Casting announced for the Shawshank Redemption

29 July 2016

Actors Paul Nicholls, Jack Ellis and Ben Onwukwe will take the lead roles in new production The Shawshank Redemption when it heads to Blackpool Opera House this November.
Best known and loved for his role as heartthrob Joe Wicks in Eastenders, Paul Nicholls is to play jailed banker Andy Dufresne.

Ben Onwukwe will take on the role of prisoner Red, his latest casting in a 30-year career spanning stage and screen, most notably as Stuart ‘Recall’ McKenzie from London’s Burning who he played for over a decade.

Keeping them in line, Jack Ellis becomes Warden Stammas, a role he is perfectly suited to as it will be the second time he has portrayed a prison warden having starred in Bad Girls as Jim Fenner.

The Shawshank Redemption will run at Blackpool Opera House from Monday November 14 to Saturday November 19 and tickets are on sale now from

Winter Gardens Managing Director Michael Williams said: “The casting for the Shawshank Redemption is fantastic and we’re sure that audiences are going to love the show when it arrives.

“Many people will have fond memories of the film so seeing it transformed for the stage is really exciting.

“To have such an iconic adaptation coming to the Winter Gardens is brilliant news for Blackpool.”

Since Eastenders Paul has appeared in acclaimed television programmes Grantchester, Death in Paradise, The C Word and most recently In The Club. Paul made his West End debut in Long Day's Journey Into Night at the Lyric Theatre before appearing in Festen (Lyric, West End) and Vincent in Brixton (National).

Through his career Ben (Red) has appeared in productions at The RSC and the Royal Court Theatre. Television credits include EastEnders, Coronation Street, London’s Burning and Doctors.

Jack’s TV credits include Bad Girls, Prime Suspect and Coronation Street. His theatre credits include Sam Mendes production of Richard III (Old Vic, World Tour and Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York), Great Expectations and Yaël Farber’s production of The Crucible.
The Shawshank Redemption examines desperation, injustice, friendship and hope behind the claustrophobic bars of a maximum security facility. The movie starred Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne and Morgan Freeman as Ellis 'Red' Redding and was nominated for seven Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actor for Freeman.

Directed by award-winning Broadway director David Esbjornson, the stage production is an adaptation of Stephen King’s novel Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, which was made into the 1994 Oscar Award winning film The Shawshank Redemption and is regularly voted as the nation’s favourite film.

The Shawshank Redemption will run at Blackpool Opera House from Monday November 14 to Saturday November 19.

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