The Rise and Fall of Little Voice

The Rise and Fall of Little Voice

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One of Britain’s greatest modern plays, The Rise & Fall of Little Voice is embarking on a UK Tour. The Olivier Award-winning comedy-drama from Jim Cartwright has earned international acclaim across the globe, including a Golden Globe-winning smash-hit film starring Jane Horrocks and Michael Caine.

Meet Little Voice and Mari Hoff. A mother and daughter central to the heart of this Northern fairy-tale, but as far apart in character as can be. Little Voice leads a quiet and unassuming life, seeking companionship and joy from music’s most iconic singers, whilst Mari prefers the sound of her own voice, indulging in a life of booze, cheap thrills and seedy men. Left to her own devices, LV starts to embody the famous divas she plays on repeat, swapping the grey backstreets of Northern England for the bright lights of Hollywood and Broadway, all from the safety of her own bedroom. When Mari starts dating small-time club owner Ray Say, LV’s astonishing impersonations of Shirley Bassey, Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland to name a few, are thrust into the spotlight. Transformed and sensational, LV might just be Ray’s one and only chance to hit the big time, but what will the consequences be for mother and daughter?

Starring TV favourite Shobna Gulati (Coronation Street, Dinnerladies, Loose Women), British soap royalty Ian Kelsey (Emmerdale, Casualty) and ‘the girl of a thousand voices’ and two-time Drama Desk Award Nominee Christina Bianco, as Little Voice.

Cartwright’s timeless and iconic tale explores the highs and the lows of small-town dreams, family rivalry and finding your voice in a noisy world. With humour, heart and countless powerhouse ballads, all performed live on stage, featuring music from Judy Garland, Shirley Bassey, Billie Holliday and many more, this life-affirming production will rouse even the weariest of souls.

Headshot of Christina Bianco

Christina Bianco

Little Voice

A Two-Time Drama Desk Award nominee, Christina made her West End debut starring in The Menier Chocolate Factory’s production of Forbidden Broadway at the Vaudeville Theatre. Most recently, Christina played the iconic role of Fanny Brice at the Theatre Marigny’s celebrated production of Funny Girl in Paris.

New York credits include The Marvelous Wonderettes, the one-woman, multi-character comedy, Application Pending (Drama Desk Award Nomination), Newsical the Musical, and Forbidden Broadway; Goes To Rehab (Drama Desk Award Nomination). Other professional credits include, The Narrator in Joseph…, Marueen in Rent, and Cunegonde in Candide..

Television credits include the iTV’s The Imitation Game, POP TV sitcom Impress Me, Hallmark’s, Signed, Sealed, Delivered and voice work for RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Bianco captured international acclaim as a YouTube sensation with her ‘diva’ impression videos, gaining over 25 million views. Dubbed ‘the girl of a thousand voices,’ Christina has performed on major television programs such as The Ellen Degeneres Show and The Today Show, in the US, and The Paul O’Grady Show and This Morning, in the UK.

Christina has performed her critically acclaimed concerts to sold out crowds in NYC and across the U.S. In the UK, she’s enjoyed extended runs headlining at London’s Hippodrome, Royal Albert Hall’s Elgar Room, Live at Zedel’s, The Charing Cross Theatre, The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and recently completed her second UK tour, titled, First Impressions.

Christina frequently performs with major US and Canadian symphonies and performs her solo symphony show, The Woman Of A Thousand Voices, under the direction of Maestro Jack Everly. Christina’s live album, Life Of The Party, is available on iTunes and all major streaming platforms.

Headshot of Shobna Gulati

Shobna Gulati

Mari

Shobna will soon be seen as Ray in the upcoming feature film Everyones Talking About Jamie. She became a household name for her role as Anita in Victoria Wood’s “dinnerladies” and as Sunita, in ‘Coronation Street’.  She trained at Manchester University, Trinity Laban, Goldsmith’s College, London, Darpana Academy for Performing Arts, India and has a post graduate in teaching dance from Middlesex University.

