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Cast announced for The Unreturning

A Frantic Assembly & Theatre Royal Plymouth production
THE UNRETURNING

ANNA JORDAN’S NEW PLAY THE UNRETURNING WILL HAVE ITS WORLD PREMIERE AT THEATRE ROYAL PLYMOUTH ON 24 SEPTEMBER 2018 AND COMES TO STRATFORD EAST -WED 16 JAN - SAT 2 FEB 2019

DIRECTED BY NEIL BETTLES, THE CAST WILL INCLUDE JARED GARFIELD, JOE LAYTON, JONNIE RIORDAN AND KIETON SAUNDERS-BROWNE

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Today Frantic Assembly announces the full tour dates of The Unreturning, a brand new co-production with Theatre Royal Plymouth. Telling the interwoven stories of three men coming home from war, this new work by Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting winner Anna Jordan will be directed by Frantic Assembly associate director Neil Bettles and marks the 10th anniversary of Frantic Assembly’s award-winning Ignition training programme. The Unreturning will have its world premiere at Theatre Royal Plymouth before coming to Theatre Royal Stratford East in Jan 2019.

A British northern coastal town. Three young men are coming home from war. Their stories, set at different times over the last 100 years, are beautifully interwoven in this compelling new play featuring Frantic’s celebrated physicality. The cast will include Jared Garfield, Joe Layton, Jonnie Riordan and Kieton Saunders-Browne.

The Unreturning explores the profound effect that war has on young lives, and asks - what does coming home really mean? What is home? And when experience has shattered you into a million pieces, will home help to put you together again, or treat you as an ugly truth it does not want to confront?

Ignition, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, is Frantic Assembly's free, national training programme for young men aged 16-20. The programme seeks out talent in unexpected places, from sports groups to youth centres, and is committed to helping young men find their individual and collective strength. No experience of the arts is necessary to participate. Frantic collaborates with regional arts partners across the UK through its Taster and Trial workshops, from which 12 of the brightest and bravest young men are selected to form the Ignition Company. They then spend five days living and working together in London where they will create an original performance with Frantic Assembly.

All four members of the cast for The Unreturning were part of the Ignition programme before they went on to train professionally and pursue acting careers.

Joe Layton will play Frankie. Joe’s television work includes roles in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Tatau (BBC Three), Casualty (BBC), Thirteen (BBC3), Father Brown (BBC) and New Worlds (C4). Joe trained at Drama Centre and made his stage debut in A Level Playing Field (Jermyn Street Theatre).

Jared Garfield will play George. Jared is best known to television audiences for his recurring role as Nathan Nightingale in Hollyoaks (C4) from 2015 to 2017. He has also appeared on television in Dr Who’s 2017 Christmas Special (BBC) and Midsomer Murders (ITV). Recent theatre roles include Mr Deville in A Harlem Dream (Young Vic), Lysander in Watch Your Head’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Windsor Castle) and The Dishwashers (Birmingham Rep/UK Tour). On film he has appeared in Boy A (Cuba Pictures) opposite Andrew Garfield.

Jonnie Riordon will play Nat. Jonnie is an actor, director and movement director. As an actor, he has appeared in This Will All Be Gone (Frantic Assembly, Asian tour), No Way Back (Frantic Assembly/Made in Corby), Full Stop (Light The Fuse/Lyric Hammersmith/Greenwich and Docklands International Festival), Canticles (Brighton Festival/Aldeburgh Music/Frantic Assembly), The Marriage of Figaro (Opera Holland Park), Night Film (Stand + Stare), Mortal: A Drama (Wellcome Collection), The Fear (Frantic Assembly's Ignition) and In His Image (Hampstead Theatre).

Jonnie is also associate director of ThickSkin, appearing as an actor in their productions Boy Magnet and These Imagined Stories and directing Boy Magnet and White Noise. Other directing credits include the first stage adaptation of Nigel Slater's Toast (The Lowry) and Found (The Albany). ​As movement director his credits include Great Apes (Arcola Theatre), Connections Festival 16/17 (National Theatre), Maggie & Pierre (Finborough Theatre), The Paper Birds’ Mobile (UK tour), Frozen Light’s Home (UK tour), CAUGHT (Pleasance Theatre) and Cracking, Hooked and Bat Boy (New Wimbledon Studio).

Kieton Saunders-Browne will play Finn. Kieton trained at the Young Actors Theatre and will be making his professional stage debut in The Unreturning. Keiton’s film credits include Pulling (Kaiser Siren Films) and The Backseat (Hidden Art Films).

Anna Jordan won the 2013 Bruntwood Prize for her play Yen after having been twice longlisted for her plays Marianne and Chicken Shop. Yen has had productions at Manchester Royal Exchange, the Royal Court and MCC New York as well as several international productions. It was also shortlisted for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize 2015-2016.  Other theatre writing includes We Anchor In Hope (Royal Court Theatre - Beyond the Court), A Serious Case of the Fuckits (CSSD), Chicken Shop (Park Theatre), Freak (Theatre503/Assembly Studios) and Offliners (LAMDA).

Anna’s writing for TV includes staff writer for Succession (HBO) and a pilot of her own drama series on addiction Cluck (Little Brother Productions). Film includes The Ivory Year (LAMDA). Anna also directs and teaches acting. She directed Jonathan Harvey’s play Tomorrow I’ll Be Happy (National Theatre Shed as part of National Theatre Connections). Other directing experience includes Freak (Theatre503/Assembly Studios), 3 Winters, Touched and The Crucible (Italia Conti BA Hons), Earthquakes in London (Arts Educational BA Hons), Crystal Springs (Eureka Theatre, San Francisco), Only Human (Theatre503), Vote of No Confidence (Theatre503). She has worked at many London drama schools teaching both acting and playwriting, including RADA, LAMDA, Central, Arts Ed and Italia Conti. She also runs her own company - Without a Paddle Theatre, as well as a support network for recent drama school graduates called The Long Game. She co-founded Hackney Showroom Young Actors - a free weekly acting training for young people based in Hackney. Anna is currently working with Frantic Assembly, Headlong, The Royal Exchange, Paines Plough and The Royal Court. 

Neil Bettles is Associate Director for Frantic Assembly, most recently co-directing No Way Back for the company. His credits as Movement Director include The James Plays (Edinburgh International Festival & National Theatre), Blood WeddingThe Bacchae (Royal & Derngate), Much Ado About Wenlock (Vamos), Platform (Old Vic Tunnels), Henry IV: Part One (Drum, Plymouth), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Secret Cinema) and Stanley Pickle – an animated short film for the NFTS. Neil has also acted as Associate Director on The Light Princess (NT), The Full Monty (Sheffield Theatres/Coward). As Director: Chalk Farm, The Static, Blackout, Boy Magnet and White Noise, ThickSkin; Playlist, Belgrade, Coventry; Brave, Battersea Arts Centre. As Associate Director: tours of Beautiful Burnout and Lovesong, Frantic Assembly. As Assistant Director: Dirty Wonderland, Frantic Assembly.

The Unreturning is written by Anna Jordan, directed by Neil Bettles and has video and set design by Andrzej Goudling. Sound design is by Pete Malkin with lighting design by Zoe Spurr and costumes by Lily Arnold. Jessica Williams is associate director.

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