many television credits include the role of Mary Bennet in the adaptation of Pride and Prejudice as well as The Night Watch, Einstein and Eddington and Silent Witness.

Laura Elphinstone plays Patient Griselda/Nell. Elphinstone’s credits include A Month in the Country for Chichester Festival Theatre, Tom and Viv at the Almeida Theatre, Pains of Youth for the National Theatre, Breathing Corpses and Country Music for the Royal Court. Her film and television credits include The History Boys and Tess of the D’Urbevilles.

Lisa Kerr plays the Waitress/Kit/Shona. Her credits include the Out of Joint productions of The Big Fellah for the Lyric Hammersmith and on tour, Andersen’s English for Hampstead Theatre and Mixed Up North for the Octagon Theatre, Bolton, Wilton’s Music Hall and on tour.

Olivia Poulet plays Dull Gret/Angie/Jeanine. Her credits include recent roles in the television comedy The Thick of It, as well as the film In The Loop.

As well as Top Girls, Caryl Churchill’s plays include Cloud Nine, Serious Money, Far Away and A Number.

Max Stafford-Clark returns to Top Girls having directed its world premiere at the Royal Court in 1982. He was Artistic Director of the Royal Court from 1979 – 1993 and of the Traverse Theatre Edinburgh from 1968 – 1970. He co-founded the Joint Stock Theatre Group in 1974 and Out of Joint (with Sonia Friedman) in 1993. Among his directing credits are regular collaborations with writer Caryl Churchill, including Light Shining in Buckinghamshire, Cloud Nine, Serious Money and Blue Heart.

Top Girls opened at the Minerva Theatre, Chichester last month, where it runs until 16 July 2011 before its West End transfer.

Out of Joint is a theatre company acclaimed for producing and touring new writing. Under the directorship of Max Stafford-Clark it has premiered plays by David Hare, Caryl Churchill, Sebastian Barry, Timberlake Wertenbaker and many more, and launched the careers of such talents as Mark Ravenhill and Stella Feehily. The Out of Joint production of A Dish of Tea with Dr Johnson will transfer to the West End in September.

Chichester Festival Theatre is one of this country’s leading producing theatres with a strong track record in commissioning and producing new plays and adaptations. Over the past five years, playwrights whose work has been premiered at Chichester include David Edgar, David Hare, Ronald Harwood, Mike Poulton, Ben Power, Lucy Prebble, Martin Sherman and Nicholas Wright.

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