Archive for May, 2018

Interview with Cast and Director of REACTOR

Posted on: May 17th, 2018 by artsAdmin

Reactor follows the journey of two brilliant young nuclear chemists, Crane and Benson who arrive on a remote Scottish island to work on a revolutionary project. Ready to change the world for the good, their scientific horizons are endless and charged by optimism. 

But the island is haunted by a hidden past and a terrifying future. Crane and Benson are about to learn how far they will go to belong and that there are consequences for messing with the fabric of the universe.

ArtsEd spoke to director, Hannah Banister, as well as cast members: Zoë McVicker, Cellan Wyn, Omar Osman and Joe Cook about the process…

The Island where the Reactor is based isn’t quite what it seems…How would you describe it?

Hannah: “The Island has its own way of doing things – its’s not bound by the laws of the mainland, its bound only by what the people have created. In that sense, it’s a bit like a cult. Everything is drawn from the atom – they all worship the atom. It’s all quite cut-throat. He who dares wins and winner takes it all. It’s not an easy place to live.” 

Actors, explain a little about your characters…

Zoë: “Crane has just completed her PhD at Cambridge and faces a lot of challenges when she arrives on the Island. She is first met with a weird initiation process that includes a lot of alcohol. She is a very serious-minded woman, so this environment doesn’t suit her. Her main drive is to work on the Reactor – she just wants to start work as soon as possible.”

Cellan: “Tooley is a robot – an AI, who is also put on the island to work on the Reactor. Although he shouldn’t experience human emotion, he goes down a very interesting path as he begins to discover what he is and his main purpose. It’s been a challenge playing a robot who is also very human.”

Omar: “Milton is intellectual and level-headed. He’s a biologist who mainly works with plants, and he’s very passionate about it – which shows. I’m definitely someone like that, so I can put my passion into Milton’s character and my work in general.”

What has it been like working with a new piece of writing and being the very first to put it on stage?

Hannah: “When working with new writing, it’s as much about the people playing the parts as it is about the story. New ideas come out of rehearsals that we can take forward into the final piece, so throughout we’ve been able to tweak and make little rewrites. It’s been wonderful working alongside Brad Birch, as it means that both the writing and the practical work can come together in harmony.”

Joe: “It’s been a fantastic experience because you feel so much more involved with new writing, especially with this piece. A lot of what we’ve worked on has been incorporated into the play, such as character and prop work.”

Delve into the curious world of Reactor and book your tickets now! The run starts on Tuesday 22 May and ends on Saturday 26 May.


ArtsEd Alumna Marième Diouf Centre Stage in Offside

Posted on: May 16th, 2018 by artsAdmin

Marième Diouf (ArtsEd BA Acting, 2015) stars in Offside, a new play by poets Sabrina Mahfouz and Hollie McNish which is currently on tour. A unique blend of lyrical dialogue, poetry and punchy prose, Offside put women's football centre stage, focusing on two contemporary women who are trialling for England, Mickey and Keeley, and two women players from the past, Lily Parr and Emma Clarke. Marième plays Mickey and Emma. 

Marième's first professional role after graduating from ArtsEd was in Liberian Girl at The Royal Court, which earned rave reviews.

She says: “ArtsEd has made me the performer I am, and hugely added to the woman I’ve become.”


Offside – three centuries, one goal and a tale of sweat and struggle – is set in 1892, 1921 and 2018, as four women from across the centuries live, breathe and play football.  The play is the result of extensive research into the history and current state of women’s football, including a little-known 50-year ban. Futures Theatre Company partnered with the National Football Museum in Manchester and the Imperial War Musuem in London in the early stages of development, and Edinburgh's Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh came on board as a dramaturgical partner for the first tour in March and April 2017 before the show secured a transfer to the Pleasance for the Edinburgh Fringe. This new tour coincides with Manchester United's announcement that it will be launching its first ever women's team.

As part of the tour, Futures has performed at York Theatre Royal for the first time in their 26-year history and director Caroline Bryant was thrilled to have been invited to York. 

And why the title Offside? “It's partly in recognition of the joke that women can't understand the offside rule, also a slight on women, and it's also about being off-balance until we can be the women we are meant to be and then we'll be onside.”

Offside is on tour until 30 June 2018 – more details and booking at

12 Students and alumni to star in Les Misérables

Posted on: May 14th, 2018 by artsAdmin

ArtsEd is proud to announce that ten graduating students and alumni have joined the cast of Les Misérables in London's Queen's Theatre and will be on stage from Monday 11 June. Rehearsals began last week and the show is booking until Saturday 2 March 2019.

