Theatre News

RSC reveals casting for The Box of Delights

The family show heads to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre for the festive season

Headshot of Callum Balmforth
Callum Balmforth, provided by the production

The Royal Shakespeare Company has confirmed the cast of its upcoming festive production of The Box of Delights.

Directed by Justin Audibert (The Taming of the Shrew), the piece is adapted from John Masefield’s beloved children’s novel by Piers Torday (The Last Wild). An initial version was originally produced for Wilton’s Music Hall back in 2017.

It follows an orphaned schoolboy named Kay Harker who comes into the possession of a small wooden box with powers beyond his wildest imagination.

The complete cast includes Nana Amoo-Gottfried (as Joe/Ensemble), Callum Balmforth (as Kay Harker), Stephen Boxer (as Cole Hawkings/Ramon Lully/Grandpa), Melody Brown (as Mayor/Dame Eleanor of Chasuble/Ensemble), Alex Cardall (as Ensemble/Puppeteer), Tom Chapman (as Rat/Puppeteer), Janet Etuk (as Herne the Hunter), Jack Humphrey (as Peter Jones), Tom Kanji (as Charles), Richard Lynch (as Abner), Annette McLaughlin (as Caroline Louisa), Mae Munuo (as Maria Jones), Molly Roberts (as Ellen/The Head/Ensemble), Rhiannon Skerritt (as Ensemble/Puppeteer), Timothy Speyer (as Bishop/Ensemble), and Rosie Wyatt (as Papergirl/Duchess of Musborough/Ensemble). Nia Gwynne and Claire Price will be job-sharing the role of Sylvia Daisy Pouncer.

Audibert commented: “I’m delighted to have the opportunity to work on The Box of Delights again, this time creating a bigger, and even more spectacular production for the Royal Shakespeare Theatre stage.

“It’s a show that features trains, boats, planes, mythical creatures, a good and a very bad magician, and characters that magically turn into tiny versions of themselves, characters that transform into animals that fly through the air and swim in the sea – how exciting is that? We’re telling the story through the imagination of a child, so the staging promises to be a fantastic mix of the inventive and the breathtaking.

“In many ways, The Box of Delights was the first fantasy story for children, and with its classic good versus evil narrative, and three young children as the heroes, you can see its influence on books like the Harry Potter series. I can’t wait for everyone to see it.”

Audibert reunites with designer Tom Piper for the production, with further creative team members including Prema Mehta (lighting), Ed Lewis (music), Claire Windsor (sound), Simon Pittman (movement), Nina Dunn and Matthew Brown (video), Samuel Wyer (puppetry), Kev McCurdy (fight direction), Réjane Collard-Walker (dramaturg) and Matthew Dewsbury CDG (casting).

The Box of Delights runs from 31 October 2023 until 7 January 2024, with a press night set for 8 November.

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