Emerging Suffolk talent cast in production of Dennis Kelly’s ‘DNA’!

19 Jan 2023 News, Press Release, Shows

A cast announcement image featuring the original artwork for 'DNA' which includes a young male wearing a backpack, walking towards an orange glowing light in the middle of a wooded area. In the top left is a white version of the New Wolsey's logo. In the top right is white text that reads 'DNA - by Dennis Kelly - Cast Announcement'. Below this are two rows of five circles, with the cast headshots in each one. Below each one is their name. From top to bottom, left to right, are: Ntabiso J Bhebhe, Eireann Devlin, Brayden Emmanuel, Tom Houlton, Shaun Jenkinson, Jessica Laitt, Gabriella Manning, Mae Munuo, Charlie Shephard and Emily Tang.

“I’m thrilled to be back at the Wolsey after spending my teenage years with the Young Company.”

The New Wolsey Theatre has announced the full cast and creative team for our upcoming new production of Dennis Kelly’s acclaimed play DNA, which will run here from 2-9 February 2023.

The modern-day comedy with bite, which was first performed in the Cottesloe Theatre of the National Theatre, will be directed by our Chief Executive/Artistic Director Douglas Rintoul and, after an extensive call-out and audition process aimed at performers living in Suffolk and East Anglia, will showcase a predominantly local cast that includes the professional debuts of four rising local performers. The production marks the beginning of a new phase of talent development for the New Wolsey Theatre.

A group of teenagers do something bad, something they can’t undo. Panicking, they concoct an elaborate cover-up, unleashing a series of events that twist and turn their young lives into a terrifying game of survival, putting not only their friendship but their morality to the test.

The cast will consist of Ntabiso J Bhebhe (professional debut), Eireann Devlin (professional debut), Brayden Emmanuel (You & Me – ITV), Tom Houlton (Paranorman: Live Action Remake – Laika Studios/ Ridder Films), Shaun Jenkinson (The Kneebone Cadillac – Theatre Royal Plymouth), Jessica Laitt (Cinderella – Out Of The Box Productions), Gabriella Manning (professional debut), Mae Munuo (The Nutcracker – Bristol Old Vic), Charlie Shephard (professional debut) and Emily Tang (Claus the Musical – The Lowry). Ntabiso Bhebhe, Gabriella Manning, Mae Munuo and Charlie Shephard were all previously members of the New Wolsey’s Young Company.


We asked our cast to comment on being cast in DNA:

Gabriella Manning

‘I’m thrilled to be back at the Wolsey after spending my teenage years with the Young Company. The Wolsey inspired my journey to drama school and now I’ve come full circle with my professional debut being in my hometown.’


‘I absolutely love seeing work that regional theatres produce and also how important they can be to a lot of people from the area too. Keeping theatre local gives more access to theatre that some people might not get to otherwise and that’s something that has encouraged me to pursue this as career; and so being on the other side of that, doing an incredible play, feels quite full circle. I’m very excited to be working so close to home again and meeting a whole new team of cast and creatives! Bring it on!’


Shaun Jenkinson

‘I’m thrilled to be a part of this production, and so close to home! The story’s relationship with the youth of today is particularly poignant, so I’m extremely excited to be part of a play that will engage younger people and nurture their relationship with theatre within my local community.’


Ntabiso Bhebhe

‘As a former member of the Wolsey Young Company, Wolsey holds a special place in my heart. My time there was invaluable in facilitating the growth I needed. Fulfilling one of my dreams in performing on the main Wolsey stage is a blessing. I’m looking forward to diving into this classic.’


Charlie Shephard

‘I’m excited for the opportunity to work with Doug, especially on such a thrilling play. I’m also really looking forward to working with some old friends from my time with the New Wolsey Young Company.’


Tom Houlton

‘I first performed here, age 12, in a school production of The Winter’s Tale. It is truly wonderful to be back, 17 years later, performing in this socially engaging play.’


Emily Tang

‘I’m so excited to be a part of DNA. It’s so special that we can perform in a place that feels like home! I think it’s so important that regional theatres are bringing together local performers – it’s a huge reflection of representation for young aspiring performers, because if we can do it, why can’t they?’


Eireann Devlin

‘I’m very excited to be making my professional debut at The New Wolsey, one of my local theatres. It means a lot to be working with a theatre that values access as much as they do. DNA is a fantastic play and I really hope audience members, especially students, are encouraged to take part in the arts through seeing what we produce!’