The full cast and creative team has been confirmed for our world premiere production of a brand new version by Mike Poulton of Henrik Ibsen’s masterpiece Ghosts, opening in Northampton in April. The cast will be led by Penny Downie, James Wilby, Declan Conlon and Pierro Niel-Mee, and the play is directed by Lucy Bailey with Mike Britton as designer, Oliver Fenwick as lighting designer and Richard Hammarton as sound designer and composer.
A shattering story of the consequences of secrets and lies, Ibsen’s Ghosts is a damning comment on the morality and hypocrisy of 19th century life and this searing new version asks if much has changed since it was written over 100 years ago.
Constrained for years by societal expectations, widow Helen Alving is determined to escape the ghosts of her past but when her son Osvald returns home it is clear that some legacies are impossible to avoid. With secrets kept and lies told, the ghosts of her husband’s actions demand bigger sacrifices now than ever before.
As previously announced, Helen will be played by Penny Downie, whose extensive stage and television credits include Hamlet in the West End and ITV’s Downton Abbey. She is joined in the cast by James Wilby, as Pastor Manders. James’ extensive stage credits include work with the Royal Shakespeare Company and Lyric Hammersmith and his screen credits include leading roles in Poldark, Maurice, Gosford Park, Howards End, Regeneration and A Handful of Dust.
Celebrated Irish actor Declan Conlon will play Jakob Engstrand and Pierro Niel-Mee will play Osvald. Declan was recently seen in The Ferryman at the Gielgud Theatre and in Anna Karenina and Come on Home at the Abbey Theatre Dublin, for which he is nominated for the 2019 Irish Times Award for Best Actor. Pierro recently played Shakespeare in Shakespeare in Love and appeared at the RSC and in the West End in Imperium. Eleanor McLoughlin (Ah, Wilderness, Young Vic; The Winter’s Tale, Cheek by Jowl) completes the cast as Regina Engstrand.
With Tony nominations for Fortune’s Fool and adaptations of Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies, playwright Mike Poulton’s acclaimed plays also include Imperium for the Royal Shakespeare Company and A Tale of Two Cities for Royal & Derngate. At the Northampton venue, Lucy Bailey previously directed Gaslight and Love from a Stranger (nominated for the UK Theatre Best Touring Production Award in 2018). Her Olivier Award-nominated production of Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution is still going strong at London County Hall over a year after first opening.
Ghosts is designed by Mike Britton whose previous credits for Royal & Derngate include Love from a Stranger and A Tale of Two Cities (UK Theatre Award nomination for Best Design). Other credits include Henry V at the Royal Exchange Theatre (winner of Manchester Evening News Award for Best Design). Also re-united from the Love from a Stranger creative team are lighting designer Oliver Fenwick, whose other credits include King Lear (Duke of York’s Theatre/Chichester Festival Theatre), and sound designer and composer Richard Hammarton whose credits include The Mountaintop (Theatre503, Trafalgar Studios).
Ghosts can be seen here at Royal & Derngate from Friday 19 April till Saturday 11 May, with a national press night on Wednesday 24 April.