Theatre credits include Cinderella (Lyric Hammersmith); Richard II (The Globe); Everybodys Talking About Jamie (The Apollo Theatre and tour ); Daisy Pulls It Off (The Park); Anita & Me (Birmingham Rep/Touring Consortium); Grease (Leicester Curve); Mamma Mia International Tour 2015- 2016, Jon Godber’s April in Paris (Derby Playhouse/ National Tour); B!rthHunger for TradeCome Closer Pretend You Have Big BuildingsCafe Vesuvio (Royal Exchange, Manchester); How High is Up?,  The Jungle Book, (West Yorkshire Playhouse); dinnerladies, Girls Night (National Tour), The Vagina Monologues (Mark Goucher Ltd); Romeo and Juliet, Crazy Lady  (Leicester Haymarket, Contact Theatre ); The Mikado (New, Vic Stoke and Stephen Joseph Theatre) A Midsummer Nights Dream (Tara Arts/National Tour) , Moti Roti Puttli Chunni, Blaggers, and Dyer Eat with Your Fingers? (Theatre Royal, Stratford East)

Film credits include Everybodys Talking About Jamie (New Regency/Film4/Warp Films); Finding Fatimah (British Muslim TV); Junkhearts, (Dir. Tinge Krishnan)  and BAFTA award winning short film, Shadowscan (BFI/Channel4/Disruptive Element Films).

She has also written and directed the critically acclaimed comedy show for young women The Masala Girls.

Television credits include My Name is Leon (BBC); Murder They Hope (UKTV); 4Stories On the Edge (Blacklight Productions); Doctor Who (BBC); Moving On (LA Productions); River City (BBC Scotland); Treasure Champs (CBeebies) Casualty (BBC); Doctors (BBC); Coronation Street (ITV), Hold The Sunset (BBC), In the Club (BBC), Eastenders (BBC),  New Street Law (BBC), Magnolia (BBC), Paranoid (ITV1/Red/Netflix), You, Me and Them (UKTV Gold), The Slammer (CBBC), Jackanory (CBBC), Bedtime Stories (Cbeebies), Coming Up (Channel 4), Where The Heart Is (ITV1) and dinnerladies (BBC). As a panellist she was seen on Call My Bluff, Have I Got News For You, Countdown and was a regular on ITV’s Loose Women until 2014. She was a semi- finalist in Celebrity Masterchef for the BBC had appeared in Soapstar Superstar and Stars in their Eyes for ITV and soon to be seen in 2021 in Best Home Cook (BBC)

Documentaries include: RTS award winning , River Walks, BBC1, Empire”s Children, Channel 4,  Back In Time For Tea BBC2, Disappearing and Discovering Britain, More4.

Shobna has also worked extensively as a dancer and choreographer in regional theatres and also in community and education settings across the UK. Between 1992 and 1994 she was a dance animateur for Yorkshire and Humberside.

She has written her critically acclaimed memoir,  REMEMBER ME? Discovering my mother as she lost her memory, published by Octopus Books in September 2020

She has an honorary doctorate from The University of Huddersfield, Sheffield Hallam University and  is Chancellor of The Children’s University, Oldham.  She is a Deputy Lieutenant for Greater Manchester

Headshot of Ian Kelsey

Ian Kelsey

Ray Say

Trained at Guildford School of Acting.

Ian’s television work as a series regular includes,  Vinnie Ashford, Coronation Street, ITV.  Howard Bellamy, Doctors, BBC.  Richard Mayne, Blue Murder, ITV.  Jack Clayton, Where The Heart Is, ITV.  Matt Brewer, Down To Earth, BBC.  Dr. Patrick Spiller, Casualty, BBC. Dave Glover, Emmerdale, ITV.

Other Television includes. Jack Kelsey, Innocent 2 ITV, John Terry, Moving On, BBC, James Hamilton, Love Sick, Netflix. Brendan Newlyn, The Bill, ITV.  Daniel, Dustbin Baby, BBC. John Fuller, Hotel Babylon, BBC. Liam Taylor, Murder In Mind, BBC. Karl Lang, Touching Evil, ITV.

Stage Work.  Billy Flynn, Chicago, China Tour, Frank Galvin, The Verdict, UK Tour, Professor Callahan, Legally Blonde, The Curve Leicester.  Andy Dufresne, The Shawshank Redemption, Uk Tour.  Billy. Flynn, Chicago, Cambridge Theatre West End.  George, Same Time Next Year, Theatre Royal Windsor. Jud, Kes, West Yorkshire Playhouse. Danny, Grease, Cambridge Theatre West End. Leezy, Same Key As Frank, Garstang.

Film Work. Joe Green, Black Beauty, Warner Bros.

