Melanie gets top role in Derby’s Abigail’s Party

Published: 27 July 2018
Reporter: Steve Orme

Melanie Gutteridge who plays Beverly in Abigail's Party
Safiyya Ingar who will appear in Abi, a contemporary response to Abigail’s Party

Melanie Gutteridge is to play socially awkward, aspirational hostess Beverly in Derby Theatre’s autumn 2018 production of Mike Leigh’s classic Abigail’s Party.

She is best known for her roles on television as PC Emma Keane in The Bill and Amy in Not Going Out. In 2015, she played Sandy in Steve Thompson’s Roaring Trade at the Park Theatre, London.

The rest of the cast comprises Liam Bergin who was Danny Mitchell in EastEnders, Amy Downham who played Jen Gilmore in Hollyoaks, Susie Emmett who performed opposite Richard E Grant in the film The Man Who Married Himself and Christopher Staines who was Rosencrantz in Shakespeare’s Hamlet at the National Theatre in 2000.

Abigail’s Party will be a co-production between Derby Theatre, Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, Wiltshire Creative and Les Théatres de la Ville de Luxembourg. It will be directed by the Queen’s Theatre’s artistic director Douglas Rintoul.

The play will open at the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch from Friday 30 August until Saturday 22 September. It transfers to Derby Theatre from Wednesday 26 September until Saturday 20 October, Salisbury Playhouse from Tuesday 30 October until Saturday 17 November and Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg from Tuesday 27 until Thursday 29 November.

Derby Theatre and the Queens Theatre have also commissioned a new play, Abi, a contemporary response to Abigail’s Party. Abi is part of Derby Theatre’s RETOLD series, one-woman plays which aim to “crack open the classics and see the story afresh from the perspective of a female character”.

Abi is written by Atiha Sen Gupta. It features Safiyya Ingar and will be directed by Derby Theatre’s artistic director Sarah Brigham. It runs at the Queen’s Theatre from Tuesday 4 until Saturday 22 September and at Derby Theatre from Saturday 29 September until Saturday 20 October.