Nicholas Nickleby promo

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby – Part 1 & Part 2

Bristol Old Vic

Key Information
  • Dates Fri 14 Jun 2019 - Sat 22 Jun 2019
  • Location Bristol Old Vic
  • Part One

    Fri 14 June 7.00 PM
    Sat 15 June 1.30 PM / 7.00 PM
    Thu 20 June 1.30 PM
    Sat 22 June 1.30 PM

  • Part Two

    Wed 19 June 7.00 PM
    Thu 20 June 7.00 PM
    Fri 21  June 7.00 PM
    Sat 22 June 7.00 PM

  • Ticket price

    £26 / £24 / £21 / £18.50 / £11.50 / £10
    Special Offer: see both parts for £40 (limited to bands A, B, C)

"Happiness is a gift and the trick is not to expect it, but to delight in it when it comes."

By David Edgar, adapted from the novel by Charles Dickens
Directed by Geoffrey Brumlik and Jenny Stephens

Charles Dickens’ comically genius masterpiece, teeming with a multitude of vivid characters, is brought joyously to life by Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.

Please note this is a two part production. Tickets are available from Bristol Old Vic’s Box Office for Part One and Part Two.

Young Nicholas Nickleby and his sister, Kate, have been devastated by the death of their father. Their mother, in true Dickensian fashion, is little better than useless and they are forced to rely on the charity of their Uncle Ralph, a man for whom money is everything.

The destitute siblings are divided, with Nicholas forced to act as a teacher at the dreadful Dotheboys Hall in Yorkshire, run by the formidable Wackford Squeers and his family, while Kate works for an impoverished dressmaker. Nicholas escapes and joins a travelling theatre company run by the indefatigable Vincent Crummles as he tries to make his way in the world.

This is an intensely human story, filled with wry humour, adventure and daring set against a glorious tapestry of life.

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby is a piece of theatre that remains completely unforgettable 25 years after it was first seen at the RSC.

This amateur production is presented by arrangement with Josef Weinberger Limited. Incidental music by Stephen Oliver, by arrangement with Novello & Company Limited.



Close up of student holding pen and a drawing of costumes

Interview with the Costume Designer

Alana Ashley, Costume Designer for Nicholas Nickleby, is a graduating MA Theatre Design student from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Prior to joining the School, Alana worked in the field of makeup and prosthetics for theatre and television, alongside designing venues, making props and dressing sets for a range of arts and culture festivals. Here, she discusses her vision for Nicholas Nickleby, and how this has been realised for the stage.

Where did you start with the costume design for Nicholas Nickleby?

After preliminary discussions with the directors and set designer (Oscar Selfridge), we quickly established that we weren’t going to do a historically accurate production. This gave me the freedom and opportunity for greater self-expression. I researched the period thoroughly, as I intended to keep some strong elements of the 1840s silhouette – I got excited about mixing it up a bit with slightly different cuts, fabrics and styles.

What can the audience expect from your design?

By combining period and contemporary elements, I wanted to create a more modern and stylised look, with hints of a slightly alternative Victorian past. Working closely with Oscar, we were interested to achieve a certain level of decay within the design, so textured fabric and colour ombre are used throughout. I’ve aimed to help the audience navigate all the characters, while keeping the costume changes minimal and effective, using different colour palettes and various fabrics to help establish different classes, groups and families.

What have been the most challenging aspects of the design process? 

As my first professional costume design, the most challenging aspects of the design process has been the sheer scale of the production. With a large cast of 26, all playing multiple roles, keeping track of all the requirements of the text and rehearsal process has been a challenge which required an organised approach. Working closely with the directors has been essential. Keeping consistency of language throughout the costume scheme has also been important. Luckily I have an excellent pair of costume supervisors and costume department who could see and understand my vision.

What’s it like designing for a 250-year-old theatre?

It has been such a privilege to design for the Bristol Old Vic. Being Bristol based, I have seen many productions on this stage and I am totally blown away that my designs will be up there too.

Alana’s designs, and those of the other graduating Theatre Design, Scenic Art and Costume students from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School can be seen at the Generate Exhibition, held at the Royal West England Academy (RWA), Friday 28 June – Thursday 4 July. The exhibition is free to visit.

