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Cathy Tyson leads All-Female Cast in Red Snapper

Posted on 8 February 2016

We are thrilled to announce that the U.K premiere of Liz Mytton’s play Red Snapper will play in B2 from Sat 5 – Sat 19 Mar, starring BAFTA and Golden Globe nominated actress Cathy Tyson.

Jamaica, 1962. The island is alive with the excitement of independence and the thrill of providing the setting for the iconic James Bond movie, Dr. No.

But for five women and their husbands on the council, this is a time of mixed fortunes and uncertainty, as personal and political tensions simmer against a backdrop of mass emigration and unrest. With local people increasingly excluded from the beaches, so as not to ruin the view for the growing tourist trade, a planned visit from nearby Cuba’s communist leader, Fidel Castro, has the islanders in a spin. Will the high profile visitor bring further prestige and glamour, or will his presence incite the island’s downtrodden fishing community to rise up?

Shining a spotlight on the stories of five women swimming against the tide of political and social change, Red Snapper is the stunning debut play by Liz Mytton and the first full production to come from the Belgrade Theatre’s acclaimed playwriting project, Critical Mass for emerging playwrights from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities.

Writer Liz Mytton said ‘I wanted to tell this particular story, set in Jamaica fifty-plus years ago, which required an all-black cast. I didn’t set out with a black agenda, just a desire to share something close to my own heart. I was, however, fascinated by the opportunity afforded by an all-female cast to represent the story of women during this particular period in world history. Often it’s men who are seen to be at the forefront of historical change. The wives, mothers and partners, by contrast, tend to be presented as subordinate to their husbands. Having the men played by women in this piece will hopefully ensure that the audience never loses sight of whose story is paramount’.

With an all-female cast, including BAFTA and Golden Globe nominee Cathy Tyson, playing a collection of vibrant characters, and dialogue loaded with humour and pathos, this thrilling new drama will be directed by Belgrade Associate Director, Justine Themen who makes her directorial debut as part of an all-female creative team this March.

Critical Mass is an open-access writing programme for ages 18+ which aims to develop writers from Black and Ethnic minority communities. First established by The Royal Court Theatre in 2004, Critical Mass offers unique platform for the voices and stories of emerging young writers from Black and Ethnic communities nationwide. The programme has grown from humble beginnings into a nationally recognized programme attracting commissions from across the UK.

Director Justine Themen said: ‘This production of Liz Mytton’s brand new play, Red Snapper, represents a landmark moment in the history of the Critical Mass programme. It is the first play to come out of the West Midlands Critical Mass group to receive a full professional production, and a world premiere in the theatre of its birth. Through a process of rigorous and bespoke outreach which began back in 2004, the Critical Mass programme has attracted and inspired a truly diverse pool of writers, encompassing many people who previously would never have considered writing for the stage. This, in turn, has resulted in a theatre that creates fresh, new, original leading roles, portraying complex lives, telling complex stories, a new engaged audience, and a growing network of professionals working in every sphere of the creative industries – delivering stories from right across the diaspora.’

Cathy Tyson is a BAFTA and Golden Globe nominated actress with over three decades of experience in the industry. She began her career at the Liverpool Everyman at the age of 17, before joining the RSC in 1984, and achieved widespread renown for her role in Mona Lisa alongside Bob Hoskins in 1986.

Recent credits include Bright Phoenix (Liverpool Everyman), Stand (Oxford Playhouse and touring) and Monkey Bars (Traverse and touring). Cathy Tyson returns to the Belgrade Theatre this March following her critically-acclaimed, one-woman tour of Michelle Innis’ She Called Me Mother for Pitchlake Productions in Autumn 2015.

She will be joined on stage by Dawn Hope, who was last seen at the Belgrade starring as Clarity in the U.K premiere of Cougar The Musical in 2015. Dawn’s previous theatre credits include The Scottsboro Boys for the New Vic, Porgy and Bess (Savoy Theatre), Rough Crossing (Lyric Hammersmith/National Tour), Piaf (Piccadilly Theatre/National Tour) and Chicago (The Cambridge Theatre/Sheffield Crucible). Television credits include: Coronation Street (Granada Television) Casualty and Waiting for God (BBC); Hale & Pace (LWT) and Hey Mr Producer!

Completing the cast is Gabrielle Brooks in the role of George/Dannette, Debra Michaels as Manny/Miss Myrtle, and Karlina Grace-Paseda as Gloria/Lincoln.

Red Snapper is directed by Justine Themen. The Assistant Director is Maeve Clarke. The Dramaturg is Ola Animashawun. Design is by Janet Vaughn. Lighting Design is by Prema Mehta and Sound Design is by Arun Ghosh. Set and costumes are by Belgrade Production Services.

Red Snapper makes its stage premiere in B2 from Sat 5 – Sat 19 Mar. Tickets are priced from £9.50 – £17. Tickets are available from the Belgrade Box Office on 024 7655 3055 or book online for even cheaper tickets.

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