Danielle and Nichole Bird
Danielle & Nichole Bird

Children's theatre the Unicorn has cast real-life twins to play the title roles in its forthcoming Christmas production of The Prince and the Pauper.

Mark Twain’s classic story of confused identities is set in a Tudor London, where young street urchin Tom Canty has a chance meeting with his doppelganger, heir to the throne Prince Edward VI. The two boys swap clothes and Tom is forced into a world of royal intrigue and courtly power, while Edward is cast down to the mercy of blaggards and thieves.

The roles will be played by 24 year-olds Danielle and Nichole Bird, who have previously worked together in Mike Leigh's Olympics short film Running Jump. Speaking to the Evening Standard, Danielle said: “It’s about mixed identities, which resonates with us.”

The cast will also include Nicholas Boulton as Henry VIII/John Canty, Richard Evans as Father Andrew, Jonathan Glew as Hereford, Jake Harders as Miles Hendon/Busker, Jason Morell as Bet/Elizabeth and Katherine Toy as Mrs Canty.

Adapted by Jemma Kennedy and directed by Selina Cartmell, The Prince and The Pauper is suitable for ages 6 and up and runs from 29 November 2012 to 13 January 2013 (previews from 25 November).