Scenic art students surrounded by paintings

Interview with the Set Designer

Oscar Selfridge, Set Designer for Nicholas Nickleby is a graduating MA Theatre Design student from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Before starting at BOVTS, Oscar worked as a freelance Scenic Carpenter for several theatres and companies in London, including the Barbican and The National Theatre, as well as designing and building a handful of small theatre productions. Oscar took time out of the design studio to tell us more about his vision for Nicholas Nickleby.

Where did you start with the set design for Nicholas Nickleby?

I started my research by looking at old etchings by Gustav Dore and William Hogarth. They both drew chaotic depictions of early nineteenth century life amongst the boom and growth of the Industrial Revolution. As my research continued, I always found myself drawn back to these initial images and was keen to incorporate some of the etched textures and mark making that brought these images to life.

What have been the most challenging aspects of the design process?

The sheer number of scenes and locations in this play has been most challenging. Because the play moves swiftly from place to place, we have had to conjure a set that is malleable enough to work for both interior and exterior settings and hop between them at a fast rate. We wanted to keep the sense of adventure that is intrinsic to the play by allowing the actors to enter the space from all directions and to journey about and through it.

What’s it like designing for a 250-year-old theatre?

One of the best aspects of the Theatre Design course is that we get to work on realised productions in professional theatres. It has been a privilege for the last production I work on to be at Bristol Old Vic. I would be lying if I didn’t say it was daunting as well, but it has been an amazing opportunity to design on such a scale and on such a stage as this.

What can the audience expect from your design?

The audience can expect to see all 26 of our final year actors weaving through and inhabiting the Bristol Old Vic Stage from different and unexpected directions, using it like a playground to tell the epic story of Nicholas Nickleby’s life and adventures.


Oscar’s designs, and those of the other graduating Theatre Design, Scenic Art and Costume students from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School can be seen at the Generate Exhibition, held at the Royal West of England Academy (RWA), Friday 28 June – Thursday 4 July. The exhibition is free to visit.


Our Production Arts students have produced a podcast featuring interviews with the cast, creative and technical team of Nicholas Nickleby, giving an insight into the creative process behind the show.

Find out more about the relevance of Dickens in modern society and why directors Jenny Stephens and Geoffrey Brumlik chose to stage the show.


(Narration and other parts played by the Company)

Mofetoluwa Akande Miss La Creevy / Boy / Milliner / Miss Ledrook

Moronkẹ Akinola Mrs Squeers / Miss Bravassa / Gambler

Cudjoe Asare Mr Pyke / Brooker / Mr Scaley / William / Mr Hetherington / Minister

Tom Briggs Frank Cheeryble / Mr Mantalini / Alphonse / Jackson / Master Crummles / Coachman / Casino Proprietor

Holly Carpenter Peg Sliderskew / Miss Knag / Mrs Grudden / Maid at Saracen’s Head / Boy / Gambler

Shane David-Joseph Lord Frederick Verisopht / Belling / Mr Curdle / Tim Linkinwater / Mr Bane

Will Fletcher Ralph Nickleby

Lydia Gard Mrs Nickleby / Boy / Milliner / Mrs Curdle

Anna-Kate Golding Fanny Squeers / Wilbur / Gambler / Milliner / Mrs Belvawney

Finnbar Hayman Arthur Gride / Sir Matthew Pupker / Jennings / Milliner / Mr Wagstaff / Mr Snevellicci / Mr Wititterly

Lawrence Haynes Ned Cheeryble / Sir Mulberry Hawk / Coates

Emer Heatley Mrs Crummles / Bolder / Rich Lady / Gambler / Walter (in coffeehouse)

Sam Henderson Walter Bray / Mr Snawley / Young Wackford / Mr Snobb / Master Percy Crummles / Box Keeper

Jason Imlach Mr Pluck / Mr Tix / Mr Folair / Snawley Snr / Old Lord / Angry Fellow

