Anna Popplewell to make her theatrical debut in Harriet Madeley’s Queer Adaptation of Hedda Gabler

Reading Rep and A Girl Called Stephen have today announced the full cast and creative team for the world premiere of Harriet Madeley’s queer adaptation of the Ibsen classic Hedda Gabler, which runs from 22 February – 11 March 2023.

A version steeped in queer rage and suburban monotony, Harriet Madeley’s new adaptation explores how the most famous female character of all time is trapped within a life that’s chosen for her.

Harriet Madeley’s debut play The Listening Room was adapted for radio with National Prison Radio/BBC Radio 4 and nominated for an ARIA in 2020. Her most recent radio drama, The Other Tchaikovsky, was shortlisted for a BBC Audio Drama Award in 2021.

Directed by Annie Kershaw (Artistic Director and co-founder of A Girl Called Stephen, current Associate Director on the West End production of Best of Enemies), Hedda Gabler follows Annie’s work as Assistant Director on Reading Rep’s critically acclaimed 2021 production of DORIAN, which also marked Reading Rep’s first production in their current venue, and the 2022 production of Jekyll and Hyde starring Audrey Brisson.

Anna Popplewell (she/her), who is best known for playing the role of Susan Pevensie in Disney’s The Chronicles of Narnia franchise, will make her theatrical debut starring in the title role. Popplewell also featured in the People’s Choice Award-winning CW series, REIGN, and played the lead role of Chyler in the mini-series HALO 4: FORWARD UNTO DAWN. Popplewell has also recently a leading role in the upcoming horror sequel The Nun 2.

Popplewell will be joined by Mark Desebrock (he/him, Hamlet – Almeida West End) as George, Ryan Gerald (he/him, Guilt – Lionsgate, ABC Studios & Netflix) as Brack, Natalie Perera (she/her, Glass Roots – Tristan Bates Theatre) as Thea and Jessica Temple (she/her – Patriots – Almeida) as Isla.

Alongside Kershaw on the creative team will be Amy Watts (A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Reading Rep) as Designer, Jamie Lu (Tokyo Rose – Southwark Playhouse) as Sound Designer, Murong Li (Choking Game – Omnibus Theatre) as Lighting Designer, Fran Levin (The Pirate Queen – London Coliseum) as Costume Supervisor and Rose Burston (Jekyll & Hyde – Reading Rep) as Stage Manager.

A Girl Called Stephen, which is an Associate Company of Reading Rep, is a theatre company based in Reading established to promote, present and produce work written by/for/with women and the LGBTQIA+ community. Previous works include SQUIDS IN: A Queer Open Mic (Double Okay), Safe (Co-production with Reading Rep) and This Is Not A Protest: A Street Theatre Performance (Reading on Thames Festival).

Hedda Gabler marks the third production of the Berkshire theatre’s tenth anniversary season. Reading Rep: 10 is a celebration of the voices and talent that have been part of Reading Rep’s decade long tapestry of work. The season, comprising five bold and exciting pieces of programming, sees Reading Rep honour its roots in collaborations with ongoing creative partners, whilst also championing a new frontier of creatives. Reading Rep: 10 features a mixture of bold new work, reimagined classics and family favourites.

Over the past ten years, Reading Rep’s award-winning ENGAGE programme has been connecting audiences underserved by the arts, reaching thousands of people across the town. Reading Rep curates this programme of participation and engagement activity alongside every main house production in their season. Running alongside Hedda Gabler will be HEAR OUR VOICE, focussed on making autobiographical and empowering work to ensure that all voices are heard. This project was prompted by a post-show discussion on DORIAN, which highlighted the need for space for the LGBTQIA+ community of Reading.

As part of Reading Rep’s tenth anniversary season 10% of all tickets to Hedda Gabler will be free for those who can’t afford them alongside all general tickets being priced under £20 and thirty tickets for each performance during the show’s first week being priced at £5 for under thirties.

Tickets are on sale at www.readingrep.com.

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