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Following an extensive search with over 400 applicants, Pilot Theatre are delighted to announce the first casting for the premiere of Sabrina Mahfouz’s new adaptation of Malorie Blackman’s critically acclaimed young adult novel of first love in a dangerous fictional dystopia – Noughts & Crosses.
Noughts & Crosses’ exciting young cast will be led by Heather Agyepong and Billy Harris playing the roles of Sephy and Callum. Heather Agyepong’s theatre credits include Girls (Talawa Theatre, High Tide & Martha Rose Wilson Prod.); So Many Reasons (Fuel Theatre & Ovalhouse Theatre) and Sankara (Next Up Talent; National Theatre Studio). Heather is an acclaimed visual artist, actor and maker. Earlier this year she was nominated for the 2018 South Bank Sky Arts Breakthrough Award. Billy Harris’ theatre credits include Boots On The Ground (Tangled Feet) and 13 (Tobacco Factory Theatre). Further casting will be announced soon.
On the casting of the roles of Sephy and Callum director Esther Richardson said:
“We were amazed and honoured to receive over 400 audition videos from those who wanted to put themselves forward for the roles of Sephy and Callum. It was like receiving a 33-hour long digital love letter to the original book. We had videos from everyone from teenagers who had never done any performing before to established actors, and many people in between.
By working in this way, we were able to consider far more actors than would have otherwise been possible. We wanted to find fresh talent and authenticity, and we’ve been brought into contact with some extraordinary young actors who were completely unknown to us.
We are thrilled that Heather and Billy are taking on the roles of Sephy and Callum in Malorie’s much-loved novel and we can’t wait to work with both of them.”
Told from the perspectives of the two teenagers, Noughts & Crosses is a captivating love story set in a volatile, racially segregated society and explores the powerful themes of love, revolution and what it means to grow up in a divided world.
Sabrina Mahfouz’s new adaptation is based on Malorie Blackman’s first book in the Noughts & Crosses series for young adults, which has won the Red House Children’s Book Award and the Fantastic Fiction Award among other accolades. A BBC adaptation of Noughts & Crosses is due to be screened in 2019.
Noughts & Crosses will be the first co-production between Pilot Theatre, Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Derby Theatre, Mercury Theatre, Colchester and York Theatre Royal who have recently formed a new partnership to develop theatre for younger audiences. The companies will commission and co-produce an original mid-scale production each year from 2019-2022, which will play in all the consortium venues as well as touring nationally.
Directed by Pilot Theatre’s artistic director Esther Richardson (Brighton Rock), Noughts & Crosses will open at Derby Theatre from the 01-16 February 2019 and will then tour to Theatr Clwyd, Mold; The Lowry, Salford; Mercury Theatre Colchester; Bristol Old Vic; Brighton Theatre Royal; Belgrade Theatre Coventry; York Theatre Royal; Theatre Royal Stratford East and Northern Stage.
It visits York Tue 02-06 April.