LAYTON WILLIAMS, JODIE PRENGER AND MATT HENRY TO STAR IN HOPE MILL THEATRE ONLINE PRODUCTION OF JONATHAN HARVEY’S HUSHABYE MOUNTAI

Hope Mill Theatre has announced it will work with Stream.Theatre to stream a new online production worldwide of Hushabye Mountain by acclaimed writer Jonathan Harvey. Directed by Nick Bagnall, this online production will star Matt Henry as Lee, Jodie Prenger as Beryl, Layton Williams as Connor, Nathan McMullen as Danny, Amy Dunn as Lana and Harrison Scott-Smith as Ben.

Hushabye Mountain will be streamed live on Saturday 5th June, and then available online on 11th, 12th and 13th June 2021 (All 7:30pm) and 18th, 19th and 20th June 2021 (All 7:30pm with a 2:30pm Saturday Matinee). Hope Mill Theatre will be partnering with the following venues to show the production throughout the run:

The Turbine Theatre
Sheffield Crucible
Liverpool Everyman
York Theatre Royal

Tickets are £17 to live steam and £15 for the recorded stream plus booking fees where applicable per household. Tickets are on sale and available from www.hopemilltheatre.co.uk, partner venue websites and www.stream.theatre .

There will also be a gala night held at Hope Mill on Saturday 12th June, where Hushabye Mountain will be streamed in the theatre for audiences to watch at the venue. Tickets are £25 and include an arrival drink and popcorn and will include a post-show Q&A.

Writer Jonathan Harvey said:

‘I am so thrilled Hope Mill, one of my favourite theatres, are mounting this revival of Hushabye Mountain. As we move through this current pandemic with vaccine shaped hope on the horizon, I am reminded of a different pandemic, and the time when combination therapies started being trialled and seemed to work for people with HIV. It felt like one day my friends were dying, the next they were surviving. The play is about a group of friends in that moment of time, back in the 90s, coping with the shifting landscape. I am also chuffed that Nick Bagnall, who played Ben in the original production, is directing. We’ve got a top cast and I can’t wait for new audiences to discover this piece.’

 

Danny is a young man, waiting to be let into heaven. There seems to be some difficulty about it, but Judy Garland reassures him as she passes by in a boat full of stars. Away from the dreamlike and unexpected version of the afterlife, the people who were closest to Danny struggle with his death from AIDS. His partner Connor is flattened by grief, and groping awkwardly towards a new relationship. Connor’s brother Lee and his wife Lana, who was Danny’s best friend, find their new marriage overshadowed by the hole Danny’s absence has left in their lives. And Danny’s mother Beryl, who had kept in contact via increasingly paranoid letters after Danny’s father disowned him, is now in a mental hospital and being updated by Judy Garland about her son’s progress towards heaven.

First performed in 1999 at the Lyceum Theatre, Crewe, Hushabye Mountain reveals a world that has learned to live with AIDS. It is a world full of love, pain, laughter and friendship, where drugs in their various combinations are exhilarating, destructive, costly and even life restoring.

Jonathan Harvey – Writer

Jonathan is the multi award winning writer of over 20 plays and was once the youngest playwright to have two plays in the West End at the same time. His film Beautiful Thing won many awards internationally, and Best Film at the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.

For TV, Jonathan wrote the BAFTA nominated sitcom Gimme Gimme Gimme and Beautiful People (Best Comedy, Banff TV Festival). Other TV work includes RevThe Catherine Tate ShowTracey Ullman’s ShowShamelessAt Home With The Braithwaites and Call The Midwife. For his work on Coronation Street he has won a Writers Guild of Great Britain Award as well as two British Soap Awards for Best Episode and Best Scene for ‘Gail’s monologue’. The monologue was also nominated for a BAFTA for TV Moment of the Year.

In September, his new play Our Lady Of Blundellsands will return to the Liverpool Everyman after a brief pause of 18 months for Covid! And his new musical version of My Best Friend’s Wedding will start to tour, starring Alexandra Burke.

 

Nick Bagnall – Director

Recent productions include: Our Lady of BlundellsandsSweeney Todd, The Conquest of the South PoleRomeo & JulietA Clockwork Orange and The Big I Am – a reimagining of Peer Gynt, all at the Liverpool Everyman; and Edward II at Shakespeare’s Globe.

Previous work includes: The Odyssey: Missing Presumed DeadA Midsummer Night’s DreamThe Electric Hills (Liverpool Everyman); I Am Not Myself These Days (Edinburgh & UK Tour); The Last Days of TroyBritannia Waves the Rules (Royal Exchange, Manchester); Love Labour’s LostThe Two Gentlemen of VeronaHenry VI parts 1, 2 and 3The Death of King ArthurSir Gawain and the Green Knight (Shakespeare’s Globe); A Christmas FairA Midsummer Night’s Dream (Milton Rooms, Malton); Fragile (Belgrade Theatre); Betrayal (Crucible Theatre); A Separate Reality (Royal Court); By Jeeves (Landor); Billy Liar (West Yorkshire Playhouse); Guys and Dolls (Arts Theatre, Cambridge); Entertaining Mr Sloane (Trafalgar Studios); Burning Cars (Hampstead Theatre); Mongoose (Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh); Promises and Lies (Birmingham Rep); Bolthole‘Low Dat (The Door, Birmingham Rep); The Ruffian on The Stair (Old Red Lion).

Nick trained at the Guildhall as an actor and has worked extensively in most major theatres in the country. He was formerly joint artistic director of The Milton Rooms. Nick was the Associate Director of the Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse between 2014 and 2019.

