Theatre News

Company announced for Barnum revival at the Watermill Theatre

The circus spectacular will take over the beautiful venue this summer – both inside and outside

Matt Rawle and Monique Young, photos supplied by the production
Matt Rawle and Monique Young, photos supplied by the production

Exclusive: The Watermill Theatre, under the leadership of artistic director Paul Hart and executive director Claire Murray, has announced the cast and creative team for its upcoming summer production of Barnum.

The musical, which has music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by Michael Stewart, and a book by Mark Bramble, won both Olivier and Tony Awards, and will now run from 2 July to 8 September.

Directed by Jonathan O’Boyle with choreography by Oti Mabuse, the show will feature an ensemble cast of actor-musicians and circus performers.

Matt Rawle (Father Brown, Evita) will play PT Barnum, while Monique Young (Sondheim’s Old Friends, Mary Poppins) will play Charity Barnum. Penny Ashmore, seen in Ride of the Valkyries at the Royal Albert Hall, will take on the role of Jenny Lind.

Other cast members include Fergus Rattigan as General Tom Thumb, Tania Mathurin as Joice Heth, Josh Barnett as James Bailey, and Tom Sterling as Edgar Templeton.

Returning to the Watermill Theatre are Emma Jane Morton and Tom Sowinski, alongside newcomers Jessica Jolleys, Charis Alexandra, and Elena Bluck, who is making her professional debut.

The cast is completed by onstage swings Kaine Hatukai and Laura Sillett, and circus performers Kiera Brunton, Emily Odunsi, Dan Holland and Andre Rodrigues in his musical theatre professional debut.

O’Boyle said today: “I’m thrilled to be directing Barnum at the beautiful Watermill Theatre this summer and with this wonderful cast and creative team. Barnum is a magical show, full of thrills, music, dance and yes, circus performers.

“With a fresh new take on this classic story, we’re approaching the show through a modern lens and perspective, celebrating the rich diversity and heritage of the show’s characters. We can’t wait transform the theatre and the grounds of the Watermill and immerse the audience in the world of PT Barnum!”

Amy Panter serves as the circus director, with George Dyer as the musical supervisor. Set and costume design are by Lee Newby, lighting design by Jai Morjaria, with Matt Nicholson as associate choreographer and Sofia Gallucci as assistant director. Circus consultancy is provided by the National Centre for Circus Arts.

The production team includes Tom Nickson as production manager, Cat Pewsey as company stage manager, Geoff Field as stage manager, Karen Habens as deputy stage manager, Fern Bamber as assistant stage manager, Leila Stephenson as rehearsal assistant stage manager, and Laini Johnson as assistant stage manager placement. Audio describers are Jenny Stewart-Cosgrove and Lixi Chivas, BSL consultant is Paul Whittaker, and BSL sign performers are Fliss Becker and Lixi Chivas.