Karla Kaucky Mrs Wititterly / Phib / Rich Daughter / Croupier / Mrs Lenville

Charlie Layburn John Browdie /Mr Lenville / Milliner / Colonel Chowser / Handsaw

Kel Matsena Nicholas Nickleby

Eva O’Hara Kate Nickleby

Jonathan Oldfield Mr Vincent Crummles / Charles Cheeryble / Opera Singer 3 / Mobbs / Milliner / Flunkey /  Maid at Saracen’s Head

Heidi Parsons Madeline Bray / Hannah / Cobbey /Milliner / Gambler / Ms Pailey / Opera Singer 2

Oscar Porter Smike

Louis J Rhone Mr Squeers / Mr Fluggers

Freddy Sawyer Newman Noggs

Rosie Taylor-Ritson Tilda Price / The Infant Phenomenon / Wanda / Gambler

Beshlie Thorp Madame Mantalini / Opera Singer 1 / Mrs Snevellicci / Boy / Gambler / Young Woman

Sophie Walter Miss Snevellicci / Snawley Jnr / Young Fiancee / Mrs Snawley / Maid 2

Creative Team

Directors Geoffrey Brumlik and Jenny Stephens

Assistant Directors Sara Malik and Nikhil Vyas

Set Designer Oscar Selfridge

Costume Designer Alana Ashley

Design Supervision/Support (visiting professional) Katie Sykes

Lighting Designer (visiting professional) Rob Casey

Sound Designer Evie Nichols

Musical Director and Singing Coach Pamela Rudge

Musical Director, Composer and Arranger Andy Jenks

with songs and incidental music written and arranged by Stephen Oliver, by arrangement with Novello & Company Ltd

Movement Director Michelle Gaskell

Fight Director Jonathan Howell

Voice and Dialect Coach Carol Fairlamb

Dialect Coach
James Gitsham

Production Manager Jon Sherwood

Production Supervisor Ruth Sidery and Alix Abram

Stage Manager Eve Kershaw

Deputy Stage Managers Hattie Wheeler (Part 1) Caitlin Shay (Part 2)

Assistant Stage Managers Sara Mikulla and Felicity Simmons (Part 1) Matthew Cruddace and Ella Jackson (Part 2)

Production Electrician Beth Hudson

Followspot Operator Elkie McCrimmon, Leila Glen, Ella Lovelady, Holly Stevens

Stage Crew Frankie Dowers, Myer Daniels, Dominic Parker, Eliza Podesta

Flys Alastair Barrows & Emily Poole

Lighting Operators Mary Bennett & Fred Spring

Sound Operator Chantel Blackwood & Caitlin Ravenscroft

Technical Team Mary Bennett, Kirk Bishop, Chantel Blackwood, Kaija Brunyate, Caitlin Ravenscroft, Fred Spring

Construction Manager Hebe Perry and Vivian O’Donnell

Construction Assistants Alastair Burrows, Tom Codd, Maddie Coward, Myer Daniels, Frankie Dowers, Leila Glen, Ella Lovelady, Kizzie Tims

Props Assistants Chloe Chancheong, Elkie McCrimmon, Dominic Parker, Eliza Podesta, Holly Stephens

Supervising Scenic Artist Emma Inge

Scenic Artists Julie O’Conner,  Radhika Parekh

Assistant Scenic Artists Lily Baron, Emily Poole

Costume Supervisors Jemima Homer and Janie Powell

Costume Assistants/Makers Amber Bowerman, Madeleine Barnicoat, Isabel Cope, Rebekah Davies, Rhianne Good, Katie Ireland, Ben Mayes, Tamara Pearce Higgins

Dressers Rebekkah Davies, Katie Ireland, Madeleine Barnicoat, Amber Bowerman

The creative and technical teams extend their special thanks to Bristol Design,
Robert Mills Architectural Antiques & Reclamation, Tezni Bancroft-Plummer,
Heather Clark, Harriet Hollinshead-Lee, Rachel Bell, Cooshti, Sofa Magic and Lanson Champagne.

Graduate Sahir Mehta
As soon as I visited the School, I fell in love with the place. Perhaps it sounds a bit irrational, but sometimes you get a vibe - and you just know! BOVTS gave me all the tools I needed to prepare for a career as an actor. Sahir Mehta, MA Professional Acting, 2018