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by Nicole Rosky
As the culmination of the bicentenary of Charles Dickens, a new stage adaptation of one of his best loved novels will begin a national tour prior to London's West End, opening at the Richmond Theatre today, 13 September.
Joining Jack Ellis as Jaggers, Chris Ellison as Magwitch, Paul Nivison as Adult Pip and Paula Wilcox as Miss Havisham in GREAT EXPECTATIONS, will be Grace Rowe as Estella and Taylor Jay-Davies as Young Pip, with Katy Allen as Camilla Pocket, Gordon Brandie as Bentley Drummle, Josh Elwell as Cousin Raymond, Nathan Guy as Herbert Pocket, Isabelle Joss as Mrs Joe/Sarah Pocket, Steve North as Joe Gargery, Brian Pettifer as Wemmick, Suzanne Robertson as Biddy and James Vaughan as Wopsle.
Jack Ellis is best known as Harry Mason in Coronation Street, Robert Ashford in Where the Heart Is and Jim Fenner in Bad Girls. On stage, he appeared in the West End production of A Few Good Men with Rob Lowe and SurAnne Jones and in an international tour of Richard III with Kevin Spacey, directed by Sam Mendes. Chris Ellison is best known for his long-running role as Frank Burnside in The Bill. Paula Wilcox can currently be seen on television as Pauline in Mount Pleasant, and her other television roles include Hilary Potts in Emmerdale, Lilian in The Smoking Room and Chrissy in Man About the House. Her West End theatre credits include La Cage aux Folles, The Female Odd Couple, The Queen and I and Shirley Valentine.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS has been adapted for the stage by Jo Clifford, with direction by Graham McLaren, set by Robin Peoples, costumes by Annie Gosney and Graham McLaren, lighting by Kai Fischer, original music by Simon Slater and sound by Matt McKenzie. Giovanni Bedin for House of Worth will be creating the couture elements of the show, including Miss Havisham's wedding dress. Charles Frederick Worth, the world's first official couturier, was a contemporary of Charles Dickens.
The Dickens Trust has been launched alongside the stage show and will receive a royalty share of box office. Set up with Lucinda Dickens Hawksley (great, great, great grand-daughter of Charles Dickens), it will distribute funds to concerns dealing with issues Dickens was passionate about, for example, prison reform, adoption, literacy etc.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS is represented by Beer & Partners Limited and sponsored by House of Worth and Rocco Venezia. The new adaptation will be published by Nick Hern Books (www.nickhernbooks.co.uk).
GREAT EXPECATIONS is produced by Bruce Athol MacKinnon on behalf of Beckman Unicorn Ltd & Satis House Productions Ltd.
For more information, please visit www.greatexpectationstheplay.com.