The Shawshank Redemption stage adaptation to tour the UK with Joe Absolom and Ben Onwukwe

A brand new stage adaptation of The Shawshank Redemption is to the tour the UK later this year.

Based on Stephen King’s 1982 novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, the new stage version has been adapted by Owen O’Neill and Dave Johns.

The piece, which was also adapted into a critically acclaimed film starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, examines desperation, injustice, friendship and hope behind the claustrophobic bars of a maximum-security facility.

Despite protests of his innocence, Andy Dufresne is handed a double life sentence for the brutal murder of his wife and her lover. Incarcerated at the notorious Shawshank facility, he quickly learns that no one can survive alone.

Andy strikes up an unlikely friendship with the prison fixer Red, and things take a slight turn for the better. However, when Warden Stammas decides to bully Andy into subservience and exploit his talents for accountancy, a desperate plan is quietly hatched…

The cast of the tour will feature Joe Absolom in the role of the wrongly convicted Andy Dufresne with Ben Onwukwe as his inmate Ellis “Red” Redding.

Further casting is to be announced.

Joe Absolom said: “The Shawshank Redemption is one of my favourite films, an incredibly moving tale of friendship and injustice, and I’m thrilled to be playing the iconic role of Andy Dufresne on stage around the UK.”

Ben Onwukwe added: “I’m delighted to be returning to the role of “Red” in this amazing production. The Shawkshank Redemption film is one which many hold close to their hearts, and it’s exciting to be bringing Stephen King’s story to new audiences. It is a modern meditation on HOPE and in these times, it is Hope that we need.”

The production is directed by David Esbjornson with design by Gary McCann and lighting Design by Chris Davey.

The tour opens on 31 August in Windsor before visiting Derby, Malvern, Eastbourne, Leicester, Milton Keynes, Guildford, Salford and Birmingham.

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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