ArtsEd alumnus Dean Chisnall will star in the lead role, becoming the new Jean Valjean. Dean has appeared in other high profile West End musicals, including playing Shrek in Shrek The Musical at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, La Cage Aux Folles at the Playhouse Theatre, Love Never Dies at the Adelphi Theatre and Never Forget at the Savoy Theatre. Beyond the West End, he has appeared in Mamma Mia in Cyprus, Shrek The Musical on a UK tour and Blood Brothers on UK tours. {image1}

Other new ArtsEd cast members, graduating this year, are Toby Miles, Amara Okereke, Adam Filipe, Hannah Grace Lawson, Jessica Lee and Ben Tyler, joined by alumni Rebecca Lafferty, Sam Edwards, Viv Parry and Oliver Brenin, as well as Elena Sky from the Sixth Form. Congratulations to all our students and wishing you every success!

Les Misérables is an epic production which takes audiences on an odyssey spanning the decades around the turn of the 19th century in France. Jean Valjean is a former convict who struggles to return to society and is then caught stealing, leading to a cat-and-mouse fight to survive as he is tracked by the ruthless Inspector Javert. This is a show not to be missed, especially with its amazing new cast! 

Book tickets here.

Cast on Countdown to Opening Night

Posted on: May 10th, 2018 by artsAdmin

In the run-up to the first of our exciting new plays in May – This Is by award-winning playwright Roy Williams – we asked some of the cast members to give us their thoughts. There's a real buzz around ArtsEd as the world premiere opens on Tuesday 15 May – so grab your tickets now!

Here's the story…

London, 1997-2017. Kelle is smart but she’s fighting the odds. Growing up in a family she doesn’t like and a world that doesn’t expect much of her, everything shifts when her brother is sent to prison. Kelle’s drive to clear his name takes her down a road that she didn’t expect to be on.

This Is charts the ever-changing connections in Kelle’s life as she navigates her way through the upheavals of Britain at the turn of the 21st century.

And here's the cast reactions…

Cash Holland (Kelle) {image1}

What excites you most about This Is?
The plays deals with how people change and how a sibling relationship can develop. Relationships can change drastically in just one moment. It also shows such a wide variety of people from different backgrounds in all different jobs and roles across society, I think that’s really good.
Describe your character Kelle in three words:
Driven / Defiant / Courageous
What does Britishness mean to you?
A cup of tea! It always brings people together. And community.
What do you hope the audience will leave with?
I hope they will have felt Kelle’s passion and connected with the story of her life. I hope people go away thinking about some of the issues that are tackled.


Katie Labey (Zoe/Armed Officer)  {image2}

What excites you most about this play?
I think we're already in the making of a great story but the most exciting element for me is that no one will have seen it before, that's the joy of working with new writing.

Describe your character in three words:
Invasive, inquisitive and involved

This Is tackles the subject of Britishness – what does being British mean to you?
To me, being British applies to anyone in the United Kingdom. It's slightly different for me as, being from the Channel Islands, it's a word that simply ties me to the mainland.

What do you want the audience to leave with?
An awareness of our country's history and how much has changed, as well as things that haven't changed enough.


Harry Hancock (Dennis/Patrick) {image3}

What excites you most about this play?
A look back at the past 20 years; the formative years of all of the cast. The play spans from 1997-2017 and pinpoints key moments in the lives of Londoners across these decades. It has made me reminisce and reminded me of the faux pas of humanity, how quick we are to forget the atrocities of our recent history.

Describe your character in three words:
Big Wet Blanket

This Is tackles the subject of Britishness – what does being British mean to you?
Being British for me is about being a Londoner, I was born and raised in this city and love every aspect of it. The hub and versatility of life is infectious and I cant imagine myself anywhere else.

What do you want the audience to leave with?
The play takes you through Kelle’s life and formative years, our biggest goal is for the audience to feel like they know Kelle intimately. Every character aids you to better understand and appreciate her story. And hopefully through her struggles, you can relate to her story in some way.


Alice Cottyn (Beth/Pippa) {image4}

What excites you most about this play?

What I find most exciting about the play is that each character is fighting their own battle on a very human level. Each of us wants something, whether that's to simply fit in, have a loving family and home or just be loved.

Describe your character in three words.

Independent, Broken and Capable

This Is tackles the subject of Britishness – what does being British mean to you?

Britishness to me resembles the United Kingdom. I'm proud to be British but I identify as English and even more than that I have such pride in my Northern roots.

What do you want the audience to leave with?

I want the audience to leave with a sense of togetherness, an awareness of different cultures and an openness to and understanding of the relationships and choices that people choose and make.

Break a leg to all This Is cast members!

15-19 May, 7.30pm, The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation Theatre. More info and booking here