Full cast announced for Hull Truck Theatre’s Christmas production: Pinocchio, proudly sponsored by Hull Trains 

This festive season, join Pinocchio on the adventure of a lifetime in this heart-warming and fantastical tale about coming of age, loyalty, hardship, redemption and unconditional love. 

The world premiere production adapted by award-winning playwright Mike Kenny, will reimagine the tale of the much-loved classic story by Carlo Collodi. The production will be on the main stage at Hull Truck Theatre between Friday 24 November – Sunday 31 December 2023. Pinocchio is once again proudly sponsored by Hull Trains.

Hull Trains have supported Hull Truck Theatre with their last three consecutive live Christmas shows, including Peter Pan (2019), The Railway Children (2021) and the Box-Office smash hit, A Christmas Carol (2022). A continuation of this partnership is based on shared values including a commitment to the green agenda and the local community.

Martijn Gilbert, Managing Director of Hull Trains, said:  

“Hull Trains are delighted to be back on board to sponsor this year’s production of Pinocchio at Hull Truck Theatre, showing our ongoing support for the local community. The show this year promises to bring to life the classic fairy-tale we all know and love complete with a spectacular set, cast and original music. We’re certain this will be a hit with the whole family this festive season!”

Building on the theatre’s mission to embed access and inclusion into all areas of the organisation, BSL integration will once again feature as part of the 2023 Christmas Production. Following on from the success of A Christmas Carol in 2022, Hull Truck Theatre would like to continue deepening relationships with the Deaf community and also have the opportunity to further promote positive Deaf role models on their stage.

Pinocchio will be performed by a company of eight actors and will feature the themes of a host of characters who will take audiences on a journey of discovery, exploring bravery, truth and selflessness. Eliza Blair, who has recently relocated to the UK from Los Angeles, will star as Pinocchio. Credits include – Theatre: Peter Pan (Peter Pan), Proof (Catherine), Measure for Measure (Isabella); TV/Film: Never Have I Ever (Netflix), Book of Queer (Max) and Maybe Someday (Apple TV).

Deb Pugh will appear as Pinocchio’s trusty sidekick and conscience – Cricket. Deb is a freelance Theatre Maker and Movement Director, originally trained at École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq. She is a core member of Ad Infinitum, developing and performing original work with them since 2007, most recently as Co-creator and Performer of Beautiful Evil Things. Other projects with the company include Behind The MirrorTranslunar ParadiseBallad of the Burning StarLightBucket ListTown Hall CherubsExtraordinary Wall [of Silence] and If You Fall.

Fatima Niemogha is a Deaf actor, hailing from London. She is making her Hull Truck Theatre debut playing the Blue Spirit. Her theatre credits include: Much Ado About Nothing (Sheffield Theatres/Ramps On The Moon), Antigone (Storyhouse), The Tempest (Graeae) and Small Island (National Theatre). Television credits include I Hate Susie (Sky), Something Special (BBC) and Supersonic (BSLBT).

James Clyde plays the part of hard-up lonely carpenter Gepetto. James has extensive experience on-stage, with notable theatre credits including: Of Mice and Men (Birmingham Rep/UK Tour); Tamburlaine, Tartuffe, Timon of Athens, King Lear, Cymbeline, Romeo and Juliet, Days of Significance, Comedy of Errors, Twelfth Night and Matilda: The Musical (Royal Shakespeare Company); Twelfth Night, Hang (National Theatre); Much Ado About Nothing (New Shakespeare Company); Macbeth (Shakespeare’s Globe); The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Jane Eyre, After Mrs Rochester (Shared Experience/West End); Hated Nightfall, Wounds to The Face (Royal Court) from An Execution (Barbican). TV credits include: The Forgiving Earth, Leonardo, Above Suspicion: Deadly Intent, New Tricks, Boudicca, The Bill, London Bridge, Made in Heaven, Maigret, Mr. Thomas, Cluedo, Back Up, In Suspicious Circumstances, Between the Lines. Film includes Beauty, Anonymous, The Honeytrap, Cheese, Croupier, Your Night Tonight, Prick Up Your Ears, Glitch and Inheritance.

