Full creative team announced for world premiere of 'Never Let Me Go'

20 Jun 2024

New stage adaptation opens in Kingston upon Thames before tour to co-producers Royal & Derngate, Malvern Theatres, Bristol Old Vic and Chichester Festival Theatre.

The full creative team for a new stage adaptation of Nobel Prize winning author Kazuo Ishiguro’s best-selling novel Never Let Me Go is now in place and includes Suzanne Heathcote (Adapter), Christopher Haydon (Director), Tom Piper (Set and Costume Designer), Ayse Tashkiran (Movement Director), Joshua Carr (Lighting Designer), Eamonn O’Dwyer (Composer), Carolyn Downing (Sound Designer), Sam Jones CDG (Casting Director), Haruka Kuroda (Fight Director), and Emma Denson (Assistant Director).

As the production was announced this spring, Kazuo Ishiguro said, “I’m filled with excitement by news of the upcoming production of Never Let Me Go. Suzanne Heathcote is a superb writer for both stage and screen. Christopher Haydon directed a beautiful adaptation of my The Remains of the Day not long ago. And the arrival of this new version of Never Let Me Go feels particularly well-timed. Its central question - How do we find and hold onto love in a world ruled by out-of-control science and savage hierarchical structures? - feels even more haunting today than when I wrote the novel twenty years ago. I look forward to discovering how this wonderfully talented team will re-imagine the story for the stage and for our time.”

Never Let Me Go has been among my favourite novels since I first read it two decades ago. It is an achingly beautiful story of how we maintain hope, and continue to love in the face of a hostile world. It’s become one of the world’s best loved novels and has all of the elements of a great piece of theatre,” says Christopher Haydon, Artistic Director, who directs the production. “I’m thrilled to be working with Suzanne to bring this incredible story to life on our stage at the Rose.”

Never Let Me Go is being co-produced with Bristol Old Vic, Malvern Theatres, and Royal & Derngate, Northampton, where the production will play following its premiere at the Rose; tickets are now on sale.

creative team

Suzanne Heathcote - Adapter
Suzanne Heathcote is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter based in the UK and US. Her playwriting career began at the Royal Court Theatre when her first play, Concrete Fairgrounds, was selected as part of the Royal Court Young Writers Festival. She has since had work developed by Nabokov Theatre, The Bush, Drywrite, The Great Plains Theatre Conference, IAMA Theatre, Labyrinth Theater Company and The Atlantic, New York. She was a recipient of the New York Stage and Film Founders’ Award, a resident playwright for The Working Farm at SPACE on Ryder Farm and a member of the Ars Nova Play Group, NYC. Her other plays include: Plot 10 (Heat & Light Company, Hampstead Theatre); SO. (LabRats New York); I Saw My Neighbor on the Train and I Didn’t Even Smile (New Neighborhood & Berkshire Theatre Group / Redtwist Theatre, Chicago).

Radio: Taken (BBC Radio 4).

For screen Suzanne has been a lead writer/executive producer for Killing Eve (Emmy Award nominee for Outstanding Drama Series); a writer/executive producer for The Crowded Room; and is currently a writer/executive producer for an upcoming series for Peacock TV, starring Elizabeth Banks and Matthew Macfadyen. Other TV credits include: Fear The Walking Dead; See; Little Voice, and the forthcoming Amblin/Netflix film rewrite of Richard Osman’s book, The Thursday Murder Club.

Christopher Haydon - Director
Christopher Haydon is artistic director of the Rose Theatre, Kingston. Prior to that, he was artistic director of the Gate Theatre from 2012-2017, and from 2008-2011, was associate director at the Bush Theatre. He was a 2017 fellow of the Clore Leadership Programme.

Directing credits at the Rose include: The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Leopards.

Credits at the Gate include: The Convert, Grounded (also Traverse Theatre, Studio Theatre Washington DC, national and international tour, winner: Fringe First, Best Production - Off West End Awards); Diary of a Madman (also Traverse Theatre); The Iphigenia Quartet, The Christians (also Traverse Theatre, winner: Fringe First); and Image of An Unknown Young Woman (winner: Best Production - Off West End Awards).

