A Troupe of Players Appearing at
GIELGUD THEATRE, Shaftesbury Avenue
A DELFONT MACKINTOSH THEATRE
FRIDAY 7 FEBRUARY - SATURDAY 25 APRIL 2020
Tickets available at all price bands and premium seating available.
Access rate: £30 for those with access requirements and their companion. (Through Box Office Only)
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'The most consistently funny comedy since One Man Two Guvnors.'
'Ben Elton is at his finest - It's a play even the great bard would be proud of'
About Upstart Crow
David Mitchell makes his West End debut in Ben Elton's stage adaptation of the critically acclaimed BBC TV sitcom, Upstart Crow. This all-new comedy - written especially for the stage - will see Mitchell once more don the bald wig and bardish coddling pouch in his iconic characterisation of Will Shakespeare.
Opening at the Gielgud Theatre on 7 February. Gemma Whelan ('Game of Thrones' and 'Gentleman Jack') will co-star as the sweet and fragrant Kate. They will be joined on stage by a troupe of players for this 11-week season, directed by Sean Foley.
David Mitchell says: "I’m delighted to have the opportunity to bring history’s most famous balding dramatist to the West End via the amazing comic imagination of Ben Elton. Theatre goers can look forward to a comedy steeped in authentic Shakespearean ambience in every way apart from the smell."
Running Time 100 minutes plus one interval.
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DAVID MITCHELL as WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
David Mitchell grew up in Oxford. He was miserable at a Dickensian primary school but happy at Cambridge, where he was president of Footlights and met his comedy partner Robert Webb. Together they have starred in the BAFTA-winning series THAT MITCHELL AND WEBB LOOK and PEEP SHOW.
Mitchell has been a team captain on BBC One's ever popular WOULD I LIE TO YOU for ten series, he presented Channel 4's 10 O'CLOCK LIVE, hosts Radio 4's THE UNBELIEVABLE TRUTH and has appeared on pretty much every British TV or radio panel show. In 2016 David began his role as William Shakespeare in Ben Elton's new six part comedy series UPSTART CROW for the BBC, which subsequently ran for a further 2 series and specials.
Following the critical success of his memoir BACK STORY, his latest book, DISHONESTY IS THE SECOND-BEST POLICY: AND OTHER RULES TO LIVE BY, has just been released.
David will be returning to Channel 4 next year for series 2 of the comedy BACK.
GEMMA WHELAN as KATE
British actress and comedian Gemma Whelan is known for her varied body of work.
Gemma has recently finished filming the role of 'Mrs Weston' in Working Title's re-make of JANE AUSTEN'S EMMA. The film is adapted by Eleanor Catton and marks the feature film directorial debut of Autumn de Wilde. Also starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Johnny Flynn, Callum Turner and Mia Goth, EMMA is releasing next year.
Gemma is currently filming a role in the third series of the hugely successful and critically acclaimed KILLING EVE for the BBC.
Early next year Gemma will tackle the real-life role of 'Ann Eaton' in WHITE HOUSE FARM based on the real-life events of the White House Farm Murders and Jeremy Bamber. Also starring Freddie Fox and Stephen Graham the drama is scheduled to start on ITV in January.
In spring 2020 Gemma will reprise her role of Kate, this time for a stage version of David Mitchell's UPSTART CROW in the West End's Gielgud Theatre.
The first series of GENTLEMAN JACK for the BBC and HBO which saw Gemma starring opposite Suranne Jones and Sophie Rundle transmitted to wide critical and audience acclaim. On the back of the show becoming BBC's biggest new drama launch of 2019 it has been confirmed that GENTLEMAN JACK will be heading into a second series.
Before this Gemma reprised her role of 'Yara Greyjoy' in the final series of GAME OF THRONES on HBO in the US and Sky Atlantic in the UK, drawing huge audience figures across the globe. The show received a record breaking 32 Emmy nominations for its final season. In 2016 Gemma was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award (SAG) with her fellow GAME OF THRONES cast members, for 'Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series'.
Earlier in the year Gemma appeared on stage in A SLIGHT ACHE part of the Pinter 7 series at the Harold Pinter Theatre. She starred opposite John Heffernan and the other half of the season was THE DUMB WAITER starring Martin Freeman and Danny Dyer.
