45North and Ellie Keel Productions today announce full casts for Amanda Wilkin and Rachael Nanyonjo’s recognition, available from 17 February; and Jaclyn Backhaus’ The Giant Pacific Octopus Maritime School, the penultimate piece in the audio play series, Written on the Waves, which will be released 8 April. The final play in the series will be announced shortly.
Rachael Nanyonjo directs Obioma Ugoala (Samuel) and Shiloh Coke (Song) in recognition, based on the life and music of Afro-English composer and conductor Samuel Coleridge-Taylor; and Jessica Rose McVay, CEO and Creative Director of 45North, directs Adjoa Andoh (Emma), Sam Crerar (Ilya), Andrew Gower (Guy), Amita Suman (Priya) and Manjinder Virk (Seema) in Jaclyn Backhaus’ The Giant Pacific Octopus Maritime School.
Jessica Rose McVay today said “I’m so proud of the exceptional and varied writing displayed through Written on the Waves so far, and am so excited to be adding these two fantastic pieces to the series, and to be sharing our first family friendly piece (and trans-Atlantic collaboration!) with The Giant Pacific Octopus Maritime School. We hope audiences enjoy and look forward to sharing the final piece in the series soon.”
Written on the Waves comprises eight world premières – Loss and Hope, a trilogy of short audio pieces including Luke Barnes’ This is a Man starring Liam Jeavons; Rafaella Marcus’ The Gift starring Olivia Marcus; and Tife Kusoro’s We Have Sinned starring Seraphina Beh, Rafaella Marcus’ debut play for audio, The You Play: small acts with Rebecca Banatvala, Jonathan Case, Amber James, Daisy Lewis, Ken Nwosu, Katherine Parkinson and Boadicea Ricketts, Lem ‘N’ Ginge: The Princess of Kakos written and directed by Ell Potter and Mary Higgins and starring Olivier Award-winning Sharon D. Clarke; A Passion Play by Margaret Perry with Hannah Bristow and Nicola Coughlan; and Rafaella Marcus’ second play in the series, The You Play Volume Two: The Haunted Woman with Olivia Williams and directed by Jessica Lazar. These can be accessed via www.forty-fivenorth.com/writtenonthewaves
Co-created by Amanda Wilkin and Rachael Nanyonjo
Written by Amanda Wilkin
Directed by Rachael Nanyonjo; Original Music by Cassie Kinoshi
Sound Design and Editing by Tom Foskett- Barnes; Music Mastering by Ollie Shelton
Piano by Deschanel Gordon; Violin by Fra Rustumji; Cello by Zara Hudson-Kozdoj
In 1898, classical composer Samuel is hearing his Ballad in A minor being performed for the first time. Nervous.
In 2020, Song is staring at her composition. Nervous.
120 years apart their music meets the other.
‘Looking him up… Has made me walk a little taller, into my music class, the last week. He was born in Holborn in 1875. Victorian London. Black Victorian London. Musical Black Victorian London existed. Ha. I’m gonna remember that – next time I go into a room and notice I’m the only Black person here.’
How do we honour the forgotten whose work was once celebrated? And who gets to decide the work that stands the test of time?
Samuel Coleridge Taylor (15 August 1875 – 1 September 1912) was an Afro-English composer and conductor. He is best known for the Longfellow Triology including Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast (1898), The Death of Minnehaha (1899) and Hiawatha’s Departure (1900).
Amanda Wilkin is a playwright. Her theatre credits include And I Dreamt I Was Drowning (Talawa Firsts Festival 2018), Shedding A Skin (Winner of Soho Theatre’s Verity Bargate Award 2020) and The Little Sob (Shakespeare’s Globe). As an actor, her credits for theatre include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest, Hamlet, Gabriel (Shakespeare’s Globe), Emilia (Vaudeville Theatre / Shakespeare’s Globe), White Teeth (Kiln Theatre), The Grinning Man (Trafalgar Studios) and Pilgrims (Theatr Clwyd).
Rachael Nanjonjo directs. Her previous credits include Freedom Project, Assata – She Who Struggles (Young Vic), Bobsleigh (The Old Vic), An Alternative Musical (for NT Learning at National Theatre) and 2:1 (Kanzaze Dance Theatre); as an assistant director her credits include The Stepmother, Caroline or Change (Chichester Festival Theatre) and Kayla (Young Vic).
