Exciting cast announced for Director Denzel Westley-Sanderson’s fresh new version of The Importance of Being Earnest at Leeds Playhouse

1st August 2022

An exciting cast has been revealed for award-winning director Denzel Westley-Sanderson’s vibrant retelling of Oscar Wilde’s sharpest and most outrageous comedy, The Importance of Being Earnest, which premieres at Leeds Playhouse from 5-17 September before heading out on a UK tour.


Melding Wilde’s wit with chart-toppers, shade and contemporary references, this sassy and witty new co-production from Leeds Playhouse, ETT and Rose Theatre offers a unique insight into this classic satire about dysfunctional families, class, gender and sexuality.  


The cast includes Daniel Jacob, who has gained international recognition as his Drag Queen alter ego Vinegar Strokes, as the iconic Lady Bracknell.


The full cast comprises:


Phoebe Campbell as Cecily. For television, her work includes The Last Dragonslayer Girl, Midsomer Murders and Home From Home. This is her theatre debut.


Valentine Hanson as Merriman/Lane. The Emperor’s New Clothes (Small Truth Theatre), Orpheus Descending (Theatr Clwyd, Menier Chocolate Factory), We Anchor In Hope (The Bunker/ W14 Productions), Handfast (Nutshell Theatre), The Sisterhood (Belgrade Theatre), Hector (Eden Court/Mull Theatre), Cuming And Going (Boom at the Bush Theatre), Stopsearch (Catford Broadway Theatre), For One Night Only/Footprints In The Sand, Letting Go/Footprints In The Sand (Pursued By A Bear), Festen (Lyric Hammersmith Theatre), G.I. Burns (Forest Forge Theatre Company), The Tempest (Orange Tree Theatre), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Bill Kenwright Limited), Come With Me (Roundabout/Nottingham Playhouse), After The End Of The World (Red Ladder Theatre Company), Positive Mental Attitude (Theatre Centre), The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Classic Theatre) and Racine’s Andromache (Grassy Knoll). For television, his work includes The Friday Night Project and Casualty; and for film, London Voodoo and Crucifixion Island.


Joanne Henry as Miss Prism. For theatre, her work includes The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (National Theatre/UK & Ireland Tour), Jane Eyre (Chapterhouse Theatre/UK & Ireland Tour), Lost For Words (Outside Edge/UK Tour), Love Moved Him to Die (Jasperian Theatre Company/UK Tour), The King and I (Newtown Abbey & Aberystwyth Rep), Sweet Charity (The Crucible, Sheffield), Raoul (New & Abused Theatre Company), Westside Story (West End & UK Tour), Oklahoma! (Grange Park Opera) and Joseph & The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat (The Really Useful Group). For television, her work includes Bridgerton, Vera, Pennyworth, The Salisbury Poisonings, Trigonometry and Roadkill; and for film, Wonder Woman, Last Christmas and Dogwood.


Daniel Jacob as Lady Bracknell. Daniel has gained international recognition as his Drag Queen alter ego Vinegar Strokes, for which he has appeared on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, EastEnders, Dinner With My Ex and Drag Karaoke Club. For theatre, his work includes Death Drop (West End & UK Tour), The Pirates of Treasure Island (Stag Theatre), Begæret Mysterier (Royal Danish Theatre), Eurobeat (Turbine Theatre), Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (Apollo Theatre), Testosterone (Edinburgh Festival Fringe), Charming Dick (Royal Vauxhall Tavern), The Macbeths (Pleasance Theatre), Angelina Ballerina (UK Tour), Aladdin (Hazlitt Theatre), Bugsy Malone (Secret Cinema), Ragtime The Musical (Landor Theatre), Elegies for Angels, Punks & Raging Queens (Theatro Technis) and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (UK Tour & Dubai).


Adele James as Gwendolen. For theatre, her work includes Much Ado About Nothing (The New English Shakespeare Company), The Picture of Dorian Gray (UK Tour), Nine Night (Trafalgar Studios), #Hashtag Lightie (Arcola), Stopcock (Southwark Playhouse), Meatman (Theatre503), In The Pink (Courtyard Theatre) and Expectations (Theatre N16). For television, her work includes African Queens, Casualty, Doctors and Red Light; and for film, Acceptable Damage.


Abiola Owokoniran as Algernon Moncrieff. The Importance of Being Earnest is Abiola’s professional debut.


Anita Reynolds as Dr Chasuble. For theatre, her work includes A Monster Calls (Old Vic/Bristol Old Vic), Bartholomew Fair, The Merry Wives Of Windsor (Shakespeare’s Globe), ear for eye (Royal Court), Absolute Hell (National), hang (The Other Room), The Lion the Witch & the Wardrobe, Arabian Nights, Horrible Histories, Romeo & Juliet, Measure for Measure (Sherman), Speechless (Shared Experience), The Move (Made in Wales), Carers (Turning Point), Cinderella (Unicorn), Forbidden Fruit (Nottingham Playhouse), Wishful Thinking (Hijinx), Dealing with Feelings (London Bubble), How High is Up, Mirror Mirror (Theatre Centre). For television, her work includes The Birth Of Daniel F Harris, In My Skin, Relik, Keeping Faith, Casualty, Stella, Holby City, Gwaith Cartef, Talking to the Dead, Being Human, Caerdydd, Belonging, Dau Dy A Ni, Nice Day for a Welsh Wedding, Doctors, The Story of Tracy Beaker, Bay College, Nuts & Bolts, Pobol Y Cwm, The Bench and The Hull Project; and for film, Telling Tales, Sweet 16, Rain and Paradise Grove.


Justice Ritchie as John Worthing. For theatre, his work includes Human Nurture (Theatre Centre) and Dear Elizabeth (Gate Theatre).


Directed by Denzel Westley-Sanderson; Designed by Lily Arnold; Lighting Design by Zoe Spurr; Sound Design by Beth Duke; Movement Direction by Tinovimbanashe Sibanda; Assistant Direction from Becca Chadder; Dramaturg Phillippe Cato and Casting Director Bryony Jarvis Taylor.


A Leeds Playhouse, ETT and Rose Theatre co-production

Supported by a grant from the Royal Theatrical Support Trust


Courtyard, Leeds Playhouse

5-17 September

Box office: 0113 213 7700