Buxton International Festival and Norwich Theatre are delighted to announce the cast for their landmark new co-production for 2023, The Land of Might-Have-Been, which opens 7 July 2023. This new musical is built around the songs of Ivor Novello and is inspired by the early life of Buxton’s pioneering feminist and pacifist Vera Britain and the lives, loves and stories of those closest to her.
The role of Vera Brittain will be taken by West End actor Audrey Brisson who has appeared in numerous musical theatre productions including the title role in Amélie the Musical for which she was nominated Best Actress in a Musical for Olivier Awards 2020 and Best Performer in a Musical for UK Theatre Awards 2019. Other roles include ‘Utterson – one woman show’ in Jekyll and Hyde and Cinderella in Into the Woods, The Lorax in Dr Suess’s The Lorax and Bella in Emma Rice’s The Flying Colours of Vitebsk.
Brisson will be joined by Alexander Knox who plays Roland Leighton, Vera’s doomed fiancée. Alexander has appeared in A Merchant of Venice (Playground Theatre), Into Battle, (Greenwich Theatre) The Tempest, Henry V, (Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre York) The Silver Sword and the film, Music, War and Love. George Arvidson plays Edward Brittain, Vera’s brother, who courts death rather than face being court marshalled for his sexuality. Arvidson’s numerous West End appearances include Les Misérables, Evita and Carousel. Kit Esuroso will play Bobby, Vera’s friend and Edward’s secret lover. Kit recently won Best Actor for his role in AKONI for the Australian Screen and Industry Network Awards. Other highlights include Showboat (Crucible Theatre, West End), TINA (Original West End Cast) and West Side Story (Royal Exchange Theatre).
The Land of Might-Have-Been, with book and lyrics by Michael Williams, follows on from the success of another Buxton-inspired triumph, Williams’ award-winning opera, Georgiana. It is the first co-production between Buxton International Festival and Norwich Theatre. It will be directed by Kimberley Sykes, conducted by Iwan Davies, set and costumes designed by Nicky Shaw, lighting by Jake Wiltshire, sound by Declan Matwij and choreography by Nathan M Wright. Iain Farrington has arranged Ivor Novello’s songs, including My Dearest Dear, Waltz of My Heart, My Life Belongs To you and Why Is There Ever Goodbye, for the Northern Chamber Orchestra.
Other roles are played by Stuart Pendred, Bernadine Pritchett, Elin Davies, Julie Teal, Boaz Chad, Richard Woodall, Helen Maree, Julia Mariko, Tobias Camposs Antinaque and Charlie St John.