Writer Graham Hopkins brought together some of the folk world’s best songwriters (and persuaded this bunch of socially-conscious troubadours to write songs about a king and his mistress!)
The show features songs written by Jo Freya, Robb Johnson (“An English original”, The Guardian), Reg Meuross (“one of the finest singer-songwriters this country has produced” BBC Radio 2), Lucy Ward (“impressive and original”, The Guardian), Boff Whalley (ex-Chumbawamba), and Dave Wilson (Winter Wilson – “Special” RnR Magazine).
Robb Johnson will also be performing at most venues.
Born into poverty, Nell Gwynne became the most famous woman in Restoration England. A cinder girl and fish hawker. An orange seller who became the leading comedy female actor. History tells us her fame comes from being the mistress (for 17 years) of the restored King Charles II. But men write history. The real reason we know her is because she was funny. Samuel Pepys called her “pretty, witty Nell”. She was courted by poets, playwrights, politicians and the finest minds of the age. A remarkable woman in a fascinating time (plague, fire, plots) who fell in love with a king. He found the common touch, she never lost it.
It’s said that the whole world knows Nell Gwynne. Our play – funny, sad and with some belting songs – shows you why.
Emily Jane Brooks (NELLY)
Born in Coventry, Emily read Theatre and Performance Studies & French at the University of Warwick. After winning a BBC Performing Arts Fund bursary she went on to study Music Theatre at the Central School of Speech and Drama. An accomplished lead vocalist Emily is a member of The D-Day Darlings (Britain’s Got Talent finalists, Top 5 UK selling artist and Brit Breakthrough Award winners).
Conor Lynam (CHARLES II, earl of ROCHESTER and all male roles)
Having studied theatre since he was around 12 years old, Conor has been a consummate amateur. Until now – this is his first professional part. He has worked in various roles in the theatrical industry, from difficult and valued psychiatric work for the NHS to being a founding member of the Nottingham Shakespeare Company. In his spare time, Conor helps to run a local cider company (Sneinton Cider Co), is a part-time Viking, D&D enthusiast and generally very tired.
Born in Coventry and living in Southwell, Nottinghamshire, Graham Hopkins is the author of “Nell Gwynne – A Passionate Life” (Robson Books, 2002) & “Constant Delights – Rakes, Rogues and Scandal in Restoration England” (Robson Books, 2003).
Nelly – A Folk Musical is his first professional play.