It was announced today that 100,000 new tickets have been released for the final booking period of the phenomenally successful West End production of Life of Pi.
Lolita Chakrabarti’s dazzling stage adaption of Yann Martel’s award-winning book starring Oliver Award winning actor Hiran Abeysekera as Pi alongside a life-size Royal Bengal Tiger puppet has now been extended until 15 January 2023, the final performance of the show at Wyndham’s Theatre in London, where the production will have played almost 500 performances.
Nuwan Hugh Perera, who is currently the alternate Pi, will take over the title role on 7 September 2022 with Chirag Benedict Lobo joining the cast as the new alternate Pi. Other new cast members joining in September are: Davina Moon as Ma, Ameet Chana as Father, Tanvi Virmani as Rani, Saikat Ahamad as Mamaji/Pandit-Ji, Sakuntala Ramanee as Mrs Biology Kumar/Zaida Khan, Kevin Shen as Mr Okamoto, Phyllis Ho as Lulu Chen, Kazeem Tosin Amore as Cook/Voice of Richard Parker, Owain Gwynn as Puppeteer and understudies Lilian Tsang and Mohit Mathur. Original West End cast members remaining in the show from 7 September are: Tom Espiner (Father Martin/Commander Grant-Jones) and puppeteers: Daisy Franks, Romina Hytten, Tom Larkin, Chris Milford and Tom Stacy.
Future plans for the show include a North American premiere in December 2022 through to January 2023 at the American Repertory Theatre, Cambridge, Massachusetts, as well as an anticipated transfer to Broadway, and separate productions in Asia, Australia and Mexico.
Producer Simon Friend said: ‘Our magical production of Life of Pi goes from strength to strength. We are delighted to release 100,000 more tickets for our final booking period in the West End, and look forward to welcoming new cast members in September. We are also thrilled to premiere the production in North America later this year. The response to this show continues to be overwhelming and we look forward to welcoming audiences to witness Pi’s journey of a lifetime in the West End and beyond.’
Life of Pi was awarded its five Olivier Awards at a ceremony held at the Royal Albert Hall in London in April 2022. As well as Best New Play, Hiran Abeysekera won Best Actor for his central performance as Pi, and – in an historic first for the Olivier Awards – the seven performers who play ‘Richard Parker’, the puppet tiger – Fred Davis, Daisy Franks, Romina Hytten, Tom Larkin, Habib Nasib Nader, Tom Stacy and Scarlet Wilderink – were collectively awarded Best Actor in a Supporting Role. The production also picked up awards for set (Tim Hatley, Nick Barnes and Finn Caldwell), and lighting design (Tim Lutkin and Andrzej Goulding).
The current cast will continue until 4 September 2022 with Hiran Abeysekera in the central role of Pi, Mina Anwar as Ma, Nicholas Khan as Father, Payal Mistry as Rani, Tom Espiner as Father Martin/Commander Grant-Jones, Raj Ghatak as Mamaji/Pandit-Ji, Syreeta Kumar as Mrs Biology Kumar/Zaida Khan, David K.S. Tse as Mr Okamoto, Kirsten Foster as Lulu Chen, Habib Nasib Nader as Cook/Voice of Richard Parker.
The Tiger puppeteers are: Fred Davis (Tiger Head), Daisy Franks (Tiger Hind), Owain Gwynn (Tiger Head) Romina Hytten (Tiger Heart), Tom Larkin (Tiger Head), Tom Stacy (Tiger Hind), Chris Milford (Tiger Hind) and Scarlet Wilderink (Tiger Heart). Nuwan Hugh Perera is Pi alternate, and understudies are Alex Chang, Omar Khan and Deeivya Meir.
The production is directed by Max Webster, Set and Costume designer is Tim Hatley, the Puppet and Movement Director is Finn Caldwell, the Puppet Designers are Nick Barnes and Finn Caldwell, the Video Designer is Andrzej Goulding, the Lighting Designer is Tim Lutkin, the Sound Designer is Carolyn Downing, the Composer is Andrew T Mackay, Dramaturgy is by Jack Bradley, the Casting Director is Polly Jerrold, the Associate Director is Leigh Toney, the Associate Set Designer is Ross Edwards, the Associate Puppet Designer is Caroline Bowman, the Costume Supervisor is Sabrina Cuniberto and the Props Supervisor is Ryan O’Conner.
Based on one of the best-loved works of fiction – winner of the Man Booker Prize, selling over fifteen million copies worldwide – Life of Pi is a breath-taking new theatrical adaptation of an epic journey of endurance and hope.
After a cargo ship sinks in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean, there are five survivors stranded on a single lifeboat – a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan, a sixteen year-old boy and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger. Time is against them, nature is harsh, who will survive?
The extraordinary animals are brought to life by Puppet & Movement Director Finn Caldwell, who began his career in the original company of the National Theatre’s international phenomenon War Horse. He is the Artistic Director of his own company Gyre & Gimble, for whom work includes: co-director/puppet designer of The Four Seasons: A Reimagining (Shakespeare’s Globe), The Hartlepool Monkey (UK tour) and The Elephantom (National Theatre & West End). His other work includes: director of puppetry/movement for Angels in America (National Theatre & Broadway), The Light Princess (National Theatre), War Horse (West End & Internationally) and Groundhog Day (Old Vic & Broadway).