Initial casting announced for world premiere of new musical ‘STARTER FOR TEN’

Antic Productions, Bristol Old Vic, Longshot Films and Playtone have announced initial casting for their major new musical, STARTER FOR TEN, which will receive its world premiere at Bristol Old Vic from 29 February to 30 March 2024 as part of Nancy Medina’s inaugural season as Artistic Director.

Based on the hilarious coming-of-age novel by David Nicholls (One Day, Us, Sweet Sorrow) and the popular 2006 film adaptation starring James McAvoy, Benedict Cumberbatch, James Corden and Rebecca Hall, this tale of love, class and growing up in the 1980s is set in Bristol against the backdrop of legendary British quiz show University Challenge.

What is eighteen-year-old Brian Jackson’s proudest achievement to date? His A-level results. His idol? Kate Bush. His lifelong dream? To compete on legendary TV quiz show University Challenge. It’s 1985 and, leaving Southend to start his first year at Bristol University, Brian soon discovers that falling in love and growing up take a lot more than general knowledge…


LtoR: Top row – Stephenson Ardern-Sodje, Emily Lane, Will Jennings / Bottom row – Miracle Chance, Adam Bregman, Eubha Akilade. Photographer credit: Oliver Rosser, Feast Creative

Starring in the leading role, Adam Bregman plays the Southend-born, Bristol-bound undergraduate, ‘Brian’. Making her stage debut, Eubha Akilade takes the role of ‘Rebecca’, Glasweigan rabble-rouser and Brian’s closest friend on campus. Stephenson Ardern-Sodje plays Brian’s childhood best friend ‘Spencer’. The Challenge team also features Miracle Chance in the role of ‘Lucy’, always calm in a crisis and a quiz fanatic. The role of ‘Alice’, student am-dram celebrity and Brian’s unrequited crush, is played by Emily Lane. Will Jennings plays ‘Patrick’, the Bristol Challenge team captain and Brian’s biggest critic. Further casting to be announced later this year when the lead roles of Professor Bowman, Brian’s mum Irene Jackson, and the iconic quizmaster Bamber Gascoigne will be revealed.

STARTER FOR TEN has book and lyrics co-written by Emma Hall and Charlie Parham, Artistic Directors of Antic Productions. The 80s-inspired original score and lyrics are composed by queer, pop-punk composers Tom Rasmussen (who recently supported Rina Sawayama and Self Esteem on UK tour with their debut album, Body Building) and Hatty Carman. The production will be directed by Charlie Parham, choreographed by Shelley Maxwell, with set and costume design by Olivier Award-nominee Frankie Bradshaw, sound design by Gregory Clarke and casting by Will Burton for GBC.

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