First computer musical Beyond the Fence – Laura Jane Matthewson cast

Rehearsals for Beyond The Fence

Laura Jane Matthewson in rehearsal for Beyond The Fence at the Arts Theatre, London. Pictures: Robert Workman

Casting has been revealed for the world’s first ‘computer musical’, Beyond the Fence. Presented by Sky Arts and Wingspan Theatricals, Beyond the Fence will play at the Arts Theatre from 22 February to 5 March. Rehearsals are underway in London for this ground-breaking show, all of which is being documented for television in the documentary series Computer Says Show, with part one airing on Sky Arts on 25 February at 8pm. Beyond the Fence is directed by Luke Sheppard, with musical direction by Candida Caldicot, choreographed by Cressida Carre and produced by Neil Laidlaw. Press Night is 26 February.

CJ Johnson (Mary) is a previous winner of the Ian Fleming Musical Theatre Award. She has recently appeared in Little Shop of Horrors at the Royal Exchange, The Light Princess at the National and the UK tour of Oliver!

Ako Mitchell (Meadows) is currently appearing in the acclaimed Grey Gardens at Southwark Playhouse and has previously appeared in Little Shop of Horrors at the Royal Exchange ̧ Fences at the Duchess Theatre and received an OFFIE Nomination for Kookies at the Park Theatre.

Laura Jane Matthewson (Helen) won the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Emerging Talent in 2014 for her performance in Dogfight at Southwark Playhouse.

Also in the cast are Christine Allado as Girlie (Turandot, Regent Theatre; Here Lies Love, National; From Here to Eternity, Shaftesbury); Rebecca Brewer as Kim (Dark Tourism, Park Theatre; The Merchant of Venice, Almeida; Relative Values, Harold Pinter Theatre); Leonie Elliott as Raven (The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe, Birmingham Rep; The Hate Play, Box Clever Theatre Company; Somebody’s Son, The Lowry); Llio Millward as Ceridwen (Stress,

Rehearsals for Beyond The Fence

Ako Mitchell plays Meadows in Beyond the Fence

Sticking Place; Blithe Spirits, Bridewell; Les Misérables, Palace Theatre); Michelle Moran as Trisha (Carousel, Opera North UK tour; Beauty Queen of Leenane, Leicester Curve; Dancing at Lughnasa, Royal & Derngate); and Annie Wensak as Margie (The Stationmaster, Tristran Bates; Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, Regent’s Park Open Air; The Sound of Music, Leicester Curve); Rob Castell as Gary (Fully Committed, Menier Chocolate Factory); Steffan Lloyd-Evans as the Reporter (Joseph, UK tour) and Guy Mott as Sykes (Pirates of Penzance, Carl Rosa Opera).

Hollie Owen and Zaiya Omamori will share the role of George.

September 1982. Mary and her daughter George are celebrating one year of living at the Greenham Common peace camp. The group of women they have joined are all committed to stopping the arrival of US cruise missiles through non-violent protest. When Mary is faced with losing her child to the authorities, an unlikely ally is found in US Airman Jim Meadow. How can she continue to do what is best for her daughter while staying true to her ideals?

Beyond the Fence is conceived by and substantially crafted by computer. It is modelled on a statistical study of the ‘recipe for success’ in the world’s favourite musicals. This process is being filmed for a Sky Arts TV series titled Computer Says Show, chronicling this unique experiment. In collaboration with leading experts in music, computation and the science of human creativity, Benjamin Till and Nathan Taylor, the award-winning writers, composers and grooms of Our Gay Wedding: The Musical (Channel 4), will bring a whole range of computer-generated material to life. The experiment has been designed and co- ordinated by Dr Catherine Gale, who also produces and directs the TV series.

Also in the creative team are musical supervisor Paul Herbert, set and costume designer Tom Rogers, lighting designer Howard Hudson, sound designer Paul Groothuis, video designer Dominic Baker and Oliver Levett and casting director Polly Jerrold.

www.beyondthefencemusical.com

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