Ian has written for BBC Doctors and is currently writing a Children’s television series with drama school pal Justin Fletcher which will be going into production this year. His Behind the Scenes photography can be found on his instagram account @iankelseybehindthescenes

Headshot of Akshay Gulati

Akshay Gulati

Billy

Akshay trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

His professional theatre credits include: The Family Way (Bolton Octagon); East is East (Bolton Octagon) The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (Bolton Octagon) and My Version of Events (Hope Mill Theatre).

Headshot of Fiona Mulvaney

Fiona Mulvaney

Sadie/Understudy Mari

Fiona was raised in Downpatrick, County Down and studied acting as a mature student at The Poor School in London.

Whilst at Drama School, her roles included Mrs. Lovett in SWEENEY TODD, Marina in UNCLE VANYA, Fraulein Schneider in CABARET and the Nurse in ROMEO AND JULIET.

Fiona’s professional Theatre credits include THE FERRYMAN (Gielgud Theatre, directed by Sam Mendes), KEEPING UP APPEARANCES (Swanage Rep.) and HELLO FROM BERTHA (Hen & Chickens Theatre/Blunt Pyramid).

Her Screen work includes SILENT WITNESS (BBC), I’LL WALK WITH GOD (Encore Films), ONIONS (London Film School) and she has also appeared opposite Eric Cantona in a Kronenbourg Commercial campaign.

Headshot of William Ilkley

William Ilkley

Mr Boo/Understudy Ray Say & Phone Man

Theatre credits include War Horse (UK & International Tour), The Full Monty (Uk Tour), The Mousetrap (St Martins Theatre & Tour), Widowers’ Houses (New Vic, Stoke), Bouncers (Watershed Productions), Weekend Breaks, The Debt Collectors (The John Godber Company), Tis Pitty She’s a Whore, Scuffer, Seasons in the Sun (West Yorkshire Playhouse), The Xmas Office Party, 20000 Leagues Under the Sea, Unleashed (Hull Truck), Up ’n’ Under (Tour).

Television and film credits include Endeavour, DCI Banks, Hollyoaks, Holby City, Emmerdale, Casualty, Doctors, The Royal, Heartbeat, Midsomer Murders, Class of ’76, The Bill, Thin Ice, Vincent, Abolition, Family Affairs, Battlefield Britain, Dalziel & Pascoe, Eastenders,The Last Detective, Judge John Deed, Coronation Street, Gold, Hetty Wainthropp Investigates, Wing and a Prayer, The Day of the Triffids, The Boat That Rocked, Is Anybody There, The Jealous God, Thunder Road, Between Two Women.

Headshot of Anna Hale

Anna Hale

Understudy Little Voice/Understudy Sadie

Anna studied Linguistics at the University of York before training with the National Youth Music Theatre as an actor and director.

Credits with NYMT include Miss Menace in Super Hero, and as Assistant Director, Legend Trippers and Henrietta.

As Associate Director/Choreographer: Errol’s Garden (UK Tour)

Film: Jessica in London Road (Cuba Pictures/BBC Films)

Anna is thrilled to be making her professional stage debut in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice.

Headshot of James Robert Moore

James Robert Moore

Phone Man/Understudy Mr Boo/Billy and Resident Director

James trained as an actor at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York.

As an Actor: ALL THAT (Lion & Unicorn), FANNY & STELLA (Above The Stag), PRIVATES ON PARADE (Greenwich), BEFORE THE NIGHT IS THROUGH, MEET ME IN ST LOUIS (Landor), THE ROAD TO QATAR! (Edinburgh Fringe)

As Director: AMDRAM: A Musical Comedy (Leicester Curve), BILLY THE KID (NYMT), LITTLE WOMEN (Trinity Laban) OUR HOUSE (Urdang), HALF A SIXPENCE, GUYS & DOLLS (New Wimbledon Theatre).

As Associate/Assistant Director: VANYA & SONIA & MASHA & SPIKE (Charing Cross Theatre), TITANIC THE MUSICAL (International Tour), MIDNIGHT (Seoul, South Korea), CALENDAR GIRLS THE MUSICAL (Phoenix Theatre, London) THE FULL MONTY (two UK & Ireland tours), JERRY’S GIRLS (The Other Palace).

Workshops include Take That’s musical THE BAND, CALENDAR GIRLS THE MUSICAL, THE ILLUSIONIST and SHE LOVES YOU.

James also hosts the podcast PASSING OUT (Spotify) – a series of conversations with LGBT+ service personnel and veterans.

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