Across the Dark Water Cast:
TOM BROWNLEE: Henry V
Tom Brownlee returns to his home county of Hampshire to take on the role of King Henry V in Across the Dark Water.
Tom is a graduate of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and former student at Testwood School, Totton and Eastleigh’s Barton Peveril College. Locally he has worked with Russ Tunney and Patrick Sandford at Southampton’s Nuffield Theatre and Kirstie Davis of Forest Forge Theatre.
Tom says he can’t wait to get into the rehearsal room:
“I am fascinated by local history so I didn't need much persuading. The script is great and the sense of the dangerous unknown, brilliantly suggested by the play's title, made this a story I really wanted to help tell.”
“Creativity and collaboration in the rehearsal room excite me - so I am looking forward to exploring the character of Henry with Owen Calvert-Lyons and all members of the creative team.”
“I have discovered that there is an enormous amount of literature about Henry V. I usually like to do as much research as possible before rehearsals but I would literally be reading non-stop until Christmas - so I think it's going to be a case of taking a few books as some sort of reference - I'm currently reading 1415: Henry's Year of Glory by Ian Mortimer - and being confident with whatever choices I/we make.”
DARRELL BROCKIS: Lord Scrope of Masham
A love of history and historical fiction drew Darrell Brockis to the role of Lord Scrope in Across the Dark Water.
Darrell trained at the Webber Douglas Academy, St Andrews University. A regular with acclaimed all male Shakespeare company, Propeller Theatre Company, he says the way the play examines betrayal appealed to him.
“I have always been a lover of history and historical fiction. The attraction of Across the
Dark Water is the blend of historical fact with a modern structure and a poetic, even mystical aesthetic, which ultimately explores not just a moment in time, but the nature of betrayal itself.”
Darrell is looking forward to the challenges of Lord Scrope's complex story.
“Scrope is not a natural traitor, but is drawn into the plot, almost against his will. He is wracked with inner conflict throughout the play, and I am looking forward to exploring the gradual erosion of his loyalty to Henry, by multiple internal and external forces, which eventually leads to his own destruction.”
Examining the Southampton Plot from the conspirators’ perspective also appealed to Darrell:
“My only prior knowledge of the Southampton plot came from Act 2 of Shakespeare's Henry V, where the plotters, who took French bribes to kill their king, are shamed by Henry and sent to their execution. It will be fascinating to explore the plot from the conspirator’s perspective.”
BEN CALLON: Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March
Bristol Old Vic Theatre School graduate Ben Callon takes on the role of plotter Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March, an unlikely heir to the throne, in Across the Dark Water.
He says he can’t wait to get under the skin of the character.
“It's tempting to label The Earl of March as simply duplicitous, but in my opinion his dislike for the King is wholly justifiable and he's more a product of exterior manipulation than a traditional treason toting villain. The script really captures this humanity and I’m looking forward to bringing a fully fleshed out version of Edmund to life.”
And he is also looking forward to taking the play on the road after reading up on the Southampton Plot.
“I was really attracted to the premise of the play and its place in the Road to Agincourt programme, which I think is a truly inspired project. Also, the idea of running around local castles and chapels wielding a sword, without facing arrest, was a real draw!”
CHRIS GUNTER: Richard, Earl of Cambridge
A graduate of The University of Bristol and The Oxford School of Drama, Chris is no stranger to historical drama; recently appearing in the Birmingham Stage Company’s Horrible Histories productions.
The challenge of playing the role of plotter, Richard, Earl of Cambridge is one that Chris is meeting with relish.
“I am looking forward to delving into the borderlines of a character which veers, it seems to me, between hero-revolutionary and scheming misanthrope.
“The Earl has been dealt a very bad hand, he is despised and reviled by his peers and his family, he has been spurned and rejected at every turn, his fortunes have diminished the older he's got to the point of near destitution and this for a member of the royal family!"
“He sees only decay and hypocrisy, malice and injustice. So he becomes an agent of destruction. He seeks a better world by turning the one before him into ashes. It is extremely satisfying to grapple with a character driven to such malevolent depths by the world he finds himself in. In a mad world only the mad are sane.”
Chris knew of the Southampton Plot thanks to the reference in Shakespeare’s Henry V to the execution of three men, but is looking forward to telling the other side of the Henry V story.
“It is ludicrous that Henry V, a mass murdering, religious fundamentalist and invader, is revered as a hero. Across the Dark Water does something very important in redressing the image of Henry and the plot. History is written by the winners, it’s important for theatre to provide a mouthpiece for the oppressed and vanquished.”
Across the Dark Water Creative Team:
OWEN CALVERT-LYONS: Director
Owen’s belief in the power of theatre to transform communities has shaped his career in the arts. He is the Artistic Director of The Point and its sister venue The Berry Theatre in Hampshire. Through The Point’s Associate Artist programme Owen mentors four emerging companies each year as well as curating the Powered by The Point artist residency programme, which supports the creation of twenty-five new productions every year.
Prior to this, Owen established Arcola Theatre’s award-winning Creative Learning Department, which he ran for four years. Owen has also worked for York Theatre Royal, The Courtyard Centre for the Arts, Theatre Royal Plymouth and National Association of Youth Theatres.