Obioma Ugoala plays Samuel. Ugoala will originate the role of Kristoff for the West End run of Disney’s Frozen, his previous credits includeThe Lost Love Speakeasy (site specific/The Lost Estate), Much Ado About Nothing (Dubai Opera/international tour), Hamilton (Victoria Palace Theatre), Motown (Shaftesbury Theatre), Henry V, Holy Warriors, Antony and Cleopatra, The Mouse and His Child (RSC), The Jungle Book, Crime and Punishment (Glasgow Citizens Theatre), Neighbors (Nuffield Southampton Theatres) and The Physicists (Donmar Warehouse).
Shiloh Coke plays Song. Her previous theatre credits include Small Island (National Theatre), Misty (Bush Theatre), Emilia (Shakespeare’s Globe), Julius Caesar, The Tempest, Henry IV (Donmar Warehouse), The Chaplain (The Yard Theatre) and The Litter (Bargehouse).
Cassie Kinoshi is a Mercury Award nominated and Ivors Academy Award winning composer, arranger and alto-saxophonist. Kinoshi is part of the ensemble SEED working alongside bands KOKOROKO and Nérija. She was Mercury Musical Developments’ and Musical Theatre Network’s Cameron Mackintosh Resident Composer Scheme recipient at Dundee Rep Theatre from 2018-19 and was a part of the London Symphony Orchestra Panufnik Scheme 2018-19.
THE GIANT PACIFIC OCTOPUS MARITIME SCHOOL
Written by Jaclyn Backhaus
Directed by Jessica Rose McVay
What’s it like once the Earth’s surface is uninhabitable?
Well, if you ask Priya and Ilya, citizens of a newly constructed underwater society, it’s pretty boring. That is, until their discovery in the basement of their school catches the eye of the base’s omnipresent AI system.
The Giant Pacific Octopus Maritime School is an ode to what we will have left behind once we retreat to the depths of the sea.
Jaclyn Backhaus is a playwright and screenwriter based in New York City. Her plays include Wives, India Pale Ale (Horton Foote Prize, 2018), Men on Boats, and You on the Moors Now. In addition to her writing, she is a co-creative director of arts facilitation group Fresh Ground Pepper and a teacher of playwriting at New York University.
Adjoa Andoh plays Emma. Her theatre credits include Richard II (Shakespeare’s Globe), Troilus and Cressida (RSC), Leave Taking (Bush Theatre), Assata Taught Me (Gate Theatre), Soul (Royal & Derngate/Hackney Empire), Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Donmar Warehouse), A Wolf in Snakeskin Shoes (Tricycle Theatre), Great Expectations (Bristol Old Vic), Julius Caesar (RSC/Noël Coward Theatre/BAM), Or You Could Kiss Me, The Revenger’s Tragedy, His Dark Materials, Stuff Happens (National Theatre), Sugar Mummies, Breath Boom (Royal Court Theatre), Nights At The Circus, Pericles (Lyric Hammersmith) and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (Young Vic). For television, her credits include as series regular Lady Danbury in Bridgerton, as DI Nina Rosen in Silent Witness, Acceptable Risk, Cucumber and The Awakening. For film her credits include Brighton, Fractured and Brotherhood.
Sam Crerar plays Ilya. This is their professional debut having graduated from LAMDA in 2020.
Andrew Gower plays Guy. His theatre credits include Conquest of the South Pole (Arcola Theatre/Rose Theatre Kingston), Terror Tales (Hampstead Theatre) and 1984 (Nottingham Playhouse/Almeida Theatre/Playhouse Theatre).
Amita Suman plays Priya. Her television credits include Shadow and Bone, The Outpost, Ackley Bridge; and for film her credits include Daughter and Girl Like You.
Manjinder Virk plays Seema. Her theatre credits include A Kind of People, Bodies, Free Outgoing, Workers Writes (Royal Court Theatre), Dance Nation (Almeida Theatre), Redcrosse (RSC), I Call My Brothers (Arcola Theatre), Shabnam and Autobiography of a Face (Lyric Hammersmith). For television, her credits include Bad Move, as series regular Dr Kam Karimore in Midsomer Murders, Ordinary Lies, Hunted and Monroe.
Jessica Rose McVay is Creative Director and CEO of 45North. Her theatre credits include (un)written (un)heard (Fringe World Festival – Fringe World Dance and Physical Theatre Award 2020), Post-Mortem (Holden Streets Theatre/The Blue Room Theatre/The Space), Leave A Message (Edinburgh Festival Fringe/Vaults Festival) and The Testament of Mary (Open Eye Figure Theatre).