Shaun Williamson will join the cast of the Olivier Award-winning production of Mike Kenny’s stage adaptation of E. Nesbit’s novel The Railway Children – Live on Stage at the same time as the show celebrates its first anniversary at King’s Cross Theatre in London. Shaun will play Mr Perks from Saturday 16th January.
The Railway Children opened at the King’s Cross Theatre to critical and public acclaim on 14th January 2015, following previews from 16th December 2014.
Shaun Williamson is best known for playing Barry Evans in EastEnders, a role he played for nine years. With Ricky Gervais he starred in two series of Extras and Life’s Too Short. Most recently on television he appeared in the US mini-series Houdini with Adrien Brody, and guest starred in ITV’s Plebs. On film, he has appeared in Daylight Robbery and Ricky Gervais’s The Invention of Lying. In the theatre, he made his West End debut in Saturday Night Fever playing Monty the DJ. He has starred as Nathan Detroit on tour in Guys & Dolls and played the Narrator in The Rocky Horror Show. Recent theatre includes Fletch in the tour of Porridge and Louis in The Ladykillers and he starred opposite Max Irons in Farragut North at the Southwark Playhouse.
Also joining the cast of The Railway Children on 16th January will be Sophie Ablett as Bobbie, Beth Lilly as Phyllis, Matt Jessup as Peter and Lindsay Allen as Mrs Perks. Sophie Ablett and Beth Lilly are both making their West End debuts with The Railway Children.
The new cast members will join Caroline Harker as Mother, Peter Gardiner as Doctor/Butler, Mark Hawkins as Jim/District Super, Connie Hyde as Mrs Viney, Blair Plant as Father/Schepansky, and Moray Treadwell as the Old Gentleman, as well as Helen Brampton, Rebecca Brierley, Timothy George and Daniel Griffin, plus a children’s ensemble made up of three teams of 10 children aged between nine and 15.
A purpose built 1,000-seat theatre, complete with a railway track and platforms, and with a state of the art air conditioning and heating system, was specially created for this production on King’s Boulevard, behind King’s Cross Station, a site which has been loaned to the production for the duration of the run by Google. The York Theatre Royal production, which is in association with the National Railway Museum, features a live steam locomotive and a vintage carriage, originally built in 1896.
The production at King’s Cross Theatre is in support of the Railway Children Charity that aims to help homeless and runaway children throughout the world, with £1 per ticket donated to the charity. To date, £335,000 has been raised by the theatre production since its West End debut in 2010.
The Railway Children tells the story of Bobbie, Peter and Phyllis, three children whose lives change dramatically when their father is mysteriously taken away. They move from London to a cottage in rural Yorkshire with their mother, where they befriend the local railway porter, Perks, and embark on a magical journey of discovery, friendship and adventure. But the mystery remains – where is Father, and is he ever coming back?
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Images: Johan Persson