R4J: the whole cast in front of the Knife Angel

R4J - Let's meet the cast!

Meet the stars of the upcoming modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet, performed in front of the Knife Angel, Chelmsford.

Find more info about R4J

Top picture (L-R): Kevin J Stemp; Penelope Lambton; Douglas Santillo; Christian Reid; Robin Webb; Nathan Rees; Joshua McCormack; Ronan Thorpe-Monaghan; Eli London; Alexandra Duffy; Dimitris Kafataris; Jack Henderson; Jenny Wills; Lois Derbyshire; Laura Turner; Jackson Wright, Will Middleton.

Eli London is Romeo Montague

Eli is a versatile and keen performer, from Sondheim to Britten, and loves to produce film and theatre whenever their schedule allows! They graduated from the University of Southampton with a BSc in Biology in 2018, and ever since then has thrown themselves into anything creative they can. This year they will be producing and directing a show with their Colchester-based production company, Project Liber. 

Passionate about mental health, LGBTQ and disabled awareness, they are always active on social media in advocacy spheres. As someone who is genderfluid, they are keen to represent people in theatre whose gender expression falls beyond the binary. This will be the first time that Eli performs onstage with their partner, Jack Henderson, somewhat fortuitously in the role of Paris. Eli London uses they/them pronouns.

Alexandra Duffy is Juliet Capulet

Alex is currently going into her final year on the Triple Threat Musical Theatre degree course at Emil Dale Academy. She has previously worked with Repertory Philippines and upon returning to the U.K has most recently played 'Lady Macbeth' in Macbeth, 'The Witch' in Into the Woods and is very excited to be returning to the role of Juliet.

R4J: Romeo and Juliet in front of the Knife Angel

Kevin J Stemp is Lord Montague

Kevin has been "treading the boards" since his 'A' level Drama days in Chelmsford way back and smiles wryly as he tells us that then, at 17, he played Romeo in front of a Cambridge group of assessors and now, older and wiser (and greyer) he's appears again as Romeo's father...Lord Montague. Kevin started in local Am-Dram with Writtle CARDS and then it was at Chelmsford Theatre Workshop (CTW) where he was noticed and received 2 Regional Awards as Best Actor (the only person to achieve this in their 50 year history) firstly as Edward in Frank McGuiness's hostage drama "Someone Who'll Watch Over Me" and again more recently as President Richard Nixon in "Frost/Nixon" the historical drama of the famous interviews, by Peter Morgan. He was then tutored by Artistic Director Gailie Pollock who helped his progress as an emerging actor, performing multiple times for Contexture Theatre.

On the advice of several established directors, Kevin took the step to immerse himself full-time into this profession in late 2016..."Whilst I was nervous about leaving the 9 to 5 career in the City behind and what that provided for me, it's about having the confidence and self-belief that has kept me going. I look back now and it was the best decision I ever made!" Kevin has over the last 5 years broadened his skills with featured roles in several Indie films and was delighted to get picked by film Director Mike Leigh for a small role in his historical piece "Peterloo" in 2018. Kevin's passion first and foremost is for Theatre; the opportunity to absorb and morph into a character and live that role is what he enjoys most of all...and to now do it with this classic work by Shakespeare confirms that he is living his dream and he promises there is plenty more to come! It's a shame Romeo didn't have a grandfather! 

Penelope Lambton is Lady Montague

Penelope has been involved in several Shakespeare productions, many with Mike Dodsworth including productions of Romeo and Juliet (Lady Capulet), Hamlet (Ophelia), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Hermia), Comedy of Errors (Adriana). She has also been part of a film version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream playing Cobweb. Penelope’s other credits include: Brentwood Theatre - Nutcracker Suite (William the Conker), The Owl and The Pussycat (Jumbly Girl), Elegies for Angels. Punks and Raging Queens (Nancy). Full Circle Theatre - Habeas Corpus (Mrs Swabb), Hapgood (Wates). DOT Productions as a founder member – Dangerous Corner (Olwen Peel), The Importance of Being Earnest (Miss Prism) and She Stoops to Conquer (Mrs Hardcastle).

She is delighted to be working, once again, with Mike Dodsworth and is looking forward to getting back out there after a tough year for everyone, and to being part of a team bringing a more accessible and modern Shakespeare to young people.

Douglas Santillo is Ensemble

Douglas has just graduated from East15 Acting school, specialising in Stage combat, after having completed a Foundation in Acting at Drama Centre London. He has a background in movement, martial arts and dance and has enjoyed skating and plant-keeping during the lockdown period; hobbies he looks forward to continuing even after the UK’s surge to normality after COVID-19. Like everyone else, Douglas is very excited to be back on the stage after such an uncertain time.

