News: Casting and extension announced for National Theatre’s West End transfer of The Ocean at the End of the Lane

As rehearsals begin today, the cast is announced for the West End transfer of the National Theatre’s critically acclaimed production of The Ocean at the End of the Lane, based on the best-selling novel by Neil Gaiman, which will extend its run at the Duke of York’s Theatre to 23 April 2022.

The 16-strong cast is: Ruby Ablett, James Bamford (Boy), Emma Bown, Charlie Cameron, Jeff D’Sangalang, Kieran Garland, Siubhan Harrison (Ginnie Hempstock), Miranda Heath, Penny Layden (Old Mrs Hempstock), Tom Mackley, Charleen Qwaye, Grace Hogg-Robinson (Sis), Laura Rogers (Ursula), Nicolas Tennant (Dad), Nia Towle (Lettie Hempstock) and Peter Twose.

Adapted by Joel Horwood and directed by Katy Rudd, The Ocean at the End of the Lane begins previews at the Duke of York’s Theatre on 23 October. Due to popular demand the limited run will extend for a final 10 weeks until 23 April 2022.

James Bamford makes his National Theatre debut as the Boy, having previously appeared in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in the West End and The Crown for Netflix. As Ginnie, Siubhan Harrison returns to the NT following her performance in the West End production of the Olivier Award-winning Home, I’m Darling. Penny Layden, who plays Old Mrs Hempstock, recently appeared in Kae Tempest’s Paradise in the Olivier Theatre. Her past National Theatre productions includes Table, Edward II, My Country: A Work in Progress, Macbeth, and Jellyfish (also The Bush). As Sis, Grace Hogg-Robinson makes her NT debut having previously appeared as the lead in BBC programmes including The Coroner and Flatmates. Laura Rogers makes her NT debut as Ursula. Her previous stage work includes Tipping the Velvet for the Lyric Hammersmith, Rules for Living for ETT and Winter Solstice for the Orange Tree Theatre. Nia Towle makes her professional stage debut as Lettie. Nicolas Tennant, who plays Dad, has previously appeared in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time for the NT in the West End and on tour, as has Kieran Garland. Ruby Ablett, Emma Bown, Charlie Cameron, Miranda Heath, Tom Mackley, and Charleen Qwaye make their National Theatre debuts; Jeff D’Sangalang returns to Ocean following his performance in the Dorfman Theatre run; and Peter Twose returns to the NT having previously appeared in War Horse as a Joey Head Puppeteer.

Returning to his childhood home, a man finds himself standing beside the duck pond of the old Sussex farmhouse where he used to play. He’s transported to his 12th birthday, spring half term. When his dad was struggling to make ends meet and his friend Lettie claimed it wasn’t a pond, but an ocean…

Plunged into a magical world, the children’s survival depends on their ability to reckon with dark, ancient forces that threaten to destroy everything around them.

The first major stage adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s work, this fantasy novel is ‘brought to thrilling life’ (The Times) in a modern myth, where the power of imagination and storytelling transports audiences on a spellbinding and spectacular adventure. Gaiman is known for his graphic novels, including the Sandman series (soon to be a major new Netflix series), as well as his novels for adults and children which include Stardust, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book, and multiple film and television projects including Good Omens and Anansi Boys for Amazon Prime.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane introduces audiences to Gaiman’s magical world and the much-loved characters that inhabit it, showcasing the production’s set design by Fly Davis, costume and puppet design by Samuel Wyer. Movement direction is by Steven Hoggett, composition by Jherek Bischoff, lighting design by Paule Constable, sound design by Ian Dickinson, magic and illusions direction and design by Jamie Harrison and puppetry direction by Finn Caldwell. Casting is by Lauren Evans.

Tickets can be booked via for performances to 13 February and will be available to book for the final 10 weeks from 7 October (or for American Express cardholders from 5 October).

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan

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