LONE FLYER, a powerful drama by Ade Morris about one of Britain’s greatest female pilots, will return to The Watermill, from Friday 10 – Saturday 25 September, with a press night on Monday 13 September. Hull born actress Louise Willoughby will join the production to star as ‘Amy Johnson’ and Benedict Salter (whose previous Watermill credits include The Importance of Being Earnest and A Little Night Music) will reprise his original role, supporting her playing a series of other male parts.
“It’s not a bit like a car or a boat you know, it’s like a bird, it’s the most magical feeling I’ve ever had.”
May 1930. Amy Johnson has a dream, but just how far will her dream take her?
As the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia, Amy’s career reached new heights, but the outbreak of the Second World War changed everything, and she finds herself facing her greatest challenge yet. Driven by the need to escape from one life to another, follow Amy’s journey from humble beginnings to become one of Britain’s most influential female aviators.
Since its forced closure at The Watermill in November 2020 due to the autumn lockdown, it played at the Jermyn Street Theatre as part of their Footprints Festival, achieving 5 Off West End Nominations for Best Production, Sound Design, Director, Leading Performance and Supporting Performance. Lone Flyer is co-produced with Hull Truck Theatre and will be playing in Amy Johnson’s home city of Hull from 7 – 31 October. Directed by Watermill Associate Lucy Betts, Ade Morris’ powerful play about one of the most inspirational women of the twentieth century returned to the Watermill in 2020 in a new production, having been first staged at the Watermill in 2001.
For audience members who would feel more comfortable to attend a performance with more space between themselves and other audience members there will be two socially distanced performances each week during the run of LONE FLYER.
Louise Willoughby said, “I can’t wait to get started on rehearsals and be back in a room with a creative team after it’s been such a difficult time for our industry. Being from Hull, I grew up learning about Amy’s story – I actually played her in a scene in a small community play when I was about 15! I don’t think there’s a single person from Hull who hasn’t heard of Amy Johnson, how she defied all expectations with her determination, knowing what she wanted to do, and finding a way to do it. I think women today have a lot to thank her for. I’m honoured to be playing Amy and I can’t wait to tell her story.”
Born and bred in Hull, Louise Willoughby attended the Northern Theatre Company from a young age before training at LSMT graduating in 2009 with Distinction.
Theatre credits include: Prince Charming’s Christmas Cracker (Hull Truck); No Horizon (UK Tour); Little Women (ERT); Mortar (Theatre Uncut); The Lightless Pumpkin (ERT); Les Miserables (Grange Park Opera); Grease (RCCL); Baby (Baron’s Court); Hope (Bridewell Theatre); As You Like It (LSMT); Top Girls (LSMT)
Screen credits include: Rabbit; Day Street; B-Negative; The Broken Teeth of Lions; Alfie’s Story; Pieces and Commercials for Sainsbury’s Christmas 2020; Your Local Services and HSamuel.
Benedict Salter trained at LAMDA.
Previous Watermill credits include: Lone Flyer (2020); The Importance of Being Earnest (2019) and A Little Night Music (2017).
Previous theatre credits include: Lone Flyer (Jermyn Street Theatre); A Christmas Carol (Derby Theatre); Vespertilio (VAULT Festival and Dublin Fringe); Lady Windermere’s Fan (West End); The Last Days of Anne Boleyn (Tower of London); An Inspector Calls (West End); Shakespeare in Music (RSC/Southbank Sinfonia).
Whilst training at LAMDA credits include: Hjalmar Ekdal in The Wild Duck; David in Mydidae; and Duke Solinus & Doctor Pinch in The Comedy of Errors.
Benedict was also a BBC Carleton Hobbs Bursary Award finalist in 2016.
Lone Flyer is directed by Lucy Betts, with design by Isobel Nicolson, lighting design by Harry Armytage and sound design by Justin Teasdale. Original Sound Design is by Thom Townsend and Jamie Kubisch-Wiles. The stage management team consists of Emily Stedman (rehearsal DSM), Georgia Dacey (DSM), and Natalie Toney (ASM). The Sign Integrated Performer is Lixi Chivas.