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Casting for a very special rehearsed reading of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra that will take place at York Theatre Royal on Sunday 22 February has been announced, with actors giving up their time in support of the theatre’s fundraising appeal for its major re-development.
Directing the cast of well-known actors will be George Costigan who rose to fame in 1986 as adulterous businessman Bob in the comedy film Rita, Sue and Bob Too and then starred in the hit-film Calendar Girls alongside Julie Walters.
Reading the part of Antony will be Paterson Joseph who audiences will recognise from his roles in Channel 4’s Peep Show and Babylon. He’s previously performed in Shakespeare’s plays as Oswald in King Lear, and Dumaine in Love's Labour's Lost.
Niamh Cusack, who rose to fame in the TV Series Heartbeat will be reading the role of Cleopatra. She’s no stranger to Shakespeare starring alongside Sean Bean in Romeo and Juliet at the Royal Shakespeare Company and alongside Ben Kingsley as Desdemona in Othello at the same theatre. In 2012 she starred in the National Theatre premiere of the stage adaptation of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time which secured the most nominations in the Olivier Awards the following year.
Other actors confirmed for the reading include Owen Teale, who local audiences will recognise from his role in Under Milk Wood at the theatre in Spring 2014, but is more widely known for his television roles in Spooks, Stella and for tormenting Jon Snow in Game of Thrones as Alliser Thorne. Teale won the 1997 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his performance as Torvald in Ibsen's A Doll's House.
Charlie Covell who will read the part of Charmian is currently playing Amy in “ground-breaking” TV series Banana for E4, as well as roles in Cucumber for Channel 4 and Critical for Sky. Other TV credits include Misfits for E4; several episodes of Peep Show for Channel 4; Whitechapel for ITV; The Inbetweeners for E4 and Law and Order for Kudos/ITV. Theatre credits include Serpent’s Tooth for Almeida/Talawa; Blackbird at the York Theatre Royal; The Winslow Boy and Queen of the North for Bolton Octagon and The Spanish Tragedy for the Arcola Theatre. Charlie was a finalist in the National Funny Woman competition and was recently named, as a writer, as one of Broadcast Magazine's HotShots. She said of her involvement
I have been dying to work with George again ever since we did Blackbird together back in 2012. It's a huge privilege to be involved in this and to be back at York Theatre Royal.
Agatha Christie’s Poirot actor Hugh Fraser will join the cast reading Lepidus and Dolabella. His film credits include Curse of the Pink Panther, 101 Dalmatians and Patriot Games along with his Sharpe co-star Sean Bean. His theatre work includes playing Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Holby City actor Adam Best will also take part. Best left Holby City in 2007 and has since played in theatres across the country in a wide variety of roles, including playing The Actor in the widely acclaimed The Woman in Black,.
Emmerdale actor Danny Miller will be reading the part of Demetrius, and will be joined by Kieran Hill. It will be a return to Shakespeare for Hill having received critical acclaim for his role in the 2012 production of King Lear at the Citizens Theatre. Matthew Rixon who has previously appeared in King Arthur and See How They Run at York Theatre Royal and Niall Costigan, who starred in the York Theatre Royal production A Number alongside his father in 2014 will join the cast too.
George Costigan said
After directing the King Lear reading at York Theatre Royal in 2010 I thought Niamh and Paterson would be fantastic as Antony and Cleopatra, so when Damian Cruden, Artistic Director at the theatre, suggested another rehearsed reading to raise money for the re-development I instantly suggested it.
Regarded as one of Shakespeare’s greatest plays of power, politics and passion the reading starts at 7.00pm in the Main House. Tickets range from £14 - £25 (£1 Transaction fee per booking) and are on sale now. Book by calling the York Theatre Royal Box Office on 01904 623568 or securely online at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.