Freelance directing credits include: To The Streets (China Plate/Birmingham Hippodrome/Commonwealth Games) Macbeth (Manchester Royal Exchange), The Remains of the Day (Royal & Derngate, Northampton/Out of Joint), Trying It On (China Plate/RSC/Royal Court/Traverse Theatre), On The Exhale (China Plate/Traverse Theatre, released as an audiobook by Audible, winner: Fringe First), The Caretaker (Bristol Old Vic/Royal & Derngate, Northampton), Twelve Angry Men starring Martin Shaw and Robert Vaughn (Birmingham Rep/West End) and Pressure Drop starring Billy Bragg and his band (On Theatre/Wellcome Collection).

Tom Piper - Set & Costume Designer
Theatre credits: Macbeth (An Undoing) (Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh, Rose Theatre, Theatre for a New Audience); over 50 productions for the RSC, most recently Faith, The Box of Delights, Hamnet, The Tempest (RSC); Medea (National Theatre of Scotland, Edinburgh International Festival); Cyrano de Bergerac (National Theatre of Scotland); The Scent of Roses, The Duchess, Rhinoceros, Mrs Puntila, Hay Fever (Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh); Endgame, King Lear, Hamlet, The Libertine, Nora (Citizens Theatre); Girl on an Altar, White Teeth (Kiln Theatre); iHo, The Haystack (Hampstead Theatre), Cherry Orchard (Bristol Old Vic)

Opera CreditsOrfeo (ROH/Roundhouse), Rusalka, Eugene Onegin, Don Giovanni (Garsington).

Design credits: Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London for which he received an MBE for services to Theatre and First World War commemorations.

Olivier Award for Best Costume Design for The Histories (RSC); Best Design (Scottish Critics Awards) for Twelfth Night (Dundee Rep), and Macbeth (An Undoing).

Ayse Tashkiran - Movement Director
Ayse Tashkiran trained at Bristol University and Lecoq in Paris. She is an associate artist for the RSC. 

Theatre Credits include: And Then There Were None (Royal & Derngate, Northampton and Fiery Angel); The Other Boleyn Girl (Chichester Festival Theatre); Kiss Marry Kill (Dante or Die); Hamnet, The Duchess of Malfi, The Provoked Wife, Dido, Queen of Carthage, The Shoemaker’s Holiday, The White Devil, As You Like It; The Merry Wives of Windsor, Richard lll, King John, Measure for Measure Hecuba, Days of Significance, Romeo and Juliet (RSC/West End/ Barbican/ UK Tour); Mary, FOLK, Wildefire, Belongings (Hampstead); Dido’s Bar (Dash Arts/ UK Tour); Blank (Donmar); The Dark, Tidy Up, Shh… Bang! (Peut-Etre/national tour); The Wolves (Theatre Royal Stratford East); Othello (The Globe); Fantastic Mr Fox (Nuffield Theatre/UK & International Tour); The York Minster Mystery (York Minister); Lady Chatterley’s Lover (Crucible Theatre/ETT); The Government Inspector (Birmingham Repertory Theatre/ UK Tour); Doctor Faustus (RSC/ Barbican); Barbarians (Young Vic); Much Ado About Nothing (Manchester Royal Exchange); Little Eagles, The Gods Weep (RSC/ Hampstead); and The Chairs (Theatre Royal Bath).

Joshua Carr - Lighting Designer
Trained at RADA in lighting design and stage electrics and graduated in 2010. 

Theatre credits include: Great Expectations (Royal Exchange Theatre); Sing Yer Heart Out For the Lads (Chichester Festival Theatre); Hangmen (Broadway, Atlantic Theatre Company, Royal Court & West End, Tony Award Nominee for Best Lighting Design); The Welcome Back Season (Theatre Royal Bath); Youth Without God (Print Room at the Coronet); Hamlet (Leeds Playhouse); A Christmas Carol (Hull Truck & Leeds Playhouse); True West (West End); Dealing with Clair (Orange Tree Theatre); Sweet Charity (Nottingham Playhouse); Tiger Bay (Wales Millennium Centre & CapeTown Opera); Terror (Lyric Hammersmith); Romeo & Juliet (West Yorkshire Playhouse); Everybody's Talking About Jamie (Sheffield Theatres); Stewart Lee: Content Provider (London & UK Tour); Lunch and the Bow of Ulysses (West End); Wonderman (Gagglebabble, National Theatre of Wales & Wales Millennium Centre); Raz (West End); Songs for the End of the World (Vault Festival & Battersea Arts Centre); and Sleeping Beauty (Watermill Theatre). 