In early 2017 Gemma transformed for the role of 'Karen Matthews' in BBC drama THE MOORSIDE. The drama was based on the true story of the disappearance of schoolgirl Shannon Matthews, and the tight knit community in West Yorkshire's efforts to find her. Also starring Sheridan Smith THE MOORSIDE broke BBC records with a 9.9 million audience, which was the highest for any new drama in 15 years. Following that audiences saw Gemma opposite Jack Whitehall and David Suchet in the BBC's adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's comedy novel DECLINE AND FALL. Gemma also reprised her role of 'Kate' opposite David Mitchell in Ben Elton's UPSTART CROW. Also in 2017 Gemma starred in a monologue in BBC 4's QUEERS which was performed on stage at The Old Vic Theatre and shown as part of the BBC's Gay Britannia Season. Gemma also played 'DC Eunice Noon' in critically acclaimed dark comedy THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD' on Channel 4 and Netflix opposite Alex Lawther and Jessica Barden.
Gemma has appeared in a large number of television productions for the BBC including the role of 'Veronica' in series 2 and 3 of UNCLE, MORGANA ROBINSON'S THE AGENCY, ASYLUM, MAPP AND LUCIA, HETTY FEATHER series 2 and 3, HORRIBLE HISTORIES, as 'Josephine' in THE PERSUASIONISTS and in Tom Davis' BBC 3 hit comedy MURDER IN SUCCESSVILLE. Other television credits include NOT SAFE FOR WORK, SIBLINGS, BADULTS, THE HARRY & PAUL SHOW and THREESOME.
As a comedian Gemma has created and often performs as character Chastity Butterworth. Gemma brought the character to series 3 of LIVE AT THE ELECTRIC for BBC 3 and in 2014 recorded a pilot chat show for BBC Radio 4 called THE CHASTITY BUTTERWORTH SHOW. This was followed up by an episode of the comedy chat show on BBC Radio 4 in 2017. In 2010 Gemma won a Funny Women 'Variety' Award for her stand up comedy.
On stage Gemma has appeared as 'Gillian' in RADIANT VERMIN and as 'Andrea' in DARK VANILLA JUNGLE both at the Soho Theatre. Other theatre credits include Nicholas Hytner's ONE MAN TWO GUVNORS at the Theatre Royal Haymarket and National Theatre, 'Chanel' in STEPHEN AND THE SEXY PARTRIDGE at the Trafalgar Studios and SHAKESPEARE FOR BREAKFAST.
In film Gemma played the role of 'Len' in Alice Lowe's PREVENGE and appeared in Universal's GULLIVER'S TRAVELS and THE WOLFMAN.
MARK HEAP as DR JOHN HALL
Mark Heap is one of Britain's favourite comic actors. He has appeared in many well-loved television sitcoms over the years, and has a talent for turning his characters into comedy icons that remain with audiences for years to come. Most recently, Mark has filmed ITV comedy drama THE TROUBLE WITH MAGGIE COLE, due to air in early 2020, in which he stars alongside Dawn French. He is best known for his roles in the acclaimed comedy shows BRASS EYE, BIG TRAIN, SPACED, JAM, GREEN WING, LARK RISE TO CANDLEFORD, FRIDAY NIGHT DINNER and UPSTART CROW. He will also be appearing in the stage adaptation of UPSTART CROW, playing at the West-End's Gielgud Theatre in 2020. Heap's other theatre credits include JEEVES AND WOOSTER IN PERFECT NONSENSE at the Duke of York's Theatre, CARTOONS FROM A COLD CORNER at the Gate Theatre and MR A'S AMAZING MAZE PLAYS at the National Theatre.
His film credits include; THE COMEDIAN'S GUIDE TO SURVIVAL, THE WORLD'S END, ALL STARS, MOODY CHRISTMAS, WEDDING VIDEO, STARDUST, CONFETTI, CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY and ABOUT A BOY.
Mark also has an illustrious radio back catalogue, appearing in many celebrated BBC radio programmes and plays over the last 10 years.
HELEN MONKS as SUSANNA
Helen is a writer and actor. Her most recent TV acting credits include Susanna Shakespeare in BBC2's UPSTART CROW, a role she is now reprising for the stage adaptation coming to the West End's Gielgud Theatre in 2020, Amy in BBC1's ELECTION SPY, Colette in BBC2's INSIDE No. 9 and Germaine Garry in Channel 4's RAISED BY WOLVES.
Other theatre credits include; NO ONE WILL TELL ME HOW TO START A REVOLUTION at the Hampstead Theatre, DOLLY WANTS TO DIE in the Underbelly, Edinburgh, E15 Various Venues at Edinburgh Fringe/Pleaseance Theatre Islington, PUSSYFOOTING at C Aquila, DENMARK HILL and UNKNOWN MALE at The Birmingham Rep and HAMLET for The Television Workshop.
Film credits include BRIDGET JONES' BABY and Helen appeared on BBC Radio 4's flagship soap THE ARCHERS as Pip Archer for 12 years.