Pinocchio will meet a whole host of shady characters on their travels. Cat will be played by Joanna Holden, who audiences may remember as the comical Mrs Snowball in Hull Truck Theatre’s 50th Year Anniversary production of 71 Coltman Street. Other recent Theatre credits include Let’s Build (Polka Theatre and Bologna Festival), Get Happy Director `Told by an Idiot’, Bananas in Pyjamas Clowns without Borders, (The Firebird Bamboozle Theatre Company) and Prince Charming’s Christmas CrackerPeter Pan (Hull Truck Theatre). Film includes: An interview with a Hitman and The Enormous Turnip.

The character of Fox is played by Michael Hugo, recognisable from Hull Truck Theatre’s production The Lady Killers. Other theatre credits include Astley’s Astounding Adventure, Alice in Wonderland (New Vic Theatre); Tom Dick & Harry (co-production New Vic Theatre & Alexandra Palace); Marvelous (Co-production New Vic Theatre & @SohoPlace); Tale Trail to Coppelia, 39 Steps (New Vic Theatre); Around The World In 80 Days (co-production with Kenny Wax Family Entertainment, Simon Friend and Royal Exchange U.S.A tour); The 39 Steps, Astley’s Astounding Adventures, Cyrano (co-production with Northern Broadsides); The Borrowers, Far From the Madding Crowd, Where Have I Been All My Life, Alice in Wonderland, The Admirable Crichton, Proof, The Rivals, Peter Pan, The Lion The Witch & The Wardrobe, The Wicked Lady, Great Expectations, Stags and Hens, Christmas Carol, Pinocchio and Kes (New Vic Theatre). Audiences might also recognise Michael from his Television and Commercial credits including Coronation Street (ITV); Hero Goalie (Abbot Meade Vickers BBDO); and I’m With Stupid (BBC).

Niall Ransome is from Hulland trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He performed at Hull Truck Theatre earlier this year in Around the World in 80 Days. Niall will play the mischievous young Lampwick. Other credits include: The 39 Steps (Stephen Joseph Theatre/ Theatre By The Lake), Tunnels, (Park Theatre), Tasting Notes (Southwark Playhouse), The Hound of the Baskervilles (Original Theatre Company, UK Tour), Mischief Movie Night (Vaudeville Theatre, Regents Park Open Air, UK Tour – Nominated for Best New Comedy Olivier Award 2018), The Comedy About A Bank Robbery (Criterion Theatre, West End),  Treasure Island (Stephen Joseph Theatre), Romeo and Juliet (The Rose Playhouse), The Play That Goes Wrong (Duchess Theatre, West End). Television Credits include Murder, They Hope (Gold), Peter Pan Goes Wrong (BBC).

Finally, Patrick Dineen joins the cast as MC and Stromboli. Patrick graduated from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in 2022. Theatre Credits: Jack in Lord of The Flies (Leeds Playhouse & Tour). Television includes Doctors (BBC).

The 2023 festive production will see the team behind the theatre’s much-loved production of The Railway Children (2021) reunited to create another magical festive masterpiece. 

Pinocchio will be directed by Hull Truck Theatre’s Artistic Director, Mark Babych and feature a new score by composer and co-lyricist John Biddle. Mike Kenny has re-imagined this much-loved classic family favourite, working with John Biddle to create original songs that have become a much-loved part of a Hull Truck Theatre Christmas show.

Mark Babych, Artistic Director at Hull Truck Theatre, said: 

“We’re thrilled and excited to announce a fantastic cast for this magical festive production that we’re delighted to be presenting with the help and support once again of our sponsors, Hull Trains. Mike Kenny’s thrilling new version of this well-loved tale is an action-packed adventure for all the family, featuring original songs and music by John Biddle, a fantastical set, spectacular costume designs and a heart-warming story that audiences will recognise and enjoy during this festive season – let the magic begin!”  

Tickets for Pinocchio are available now via www.hulltruck.co.uk or by calling the Box Office on 01482 323638.  Recommended age guidance: 7+. A variety of access performances are also available.