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Study Guide


The Story | Artists | Context | Enrichment Activities



The Almeida Theatre is among the most critically praised and popularly beloved theater companies in all of London. In recent years, over a dozen of its productions have transferred to the West End, the equivalent of moving from Off-Broadway to Broadway. The Almeida takes great pride in the extremely wide range and often-experimental nature of its repertoire. At its small, 325-seat space in Islington, directors like Robert Wilson, Deborah Warner, Peter Brook and Trevor Nunn, along with actors like Kevin Spacey, Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Binoche have presented performances of the work of playwrights ranging from the classical to the avant-garde, and the space has become home to several successful summer arts festivals. Almeida is also one of the most prominent participants in the new Digital Theatre program, which allows users to stream full video productions of certain performances. In 1993, Almeida won an Olivier for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre.

SFP is a West End and Broadway theater production company responsible for some of the most successful theater productions in the past few years. Sonia Friedman and her company have initiated and produced over 140 new productions and won numerous Olivier and Tony Awards, including a record-breaking 14 at the 2014 Olivier Awards (Best New Musical, Best New Play, Best Revival of a Musical, and Best Revival of a Play, among others). Ghosts is one of four recent collaborations with the Almeida Theatre including King Charles III, 1984, and Chimerica.


Richard Eyre, Director and Adaptor

Richard Eyre began his career at the Royal Lyceum Theater and the Nottingham Playhouse where he directed, among other triumphs, the premiere of Trevor Griffith’s Comedians. Since then, he has won five Olivier awards. He has directed several legendary Shakespeare productions, many plays of Ibsen’s, and a great deal of contemporary British drama by playwrights like Tom Stoppard, Alan Bennett and David Hare.

Charlene McKenna (Regina)

The Irish actress Charlene Mc Kenna has had an extraordinarily successful run as a television star in the UK. She first achieved prominence in the series Pure Mule for which she won several awards. In 2009, she won a Best Actress for Television Oscar for her performance in the series Raw, and won further acclaim as the title character in the TV drama Whistleblower. She can be seen often on the BBC America series Ripper Street, and will be appearing on American television this spring in the upcoming Biblical-themed series A.D.

Brian McCardie (Jacob Engstand)

Brian McCardie has been a noted character actor, primarily in British film, for over a quarter of a century. He gained prominence in the role of Alisdair in the 1995 film Rob Roy and has excelled in a wide variety of roles since. He has guest-starred in many British television series, including Waterfront Beat, Lilies, Taggart, M.I. High and the mini-series version of Titanic. He also had a featured role in Filth (2013), a film produced by the creators of Trainspotting and similarly based on an Irvine Welsh novel.

Will Keen (Pastor Manders)

Will Keen has been a prominent figure on the London stage for two decades. Among his many roles are parts in plays by Shakespeare (Macbeth, The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Elizabethan-Jacobean works such as Marlowe’s Dido, Queen of Carthage and Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi, Shaw’s Man and Superman, Chekhov’s The Seagull and Tom Stoppard’s The Coast of Utopia. He has also been involved with theater in Spain, where he performed Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale in Spanish (Cuento de Invierno).

Lesley Manville (Helene Avling)

Lesley Manville, one of Britain’s most eminent actresses both on stage and on screen, won last year’s Olivier Award for Best Actress for this production of Ghosts. She is perhaps best known for her collaborations with director Mike Leigh. Among these are award-winning films like High Hopes, Secrets & Lies, All or Nothing, Another Year, Topsy-Turvy and, most recently, Mr. Turner. She also collaborated successfully with Leigh on his play Grief, for which she was nominated for an Olivier Award.

Billy Howle (Oswald Alving)

Billy Howle most recently made a splash in the UK this past fall with his performance in Jack Thorne’s much-praised miniseries Glue, about the darkness lying just underneath the facade of a perfect English country village. He also played an important role in the successful historical drama miniseries New Worlds, and will appear this coming year in director Phillipa Lowthorpe’s TV film Cider with Rosie.