Casting for Rita, Sue and Bob Too announced today

L to R: Samantha Robinson, Taj Atwal, Sally Bankes, David Walker, James Atherton, Gemma Dobson (Photo by Helen Murray)

Out of Joint, Octagon Theatre Bolton and the Royal Court Theatre are delighted to announce the cast of Rita, Sue and Bob Too, the seminal 1982 play about two teenage friends who embark on an affair with a married man.

Rita will be played by Taj Atwal, who was widely acclaimed for her performance in East is East at Trafalgar Studios in the West End, and who starred as Rita in Educating Rita for Hull Truck. She is also known from Stella on Sky, and Kay Mellors' In The Club on BBC1. Atwal's co-star from In The Club, Gemma Dobson, will make her professional stage debut as Sue.

Bob will be played by James Atherton, who played Will Savage in Hollyoaks for five years, as well as Jamie Bowman in Coronation Street. He has taken theatre roles at Manchester Royal Exchange, Chichester Festival Theatre and Theatre Royal, Haymarket.

Sally Bankes (Mother) has appeared in four productions for the RSC and worked with Taj Atwal in the West End production of East is East. She has extensive comedy and drama television credits. Samantha Robinson (Michelle) played Rita in Educating Rita at Colchester Mercury, and has performed for Northern Broadsides, West Yorkshire Playhouse, The Bush and Bristol Old Vic. Her many TV credits include Cilla. David Walker (Father) has appeared in Emmerdale, The Royal and Coronation Street, and on stage most recently in Hangmen in the West End.

In the play, best friends Rita and Sue get a lift home from married Bob after baby-sitting his kids. When he takes the scenic route and offers them a bit of fun, the three start a fling they each think they control. Andrea Dunbar wrote her second, semi-autobiographical play for the Royal Court Theatre in 1982 when she was just 19. It's a vivid portrait of girls caught between brutal childhood and an unpromising future, hungry for adult adventure. Tod with wicked humour, startling insight and a great ear for dialogue, Rita, Sue and Bob Too also became a much-loved cult film, which was restored and re-released this year by the BFI. Rita, Sue and Bob Too will be directed by Max Stafford-Clark, who directed both the play's premiere and Dunbar's first play The Arbour, which she wrote when she was just 15. 

Commenting, Max Stafford-Clark said:

 "When Andrea wrote her first two plays, she was a teenager from a rough council estate who'd never been to the theatre. Now, thirty five years after its premiere, Rita Sue and Bob Too takes its place in the Octagon and Royal Court's seasons in the role of Classic Play. It's one of the privileges of my career that Andrea's astute, fresh and funny writing reached my desk, and it is exciting to bring her vivid, albeit alarming world to life again with these fine actors."

Rita, Sue and Bob Too will run at Bristol Old Vic from 3-7 October. 


Out of Joint, Octagon Theatre Bolton and the Royal Court Theatre present
by Andrea Dunbar
newly edited by John Hollingworth and Max Stafford-Clark

Director Max Stafford-Clark
Tim Shortall
Lighting Designer Jason Taylor
Sound Designer Emma Laxton
Casting Director Amy Ball.

Cast James Atherton, Taj Atwal, Sally Bankes, Gemma Dobson, Samantha Robinson and David Walker.

Touring 2017-18
Octagon Theatre Bolton 6-23 September 2017 (press night 11 Sep, 7.30pm)
Harrogate Theatre 26-30 September
Bristol Old Vic 3-7 October
Liverpool Playhouse 10-14 October
Warwick Arts Centre 17-21 October
Oxford Playhouse 24-28 October
Royal Theatre, Northampton 31 October - 4 November
Cast, Doncaster 7-11 November
York Theatre Royal 14-18 November
Derby Theatre 21-25 November
Royal Court, London 9-27 January 2018 (press from 11 Jan)
Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield 31 January - 3 February
Theatr Clwyd, Mold 6-10 February

A StageText captioned performance will be provided at every venue (check with box offices or Stagetext's website for dates).

Epic, authentic, inquisitive and authentic, Out of Joint is a national and international touring theatre company, developing entertaining theatre that broadens horizons and investigates our times. Under the direction of Max Stafford-Clark the company has premiered plays from many leading writers including Richard Bean, Alistair Beaton, Caryl Churchill, David Edgar, David Hare, Rebecca Lenkiewicz, Robin Soans and Timberlake Wertenbaker; launched the careers of others such as Stella Feehily and Mark Ravenhill; and staged bold revivals.

Out of Joint has performed all over the UK and on six continents, and co-produces with some of the most exciting theatres in the country: its most recent production, Consent by Nina Raine, played in a sold-out co-production at the National Theatre.  Out of Joint also offers an extensive education programme. 

Out of Joint recently appointed a second Artistic Director, Kate Wasserberg, the founder of Cardiff's award-winning The Other Room Theatre.

Octagon Theatre Bolton
is a regional producing theatre with the belief that theatre can enrich communities and fundamentally change peoples' lives for the better. It aims to do this through creating a range of entertaining and thought-provoking theatre of the highest quality that inspires and ignites the curiosity of the people of Bolton and beyond. As well as providing opportunities for learning and participation to enable people the community to realise their potential, express themselves and to help them fly.

The Royal Court Theatre
is the writers' theatre. It is the leading force in world theatre for energetically cultivating writers - undiscovered, emerging and established. Through the writers, the Royal Court is at the forefront of creating restless, alert, provocative theatre about now.  We open our doors to the unheard voices and free thinkers that, through their writing, change our way of seeing.

Over 120,000 people visit the Royal Court in Sloane Square, London, each year and many thousands more see our work elsewhere through transfers to the West End and New York, UK and international tours, digital platforms, our residencies across London, and our site-specific work. Through all our work we strive to inspire audiences and influence future writers with radical thinking and provocative discussion.

The Royal Court's extensive development activity encompasses a diverse range of writers and artists and includes an ongoing programme of writers' attachments, readings, workshops and playwriting groups. Twenty years of the International Department's pioneering work around the world means the Royal Court has relationships with writers on every continent.

Within the past sixty years, John Osborne, Samuel Beckett, Arnold Wesker, Ann Jellicoe, Howard Brenton, David Hare have started their careers at the Court. Many others including Caryl Churchill, Athol Fugard, Mark Ravenhill, Simon Stephens, debbie tucker green, Sarah Kane; and, more recently, Lucy Kirkwood, Nick Payne, Penelope Skinner and Alistair McDowall, have followed. The Royal Court has produced many iconic plays from Laura Wade's Posh to Jez Butterworth's Jerusalem and Martin McDonagh's Hangmen. Royal Court plays from every decade are now performed on stage and taught in classrooms and universities across the globe. It is because of this commitment to the writer that we believe there is no more important theatre in the world than the Royal Court.