ViSiBLE, a theatre company dedicated to creating work focused on later life, announce the full cast for the world première of Five Characters in Search of a Good Night’s Sleep, devised by Mike Alfreds and Sonja Linden with the company – Geraldine Alexander, Andrew Hawkins, Sally Knyvette, Gary Lilburn and Vincenzo Nicoli. The production, directed by Alfreds, opens at Southwark Playhouse on 29 April and runs until 23 May.

Five insomniacs try to make it through the night. From dusk to dawn, they struggle with a crisis in their lives which they must resolve by morning.  Increasingly conscious of their shortening futures and lengthening pasts, they fill their nights with distracting activities, desperate sleep techniques, evaluations of their lives, delusions, fears, panics and utter foolishness as they prepare to face the day.

Five Characters in Search of a Good Night’s Sleep has been developed over a two-year period through a series of workshop in which all the material for the play was created by the actors led by the director Mike Alfreds.

Mike Alfreds is an award-winning theatre director, adapter, translator, teacher and previous Artistic Director and founder of theatre companies Shared Experience and Method and Madness. His previous credits as a director include Year of WondersThe Tin Ring (The Lowry), Cymbeline (Shakespeare’s Globe), The Wandering Jew, The Black Dahlia, The Cherry Orchard – Winner of Critics’ Circle Theatre Award (National Theatre), A Handful of Dust, Jude The Obscure (Lyric Hammersmith), La RondeThe MiserArabian Nights (UK tours) and Bleak House (Royal Court Theatre). His credits as an author include Different Every Night: Freeing the Actor (2007), Then What Happens? Storytelling and Adapting for the Theatre (2013).


Sonja Linden’s credits as a playwright include credits include RoundelayWho Do We Think We Are? (Southwark Playhouse), Welcome to Ramallah (Arcola Theatre/York Theatre Royal), Crocodile Seeking Refuge (Lyric Hammersmith/UK tour), I Have Before me a Remarkable Document Given to me By a Young Lady from Rwanda (Finborough Theatre/UK tour), On A Clear Day You Can See Dover (Wilton’s Music Hall/UK tour), Asylum MonologuesPalestine Monologues (UK tours), Asylum Dialogues (Tricycle Theatre/UK tour), The Strange Passenger (Battersea Arts Centre/UK tour), The Jewish Daughter (New End Theatre) and Call Me Judas (Finborough Theatre).

Geraldine Alexander’s theatre credits include Draw Me Close (Young Vic), OsloStrange InterludePillars of the Community (National Theatre), PersuasionBreaking the CodePresent Laughter (Royal Exchange Theatre), The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (UK tour), Holy WarriorsTitus AndronicusA Midsummer Night’s DreamThe Tempest (Shakespeare’s Globe), In Skagway (Arcola Theatre), The Empty Quarter (Hampstead Theatre), The Welsh Boy (Theatre Royal Bath), For Once (Hampstead Theatre/Traverse Theatre), In Praise of Love (Royal & Derngate Northampton), State of Emergency (Gate Theatre) and Holy Terror (UK tour/Duke of York’s Theatre). Her television credits include The Child in TimeMarcellaQuick CutsShetlandExtrasThe ManForgottenBust and Miss Marple: Sleeping Murder; and for film, MessagesThe Discovery of HeavenMerchant GarconThe Wall of Tyranny and The Nightingale Sage.

Andrew Hawkins’ credits for the company include Who Do We Think We Are? and Roundelay (Southwark Playhouse). Other theatre credits include Flight (The National Gallery, London), To the Bone (Rich Mix), Naked, Live… and Never Again (Edinburgh Festival Fringe), Heldenplatz (Arcola Theatre), I Have Before Me a Remarkable Document Written by a Young Lady from Rwanda (Finborough Theatre), A Wedding Story (Birmingham Rep/Soho Theatre/UK tour), King Lear (Royal Exchange Theatre), The CenciKaterina (Lyric Hammersmith), Time and the Conways (Theatr Clwyd/The Old Vic/UK tour and Royal Alexandra Theatre, Toronto), Married Love (Wyndham’s Theatre/UK tour), Nicholas Nickleby (Aldwych Theatre and Plymouth Theatre, New York), The Knight of the Burning Pestle (Aldwych Theatre), The Suicide (Donmar Warehouse/Aldwych Theatre), BaalPericles (Donmar Warehouse), and The Merchant of Venice and Robin Hood (Young Vic). His television credits include Martial LawBugsMoving StoryCitizen LockeTropical HeatThe Black TowerGood Behaviour and The Glittering Prizes; and for film, Tomorrow Never DiesShadowlandsSon of the Pink PantherThe Object of BeautyThe Whistle BlowerTop Secret! and Chariots of Fire.

Sally Knyvette’s theatre credits include King Lear (City Lit Theatre), Divine Right (Birmingham Repertory Theatre), Jack and the Giant (Royal Exchange Theatre), Rule of the Game (Churchill Theatre/Yvonne Arnaud Theatre) and Sawn off at the Knees (Sheffield Theatres). Her television credits include as series regular Kate Sugden in Emmerdale and Jenna Stannis in Blake’s 7.

Gary Lilburn plays Harry. His theatre credits include Pinocchio (Citizens Theatre), As You Like It (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), TrestleThe Hairy ApeThe Hostage (Southwark Playhouse), The Taming of the ShrewA Midsummer Night’s DreamThe Golden Ass (Shakespeare’s Globe), DelugeBuried AliveTuesday’s Child (Hampstead Theatre), The Cripple of Inishmaan (MGC at the Noël Coward Theatre/Cort Theatre, New York), The KingdomAngels and Saints (Soho Theatre), Calendar Girls (Chichester Festival Theatre/ Noël Coward Theatre), The Man Who Had All The Luck (Donmar Warehouse), The Quare Fellow (Tricycle Theatre/Oxford Stage Company), To Kill a Mockingbird, Hen House (Arcola Theatre), The Weir (Royal Court Theatre) and The Measles (Gate Theatre). His television his credits include Paula, Catastrophe, Mrs Brown’s Boys,  Pete Versus Life, I Shouldn’t Be Alive, Whistleblower, Single-HandedPerfect Day: The Funeral, Pulling, Sea of Souls, 55 Degrees North, Dalziel and Pascoe, McCready and DaughterMy Family and Perfect Scoundrels; and for film, PhilomenaEdenGarage, and Veronica Guerin.

Vincenzo Nicoli’s credits for the company include Roundelay (Southwark Playhouse). Other theatre credits include The Merchant of Venice (Almeida Theatre), The Shawshank Redemption (Edinburgh Festival Fringe), The Revenger’s Tragedy (Hoxton Hall), The Kitchen (National Theatre), On the Waterfront (Nottingham Playhouse/Theatre Royal Haymarket), Yerma (Arcola Theatre), Pool Death (Salisbury Playhouse) and Things You Shouldn’t (Soho Theatre). His television credits include RoadkillFather BrownOur GirlThe CoronerI Want My Wife BackHank ZipzerThe Prey and Mr Selfridge; and for film, Captain PhillipsThe Dark KnightEnemy of the UnseenSixty SixRabbit FeverRazor’s EdgeOdysseyIn Love and WarJoseph and Aliens 3.

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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