New British musical The White Feather at the Union Theatre – casting details

11902506_10156067292510235_4117081627516254043_nThis September, Arion Productions presents the world premiere of new British musical The White Feather at the Union Theatre (Wednesday 16 September to Saturday 17 October 2015, press night is Friday 18 September). It tells the story of Georgina Briggs whose brother was one of more than 300 allied soldiers executed for cowardice during the First World War. She won’t accept the shame and she won’t let it lie. But as she fights for justice a shocking discovery awaits her.

Abigail Matthews (War Horse with National Theatre Productions, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at the 360 Degrees Theatre, and the UK and European tours of Evita with Bill Kenwright Ltd) stars as Georgina Briggs, while Adam Pettigrew will play her heroic brother Harry (Wicked at the Victoria Apollo, the UK tour of Avenue Q, and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying at Ye Olde Rose and Crown).

Fresh from the stage as Jean Prouvaire in Les Misérables (Queens Theatre), Lee Dillon Stuart (UK tour of Oliver! and Carousel at the Landor Theatre) will join the cast as Peter Arthurs; David Flynn (Blood Brothers – Phoenix Theatre, Bent – Tabard Theatre and Never Forget at the Savoy Theatre) will play Adam Davey; Cameron Leigh (Chicago – Cambridge Theatre, Charlotte’s Webb – Gordon Craig Theatre and Calamity Jane at the Shaftsbury Theatre) will play Emma; Christopher Blades (The Sound of Music – London Palladium, the original cast of The Phantom of the Opera and UK tour of Jekyll & Hyde) will play Willows.

Katie Brennan (The Spitfire Grill – Union Theatre, Seasonal Sauce – The Watermill Theatre, Newbury and Bernstein’s Mass (South Bank Centre) will play Edith; Kathryn Rutherford (Grim – The Rose Theatre, Kingston and Charing Cross Theatre, Departure Lounge – Belfast Grand Opera House and Honk! – Tabard Theatre) will play Hannah, and Zac Hamilton (The Mikado – Charing Cross Theatre, Princess Ida – Finborough Theatre and Bye Bye Birdie – Ye Olde Rose and Crown) will play Brown and Edward.

The White Feather has a book by Ross Clark and Andrew Keates (who also directs), music by Ross Clark, Martin Costlett, Dustin Conrad and Matthew Strachan, and lyrics by Ross Clark and Matthew Strachan. Anthony Whiteman choreographs, Tim McQuillen-Wright provides the design and Natasha Prynne is the costume designer. Also in the creative team are dramaturgist Jennifer Bakst, musical director Dustin Conrad and sound designer James Nicholson.

 Memorials to the soldiers who fought and died in the Great War grace almost every town and village but 306 names are conspicuous by their absence – the men who were executed by their own side. Some were deserters and others were condemned for putting down their weapons in the course of battle but many were suffering from what we know now as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The White Feather tells the story of one soldier and his suffering and his sister’s lifelong fight for a posthumous pardon. It also encounters the issue of homosexuality in the trenches and the potential shame which faced gay soldiers. With powerful songs and a storyline with a twist, this production has a sharp emotional intensity generated by words and music. The production will feature several wrap-around activities including historical educational talks and discussions about mental health, PTSD and surrounding issues.

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