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Cast: Birrell leads 503 Mangrove, Hampstead Ignorance, Gate Trojan Women

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Casting has been announced for Tamara Harvey's production of Where the Mangrove Grows, the debut play by Royal Court Studio writer Joe Hammond, which runs at Theatre503 from 6 November to 1 December 2012.

Where the Mangrove Grows is billed as "a darkly enchanting tale based on a young boy's experiences in care". David Birrell will play care worker Mike, whose troubled relationship with 12 year-old Shaun is at the heart of the play.

Birrell recently appeared in both A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Ragtime at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre this summer. Earlier this year he made headlines when he filed a £250,000 damages claim against the Donmar Warehouse after he was blinded onstage by a misfiring prop during a run of Passion two years ago.

Charlie Jones, best known as Ben Mitchell in EastEnders, will play troubled youngster Shaun, while Mark Springer will play the "mysterious" Charles.

In other casting news, the premiere of Steve Waters' new play Ignorance / Jahiliyyah in the Hampstead Downstairs will star Jude Akuwudike (Moon on a Rainbow Shawl), Laila Alj (Women of Troy), Andy Apollo (Last of the Haussmans), Scarlett Brookes (Love and Information) and Dan Rabin (The Bomb, The Great Game).

The play, which opens on 15 November for a month-long run, centres on a group of students in small town Colorado in 1949 who struggle to accept a foreigner in their midst, and a London university professor analysing the consequences 60 years later.

Waters' writing credits for Hampstead include Fast Labour, English Journeys and After the Gods. His other writing credits include 66 Books and The Contingency Plan (both for the Bush).

Finally, Gate artistic director Christopher Haydon has announced the cast for his production of Caroline Bird’s "bold adaptation" of The Trojan Women - the opening production in 'The Aftermath Season'.

Running from 12 November to 15 December 2012 (previews from 8 November), the cast is Louise Brealey (Cassandra, Andromache, Helen), Sam Cox (Menelaus), Lucy Ellinson (Chorus), Jon Foster (Talthybius) and Dearbhla Molloy (Hecuba).


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