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News release - Issued by York Theatre Royal

Robin Hood: The Arrow of Destiny

York Theatre Royal, 4 August – 2 September 2017
Press night Tues 8 August, 7pm

Written by Richard Hurford
Original score by Rob Castell
Co-directed by Suzann McLean and Damian Cruden
Set and costume design by Jane Linz Roberts
Lighting design by Richard G Jones
Musical direction by Ed Thorpe
Fight direction Jonathan Holtby

This summer’s fun family show at York Theatre Royal puts a twist on the tale of the legendary hero of Sherwood Forest in Robin Hood: The Arrow of Destiny from 4 August to 2 September.

Written by Richard Hurford, the show is a hilarious re-working of the classic story with a magical mix of music, song, comedy, romance, masks and puppets. There’s also a lesson to be learnt – that there’s a lot more to becoming a hero than looking cool in green tights.

Making his stage debut as Robin Hood is Neil Reynolds, who appeared in the award-winning CBBC series The Secret Life of Boys. His other television credits include Find Your Tribe, The Adventures of T-Boy and Toonattik. Radio credits include Emil & The Detectives and The Ramayana, both on BBC Radio 4.

Siobhan Athwal, who plays Marian, comes to York from appearing in Romeo and Juliet at Shakespeare’s Globe in London. She played Luce, one of the girl band members, in the Spice Girls stage musical Viva Forever in the West End.

Making his York Theatre Royal debut as the Sheriff of Nottingham is John Elkington. His credits include Beryl and Twelfth Night (West Yorkshire Playhouse), The Father and Brassed Off (Oldham Coliseum). He regularly plays the Dame in pantomime at Nottingham Playhouse.

Trevor A Toussaint plays Friar Tuck. Past credits include The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin, The Harder They Come (Stratford East Theatre Royal) and Fences (London’s Duchess Theatre). Joanna Holden (Little John) and Ed Thorpe (Guy of Gisborne), who is also the show’s Musical Director, return from last summer’s Theatre Royal production of Sherlock Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles.

This theatrical treat for adults and children alike follows in the tradition of York Theatre Royal’s family summer shows including The Railway Children, The Wind in the Willows, Peter Pan, The Legend of King Arthur and Sherlock Holmes.

Times are hard for the poor people of Nottingham, which means things have never been better for the wicked Sheriff and his tax collectors. But, never fear, everything’s bound to turn out fine as soon as Robin Hood comes to the rescue. After all, he’s renowned for robbing the rich to give to the poor. Except what happens when he doesn’t?

Has Robin got lost in Sherwood Forest or are there darker forces plotting against the greatest folk hero of old England? There’s only one way to find out and only one person brave enough to try ¬– step forward Marian. Follow her quest into the forest to discover why the legend of Robin Hood and his Merry People isn’t quite what she imagined.

Suzann McLean and Damian Cruden direct a cast that includes three teams of ten young people from the York area, who play villagers and merry people.

Suzann says: “Robin Hood has been everyone's hero throughout history, and even though he is a myth, we aspire to his qualities. This is very much the role of Marian in our version. She uses her belief in Robin to become the brilliant human being that she is; a courageous leader, fighting injustice and standing up for her people.”

Damian says: “It’s the story of Robin Hood told from a different perspective. There are lots of surprises in our version but the familiar story and characters are all there – the Sheriff of Nottingham, the forest, the May Day festival with the archery competition and, of course, there’s tax collecting. The music is great and all original. There will be a lovely energy to it. It’s a show for all the family and promises to be a lot of fun.”

Join the outlaws. There’s a chance for young audiences to join the Outlaw School. Robin Hood is looking to recruit brave, cunning and loyal outlaws for his band of merry men and women with Outlaw School, for ages seven to 12, in the theatre foyer between 11 and 12pm on matinee days. Outlaws will have the chance to go on stage and receive an outlaw certificate from the Sheriff of Nottingham himself. Tickets £5.

