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Park Theatre announces cast for new play about male mental health

Park Theatre announces cast for new play about male mental health

The cast has been announced for Distance – the only male-directed play in the Park90 season at Park Theatre, shining a light on male mental health and suicide.

Distance Park Theatre

Written by Alex McSweeney and directed by Frantic Assembly’s associate director Simon Pittman, the play will feature Doreene Blackstock, Adam Burton, Richard Corgan, Lindsay Fraser and Abdul Salis.

The world premiere of Distance runs at Park Theatre in London from 5 to 29 September 2018, telling the story of Steven – played by Adam Burton. Recently separated and heading towards divorce, he bumps into an old friend on his way to a job interview. A complex recent past and a fragile present collide as Steven tries to make sense of the world around him and his place within it.

We accelerate headlong into his chaotic and troubled inner life as the everyday encounter unravels into something dark, disturbing and unrestrained. It highlights male mental health and suicide which is the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK.

Distance is an urgent examination of mental illness and its impact on the individual, their family and the society around them.

After the acclaimed Out Of The Cage at Park Theatre, Fine Line Productions, Alex McSweeney and Simon Pittman return with this darkly funny and visually dynamic portrayal of the mind. It was developed as part of the Park Theatre Script Accelerator programme.

Alex said: “I wrote Distance because five people I know have killed themselves in little over five years. All of them were men. I wanted to try and understand why suicide is particularly prevalent among men.

“While the crisis in masculinity might be regarded as a well-trodden path in terms of explaining the pressures that men are feeling, it is important to acknowledge that a crisis in male wellbeing is something that affects women, children, families and society itself.”

Doreene Blackstock will play Folami. Her theatre credits include Much Ado About Nothing at The Globe, Roundelay at Southwark Playhouse, Cymbeline, Hamlet and Noughts & Crosses with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and The Container at the Young Vic. Her screen credits include Death in Paradise, The Child in Time, EastEnders, The Game, Silent Witness, Trinity, The Bill, Life Begins, Family Business, Wire in the Blood, Medics, Casualty, Holby City, Judge John Deed, Gimme Gimme Gimme, Tom Jones, Common as Muck, Mm Hm and This Year’s Love.

Adam Burton’s stage credits include Jerusalem and All My Sons at Watermill Theatre, My Brilliant Friend at Rose Theatre, The Hairy Ape and The Duchess Of Malfi at the Old Vic, Everyman at the National Theatre, The Drowned Man, Masque of the Red Death and Faust for Punchdrunk, and The Orphan Of Zhao, Boris Godunov, A Life of Galileo, American Trade, King Lear, Antony and Cleopatra, The Winter’s Tale, The Drunk and Julius Caesar for the RSC. His TV credits include Bloody Queens: Elizabeth and Mary, RMS Titanic: Case Closed, Doctors, Jekyll, Casualty, Happy on the Boat, Dangerfield and Treflan.

Richard Corgan plays The Duke. His theatre credits include A Provincial Life with National Theatre Wales, Taming of the Shrew at The Globe, It’s About Me at Hampstead Theatre, Money & Science & Me at Liverpool Everyman, The Ballad of Blood & Darling at Rose Theatre, La Fanciulla del West and Fighter at the Royal Opera House, and Macbeth and The Changeling at The Pit at the Barbican. His screen credits include Baker Boys, Doctors, Casualty, Caught in the Web, The B World and Pobol Y Cwm.

Lindsay Fraser plays Sojna. Her stage credits include Out Of The Cage at Park Theatre, Execution Of Justice at Southwark Playhouse, Just So Stories at The Kings Head and Oh Go My Man at Tristan Bates Theatre. Her screen credits include Touch, Still Waters, In Control, Jacob, Cygnus, Collateral Damage and Hard Light.

Abdul Salis plays Alan. His theatre credits include The Barbershop Chronicles and War Horse at the National Theatre, Birth! at Manchester Royal Exchange, Boy at the Almeida, The Rise and Shine of Comrade Fiasco at The Gate, Lungs, The Initiate and The Human Ear for Paines Plough, Joe Guy at Soho Theatre, and Don Juan in Soho at Donmar Warehouse. His screen credits include Father Brown, Urban Myths ‘Public Enemy’, Power Monkeys, Doctors, Hacks, Strike Back, Outnumbered, Victoria Wood Christmas Special, Casualty, Doctor Who, Gifted, Trevor’s World of Sport, Roger Roger and The Hidden City.

Alex McSweeney is an actor, playwright and director. As well as Out Of The Cage at Park Theatre, his writing/directing credits include A Hero Of Our Time at Rose Theatre Kingston and Between Women at Hen and Chickens. As an actor he has worked extensively across television, film, radio and theatre including regular collaborations with Steven Berkoff including On The Waterfront at Nottingham Playhouse and Theatre Royal Haymarket and Oedipus at Liverpool Playhouse.

Director Simon Pittman co-directs the theatre company Rough Fiction and is associate director (learn and train) at Frantic Assembly. His credits as a director include The Expected at Wilton’s Music Hall, Othello for National Youth Theatre and Frantic Assembly at The Ambassadors West End, Not A Game for Boys at the Library Theatre Manchester, His Wild Imaginings at LSO St Luke’s, and The Last of The Lake at Brighton Dome and on tour. As associate director, he has worked on The Go-Between at West Yorkshire Playhouse, Floyd Collins at Southwark Playhouse and The Shawshank Redemption at Edinburgh Festival and Gaiety Theatre Dublin.



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