Go behind the scenes on The Big Life’s revival at Theatre Royal Stratford East

The new production is currently playing in Stratford

The cast of The Big Life, show rehearsal footage filmed and edited: Kostis Nikolas, additional camera: Matt Prior

WhatsOnStage went behind the scenes with the cast and director of the hit new production of The Big Life, currently playing at Theatre Royal Stratford East.

The Windrush Ska musical originally premiered 20 years ago at the venue and later transferred to the West End. It has a book by Paul Sirett and Tameka Empson, lyrics by Sirett, and music by Paul Joseph.

The Big Life blends the story of Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost with that of the Windrush generation. Set in 1950s London, it follows Ferdy, Bernie, Dennis, and Lennie, who arrive from the West Indies with high hopes. Determined to make a success of their new lives, the men decide to abstain from wine and women for three years. However, the women in their lives—Sybil, Mary, Zulieka, and Kathy—have other plans.

Check out the video, which features rehearsal footage filmed and edited by Kostis Nikolas, with additional camera work by Matt Prior:

Tinuke Craig directs Tameka Empson reprising her role as Mrs Aphrodite from the original production, joined by Juliet Agnes(Kathy), Danny Bailey (Admiral/Eros), Gabrielle Brooks (Sybil), Nathanael Campbell (Bernie), Khalid Daley (Dennis), Beth Elliott (Jacqueline/Secretary), Gabriel Fleary (Reverend), Jamal Franklin (Ensemble/Swing), Leanne Henlon (Mary), Rachel John (Zulieka), Gleanne Purcell-Brown (Ensemble/Swing), Theo St. Claire (as Ensemble/Swing), Karl Queensborough (Lennie) and Ashley Samuels (Ferdy).

Completing the creative team are Jasmine Swan (set and costume designer), Elliot Griggs (lighting designer), Emma Laxton (sound designer), Ian Oakley (musical director), Ingrid Mackinnon (choreographer), Jacob Sparrow (casting director), Becky Livermore (costume supervisor), Sid Kennedy (wigs supervisor), Joel Trill (voice and dialect coach), John Page (production manager), Vanessa Sutherland (company stage manager), Emma Currie (deputy stage manager), and Tayla Hunterand Dynzell Muguti (assistant stage managers).

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The Big Life

Closed: 30 March 2024