Christian Reid is Tybalt

Christian Reid is a classically trained actor combatant specialist with experience in multiple theatrical weapons styles, physical performance skills & techniques including puppetry, stunt work, horse riding and martial arts.

Over the years he has been cast in leading, and supporting lead roles across film, motion capture, immersive theatre as well as several UK/European theatrical tours; performing on stages such at the world famous Minack theatre in Cornwall.

Christian is represented by Eaglestone Management and trained at East 15 on the BA Acting and Stage Combat course.

Robin Webb is Ensemble

Robin is currently in his third year of studying acting and stage combat at EAST15 Acting School. Having worked as a stuntman on independent films as “Europa” and the Danish television series “Forhøret” he added to his skills by learn fights on stage including Rapier and dagger, unarmed combat, quarter staff, broadsword, small-sword and more.

Making his professional debut on stage he is thrilled to be able to help bring the story of Romeo and Juliet to life.

Nathan Rees is Benvolio

Nathan is an actor, writer and stage combatant born in Neath, South Wales who now resides in Westcliff-On-Sea, Essex. He trained at East 15 Acting School where he studied Acting and Stage Combat. He has worked across various medias and looks forward to bringing Benvolio to life in this production.

Recent Theatre Credits include: Drusilla (Cinderella, Gary Starr Pantomimes), Paris (R4J, Chelmsford Civic Theatre), Kostya Levin (Anna Karenina, East 15), Hermia (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, East 15).

Joshua McCormack is Mercutio

Classically trained at East 15 Acting School. Josh has played roles from the works of Arthur Miller to Christopher Marlowe as well as a plethora of Shakespeare before. Most recently Josh has been working for ITV on Breaking The Band: ZZ Top as well as the independent film Choked By History and the music video for Message In A Hammer by upcoming artist Obongjayar. As-well as acting Josh has been working as a Fight Co-Ordinator on several other projects, such as Prom Fever, a political family comedy from A Bard A Dozen productions.

In his spare time Josh is an avid writer and artist currently working on far too many ideas at once. Including several comedy series and a collection of short stories. Looking forward, Josh hopes to continue undertaking challenging roles and creating work that entertains and speaks to social issues.      

Ronan Thorpe-Monaghan is Ensemble

Ronan is a Northern actor from the mountainous Lake District.

He recently graduated from East 15 Acting School in July 2021 with a BA Hons degree in Acting and Stage Combat - the perfect course for a martial artist with a background of 10 years.

In his second year of his degree training Ronan met Mike Dodsworth and joined the R4J team alongside graduates of his course to help with fight choreography and as a fight performer. Now as a fresh graduate, he’s elated to be joining the team again with some familiar faces from the last performance, only this time as a professional actor. He’s grateful for the opportunity, excited and hungry to get going with his first pro gig.

His credits include parts such as - (Long John Silver) Treasure Island, (Voice Actor Lead) The Cursed Verse Fable feast, (Sebastian) The Tempest, (Victor Frankenstein) Frankenstein.

Dimitris Kafataris is The Prince

Dimitris has studied Acting and Stage Combat at East 15 Acting School, where he harnessed and added to his martial arts background with fights on stage training, including broadsword, knife, firearms, rapier and dagger, unarmed combat, sword and shield, quarterstaff, and much more.

After graduating he started working as a fight director and an armourer for Film and Theatre, specialising in firearms handling and tactical military movement, as well as an actor; he then founded the theatrical firearms company TITANBORN, where he frequently teaches actors how to use firearms for TV, Theatre, and Film.

He has been working since as a motion capture performance artist in a AAA game that is scheduled to come out in 2021, he has recently worked on an action-packed feature film that will be released end of 2021, and has been in various theatrical productions and short films. 

Jack Henderson is Paris

Jack is a 23-year-old actor based in Colchester, Essex. Previous performances have ranged from Shakespeare to Rattigan, with recent work including contemporary, immersive digital theatre.

Alongside his acting and writing work, Jack is a keen singer and mental health advocate, particularly supporting work around male eating disorders and body image. This is Jack's first production for Chelmsford City Theatres, and sees him taking to the stage alongside his partner, Eli London, also for the first time.

