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  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA

DON'T MISS BILL WARD IN The Headless Horseman AT THE COLISEUM this Halloween

By Steve Cooke

I am very much looking forward to catching stars of the stage and screen Wendi Peters (Big! The Musical; Coronation Street) and AATA friend Bill Ward (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie; Emmerdale; Coronation Street), at the Coliseum in a ghoulish and edge-of-the-seat new production of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

Washington Irving’s classic tale has been adapted by acclaimed playwright Philip Meeks (Murder, Margaret and Me; Harpy), unleashing one of the most terrifying monsters from the horror canon on stage – the Headless Horseman…

With Hallowmas fast approaching, Sleepy Hollow simmers with anticipation. Arriving as the new teacher, Ichabod Crane finds himself embroiled in the secrets and unsettling traditions of the locals. However, all is not as it seems. When disturbing events overwhelm the small town, he finds himself swept up in a dangerous mystery which leaves him doubting his own sanity.

Wendi and Bill will be joined on stage by Sam Jackson (Skins, E4; Beautiful Thing, National Tour) as Ichabod Crane, alongside Rose Quentin (York Witches Society, MSR Media), Lewis Cope (Vera, ITV; Witness for the Prosecution, London County Hall) and Tommy Sim'aan (As You Like It, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse; Doctors, BBC).

Transforming the American Dream into the American Gothic, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow unleashes terror on the stage, in a heart-pounding visual masterpiece directed by Jake Smith (The Hound of the Baskervilles; A Christmas Carol), with jaw-dropping illusions by Filipe J. Carvalho (Back To The Future The Musical; Secret Cinema presents Stranger Things).

Director Jake Smith comments: “Sleepy Hollow is undoubtedly one of the greatest horror stories ever written and a tour de force to stage. This production has at its heart the power of nomadic storytelling and gathering around the campfire for a good ghost story. This production has allowed an incredible ensemble of actors to viscerally and inventively bring the Hollow to life. We look forward to transporting the audience through a quest of logic and illusion, creating fear and defying expectation.”

I contacted Bill Ward to find out how playing multi-roles was going and how he prepared for such a physically exacting role: ‘"I'm playing 4 characters in total in the show: Baltus Van Tassel, the head of the village of Sleepy Hollow, is my main part, but I also get to play a Coachman, a 95-year-old female cook, and a mad Dutch sea captain. Great, great fun. I love multi-rolling - I started out in theatre doing a lot of it for various theatre companies/workshops etc, particularly Oh What a Lovely War at Theatre Clwyd, and of course Spamalot in the West End, where I played Lancelot, the French Taunter, the Knights of Ni, Tim the Enchanter and a grave digger all in the same show. It's a real acting work out - great for versatility, and also for physical fitness - we do an extended physical warm up as a company before every show to make sure we're in tip top condition. It's such a fun show to do - I love touring and have been lucky enough to have done an awful lot of it over the years, but this is my first visit to Oldham Coliseum - I'm really properly looking forward to it."

Oldham Coliseum this Halloween – from Tuesday 26 – Saturday 30 October.

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