 

Matt Henry Bio – Lee

Award-winning West End actor, singer, songwriter, and artist: Matt Henry (MBE) is a man impossible to ignore. He was awarded an MBE in the Queens New Years Honours list (2017) for his work in Musical Theatre. Also that year Matt received a Grammy nomination for his solo performance on The London Kinky Boots cast recording. In (2016) he was Winner of the Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance as Lola in Kinky Boots and voted by London theatre goers as Best Actor in a Musical at the WhatOnStage awards (2016).

Matt has also toured the UK promoting his debut album Red Flare supporting Grammy and Tony winning pop icon, Cyndi Lauper back in 2016. His debut album Red Flare was recorded live at the studio of Dan Gillespie Sells (The Feeling) and produced by Mr Hudson and is now available to purchase on iTunes.

As a finalist on the BBC’s The Voice, where he was mentored by both will.i.am and Jessie J, Matt’s performance of Ray LaMontagne’s Trouble racked up over four million hits on YouTube and the original Trouble re-entered the UK charts that week, testament to Matt’s performance.

Previous theatre credits include: Our Lady of Blundellsands (Liverpool Empire), One Night in Miami (Nottingham Playhouse), The Two Noble Kinsmen (Shakespeare’s Globe), Avenue Q (Noël Coward Theatre and UK tour); Lion King (Lyceum); Miss Saigon (UK tour); Saturday Night Fever (Apollo Victoria); Hair (UK tour); The Rat Pack Live from Vegas (Adelphi and UK tour) The Harder They Come (Stratford East and UK tour); The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe (Royal & Derngate) and The Frontline (Shakespeare’s Globe).

JODIE PRENGER – Beryl

Jodie most recently performed in The Band Plays On for Sheffield Theatres. Before this she starred in the National Theatre’s touring production of A Taste of Honey, which transferred to the West End in December to play a 12 week season at the Trafalgar Studios. Recent theatre work includes tours of Abigail’s Party, Shirley Valentine, Annie, Fat Friends, Tell Me On A Sunday and Calamity Jane.

In the West End she has starred in OLIVER! at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, One Man, Two Govnors at Theatre Royal Haymarket and Spamalot at the Playhouse, and appeared in Les Miserables as the inaugural production at the Dubai Opera House. Jodie has starred in pantomime in at Liverpool Empire and Birmingham Hippodrome.

Television acting work includes Years and YearsJamie Johnson, Citizen Khan, Casualty, Wizards Vs Aliens, Candy Cabs and Waterloo Road. Television presenting work includes Let’s Dance for Comic Relief, Top Dog, Over The Rainbow and Let It Shine.

 

Layton Williams – Connor

Layton was born in Bury, Manchester and he began his career at the age of 12 playing the title role of Billy in the West End production of Billy ElliotHe made his debut TV appearance as Kylie in the BBC comedy Beautiful People. He went on to train at Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts which was documented on CBBC’s School For Stars.

Theatre includes: Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (Apollo Theatre), Paul in Kiss Me Kate (Sheffield Crucible); Seaweed in Hairspray! (2018 UK Tour); Angel in Rent (London/UK Tour); The Car Man (Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures); Simon in The Lord of the Flies (Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures) and Young Michael in Thriller Live (West End).

TV/Film includes: Rocketman (Paramount); Larry in Benidorm (ITV). Layton played series regular ‘Stephen’ in the BBC Comedy Bad Education series and feature film.

Layton is the director of Pros From The Shows which provides high quality workshops for young performers. They’ve reached thousands of students across the country hoping to inspire the next generation and nurture talent.

Layton will star in Murder They Hope on Gold and The Cleaner on BBC1. He’ll return to playing Jamie in the Everybody’s Talking About Jamie U.K tour soon.

Nathan McMullen – Danny

Nathan trained at The Manchester School of Theatre. His Theatre credits include: Our Lady Of Blundellsands (Everyman); Blood Knot (Orange Tree); The Big I Am (Everyman); A Clockwork Orange (Everyman);, Paint Your Wagon (Everyman); Down the Dock Road (Royal Court, Liverpool); The Hudsucker Proxy (Playhouse); Darkness at the Sun Court (Slunglow); Jack And The Beanstalk (West Yorkshire Playhouse) and The Worm Collector (West Yorkshire Playhouse).

Nathan’s TV credits include Doctor Who Christmas Special and Casualty (BBC); The Driver (BBC / Red Productions); Misfits Series 4 & 5 (E4 / Clerkenwell Films) and Shameless (Channel 4 Productions).

Film credits include Rose (Mini Productions); Headless (37 Adventures); The Circle Of Trust (Rankin Films); Kelly + Victor (Hot Property Films) and Coronation Street: A Knights Tale (ITV)

Amy Dunn – Lana

Amy’s theatre credits include Turn of the Screw (National Tour with Dermot McLaughlin Productions), Rupert Street Lonely Hearts Club (Above the Stag), Clickbait (Theatre 503), Chatroom (Arcola/C Nova), Happy (Pleasance Dome), and The Graduate (Courtyard Theatre). Her television credits include Dickensian, The Tracey Ullman Sketch ShowDoctors and Holby City (all for the BBC). Her radio credits include His Dark Materials (BBC). Amy graduated from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

Harrison Scott-Smith – Ben

Harrison is ECSTATIC to be joining the cast of Jonathan Harvey’s Hushabye Mountain and to be back in the North West after graduating from LIPA last summer.

About Author /

Kath is an actor, singer and writer with a passion for theatre. She has been reviewing for At The Theatre since 2014. Kath has a Masters in Performance at Liverpool Hope University and is Creative Engagement Worker for B arts, a participatory arts organisation.

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