Cast announced for Alan Bennett's 'Talking Heads'

Cast announced for Alan Bennett's 'Talking Heads'

Who will be the faces of the celebrated and sublime 'Talking Heads' at the Octagon Theatre Bolton?

Octagon Theatre Bolton closes its 2016-17 season in style with one of the finest selections of dramatic monologues ever written. Celebrating the talent of Alan Bennett, the Octagon Theatre will be producing three of the original Talking Heads monologues. From Thu 8 June to Sat 8 July, audiences will see the moving and wonderfully poignant A Chip in the Sugar, Lady of Letters, and A Cream Cracker under the Settee.

A Chip in the Sugar
Returning to the Octagon Theatre after his triumphant role in Educating Rita, David Birrell (Wind in the Willows, Theatre Royal Plymouth and National Tour; The War Has Not Yet Started, Drum Theatre; The Royal, ITV) takes on the role of Graham, a middle-aged man who lives with his ‘mam’. When his mother reunites with an old flame, though, things get a little more complicated…

A Lady of Letters
Star of the world premiere of Winter Hill at the Octagon Theatre, Cathy Tyson (BAFTA and Golden Globe-nominated Mona Lisa,Handmade Films; Band of Gold, ITV; Casualty (BBC, 2016); The Importance of Being Earnest Birmingham Rep and Curve Leicester) returns to play the role of Irene, a one-woman Neighbourhood Watch Scheme. Her habit of writing letters eventually gets ridiculously out of hand and results in extraordinary consequences.

A Cream Cracker under the Settee
Having performed on stage and on television, including in Dinnerladies and Coronation Street, Sue Wallace (Husbands and Sons, The National Theatre; Billy Liar, Royal Exchange Theatre; Emil and the Detectives, National Theatre) makes her debut at the Octagon Theatre as 75-year old widow Doris. Obsessive about tidiness and maintaining her independence, Doris has a fall that decides her future.

Nearly 30 years after being aired on television, this is a rare chance to see three of the original Talking Heads live on stage. Showcasing the bittersweet tales of seemingly ordinary and uneventful lives, these beautifully observant monologues explore the sublime in everyday circumstances.

Associate Director at the Octagon and director of Talking Heads, Ben Occhipinti comments on the production: “Alan Bennett’s ‘Talking Heads’ are incredibly iconic, and rightly so. They are true masterpieces of drama that have the power to evoke laughter, empathy, frustration, and tears. They make the ordinary extraordinary, and will be shared with our audiences by three phenomenal actors, David, Cathy and Sue. It is fantastic to be able to produce these monologues right here in the heart of Bolton and we can’t wait to invite our audiences in to see them.”

Running alongside Talking Heads are the Octagon’s first winning scripts of the National Octagon Prize. Taking place in the Octagon Studio and directed by Artistic Director Elizabeth Newman and Associate Director Ben Occhipinti, three brand new monologues will be performed from Wed 21 June to Sat 8 July 2017. Blue by Charlotte Josephine, Being Amazing by Ian Townsend, and Nobody Can Never Get Us Back by Shauna Mackay were selected from hundreds of submissions from across the globe for the Octagon’s inaugural National prize and are moving, powerful, and hopeful in equal measure. Tickets cost £12 (concessions are available).

Talking Heads will be playing at the Octagon Theatre Bolton from Thu 8 June to Sat 8 July. Ticket prices from £11 - £27.50