facebook play-alt chevron-thin-right chevron-thin-left cancel location info chevron-thin-down star-full help-with-circle calendar images mail whatsapp directions_car directions_bike train directions_walk directions_bus close spinner11
Are you missing theatre as much as we are? Support us now with Theatre Tokens and see your favourite shows when they reopen. #IMissTheatre

Olivier Award winner leads Buskers Opera

Published 24 February 2016

Olivier Award winner George Maguire and Bend It Like Beckham star Lauren Samuels will lead the cast of The Buskers Opera, a brand new musical that will premiere at the Park Theatre later this year.

Dougal Irvine’s 2012 Olympics-set piece will play at the Finsbury Park venue from 28 April until 4 June under the director of Lotte Wakeham.

Maguire, who joined the prestigious ranks of Olivier Award winners last year for his acclaimed role in Sunny Afternoon, will star as Macheath, a satirical street busker who leads a gang of dissenters called The Ninety Nine Percenters. With the city of London busy attempting to pull off the greatest Olympics in history, they’re capitalising on the event to take the fat cats down.

But with media mogul, broadcaster and puppet master, Jeremiah Peachum and Lockitt, the Mayor of London, pulling the political strings, this time Mac may have bitten off more than he can chew.

Samuels, who came to fame as an Over The Rainbow finalist and has subsequently starred in West End productions of Grease and We Will Rock You, will take on the role of Jeremiah’s daughter and the object of Macheath’s affections Polly Peachum.

Speaking about the inspiration behind the piece, Irvine explained: “I started writing The Buskers Opera during the winter of 2011, when the feeling in London was overwhelmingly anti-Olympics. They were costing too much, there was too much corporate sponsorship, locals were being priced out of Stratford by property tycoons. Then, as the Games kicked off, my cynicism vanished….

“And yet as the months drew on, I watched homeless numbers continuing to rise, the spikes appearing in doorways, the cuts to public services, the food banks springing up in response to need. I recalled my earlier scepticism and wondered who was really benefitting from the Golden Games. I went back to a new draft. If The Buskers Opera was going to speak into this legacy, it had to be about more than soap box preaching. I had to ask serious questions of myself and the way I made theatre. It had to be about doing things differently, about stepping outside the standard structures of making a musical.”

One of the ways in which the company have stepped outside the norm is to recruit their designer, Anna Kezia Williams, through a competition with the Park Theatre’s neighbours, the University of the Arts. Irvine also worked with acclaimed homeless theatre company Cardboard Citizens to workshop elements of the production, which resulted in the discovery of actor Ishmael Gander, who will appear as part of the company.

Joining Maguire, Samuels and Gander are Natasha Cottriall, John McCrea, Maimuna Memonas and Giovanna Ryan, who complete the cast.

 

Share

Sign up

Related articles

If you click through to seat selection (where you'll see either best available or a seating plan), you will be seeing the most up-to-date prices. If this differs from what we've written on the calendar, please bear with us, as those prices will update soon.

We now sell our famous TKTS Booth discounts online here at Official London Theatre.

We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen.

We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets .

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

If you have booked directly with the theatre or show website for an affected performance, please be assured that they will contact you directly to arrange an exchange for a later date, a credit note/voucher or a refund. If you have booked via a ticket agent they will also be in contact with you directly.

We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been patient and kind in dealing with their ticket providers so far and we are sorry that we cannot process your order as quickly as we would like.

Please do not contact your credit card company as that will slow the process down and put an additional burden on our box office and ticket agent teams.

In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.

Theatres are currently closed until 3 August. Some shows have cancelled or rescheduled performances beyond this date, please check with individual shows for details.