Cast Announced for The Butterfly Lion

26th February 2019

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Full casting announced for the award-winning Barn Theatre’s (Best Fringe Theatre  – The Stage Awards 2019) upcoming production of The Butterfly Lion by the acclaimed writer and former Children’s Laureate, Michael Morpurgo (War Horse, Private Peaceful, Running Wild).

The cast comprises of: Jasper William Cartwright (Michael/Bertie), Jonathan Charles (Lion), Jeremy Cobb (Merlot), Henry Douthwaite (Father), Hilary Harwood (Millie), and Abigail Matthews (Mother).

One of Morpurgo’s finest works, this heart-warming yet bittersweet story of faithfulness, destiny and love has been adapted for the stage by Daniel Buckroyd. The production runs at The Barn from 2 April – 4 May, with press night on Thursday 4 April 2019, and is directed by Jessica Daniels, with designs by Lizzy Leech, puppetry designs and direction by Maia Kirkman-Richards, and lighting by Sam Rowcliffe-Tanner.

The Butterfly Lion tells the extraordinary story of young Albert Andrews and the unlikely friendship that he strikes up with the orphaned white lion cub he rescues one day from the African Veldt. It’s an epic tale that spans more than seventy years and takes us from rural Wiltshire to the plains of South Africa, and from the bleeding heart of war-torn France finally back to England and the safety of home. It’s a journey that begins with a solemn promise made by a boy never to forget his friend, a journey that will keep you on the edge of your seat until its startling conclusion.

Following on from The Butterfly Lion, The Barn’s 2019 season continues with a William Shakespeare classic history, Henry V (22 May – 22 June 2019), a brand new production of the comic thriller, The 39 Steps (10 July – 10 August 2019), the award-winning musical Daddy Long Legs (2 October – 2 November 2019), and a reimagining of Charles Dickens’ festive masterpiece, A Christmas Carol (27 November 2019 – 4 January 2020). 

Jasper William Cartwright’s (Michael/Bertie) stage credits include War Horse (UK Tour). Jasper is also a trained Ballet, Contemporary & Hip hop dancer. Away from performing in theatre, Jasper co-founded a film production company 94 Film and works as a writer/director.

Jonathan Charles’ (Lion) stage credits include War Horse (UK Tour and National Theatre), The Tempest (Stafford Gatehouse), Cinderella (The Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch), Peter Pan in Scarlet (Oxford Playhouse and The New Vic, Stoke), Robin Hood & Marian, Dracula and The Borrowers (The New Vic, Stoke), Juno & the Paycock (Bristol Old Vic and Liverpool Playhouse), Sunset Five (The Pleasance and Greenwich Theatre) and London Road (Bristol Old Vic Studio).

Jeremy Cobb’s (Merlot) stage credits include: Spirit of Windrush: Contributions to Multicultural Britain (Westminster Abbey) and Riding Light Theatre Company’s Gospel Street (UK and Ireland Tour).

Henry Douthwaite’s (Father) stage credits include: Travesties (Apollo Theatre), In Vitro Veritas (Catalyst Festival), Dracula (Edinburgh Fringe), Hamlet (Stern Alarum/WW2 Bunker, Dalston), The Hound of the Baskervilles – Radio Theatre (Theatro Technis), Macbeth (UK Tour), The Secret Garden (UK Tour), Moonfleet (UK Tour), A Doll’s House (Dream Factory, Warwick), The Mousetrap (St. Martins Theatre), The Hound of the Baskervilles (Brockley Jack), Richard III (Courtyard Theatre), and Glengarry Glen Ross (Edinburgh Fringe). Henry was part of the devising team for Mother Clap’s Molly House (NT). Henry’s screen credits include Hunter, Cruel Peter, Solis, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Off Piste, Catch, Hi-Lo Joe, Skullz, Dead Fred, Aux, Ben Hur, Nobel Claim, Sweetboy, To Meet It With Awe, Axed, Other Side of the Game, The Last Horror Movie, Love, Death and Robots, Universe of Gods, The Gunpowder Plot: Exploding the Legend, The Last Days of Anne Boleyn, The Cambridge Rapist and How Sherlock Changed the World.

