BAFTA Award-winning television star and writer Ruth Jones is making her highly anticipated return to the stage in The Nightingales at Cardiff’s New Theatre next week from 19 – 24 November.
The production, directed by RSC Associate Artist Christopher Luscombe and written by William Gaminara is a thought-provoking, bittersweet play which follows the lives of a small community acapella group in their weekly singing practice, and the impact of new arrival, Maggie.
Ruth Jones (Maggie) is best known for playing Nessa in the BBC’s multi award winning Gavin and Stacey which she co-wrote and created with James Corden. She also took the title role in Sky 1’s Stella made by her own company Tidy Productions, which ran for six seasons, gaining Ruth a BAFTA nomination for Best Female Performance in a comedy. Other screen credits include: Little Britain, Nighty Night, Saxondale, Fat Friends, Tess of the D’Urbervilles and Little Dorrit. Ruth also played Hattie Jacques in BBC4’s highly acclaimed film Hattie.
Ruth’s last stage performance was in Educating Rita at the Sherman Theatre, Cardiff in 2006. Before that she’d worked with Dominic Cooke in The Marriage of Figaro, Roger Michell in the National Theatre’s Under Milk Wood as well as the RSC’s world tour of The Winter’s Tale. Ruth’s debut novel Never Greener is a Sunday Times number one bestseller.
In The Nightingales Steven the choirmaster keeps a watchful eye over Connie, Ben, Diane and Bruno as they gather every week in the village hall to practise their accomplished acapella singing. They are a motley crew, but whatever their differences, whatever the problems they may have at home, all are happily bound together in their shared love of music. Until one day Maggie knocks on the door… Soon she is urging them to enter Talentfest, a potentially life-changing route to Britain’s Got Talent. In the weeks that follow, loyalties will be tested, tempers will fray and lives will indeed be changed – but not in the way that any of them had quite anticipated.
The cast of The Nightingales also includes Steven Pacey (Steven) whose most recent stage appearances include The Knowledge (Charing Cross Theatre), Loves Labour’s Lost / Much Ado About Nothing (West End and Chichester Festival Theatre), Travels with my Aunt and King Lear (Chichester Festival Theatre). Musical theatre credits include Spamalot (National Tour) and La Cage aux Folles (The Playhouse). On television he has appeared in Doctors, Humans, Silent Witness and Poirot.
Stefan Adegbola (Bruno) has performed on stage in Titus Andronicus (RSC), The Convert (Gate Theatre), After Independence (Arcola), The Merchant of Venice (Globe Theatre and World Tour), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Noel Coward). His screen credits include Doctor Who.
Sarah Earnshaw (Connie) most recently appeared in the UK tour of Some Mother’s Do ‘Ave ‘Em. Previous stage credits include Travels with My Aunt (Chichester Festival Theatre), the original cast of Wicked (Apollo), Heart of Winter (Tristan Bates) and national tours of Spamalot, Jekyll and Hyde, Scrooge and Puttin’ on the Ritz. Television appearances also include Casualty and Children in Need.
Philip McGinley (Ben) whose numerous television credits include Game of Thrones, Manhunt, Vera, Coronation Street, Drifters, No Offence and Home Fires. Stage credits include Husbands & Sons (National Theatre), Microcosm (Soho Theatre), The Daughter in Law (Sheffield Crucible) and Herding Cats (Theatre Royal Bath and Hampstead Theatre).
Mary Stockley’s (Diane) stage credits include The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime (National Theatre and West End), The House They Grew Up In (Chichester Festival Theatre), Rainman (Apollo), Anything Goes (National Theatre and West End) and Merrily We Roll Along (Donmar Warehouse). Recent television credits include Delicious, and The Alienist and film includes The Woman in Black and V for Vendetta.
Playwright William Gaminara is also an actor. He played Leo Dalton in Silent Witness for 11 years, and is Dr Richard Locke in The Archers. His plays include Germinal (Paines Plough), Back up the Hearse and According to Hoyle (Hampstead Theatre) and The Three Lions (St James Theatre/Pleasance). TV writing includes episodes for Jimmy McGovern’s The Lakes, BBC’s This Life (winner of a Writers’ Guild Drama Award), and an adaptation of Rachel Morris’ novel Ella and the Mothers.
Director Christopher Luscombe is an associate artist of the RSC, where his productions include Love’s Labour’s Lost and Much Ado About Nothing, both of which transferred to the Theatre Royal Haymarket. He also directed the Olivier Award winning Nell Gwynn (Shakespeare’s Globe and Apollo), The Madness of George III (Apollo), The Merry Wives of Windsor (Shakespeare’s Globe), Enjoy (Gielgud), Olivier Award nominated productions of When We Are Married (Garrick) and Fascinating Aïda – One Last Flutter (Harold Pinter) and The Rocky Horror Show and Spamalot (Playhouse).
Ruth Jones in The Nightingales is presented by Jenny Topper and Bath Theatre Royal Productions. It plays at Cardiff’s New Theatre from Monday 19 – Saturday 24 November. Tickets are available from the Box Office on 029 2087 8889 and newtheatrecardiff.co.uk.