Multi-award-winning writer Tanika Gupta has reimagined her 2003 adaptation of HOBSON’S CHOICE for the Exchange. In this sharp and witty retelling of Harold Brighouse’s classic take on family loyalty, we meet Hari Hobson, played by Tony Jayawardena (Ackley Bridge), who has fled Uganda to make a new life for his family in Manchester’s ever-changing Northern Quarter of the 1980s. This universal story explores family relationships and reflects the hopes, aspirations and disappointments of families everywhere who are trying to build a new life. Set in a city with a complex history of cotton and a striking feminist past we meet Durga Hobson (Shalini Peiris) who is determined to challenge the patriarchy and change the status quo. The Hobson family is completed by Maimuna Memon as Sunita Hobson and Safiyya Ingar as Ruby Hobson. HOBSON’S CHOICE runs in the Theatre from 31 May – 6 July.
Regrettably, due to unforeseen personal circumstances director Pooja Ghai has had to step away from this production, Atri Banerjee will take over as director. HOBSON’S CHOICE will be his directorial debut for the Exchange’s main-house. The Royal Exchange looks forward to welcoming Pooja back to Manchester in the future. Pooja commented…
“It’s been a delight to be able to assemble this exceptional cast and creative team, and it’s been a privilege to work for the Royal Exchange. I have full confidence that Atri will take the lead and fully realise Tanika’s wonderful adaptation.”
The HOBSON’S CHOICE cast is completed by Esh Alladi (Ali Mossop) who returns to the Exchange following his role in WIT, Raj Bajaj (Steve Da Silva), Tony Hirst (Jim Heeler), Gurjeet Singh (Robbie Singh), Avin Shah (Tubby Mohammed) and Yasmin Wilde (Dr Bannerjee/Pinky Khan).
Stage and screen actor Tony Jayawardena’s theatre credits have included WHITE TEETH (Kiln Theatre); YOUNG MARX (The Bridge Theatre); LIONS AND TIGERS (The Globe); TWELFTH NIGHT (The Globe) and THE TEMPEST (The RSC). His television credits include: ACKLEY BRIDGE, THE TUNNEL, HOLBY CITY, THE WINDSORS; STRIKEBACK and CUCKOO.
Director Atri Banerjee trained at Birkbeck and was previously Trainee Director at the Royal Exchange Theatre. His associate director credits for the Exchange include: WEST SIDE STORY, THE MYSTERIES and JUBILEE; and his assistant director credits include: HAPPY DAYS, THE ALMIGHTY SOMETIMES and OUR TOWN. He has also just finished an assisting role on THE SON (Kiln Theatre). His directing credits include: TAMASHA SCRATCH NIGHT: THE PLAYWRIGHTS 2018 (Soho Theatre), A PIECE OF MONOLOGUE (Royal Exchange Theatre), THE COMEDY OF ERRORS (Japan and UK tour), SIX CHARACTERS IN SEARCH OF AN AUTHOR (C Venues, Edinburgh Festival Fringe and ADC), BIG MAC (Sweet ECA, Edinburgh Festival Fringe). He is currently on the Almeida Resident Director Scheme.
Over the past 15 years Tanika Gupta has written over 20 stage plays that have been produced in major theatres across the UK and has written extensively for BBC Radio drama. Her play LIONS AND TIGERS (Globe Theatre) directed by Pooja Ghai received the James Tait Black Award for Drama 2018. Her other theatre credits include: MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (Globe Theatre –Dramaturg); ANITA AND ME (Birmingham Rep); LOVE N STUFF (Theatre Royal Stratford East); THE EMPRESS (Royal Shakespeare Company), WAH! WAH! GIRLS – A BRITISH BOLLYWOOD MUSICAL (Sadler’s Wells); MINDWALKING (Bandbazi Theatre); GREAT EXPECTATIONS (Watford Palace Theatre/English Touring Theatre); MEET THE MUKHERJEES (Bolton Octagon Theatre); WHITE BOY (National Youth Theatre/Soho Theatre); SUGAR MUMMIES (Royal Court Theatre); GLADIATOR GAMES (Sheffield Crucible Theatre); HOBSON’S CHOICE (Young Vic); FRAGILE LAND (Hampstead Theatre); INSIDE OUT (Clean Break); SANCTUARY, BRECHT’S THE GOOD WOMAN OF SETZUAN and THE WAITING ROOM (National Theatre); SKELETON (Soho Theatre) and A RIVER SUTRA (Indoza).