The Grand Theatre, Covent Garden Productions, and Mirvish Productions Present the North American Premiere of Room
Resiliency of human spirit celebrated as the Grand prepares to stage ROOM for a third time
Written / Adapted for Stage by Emma Donoghue
Music and Lyrics by Cora Bissett and Kathryn Joseph
Directed by Cora Bissett
On the Spriet Stage
March 8 to 19, 2022
March 1, 2022 – London ON – From March 8 to 19, the resiliency of the human spirit will be powerfully displayed as the Grand Theatre, in partnership with Covent Garden Productions and Mirvish Productions, proudly presents the stage adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s best-selling novel Room. The opening of the 120-minute show will officially mark its North American premiere, after being postponed twice in March 2020 and January 2022, due to COVID-19.
“Since first announcing our partnership to bring Room to the Grand in 2019, there has been a palpable feeling of excitement and new promise within our company,” states Dennis Garnhum, Grand Theatre Artistic Director. “Three years and two postponements later, our spark has not been dulled. If anything, it has only made us more determined and more exhilarated to officially premiere Room and celebrate the power and unity that is live theatre.”
Room tells the story of Ma, who was kidnapped as a teenage girl, and locked inside a purpose-built Room in her captor’s garden for seven years. Her five-year-old son, Jack, has no concept of the world outside and happily exists inside Room with the help of Ma’s games and vivid imagination, where objects like Rug, Lamp, and TV are his only friends. But for Ma, the time has come to escape and face their biggest challenge to date: the world outside Room.
Irish-turned-Canadian author, Emma Donoghue, who moved to London, Ontario in 1998, wrote her novel while living and working in the city. Her work was officially published in 2010 and adapted to the screen in 2015 – winning Academy Awards, Golden Globes, and BAFTAs. But, from the beginning, Donoghue always saw Room as a staged production.
“It always felt as if retelling Jack and Ma’s story in the language of theatre made obvious sense,” recounts Donoghue.
In 2016, Scottish director, Cora Bissett approached Donoghue with a pitch to stage Room – with one important, new element: music. Donoghue agreed to pen the adapted script, with Bissett and singer-songwriter, Kathryn Joseph writing the production’s original score.
Bissett, who also serves as Room’s director, is elated to see the production come to the stage and considers the pandemic’s impact on the show, saying: “It is ironic that through experiencing lockdown, the isolation of the pandemic, the uncertainty in all of our lives, I feel the story resonates in a more prescient, and reachable way than ever before.”
The Canadian production of Room brings the majority of its original cast back to the Spriet Stage – including London-born, award-winning actor, Alexis Gordon in the role of Ma. The only returning cast exception is the shared role of Jack. Due to the previous actors, cast in the 2020 production, aging through the pandemic, the role of Jack was recast to welcome talented young actors, Isaac Chan and Lucien Duncan-Reid.
The world premiere of Room (May-July 2017) was co-produced by Theatre Royal Stratford East and Abbey Theatre Dublin. Following positive reception, it was then workshopped in London, Ontario in a first-time collaboration between the UK and Canadian creative teams as part of the COMPASS New Play Development Program. COMPASS, launched during Artistic Director Dennis Garnhum’s inaugural season with the Grand, is dedicated to creating and premiering new work on the Grand’s stages.
Following Room’s North American premiere at the Grand, it will travel to Toronto’s Princess of Wales Theatre for its Mirvish run from April 5 - May 8, 2022.
Considering Room’s long and winding road to the stage, Donoghue reflects, “For me, the story of Room has never felt more relevant, and I’m proud to be part of a production that tells it so powerfully.”
The Grand Theatre gratefully acknowledges the continued support of the 2021/22 returning Season Sponsor BMO Financial Group and Room Title Sponsor, Ahria Consulting.
ENHANCE YOUR EXPERIENCE
Returning to the Grand for its theatrical run of Room are the Wednesday post-show talk backs, now reimagined and retitled, AfterWORDS. Following each Wednesday performance, patrons can extend their experience and get closer to the artists with exclusive talks in the Theatre’s spacious and welcoming Drewlo Lounge.
The Grand’s Wednesday AfterWORDS series for Room will take place on March 9th and 16th.
About the Grand Theatre – World Curious. London Proud.
Under the leadership of Artistic Director Dennis Garnhum and Executive Director
Deb Harvey, the Grand is a leading cultural hub located in the heart of downtown London, Ontario. The Grand offers diverse, relevant, and original stories from around the globe through collaborations with national and international performing arts organizations and is committed to developing, producing, and premiering original stories through its COMPASS New Play Development program. The Grand supports educational programming through initiatives like the High School Project and Subsidized Student Matinees. The Grand completed a $9.5 million renovation to its lobby spaces and backstage areas in Fall 2021. After the cancellation of its 2020-21 Season in June 2020 due to the global pandemic, the Grand officially reopened its doors in November 2021.
When: Tuesday, March 8 at 1:00 p.m. (Cameras, please arrive at 12:30 p.m. to set up)
Where: Spriet Stage, Grand Theatre, 471 Richmond Street, London, Ontario
What: Room photo, video, and interview opportunities for media
For more information please contact:
Caitlin Core, Communications Manager
ccore [at] grandtheatre.com (ccore[at]grandtheatre[dot]com)
519-672-9030 ext. 266
Stewart Arnott - Grandpa / Doctor
Brandon Michael Arrington - SuperJack
Isaac Chan - Jack
Lucien Duncan-Reid - Jack
Tracey Ferencz - Grandma
Alexis Gordon - Ma
Shannon Taylor - Police Officer / Interviewer / Popcorn Server
Ashley Wright - Old Nick
THE PRODUCTION TEAM
Cora Bissett - Director / Music & Lyrics
Emma Donoghue - Written by / Adapted for Stage
Kathryn Joseph - Music & Lyrics
Lily Arnold - Set/Costume Designer
Andrzej Goulding - Video Designer
Bonnie Beecher - Lighting Designer
John Gzowski - Sound Designer
Linda Garneau - Movement Coach
Gavin Whitworth - Musical Director
Megan Watson - Associate Director
Siobhan Richardson - Fight & Intimacy Director
Suzanne McArthur - Stage Manager
Cole Vincent - Assistant Stage Manager
Cody Burns - Apprentice Stage Manager
Sam Julyan - Producer Covent Garden Productions
Linda Martin - Child Supervisor