Theatre credits include: Jack and Pinocchio (The Berry Theatre); Around the World in Eighty Days, Boy with a Suitcase and Walking the Tightrope (Arcola Theatre); I am a Camera (Cornelius Cook - nominated for Best Director Off West End Awards 2011); 1984, The Children and The UN Inspector (York Theatre Royal); and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (The Courtyard).
BEN MUSGRAVE: Playwright
Ben Musgrave grew up in London, Bangladesh and India. His first play, PRETEND YOU HAVE BIG BUILDINGS, won the inaugural Bruntwood Prize, and was performed in the main house of the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester (2007). He was subsequently commissioned by the National Theatre. Since then he has been performed by companies including The Birmingham REP, Paines Plough and Y Touring. His play for Only Connect, HIS TEETH (2011),was Evening Standard and Time Out Critics’ Choice, and was nominated for an Offwestend.com award for best new play. His BBC R4 play, THE BRITISH CLUB, was broadcast in 2012, and a screenplay for a new television drama series, BEGINNERS’ CALL, is currently under option to Lime Pictures. He recently developed a new play, CRUSHED SHELLS AND MUD, at the National Theatre Studio, and his play POLITRIX, for The Big House, was at the Hackney Showrooms in March/April 2015.
STEPHEN DOBBIE - Sound Designer
Stephen has been a sound and graphic designer since 2002.
Stephen has worked primarily with Punchdrunk on productions such as the award-winning Faust, The Masque of The Red Death, It Felt Like A Kiss, a collaboration with Adam Curtis and Damon Albarn as part of the Manchester International Festival (UK), the Doctor Who adventure The Crash Of The Elysium, Punchdrunk’s US debut, Sleep No More and the critically acclaimed The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable.
He has also worked with Punchdrunk Enrichment on several projects, including The Uncommercial Traveller (UK & International), a collaboration with Arcola Theatre and most recently Against Captain's Orders at the National Maritime Museum.
Stephen has also worked as a sound designer on two Greenwich & Docklands Festivals.
TIM SLATER - Lighting Designer/ Technical Manager
Tim studied for a Masters in Contemporary Theatre Studies at the University of Kent and spent a number of years performing before he began working in technical theatre. Working in production roles for various UK festivals including Reading, Latitude and Lounge on the Farm, Tim developed an interest in lighting design. As Technical Manager for The Point, Eastleigh and its sister venue The Berry Theatre, Tim had designed for many in-house and touring shows and works with The Point’s Associate Artists, youth theatres and emerging companies. He has previously worked with Milk Presents, Two Destination Language, ShadyJane, Hiccup Theatre, The Propaganda Company, The European Ballet Company and Icarus Performance Project.
There are a range of technical challenges to overcome for the tour of Across the Dark Water. Tim says that “one of the biggest challenges will be working around the lack of power source within each venue. With this in mind, and trying to stay eco-friendly, I am using all LED lighting.”
He goes onto say “This allows us to run all the show’s lighting from just one plug. The change to LED also allows me to utilise one lighting fixture in a multitude of ways, giving us the ability to go from scenes with realistic natural lighting to more stark creative interpretations.”
SEAN TURNER - Designer
Sean trained at Motley and is an associate artist just across the water on the Isle of Wight for the Ventnor exchange and is the associate designer for the award winning theatre company Las theatre, an immersive theatre company and creators of the multidisciplinary Science/ art series The Enlightenment Café. Sean has developed and designed work for Punchdrunk Enrichment for the past six years including The House Where Winter Lives, which transferred to the Perth International arts festival in 2014. This year Sean has designed New Atlantis (Las Theatre), a series of events for City Read based on the book The Rivers of London (Look Left Look Right) The Lost Carnival (Wild Rumpus/ Las theatre) Ages (Old Vic New Voices) and Robin Hood (Leeds City Varieties).
Across the Dark Water marks a return to the Point for Sean who designed The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe for the Point Youth theatre and Little Hope, an educational tour in 2008.
“I am really excited to back at the Point, to be working on such a fantastic piece of new writing. It's always an honour to work on a new play but more so a piece that holds an emotional and factual magnifying glass over a moment in history, which until now has remained in the shadow of the victorious and over patriotic battle of Agincourt; an invasion of a country against the will of a large portion of the country… familiar."
"My main approach to the piece has been to strip it back to the human interaction between the characters in the play - and not hold the piece back. The pace and rhythm of the piece is so important, it reads almost like a film and the moments between scenes have become just as important as those written.”
CAROLINE SHEARD - Stage Manager
Caroline graduated from East 15 Acting School with a First Class Honors degree on the Stage Management and Technical Theatre course. Since then she has been working on a variety of projects including Hansel and Gretel with Hightime Theatre Company and Hireath at the Soho Theatre, London with Buddug James Jones. Caroline was Stage Manager for The Berry Theatre’s 2014 Christmas show Jack directed by Owen Calvert-Lyons.
Following Across the Dark Water, Caroline will head up to Scotland to theSpaceUK; home of live performance at the very heart of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and then onto a Yorkshire tour with Rich Seam Theatre.
Caroline says “I am really excited to be a part of a little bit of history as well as learning about what happened as those years ago. I love being back at The Point and can’t wait to get stuck into this brilliant piece of writing.”