London-born actor Matthew Tennyson is set to star in the lead role of Conor O'Malley. Tennyson studied acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) and made his professional stage debut in 2011 when he starred as Percy in Flare Path at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Shortly thereafter, he played Jamie in Beautiful Thing at The Royal Exchange, which earned him an award for Best Newcomer at the 2011 Manchester Theatre Awards. Following this performance, he also received an Evening Standard Award for Outstanding Newcomer in 2012. His other stage credits include Salomé (RSC) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare’s Globe).
Other cast members announced include Hammed Animashaun (Barber Shop Chronicles) as Anton, Nandi Bhebhe (The Tin Drum) as Teacher, Selina Cadell (Humble Boy) as Grandmother, Matt Costain (La Strada), Georgia Frost (The Taming of the Shrew) as Sully, Felix Hayes (The Tempest) as Dad, Jonathan Holby (A Tale of Two Cities) as a Swing, John Leader (The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe) as Harry, Marianne Oldham (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead) as Mum, and Witney White (Loserville) as Lily.
A Monster Calls was adapted for the stage from the 2011 bestselling novel of the same name, which was written by Patrick Ness but based on an idea conceived by Siobhan Dowd before she passed away from cancer in 2007. Ness finished the story in her honour and saw it to publication following Dowd's untimely death. The book was very well received and won both the Carnegie and Greenway Medals for outstanding children's literature and illustration.
The story follows a thirteen-year-old boy named Conor O'Malley (Matthew Tennyson) who has been experiencing the same nightmare night after night for the past several months. His mother (Marianne Oldham) is currently very ill and he constantly has to deal with an overbearing grandmother (Selina Cadell). One night, at seven minutes past midnight, Conor awakens from the same dream to a tree monster outside his bedroom window...
The play is directed by Sally Cookson (Jane Eyre; Peter Pan; The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe) who is also an alumnus of LAMDA where she studied acting and pursued an acting career for 10 years before crossing over into freelance writing. Cookson is currently an associate artist for the Bristol Old Vic.
The stage adaptation is written by Adam Peck and the production features set design by Michael Vale, costume design by Katie Sykes, music composed by Benji Bower, sound by Mike Beer, lighting by Aideen Malone, puppetry by Laura Cubitt, movement by Dan Canham, projection by Dick Straker, aerial work by Matt Costain, casting by Jessica Ronane and associate direction by Miranda Cromwell.
A Monster Calls will run at the Old Vic Theatre from 12 July 2018 to 25 August 2018. Book your tickets early to ensure the best seats available at the Old Vic.
For tickets to see A Monster Calls, click here.