Helen is also an award-winning writer and comic. Her award winning play E15 has been on two national tours, was published by Oberon Books and she is currently developing it for screen with Fable Pictures, BBC Films and the BFI. Her play TROJAN HORSE, developed with Leeds Playhouse, won the 2018 Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award and a Fringe First. It is embarking on a national tour in Autumn, 2019.
Helen is the co-artistic director of LUNG, a national touring theatre company making theatre with communities, by communities, for communities. Through LUNG Helen has been commissioned by Leeds Playhouse to write a play working with their theatre of Sanctuary Group, which will open later this year. Through LUNG Helen is currently writing a verbatim musical about the care system which will open at the Queens Theatre in Hornchurch, Autumn 2020, before embarking on a national tour.
Other awards include; Winner of Funny Women Stand Up Comedy Awards 2015 , Winner of the Northern Stage Award , Winner of numerous National Student Drama Festival Edinburgh 2015 Awards, including: -Best Play -Best Writer (Helen Monks)
ROB ROUSE as BOTTOM
One of comedy's most lively, loveable and dynamic performers, Rob is a previous winner of Channel 4's prestigious SO YOU THINK YOU'RE FUNNY competition at the Edinburgh Festival. He's one of Britain's best comic storytellers and has performed all over the world.
Rob will be reprising his television role of Bottom in the BBC sitcom UPSTART CROW, as it comes to London's West-End with an all new comic stage play in 2020. You may also recognise him from 8 OUT OF 10 CATS, SPOONS, THE FRIDAY NIGHT PROJECT, CELEBRITY JUICE, DAVE'S ONE NIGHT STAND, JOHN BISHOP'S ONLY JOKING, LIVE AT THE COMEDY STORE, GROWN UPS, COMEDY CUTS, ROB HOUSE AND HIS DUCKS, TUNNEL OF LOVE, THE BUNK BED BOYS, or perhaps you have seen him at one of his 8 Edinburgh fringe shows or 3 UK tours.
Rob also does a weekly podcast with his wife Helen. ROB AND HELEN'S DATENIGHT PODCAST which is free each week on iTunes and Podbean.
STEVE SPEIRS as BURBAGE
Steve was born in Merthyr Tydfil, and trained at Loughborough University.
His theatre credits are extensive and include GUYS N DOLLS and UNDER MILKWOOD with the Royal National Theatre, THE RECRUITING OFFICER at Chichester Festival Theatre, EDUCATING RITA at the Sherman Theatre, an acclaimed performance as Tommy Cooper in FRANKIE & TOMMY with Hull Truck and guest starred in DIE FLEDERMAUS with The Welsh National Opera. THE UPSTART CROW at the Gielgud Theatre marks Steve's debut in the West End.
On television he has starred in STELLA (4 Series) and ROVERS, both for Sky TV and BBC's BIG SCHOOL, BOY IN A DRESS and UPSTART CROW (Series 1-3). Other series roles include SADIE JONES, KROD MANDOON, NO HEROICS and MAKING WAVES. His guest starring roles include DECLINE & FALL, NOT GOING OUT, DICKENSIAN, A YOUNG DOCTORS NOTEBOOK, CUCKOO, BENIDORM, MIRANDA, A CHILD'S CHRISTMAS IN WALES, EXTRAS, DR WHO, JONATHAN CREEK, NEW TRICKS, SHARPE'S PERIL, and both TOURIST TRAP and the mockumentary NIGE for BBC Wales. Steve can next be seen in Series 5 of INSIDE NO. 9 on BBC Two.
His work on film is also extensive, most recently having starred in BAD EDUCATION, SET FIRE TO THE STARS, HUNKY DORY, CEMETERY JUNCTION, INKHEART and THE MUSKETEER. Other credits range from STAR WARS:THE PHANTOM MENANCE and PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 2 to THE BAKER, ERAGON and VACUUMS. He wrote, starred, and co-produced the film CAUGHT IN THE ACT, directed by Matt Lipsey. He can next be seen in BBC film DENMARK and independent feature CONCRETE PLAN.
His work in Radio includes RELOCATION and BOB JONES on BBC Radio Wales, and READING EUROPE – RUSSIA: BRIDE AND GROOM and two series of ANKLE TAG on BBC Radio 4.
As a writer Steve wrote 9 episodes of STELLA over 5 series, and is currently working on a film commission about the Women's first Rugby World Cup, as well as his movie PETER THE BUTCHER.
Last year Steve wrote and starred in BBC Studios comedy series THE TUCKERS, which is currently airing on BBC1 Wales and BBC iPlayer.
