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Full cast announced for Octagon Theatre Bolton’s The Importance of Being Earnest

Sarah Ball and David Cardy join Coronation Street’s Vicky Entwistle and Dean Fagan as well as Melissa Lowe, Jack Hardwick, Dan Sheader and Elizabeth Twells in Oscar Wilde’s comic masterpiece.

A Victorian satire on social obligations, The Importance of Being Earnest is heralded as one of the funniest plays ever written and has delighted audiences for over 100 years. It will now be brought to life in the grand Victorian setting of the Bolton’s beautiful Albert Halls in a fresh and vibrant new production directed by Suba Das, Artistic Director of HighTide Festival. The production will be running from Thu 6 June – Sat 15 June 2019 at the Albert Halls, Bolton whilst the Octagon Theatre building is undergoing a major redevelopment.

Bachelors and best friends Jack and Algernon create alter egos to escape their tiresome lives. However when they both fall in love and attempt to win the hearts of two women the pair become tangled in a tale of deception, disguise and misadventure. The Octagon Theatre are thrilled to announce the full cast of celebrated stage and screen actors that will bring this wonderfully witty and deliciously decadent comedy to life.

With a CV spanning leading roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company, in the West End, and at the UK’s major regional theatres including Leeds Playhouse and the Royal Exchange, Sarah Ballmakes her Octagon debut as the formidable Lady Bracknell. 

Previously a leading man in Dreamboats and Petticoats and Ghost Stories in the West End, and The Fool in King Lear at the Old Vic, David Cardy is best known to audiences for creating the role of Chris Theodopolopodous in the hit sitcom Birds of the Feather, he will now take on the role of the absent minded country vicar Reverend Dr Chasuble.

Coronation Street’s Vicky Entwistle recently seen on stage in the musical of Doctor Dolittle will play governess Miss Prism. She will be joined on stage by another Coronation Street alumni Dean Fagan who will be taking on the role of the seemingly responsible and respectable Jack Worthing. The charming and idle bachelor Algernon Moncrieff will be played by Jack Hardwick (The Inheritance, Noel Coward Theatre 2019, Long Day’s Journey into Night, West End 2018).

Completing the cast Elizabeth Twells (Death of a Salesman, Royal Exchange, 2018) plays the strong-willed and sophisticated Gwendolen Fairfax, Melissa Lowe (The Cat in the Hat, Leicester Curve & Tour, 2019) as Cecily Cardew and Dan Sheader takes on the roles of butler Merriman and manservant Lane.

Joining director Suba Das the creative team includes celebrated Set & Costume designer David Woodhead who recently designed Nativity UK Tour, Titanic UK Tour and Little Miss Sunshine UK Tour. The lighting design will be by Prema Mehta whose designs include lighting at the O2 Arena, Latitude Festival, Liverpool Everyman and Derby Theatre.

Suba Das comments: “I’m thrilled we’ve assembled such an extraordinary and diverse cast for our fun-filled production of The Importance of Being Earnest with actors local to Bolton as well as stars of the small screen and the West End all making their Octagon debuts. Coupled with David Woodhead’s stylish design, which draws inspiration from the lavish photography studios of the Victorian era and the portraits of John Singer Sargent (a contemporary of Oscar Wilde’s) this phenomenal cast will bring even more wit and glamour to this most hilarious of plays and I hope Bolton’s amazing audiences will have an absolute ball. Let the madness commence!”

The Octagon Theatre building will reopen in spring 2020 with new and improved facilities that will ensure the Octagon delivers world-class theatre in Bolton in a theatre for the future. The Octagon Theatre’s programme for autumn/winter 2019 is to be announced next month.

The Importance of Being Earnest will run from Thu 6 June – Sat 15 June at the Albert Halls Bolton. For more information visit octagonbolton.co.uk/whats-on/theatre/the-importance-of-being-earnest