Cast announced for Yeast Nation at Southwark Playhouse

Casting has been announced for Yeast Nation: The Triumph of Life at Southwark Playhouse

Directed by Benji Sperring, the European premiere of the bio-historical musical opens on 22 July and runs until 27 August 2022.

West End favourite Christopher Howell (42nd Street, Wicked, Hairspray) heads up the cast as the oldest being in the universe, Jan the Eldest; with Mari McGinlay (Hairspray, Young Scottish Musical Theatre Performer of the Year 2014) as Jan the Sly; Shane Convery (recently seen at Southwark Playhouse in Anyone Can Whistle) is Jan the Wise; and James Gulliford (Salad Days) plays Jan the Wretched.

They’ll be joined by four recent graduates: Stephen Lewis-Johnston, Hannah Nuttall and Sarah Slimani make their professional debuts, joined by Marisa Harris who also graduated recently but can currently be seen in Tony! [The Tony Blair Rock Opera] at Park Theatre.

A black comedy set in the brine of the primordial soup over 3 and a half billion years ago. The original colony of Yeast, led by Jan the Elder, is a monarchy in peril, with a starving population and a dictatorial leadership in fear. Jan the Second Eldest, Jan the Elder’s son, knows that their colony cannot continue indefinitely with waning resources.

Unfortunately, Jan the Sly, Jan the Elder’s daughter and second in line to the throne, has ideas of her own to take control of the nation to further her own ends. As The Yeast’s drama plays out, however, they find they are up against a foe much bigger than themselves: Love.

Yeast Nation is a musical comedy, written and composed as a second part of a trilogy along with Urinetown by Tony and Obie award-winning writers Greg Kotis and Mark Hollmann. This debut London production is directed by Benji Sperring (The Toxic Avenger, Night of the Living Dead – Live!).

For more information and tickets, visit

Director Benji Sperring said: “Now more than ever it is the duty of producers and directors to look after the future of the industry, making commitments to hire graduates who have had the most remarkable struggle over the last two years, and are now finding their feet in an incredibly changed, shifted landscape of creativity. What better way to empower young graduates than by making them dress as yeast and calling them all Jan.”

About the author: Josh Darvill

Josh is Stageberry's editor with over five years of experience writing about theatre in the West End and across the UK. Prior to following his passion for musicals, he worked for more than a decade as a TV journalist.


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