DANIELLE PHILLIPS as JUDITH
Theatre includes: TRYING IT ON (Royal Court/Traverse/UK Tour), GHOST GIRL//GWEI MUI (Camden People's Theatre), DARK WINTER (Hull Truck), REARED (Theatre 503), E15, THE 56 (Lung Theatre & Battersea Arts Centre), ISTANBUL (From the Gut).
TV & Film includes: FATHER BROWN, READY PLAYER ONE.
RACHEL SUMMERS as DESIREE
Rachel Summers is an actor.
Her most recent theatre credits include: trade at New Perspectives, THIS ISLANDS MINE at the King's Head Theatre, DARE DO TO at Ka Zimba Theatre, TIL WE MEET IN ENGLAND at Lost Text / Found Space, FLUSH at Matchstick Theatre, MASTERING BUSINESS for the Condor Theatre Company, DON QUIXOTE IN ALGIERS at the White Bear Theatre, TOP OF THE SHOP at Streatham Hill Theatre, and EX-PERIENCES for the Lost Theatre.
Film credits include: THE BIRTHDAY PARTY, A ROUND FRIEND, CALLOUSED HANDS, HASTAG RIOT, COVEN, I DIDN'T WANT THAT and BINDING BY DEFAULT.
Television credits include: WAITING for Comedy Central and THE NEVERS for HBO & Roundabout Productions.
Rachel trained at Central School of Speech and Drama and ALRA.
JASON CALLENDER as ARRAGON
Jason is a graduate of the Manchester School of Theatre
Television includes: SHADOW AND BONE (Netﬂix), HOLBY CITY (BBC),The 4'Clock Club (BBC), BOTTERSNIKES AND GUMBALLS (Cake Productions/BBC), OUT OF BODY(Superplex).
Other theatre includes: THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG (West End/ International Tour), SONG OF RIOTS (BAC/The Awake Project), DOCTOR FAUSTUS (Royal Exchange).
Mr Whiskers & cover to Arragon & Bottom
Training: Royal Central School of speech & Drama
Television credits include: DOCTORS (BBC), DREAM TEAM (Sky One).
Theatre credits include: BOXMAN UK TOUR (Flugman Productions), THE TEMPEST (Bilimankhwe Arts), THE ISLAND (Linbury Studio).
Credits whilst training: TITUS ANDRONICUS (Aaron The Moore), ANGELS IN AMERICA (Louis Ironson), THE LOW ROAD (John Blanke)
Cover to Kate/Judith/Susanna
Training: The Oxford School of Drama
Theatre includes: TURN OF THE SCREW (Mercury Theatre/UK Tour), THE DARK ROOM (Theatre 503), THE LAST ONES (Jermyn Street Theatre), SPITFIRE SISTERS, MANIFESTO and THE LIGHTHOUSE (The Space Theatre)
Radio includes: Road to Oxford (BBC Radio 4)
Cover to Will/Burbage/Dr Hall
Training: Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
Theatre includes: Sgt Thunder in WAR HORSE (The National Theatre); Man 2 in THE 39 STEPS (The Criterion Theatre); Red in THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (Abridged) and THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF COMEDY (Abridged) (Reduced Shakespeare Company); Fluellen in HENRY V (Antic Disposition); Hortensio in THE TAMING OF THE SHREW (TNT Theatre); Jacob Marley in A CHRISTMAS CAROL (American Drama Group Europe); Mr Page in THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR (GB Theatre); Peter Quince in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM (Oxford Shakespeare Company); Charles the Wrestler in AS YOU LIKE IT (Creation Theatre) and Escalus in MEASURE FOR MEASURE (Lunchbox Theatre).
On screen his credits include: The Earl of Winchester in BRITAIN'S TUDOR TREASURES (BBC Factual); Writer/Presenter in HANDS ON HISTORY (BBC Learning) and US Soldier in IRAQ: THE BLOODY CIRCUS (More4).
Cover to Desiree & Mr Whiskers
Training: Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance
Theatre includes: FREEMAN (National and International tour) (Strictly Arts Theatre Company), NOUGHTS AND CROSSES (Pilot Theatre), BRIGHT PLACES (Birmingham Rep), MACBETH (Guildford Shakespeare Company), 4X15 (Sheffield Crucible), LAST DREAM (On Earth) (National Theatre of Scotland), THE TWISTED TALE OF HANSEL AND GRETEL (Birmingham Hippodrome), 90 DAYS (FutureTheatre), RISE UP! (Theatre Centre), THREE WISE MONKEYS (Bush Theatre/ RBC), CAT AND MOUSE (Belgrade Theatre).