Published: 06/01/2022 By Allan Fuller
The actor Ruby Barker, who starred as Marina Thompson in the hit Netflix series Bridgerton, has been named in the cast for a new production at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre.
She is to appear in Running with Lions, a co-production between the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre and Talawa Theatre Company which runs from 10 February to 12 March. Her other screen credits include the lead role of Yakira in the independent feature film How To Stop A Recurring Dream and Georgia Nixon in Sky's political drama Cobra.
It is the debut stage play from new writer Sian Carter and will be directed by Talawa’s Artistic Director Michael Buffong in the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre’s Main House. It also features Wil Johnson who has performed extensively on stage and the screen for over 30 years including all nine series of Waking the Dead as DS Spencer Jordan as well as Nickcolia King-N’da most recently on stage in The Death Of A Blackman at Hampstead Theatre; and Suzette Llewellyn who played Sheree Truman in EastEnders and will mark her first appearance in Hammersmith where she was born. In addition the cast includes Velile Tshabalala recently seen as Viv in Hollyoaks and who has previously starred as Kareesha Lopez in Kerching, Monique Hyde in Call The Midwife and Rosita in Dr Who.
Running with Lions is an intergenerational family drama about love, loss and hope: following three generations of women, it explores what it means to allow those we love to be themselves. It marks the first co-production between the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre and Talawa Theatre Company, the UK’s outstanding Black British Theatre Company. The production is based on the audio play of the same name originally commissioned by BBC Radio 4. Following the death of a loved one, a British-Caribbean family struggles to come to terms with their grief. Isolated by their generational beliefs and challenges to their faith and mental health, they live between the things they do and do not say.
Michael Buffong, Artistic Director of Talawa Theatre Company, said, "Sian Carter is a brilliant new writer; her story of an intergenerational family learning to overcome the challenges we all face today is, I think, life-affirming. To be able to co-produce this play with the Lyric is a welcomed dream. We have an amazing cast and I believe this is going to be an absolute treat for audiences."
Rachel O’Riordan, Artistic Director of Lyric Hammersmith Theatre said, “I’ve long admired the work of Talawa Theatre Company and Michael Buffong and it’s a joy to be working with them on Running with Lions, our very first co-production together, and championing an exceptional new writer, Sian Carter. We can’t wait to welcome an incredible cast and team to the Lyric and share this bold, exciting work with audiences in the New Year.”
As part of the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre’s Free First Night scheme, all tickets for the first preview of Running with Lions on Thursday 10 February will be free to people who live or work in Hammersmith and Fulham. Registration for the ballot will open in January 2022 on the website https://lyric.co.uk/