For further information, interviews, photographs and press tickets contact:
Press and PR officer Steve Pratt
01904 550149

Robin Hood: The Arrow of Destiny
York Theatre Royal, 4 Aug – 2 September
Matinees 2.30pm Wed to Sat (except Fri 1 Sept)
Evenings 7pm Tues, and Thurs to Sat

BSL performance Fri 1 Sept, 7.30pm
AD performances Thu 31 Aug, 7.30pm, and Sat 2 Sep, 2.30pm
Captioned performance Sat 2 Sept, 2.30pm
Relaxed performance Thu 31 Aug, 2pm

Tickets £24.50 - £14
Box office 01904 623568.


Notes for Editors:

York Theatre Royal has brought delight and fulfilment to the people of York and beyond by offering a rich and diverse programme of creative activity for 270 years. York Theatre Royal is one of the UK’s leading creative producers and presenters, constantly building on its reputation for producing high quality and ambitious theatre with highly regarded productions of new commissions, revivals at all scales and each year delivering a pantomime of international renown. The theatre serves audiences of all ages – children, youth, teenagers, adults and seniors.

Suzann McLean (co-director) previously directed This Child and Catcher at York Theatre Royal. Most recently she directed Extremism which played at London's National Theatre in celebration of Connections 2017. Other directing credits include Blackout (Theatre Royal Stratford East), Rebellion (Hackney Empire) and Sisterhood (in Bermuda). As an actress Suzann has worked extensively in both theatre and television. She is the winner of British Arrows Gold Award for her performance in the BUPA for living advert, won the African Film Best Actress Award in 2011 and was a UK torchbearer for the 2012 Olympics Games. Other acting credits include the BBC drama The Honourable Woman, Doctor Who, Little Miss Jocelyn, You, Me and the Apocalypse, Coupling and Face At The Window. Theatre credits include Measure For Measure (National Theatre), Romeo & Juliet (Theatre-By-The-Lake), A Raisin in the Sun, Synergy, Words by Alfred Fagon (Bristol Old Vic) and Looking For JJ and Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads for Pilot theatre national tours. Suzann's varied career also includes several films, radio and commercial appearances alongside running Young and Talented, a theatre school that nurtures talent, promotes inclusion and raises ambition.

Damian Cruden (co-director) has been Artistic Director of York Theatre Royal for the past 20 years. He trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama between 1982 and 1986. Before York, he worked for various regional theatres as a freelance director. He was Associate Director for Hull Truck in the early ’90s and prior to that Co-Artistic Director of the Liverpool Everyman Youth Theatre. He worked for the Tron and TAG in Scotland and was a tutor for the Scottish Youth Theatre. He has directed many productions at York, including Sherlock Holmes: The Hound of the Baskervilles, Brideshead Revisited, In Fog and Falling Snow, The Railway Children, The Restoration of Nell Gwyn, Blithe Spirit, The Legend of King Arthur, The Guinea Pig Club, The York Mystery Plays 2012, Laurel and Hardy, Forty Years On, Peter Pan, My Family and Other Animals, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Wind in the Willows, Up the Duff, The Homecoming, The White Crow (Eichmann in Jerusalem); Death of a Salesman, Patient No. 1, Enjoy, Bouncers 2007 Remix, The Dumb Waiter, The Hare and the Tortoise (in York and Japan); Pygmalion, Broken Glass, East Is East, Hay Fever, Macbeth, A Cloud in Trousers, Brassed Off, Caitlin, A Taste of Honey, Habeas Corpus, Up‘n’Under, Frankenstein, Noises Off, Little Shop of Horrors, Othello, Closer, The Turn of the Screw, Bedevilled, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, Kafka’s Dick, Man of the Moment, Having a Ball, Romeo and Juliet, Getting On, The Three Musketeers, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, All My Sons, Piaf, Dead Funny, Educating Rita, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, Neville’s Island, Multiplex, Abandonment and Private Lives. He has co-directed the last 17 York Theatre Royal pantomimes with Berwick Kaler.