News: Olivier Award nominated Life of Pi announces extension

Following its recently announced nine Olivier award nominations, it was announced today (17 March 2022) that public booking for Life of Pi, Lolita Chakrabarti’s dazzling stage adaptation of Yann Martel’s award-winning book, has been extended until 4 September 2022.

Producer Simon Friend said: ‘‘We are absolutely thrilled to announce that we will once again be extending public booking for Life of Pi, and that audiences continue to flock to this unique show. We are also delighted to have been nominated for nine prestigious Olivier Awards, including the first in history to recognise puppeteers – and when you see them in action you’ll see why!’

The Olivier Nominations for Life of Pi are: Best New Play, Best Actor (Hiran Abeysekera), Best Director (Max Webster), Best Set Design (Tim Hatley, Nick Barnes and Finn Caldwell), Best Lighting (Tim Lutkin and Andrzej Goulding), Best Sound Design (Carolyn Downing), Best Original Score (Andrew T Mackay), Best Choreographer (Finn Caldwell) and Best Supporting Actor (The Tiger Puppeteers: Fred Davis, Daisy Franks, Romina Hytten, Tom Larkin, Tom Stacy, Scarlet Wilderink and Habib Nasib Nader).

Hiran Abeysekera takes the central role of Pi, alongside Mina Anwar as Ma, Nicholas Khan as Father, Payal Mistry as Rani, Tom Espiner as Father Martin and Commander Grant-Jones, Raj Ghatak as Mamaji and Pandit-Ji, Syreeta Kumar as Mrs Biology Kumar and Zaida Khan, David K.S. Tse as Mr Okamoto, Kirsten Foster as Lulu Chen, Habib Nasib Nader as Cook and Voice of Tiger.

They are joined by the Oliver Award-nominated puppeteers: Fred Davis (Tiger Head), Daisy Franks (Tiger Hind), Romina Hytten (Tiger Heart), Tom Larkin (Tiger Head), Tom Stacy (Tiger Hind) and Scarlet Wilderink (Tiger Heart).

Nuwan Hugh Perera is Pi alternate, and understudies are Alex Chang and Deeivya Meir.

The production is directed by Max Webster, Set and Costume designer is Tim Hatley, the Puppet and Movement Director is Finn Caldwell, the Puppet Designers are Nick Barnes and Finn Caldwell, the Video Designer is Andrzej Goulding, the Lighting Designer is Tim Lutkin, the Sound Designer is Carolyn Downing, the Composer is Andrew T Mackay, Dramaturgy is by Jack Bradley, the Casting Director is Polly Jerrold, the Associate Director is Leigh Toney, the Associate Set Designer is Ross Edwards, the Costume Supervisor is Sabrina Cuniberto and the Props Supervisor is Ryan O’Conner.

Based on one of the best-loved works of fiction – winner of the Man Booker Prize, selling over fifteen million copies worldwide – Life of Pi is a breath-taking new theatrical adaptation of an epic journey of endurance and hope.

After a cargo ship sinks in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean, there are five survivors stranded on a single lifeboat – a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan, a sixteen year-old boy and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger. Time is against them, nature is harsh, who will survive?

Award winning writer Yann Martel’s works include The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios (1993), Self (1996), We Ate the Children Last (2004), Beatrice and Virgil (2010) – a New York Times Bestseller and a Financial Times Best Book, 101 Letters to a Prime Minister (2012) – a collection of letters to the prime minister of Canada; and The High Mountains of Portugal (2016).

Lolita Chakrabarti OBE is an award-winning playwright and actress. Her writing credits include: Red Velvet which opened at the Tricycle Theatre in London in 2012, returning in 2014 before transferring to New York and the West End; Red Velvet was nominated for nine major awards including two Olivier Awards. Lolita won the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Most Promising Playwright, The Critics Circle Award for Most Promising Playwright and the AWA Award for Arts and Culture; She adapted Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities for MIF in 2019 a collaboration with 59Productions and Rambert; her play Hymn was live streamed in February 2021 from the Almeida, before opening to audiences later in July; she was dramaturg on Message in a Bottle for ZooNation and Sadler’s Wells; she curated The Greatest Wealth for Old Vic, a series of monologues marking the 70th birthday of the NHS. Acting credits include: Vigil, The Casual Vacancy (BBC), Riviera, Delicious (Sky), Born to Kill, My Mad Fat Diary (Ch4), Criminal (Netflix), Fanny and Alexander (The Old Vic), Hamlet (RADA). She can soon be seen in Showtrial for the BBC and Wheel of Time for Amazon Prime.

Max Webster was the inaugural Baylis Director at the Old Vic and is now an Associate Director at the theatre where his work includes Fanny and Alexander, Cover My Tracks and Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax. Selected other stage work includes the forthcoming The Merry Widow (ENO), The Jungle Book (Northampton/Fiery Angel UK tour), The Winter’s Tale (Lyceum, Edinburgh), and King Lear (Royal and Derngate, Northampton/UK tour).

The extraordinary animals are brought to life by Puppet & Movement Director Finn Caldwell, who began his career in the original company of the National Theatre’s international phenomenon War Horse. He is the Artistic Director of his own company Gyre & Gimble, for whom work includes: co-director/puppet designer of The Four Seasons: A Reimagining (Shakespeare’s Globe), The Hartlepool Monkey (UK tour) and The Elephantom (National Theatre & West End). His other work includes: director of puppetry/movement for Angels in America (National Theatre & Broadway), The Light Princess (National Theatre), War Horse (West End & Internationally) and Groundhog Day (Old Vic & Broadway).

Life of Pi is produced by Simon Friend in association with Playing Field and Tulchin/Bartner.

Edwardian Hotels London is proud to be the official hotel partner of Life of Pi in the West End.

For more information please see www.lifeofpionstage.com

Photo credit: Johan Persson

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