Rehearsals start today for Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s 2016 season with Samuel Adamson’s adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s novel, Running Wild. A co-production with Chichester Festival Theatre, Running Wild previews from Friday 13 May (press night 19 May) and plays until Sunday 12 June.
The part of Will will be shared between three young performers, Joshua Fernandes, Tyler Osborne and Ava Potter, who previously appeared as Scout in the Open Air Theatre’s production of To Kill a Mockingbird (UK tour and The Barbican). Sharing the stage with the young performers are Hattie Ladbury (previously Miss Maudie Atkinson in To Kill a Mockingbird) as Mum/Geraldine, Ira Mandela Siobhan (Feast, Fela!) as Dad/Hunter, Eric Mallett (whose credits with Complicite include Lionboy, The Street of Crocodiles and Mnemonic) as Grandad/Kaya, Joyce Henderson (an Associate Artist with Complicite) as Grandma, Stephen Ventura (whose credits include several productions with the RSC, Downton Abbey and 39 Steps) as Mr Anthony and Okorie Chukwu (who appeared in last year’s Olivier Award-nominated Peter Pan) as Red Bandana/Mahout.
The puppeteers for the show include Laura Cubitt, Ben Thompson, Michael Taibi, John Leader, Sarah Mardel and Stuart Angell. Fred Davis and Romina Hytten make their professional debuts having been part of the Chichester Festival Youth Theatre production in 2015.
The cast will be completed by an ensemble of 57 young performers from the local community aged between 9 to 19, alternating performances in two groups, making this Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s largest ever production.
Led by co-directors Timothy Sheader (Artistic Director at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre) and Dale Rooks (original director for Chichester Festival Youth Theatre’s production of Running Wild), puppetry design and direction is by Finn Caldwell and Toby Olié for Gyre & Gimble (The Lorax, The Elephantom, Alice’s Adventures Underground, and former War Horse Associate Puppetry Directors). Completing the creative team are Paul Wills (Designer), Rod Paton (Original Music/Composer), Nick Powell (Sound Score), Nick Lidster for Autograph (Sound Designer), Jessica Ronane CDG (Casting Director), Verity Naughton (Ensemble Casting) and Barbara Houseman (Season Associate Director).
For Will, going to Indonesia isn’t just another holiday with mum. It’s a new start, and the chance to ride an elephant called Oona. But then the tsunami hit. Charging deep into the jungle, Oona escapes the beach with her young rider desperately clinging on. Miles from civilisation, at first
there’s wonder, discovery and tree-top adventures amongst the orang-utans. But, as thoughts turn to mum left behind on the beach, tigers prowl, hunger hits, and Will must now learn to survive the rainforest. A story of love, loss, loyalty and of living for the moment.
Kids Half Term Workshops for Running Wild:
Tuesday 31 May & Friday 3 June: Workshop 4.30pm | Performance 7.45pm
Wednesday 1 June, Saturday 4 June, Sunday 5 June: Workshop 11.15am | Performance 2.15pm Workshop tickets: £20 per child (ages 8+)*
Discover how Gyre & Gimble, the team behind Running Wild’s puppetry, created such lifelike animal characters in this hands-on workshop for families. Make your own prototype puppet inspired by the show, and explore the different techniques they used to bring the cast of animals to life.
Gyre & Gimble was founded by Finn Caldwell and Toby Olié. Having met whilst performing in the original production of War Horse, they were subsequently made associate puppetry directors of the show. They then went on to co-direct The Elephantom and create puppetry for The Lorax.
* Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult (the adult does not need to purchase a workshop ticket). The workshop ticket price does not include the performance, which must be booked additionally. U18 concessions and family tickets are available
for the performance. Limited to 20 children per workshop.
Schools Education Programme
Zoological Society of London (ZSL) are partnering on Running Wild. Through education modules created by ZSL, Years 7-8 (KS3, Ages 11-12), will have the opportunity to explore the themes within the production. At ZSL London, the ‘Wildlife under Threat’ module will show how wildlife crime continues to endanger species and how the rapid expansion of unsustainable palm oil demand (found in half of packaged supermarket products, and increasingly used as a biofuel) is devastating natural habitats. At ZSL Whipsnade, the ‘Ecosystems’ module will reveal not only the importance of each piece of the ecosystem puzzle, but how human activity relies on the effective functioning of natural systems.
For more information visit www.openairtheatre.com/running-wild