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Casting announced for Rita, Sue and Bob Too at the Royal Court

Max Stafford-Clark returns to direct Andrea Dunbar's play 35 years after the original production

Taj Atwal, James Atherton and Gemma Dobson
© Helen Murray

Casting has been announced for the revival of Andrea Dunbar's Rita, Sue and Bob Too, which opens at the Octagon Theatre in September before transferring to the Royal Court next year.

Directed by Max Stafford-Clark – who helmed the original 1982 production at the Court – the cast will feature James Atherton (Bob), Taj Atwal (Rita), Sally Bankes (Mother), Gemma Dobson (Sue), Samantha Robinson (Michelle) and David Walker (Father).

Atherton is best known for his starring roles in Hollyoaks and Coronation Street, his stage credits include Crocodiles at the Royal Exchange and Wallenstein at Chichester Festival Theatre. Atwal's theatre credits include Educating Rita at Hull Truck and East is East in the West End. Dobson makes her professional stage debut with this production.

Rita, Sue and Bob Too tells the story of two girls caught between a brutal childhood and an unpromising future. Dunbar wrote the semi-autobiographical play for the Royal Court when she was just 19.

The production is co-produced by Out of Joint, Royal Court and Octagon Theatre and will have design by Tim Shortall, lighting by Jason Taylor and sound by Emma Laxton.

Commenting on the play, Stafford-Clark said: "When Andrea wrote her first two plays, she was a teenager from a rough council estate who'd never been to the theatre.

"It's one of the privileges of my career that Andrea's astute, fresh and funny writing reached my desk, and it is exciting to bring her vivid, albeit alarming world to life again with these fine actors."

The production will also tour to Harrogate (26 to 30 Sept), Bristol (3 to 7 Oct), Liverpool (10 to 14 Oct), Warwick (17 to 21 Oct), Oxford (24 to 28 Oct), Northampton (31 Oct to 4 Nov), Doncaster (7to 11 Nov), York (14 to 18 Nov), Derby (21to 25 Nov), Huddersfield (31 Jan to 3 Feb) and Mold (6 to 10 Feb).

Rita, Sue and Bob Too runs at the Octagon Theatre from 6 September to 23 September, and at the Royal Court from 9 January to 27 January 2018.