Casting has been confirmed for Park Theatre’s festive family adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic: The Snow Queen. Focusing on the origins of the Queen who brings endless winter, the cast includes: Frances Marshall, Ayesha Casely-Hayford, Esmonde Cole, Sarah-Louise Young, Justin Brett, Paula James and Matt Cavendish. The production is adapted by Charles Way and directed by Abigail Anderson.
Based on the original 1844 story by the renowned fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen, this story follows Gerda as she goes on an epic quest through the seasons to save her best friend Cei before she loses him to endless winter. With the help of bickering flowers, overworked teachers, confused princes and princesses, a talking reindeer and, of course, snowball fights, the pair just might be ready to grow up after all.
From the ice-cold heart of winter, through to a knitted world of yarn-bombed spring, the team behind Park Theatre’s 2018/19 family hit Peter Pan – Winter Snow Ltd and J Clare Productions (with two Olivier award-winning shows to their name) – are delighted to be joining forces with Park Theatre to bring families this delightful adaptation of a classic winter’s tale.
Frances Marshall plays The Snow Queen, who travels throughout the world with the snow. Her recent stage credits include: Seasons Greetings & Joking Apart (Stephen Joseph Theatre), The Secret Garden and The Emperor & The Nightingale (Theatre By The Lake). Her screen credits include Capturing Mary (BBC Two).
Ayesha Casely-Hayford plays Gerda, who endeavours to find and rescue her friend from the Snow Queen. Ayesha is an award-winning voice artist and Off West End Award-nominated actress. Her theatre credits include: The Importance Of Being Earnest (Tara Arts), Where Will We Live? (Southwark Playhouse), We Dance We Work We Sing (Vault Festival and various UK venues), Adult Child Dead Child (Lost Theatre, London), With You Always (Old Fire Station, Oxford) and the Black Plays series (National Theatre, London).
Esmonde Cole (Cei/Fred) is a British & Sierra Leonean actor. His theatre credits include: Learning to Swim (Criterion Theatre), Market Boy (Union Theatre) and numerous productions with the Michael Grandage Futures Company. His screen credits include Young Barry White for ITV’s Autopsy.
Sarah-Louise Young (Grandmother/Mrs D/Lily) is an actress, writer, director and internationally renowned cabaret performer. Winner of The UK Stage Award for acting, named one of Time Out magazine’s Top 10 Cabaret Acts and voted Best Musical Variety Act in the London Cabaret Awards, she has also guested with comedy and musical performers Fascinating Aïda and La Soirée, and is a member of the Olivier Award-winning improvised musical group, The Showstoppers. Most recently her own show Julie Madly Deeply sold out at New York’s 59E59 Theatre. Prior to that, she played Queen Rat in Dick Whittington by Cariad Lloyd at the Lyric Hammersmith. She has appeared in the West End, London, on BBC Radio 4 and toured internationally, including to the prestigious Adelaide Cabaret Festival and has played numerous parts in television, theatre and short films.
Justin Brett’s (Mr Goodman/Daffodil/Bae, the Reindeer) theatre credits include: Showstopper! The Improvised Musical (West End and UK Tour), Million Dollar Quartet (West End), Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood (Theatr Clywd), Dick Barton, Special Agent and Return to the Forbidden Planet (Oldham Coliseum and Tour), Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella (New Wolsey, Oxford Playhouse), Lost in The Stars (Royal Festival Hall), October Plenty (Globe), Blue/Orange (Octagon, Bolton – Nominated Best Actor, MEN Awards), East Lynne (New Vic, Stoke), Christmas on Mars (Finborough) and Jinx, Other Lives, Clowns (Orange Tree). His screen credits include: Peep Show (Channel 4), Doctors (BBC), War Horse (Walt Disney Studios) and Gulliver’s Travels.
Paula James’ (Elisa/Mrs Flynn/Snowdrop/Princess Frederica) theatre credits include: Hamlet (Iris Theatre), First Encounters: Comedy of Errors (RSC), Love’s Labour’s Lost, Robin Hood, Julius Caesar (Guildford Shakespeare Company), The Gingerbread Man (Hiccup Theatre – Derby Theatre & UK tour), Dead Reckoning (Five Plays) (Young Vic), Alice in Wonderland (Derby Theatre), Snow Child (International tour), Unearthed, Larksong, The Gift, Half a Horse (New Vic Theatre), and Not With A Whimper (Arcola Theatre).
Matt Cavendish’s (John/Bindweed/Robber Queen) theatre credits include: Showstopper! The Improvised Musical (West End and UK Tour), Snow White (Oval House), The Midnight Gang (Chichester Festival Theatre), The Biograph Girl (Finborough Theatre – Offie Nomination for best supporting actor in a musical), The Play That Goes Wrong (Broadway/West End), Peter Pan Goes Wrong (West End and UK Tour), Lights! Camera! Improvise! (Mischief Theatre), Sleeping Beauty (Park Theatre), The Boys From Syracuse (Union), Romeo and Juliet/Love’s Labours Lost (Old Red Lion) and The Borrowers (Northern Stage). His TV credits include: Christmas Carol Goes Wrong (BBC). Matt is a member of the Tony and Olivier award winning companies Mischief Theatre and The Showstoppers.
Adaptor Charles Way began training as an actor at Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama, where he wrote plays for other students to perform. In 1977 he joined the Leeds Playhouse Theatre as an actor but began to offer his services as a writer. A year later he joined the Theatre Centre in London as a resident writer. He has worked for various theatres as a resident writer and, as his career progressed, became more well known for being a children’s playwright. Charles Way has received numerous awards and nominations for his works, as well as being highly regarded and acclaimed, his works always receiving praising reviews.
Director Abigail Anderson started directing at Oxford University and later trained at Central School of Speech & Drama. She has directed over 85 productions, most recently Jack and the Beanstalk (Mercury Colchester) and a double bill of Macbeth and Much Ado About Nothing. She is Associate Director of Gonzo Moose, touring devised comedy shows. Their most recent show Once Upon a Time… very loosely based on some ill-researched facts about the Brothers Grimm, will be touring the UK for a second time in Autumn 2019/Spring 2020. She also served as Associate Director at Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds from 2008-2011. However, she states that most of what she has learned and uses in her every day as a director, she learned from watching other directors and working with actors.
Designer Gregor Donnelly is both a set and costume designer, for which he trained at Motley Theatre Design Course 2011. Donnelly has designed for theatre, concerts and events in the UK and internationally. In 2016 he was nominated for Best Set Design and Best Costume Design at the Off West End Awards for Benighted and Best Costume Design at Off West End Awards for The Autumn Garden. In 2018 he was nominated for Best Set Design at the Off West End Awards for Peter Pan.
The Snow Queen runs at the Park Theatre from 4 Dec 2019 – 4 Jan 2020.