The Helmers appear to have the perfect marriage, but events over Christmas reveal the dramatic secret that Nora has kept hidden from her husband Torvald, a secret which plunges the relationship into crisis. Henrik Ibsen’s ground-breaking play created a huge sensation at its premiere in 1879, and the passage of time has done nothing to diminish its power to shock its audience.
Taking the role of Nora is Chester-born Emma Cunniffe, whose list of TV credits includes some of the most memorable programmes of the last 15 years. Emma starred as Emma Quinlan in the BBC’s raunchy mini-series The Lakes in 1997 and 1999. She has also appeared in All the King’s Men, Clocking Off, Flesh and Blood, The Whistle-Blower, and The Genius of Mozart, in which she played Constanze, the wife of the great composer, in 2004.
Emma’s theatre credits include performances at, amongst a host of others, the Hampstead Theatre in London, the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester, and the Open Air Theatre in Regents Park - she is nominated in our very own What’s On Stage awards as Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Elizabeth in The Crucible.
Playing Torvald is Ken Bradshaw, who returns to the Library Theatre Company for the first time since playing Czech dissident Ferdinand in Chris Honer’s regional premiere of Tom Stoppard’s Rock ‘n’ Roll in spring 2009. Ken’s many TV credits include roles in Coronation Street, Shameless, Hollyoaks, and Silent Witness.
Taking the role of Nils Krogstad, Torvald’s scheming colleague, is Paul Barnhill, who makes his third appearance of the year with the Library Theatre Company following his appearance last year in Glengarry Glen Ross, nominated as Best Production in the 2010 Manchester Evening News Theatre Awards, and the Library’s recent production at The Lowry of A Christmas Carol.
Daniel Brocklebank, whose appearance in director John Madden’s hit 1998 film Shakespeare in Love earned him a Screen Actors’ Guild Award, and has credits in TV shows including Justice, Casualty, Doctors, and EastEnders, plays the Helmers’ best friend, Dr Rank; Sarah Ball, who has toured to Japan with the Royal Shakespeare Company on a number of productions including Antony and Cleopatra, Much Ado About Nothing, The Tempest, and King Lear, plays Mrs Linde, an old friend of Nora.
The Helmers' maid, Anne-Marie, is played by Roberta Kerr, and Verity-May Henry, a recent graduate of Manchester Metropolitan University’s School of Theatre, completes the main cast as Helene, the Helmers’ nanny.
In addition, six local schoolchildren will share the roles of the Helmers’ three young children. George Courtney (Urmston) and James Ketel (Bramhall) play Ivar; Oliver Churm (Prestwich) and Nathan Ng (Altrincham) play Bob; and Lola Jones (Radcliffe) and Hashini Ranaweera (Cheadle Hulme) play Emmy.
Accompanying A Doll’s House is Getting Married, a short drama which Swedish playwright August Strindberg, a rival to Ibsen, wrote in 1884 as a response to the play. Getting Married, is directed by Elisa Amesbury, assistant director of A Doll’s House, and will be performed on Wednesday 9 - Friday 11 March at 10.15pm. Admission is free to Ibsen ticket-holders.
A Doll's House is at the Lowry from 24 February - 12 March.
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