Hilary Harwood’s (Millie) stage credits include: Handbagged, Relative Values, Ladies In Lavender, The Ladykillers and Pygmalion (Theatre Royal, Windsor), Jamaica Inn (Chesterfield Pomegranate), Lend Me A Tenor, The Birds (Paul Taylor-Mills Summer Rep), Sunset Boulevard (Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford), My Fair Lady (60th Anniversary Concert), The Spitfire Grill (Union Theatre) and Carrie’s War (UK Tour).

Abigail Matthews’ (Mother) stage credits include Peter Pan (Beck Theatre), Myths and Legends, A Cowardly Night and Berlin Nights (Bridlington Spa Theatre), Goodnight Mister Tom (Duke of York’s Theatre), The White Feather (Union Theatre), Bye Bye Birdie (Ye Olde Rose & Crown Theatre), War Horse (New London Theatre), Dick Whittington (The White Rock Theatre), A Winter’s Tale and The Hired Man (Landor Theatre), The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (360° Theatre, Kensington Gardens) and Evita (UK and European Tour).

Jessica Daniels (Director) most recently directed A Pupil at Park Theatre, which was nominated for an Off West End award. Prior to that she was Resident Director on the West End transfer of Girl From the North Country, following its successful run at the Old Vic. Other directing credits include: Connect NOW Monologues (The Old Vic), Conquest (VAULT Festival/The Bunker), The Many Crimes of Hector Cartwright (VAULT Festival) and The State We’re In (Theatre503). Jess’ credits as Assistant Director include: Girl From the North Country (The Old Vic) and Jess and Joe Forever (Orange Tree Theatre).

Daniel Buckroyd (Stage Adaptation) is the Artistic and Executive Director of Exeter’s Northcott Theatre. He previously launched the critically acclaimed ‘Made in Colchester’ production and touring programme, has developed and grown a wide range of audiences, and an innovative and wide-reaching Creative Learning and Talent Programme. His creative work includes adaptions of Michael Morpurgo’s books The Butterfly Lion, which was nominated for a TMA Best Family Show award, and Farm Boy, which transferred to New York. Other productions include Turn of the Screw, Noises Off and Clybourne Park. He has directed Shakespeare, staged musicals including Sweeney Todd, The Hired Man and Betty Blue Eyes, and premiered a number of new plays including Abi Morgan’s first stage play Skinned. His production of Monty Python’s Spamalot was a sell-out at Exeter’s Northcott Theatre, won an award for Best International Musical in Korea and has just been showing at the Dubai Opera House. Daniel’s version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs received five nominations for the 2018 Great British Pantomime Awards.

Michael Morpurgo (Author) read English, French and Philosophy at King’s College, London. As a young man he was a teacher. With his wife Clare he founded the charity Farms for City Children. In 1999 the couple were awarded the MBE for their work together. In 1976 his first book was published and he went on to become the award-winning author of over 130 books for children of all ages, including War Horse, Private PeacefulFarm Boy, JoJo the Melon Donkey, Kensuke’s Kingdom, Alone on a Wide Wide Sea, The Mozart Question, On Angel Wings, The Best Christmas Present in the World, Running Wild, Born to Run, Listen to the Moon, Such Stuff and Fox and the Ghost King and most recently Flamingo Boy and In the Mouth of the Wolf.  Many of his books have been made into films and plays including Why the Whales Came, The Butterfly Lion and Adolphus Tips. From 2003 to 2005 Michael Morpurgo was Children’s Laureate; in 2005 he was made Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French government, in 2006 he was awarded an OBE for services to literature and in 2018 he received a Knighthood. In 2007 the National Theatre adapted his book War Horse for the stage. After two years the production moved to the New London Theatre in the West End, where it played until March 2016 and returned to the National Theatre in November 2018. Steven Spielberg’s film of War Horse was released in 2011.