Jenny Wills is Nurse

Jenny was born in Essex and worked for many years as a cinema General Manager, before giving up the day job to become an actor. She studied acting at The Poor School, graduating in 2013.  Since then she has performed in plays in various London theatres, short films and immersive theatre productions.  She also performed as the Defence Barrister in the UK and Ireland tour of The Murder Trial Live.  She has played a wide variety of roles ranging from The Wicked Witch of the West (*****The Stage) to Queen Elizabeth I.  Her latest role was playing a real life murderer (one of the last women to be hanged in England).  Jenny is delighted to be playing the Nurse in this iconic play. 

Lois Derbyshire is The Watcher

Lois has just graduated from EAST15 Acting School where she trained for 4 years. She has always loved acting and has worked with great Shakespearean directors like Stephen Unwin, Leon Rubin, and Dr. Adrian James; she is excited to bring Shakespeare to new audiences. Romeo and Juliet is her debut performance. 

Laura Turner is Lady Capulet

Laura is a playwright, screenwriter, actor and founder of Fury Theatre. Laura’s writing has been produced nationally and internationally, by Hull Truck Theatre, the Almeida Theatre, the BBC, Chapterhouse Theatre Company, East Riding Theatre and the Petersfield Shakespeare Festival, amongst others. Laura is passionate about bringing to life urgent and emotional female stories that encourage us to think differently about our world. Recent credits include: Titania in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and Elizabeth Proctor in “The Crucible” (The Asylum Players); Lauren in “Facing Time” (Intestinal Fortitude Theatre); Lady Montague in “Violent Delights” (Petersfield Shakespeare Festival); Elizabeth in short film “RICH” (All Good Films); Domitia in short film “In Umbra Eius Ignis” (Ignis Films). 

Jackson Wright is Lord Capulet 

Jackson trained at LAMDA.

Theatre roles included: Boris Tregorin – The Seagull (etcetera theatre), Henry V – Henry V (theatre Balsamine, Brussels) Jean – Miss Julie (headgate theatre)  Gaius Caligula- Caligula (Elevator Gallery) The Lord- The Lady of Pleasure (white bear) Giadarno Bruno – More Light (Shakespeare's rose) Holofernes – Judith: a parting from the body (Lord Napier) Cassius- Julius Caesar (Catford Broadway) Corvino- Volpone (Downstairs@Prince Edward) Dr John Faustus- Dr Faustus (river arts centre) Vicomte Valmont- Les Liasons Dangeruses (Shakesperience, Stratford upon Avon) Tutor- Hippolytus (Blue Elephant) Dr Jekyll/ Mr Hyde – the strange case of Jekyll and Hyde (new wimbeldon studio) Edgar-King Lear (Greenwich Playhouse)

Feature films include: Wings of Ascension (coming soon), Escape from Cannibal Farm, Deadman Apocalypse, Erotic Green, The Plague, The Ultimate Truth

Plays as a Writer: Crime and Punishment, Caligula by Albert Camus (translation/adaptation), The Underground, King Leopold Speaks: For Those in Darkness.

Will Middleton is Friar Laurence

Will was born and bred in Essex and trained in acting at Rose Bruford College of Theatre & Performance in London, completing his studies in 2021.

During his time at drama school Will built up a stellar range of acting credits including Lopakhin  (The Cherry Orchard), Shylock (The Merchant of Venice), Benedick (Much Ado About Nothing), Blepyrus (The Assembly Women) and Frank (Educating Rita).

His professional credits include Julius Caesar in a living history project in London and the role of Simon “Silver Spoon” McGovernburns in The Smoke Filled Room, a film produced by ASD Productions which is due for release in 2021.

James Fletcher is Friar John

James started acting at the age of 17 when he joined the Acting Level 3 BTEC at Colchester Institute. He then performed for the first ever time playing Timms in The Mad Hatters production of The History Boys. James quickly found a love for dance and musical theatre as well performing in the Chelmsford Ballet Companies production of Alice’s Adventure as the cook as well as playing Bottom in their production of A Midsummers Nights Dream. In 2017 James got accepted into London Studio Centre’s Saturday Associates Program where he trained for two years. After this training he was then accepted to study in musical theatre at London Studio Centre where he has been training for the last two years. James has also performed with the British Youth Music Theatre in their production of More In Common and is also a member of the National Youth Theatre.

James has plenty of experience performing Shakespeare firstly playing Orlando in As You Like It and Fenton in The Merry Wives Of Windsor. Most recently he has performed in Protocol Theatre’s production of Macbeth playing Malcom and The Murderer. 

For more information about the show and how to attend, head to our R4J page.

Find more info about R4J