Casting announced for the world stage premiere of award-winning novel Crongton Knights
Pilot Theatre, the Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Derby Theatre and York Theatre Royal have announced casting for the world stage premiere of Crongton Knights, adapted by Emteaz Hussain from the award-winning YA novel by Alex Wheatle.
Created by the consortium behind 2019’s hugely successful, sell-out production of Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses, this exciting new show will make its debut in Coventry from 8-22 February 2020 before embarking on a UK tour.
Co-directed by Corey Campbell (Co-Artistic Director of the Belgrade Theatre for 2021 and Artistic Director of Strictly Arts) together with Esther Richardson (Artistic Director of Pilot Theatre), the show will feature a set designed by Simon Kenny (Assassins, Nottingham Playhouse; Black Men Walking, Eclipse and Manchester Royal Exchange; Sweeney Todd, Barrow Street Theatre and Off-Broadway) and created in Coventry at the Belgrade Production Services workshop.
Physical theatre will be combined with an innovative beatbox soundscape that brings the pulse of the city to life in this coming-of-age adventure, featuring original music and compositions by Conrad Murray of the Battersea Arts Centre Beatbox Academy, whose recent production Frankenstein: How To Make A Monster, received rave reviews and played to sell out audiences at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Lighting for the show is by Richard G Jones (The Railway Children, York and London; Sweeney Todd, Barrow Street Theatre and Off-Broadway).
Life isn’t easy on the Crongton Estate and for McKay and his mates it’s all about keeping their heads down, but when a friend finds herself in trouble, they set out on a mission that goes further than any of them imagined. Join “The Magnificent Six” as they discover how lessons learned the hard way can bring you closer together with friends you’ll never forget.
Casting for the show includes Olisa Odele (Chewing Gum, E4; Scarborough, BBC), Marcel White (Freeman, Strictly Arts) as McKay, Aimee Powell (Freeman, Strictly Arts; Over the Top, Belgrade Theatre; Feed the Beast, Birmingham REP) as Venetia, Kate Donnachie (Frankenstein: How To Make A Monster, Battersea Arts Centre Beatbox Academy) as Bushkid, Simi Edgebjumi-David (Shit-Faced Shakepeare: Romeo and Juliet, Magnificent Bastard Productions; Around the World in 80 Days, Kenny Wax and Simon Friend) as Festus; Khai Shaw (Little Baby Jesus, Orange Tree Theatre) as Jonah and Nigar Yeva (Give Me, Soho Theatre) as Saira.
Crongton Knights is the second of four co-productions to emerge from a consortium project set up by Pilot Theatre, Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Derby Theatre, York Theatre Royal and Mercury Theatre Colchester to develop new theatre for younger audiences. Between 2019 and 2022, the consortium will commission and co-produce one original, mid-scale production each year. Each production will play in all the consortium venues as well as touring nationally. The consortium’s first production, Noughts and Crosses, was seen by over 30,000 people on tour with 40% of the audience being aged under 20.
Alex Wheatle’s Crongton Knights was the recipient of the 2016 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize and was shortlisted for the YA Book Prize 2017. The novel was described by the Independent as, “A joyous shout of youthful exuberance… enriching and life-affirming.” Poet, author and broadcaster Lemn Sissay (whose recent documentary Superkids was filmed in Coventry) described Wheatle as, “an inspirer… a vital writer… a prince among men.”