Eamonn O’Dwyer - Composer
Eamonn O’Dwyer is an multi award-winning composer-lyricist of Guyanese-Irish descent.  His work spans genres from live orchestral to electronica, contemporary musical theatre and film.  He is an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, and to date his works have been performed in the US, Russia, Australia and Japan.  

For the Rose: The Lion Inside; A Christmas Carol; Beauty & The Beast; The Snow Queen; Alice in Winterland; Hansel & Gretel; The Wind in the Willows; and The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe.

Other theatrical credits include: The History Boys (Theatre Royal Bath); Frankenstein (Tilted Wig); Guy Fawkes (York Theatre Royal); The Rise & Fall of Little Voice (Aria Entertainment); Brief Encounter (Watermill); Lady Chatterley’s Lover (Tilted Wig); Twelfth Night, Henry V (Shakespeare’s Rose, York);  Mrs Beeton Says… (Bristol Old Vic); The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (NYMT); The Comedy of Errors and Julius Caesar Re-imagined (RSC, Swan); Flesh & Bone (National Theatre Studio); Grimm Tales, Peter Pan (Chichester Festival Theatre); Jeeves,  Wooster (Barn, Cirencester); Stones in His Pockets (Dukes, Lancaster); The Glass Menagerie (Theatre Chipping Norton).
For more info visit www.eamonnodwyer.com

Carolyn Downing - Sound Design
Carolyn Downing is an Olivier and Tony Award winning sound designer working in a variety of fields including exhibitions, fashion, theatre, and live events.

Credits include: The Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony 2022 (Alexander Stadium, Birmingham); Ben & Imo, Fantastic Follies Of Mrs Rich, Julius Caesar, Anthony & Cleopatra, Coriolanus (RSC); Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure exhibition (NYC & LA); The Enfield Haunting (Smith & Brant Productions, West End); Fantastically Great Women (UK Tour, KickAss Productions); Ness (The Estuary Festival); The Normal Heart, The Welkin, Mr Gum & The Dancing Bear - The Musical (2019), As You Like It, The Motherf***er With The Hat (National Theatre); Summer & Smoke (Almeida & West End with SFP, Olivier Nomination 2019); Reimagining Wordsworth (The Wordsworth Trust); A Number (Bridge Theatre); Downstate (National Theatre and Steppenwolf); Death of a Salesman (Young Vic and West End); All My Sons (Old Vic Theatre); White Teeth (Kiln Theatre); Gypsy, The Producers (Royal Exchange Theatre); Chimerica (Almeida and West End, Olivier Award 2014); Carmen Disruption and Blood Wedding (Almeida); Me And My Girl, Fiddler On The Roof (Chichester Festival Theatre); Henry V, BLANK, Les Liaisons Dangereusse, Fathers and Sons (Donmar Warehouse); The Low Road, Choir Boy (Royal Court); and The Believers, Beautiful Burnout and Love Song (Frantic Assembly).

Sam Jones CDG - Casting Director
Sam has been Head of Casting for Royal Shakespeare Company, Almeida Theatre and National Theatre Wales.

Recent work includes: Hugo Blick’s The English and Black Earth RisingThe Long CallThe TrickRidley RoadWanderlustLifeNW; Don’t Forget the DriverThe Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies; To Provide All People and The Hollow Crown.

Theatre work includes productions at the National Theatre, RSC, Royal Court, Hampstead Theatre, Old Vic and Young Vic and many West End theatres, including on Moira and Fiona Buffini’s DINNER, Polly Teale’s After Mrs Rochester, Ian Rickson’s HamletMOJOElectraBetrayalOld Times and The Children’s Hour, and 5 casts of Journey’s End.

Sam has also worked on installation art projects such as Isaac Julien’s Paradise Omeros, immersive theatre/film projects such as Bac’s The Way Out and cross-genre collaborations such as Manchester International Festival’s Invisible Cities, a co-production with 59 Productions and Ballet Rambert.

Sam Jones is an Honorary Fellow at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. A member of the Casting Directors’ Guild, the International Casting Directors Network, BAFTA and the European Film Academy.

Haruka Kuroda- Fight Director
Theatre credits includeTitus Andronicus  (Shakespeare’s Globe); Starcorssed (Wilton’s Hall) Wipe These Tears (Bezna Theatre Company); The Comedy of Errors (Mercury Theatre Colchester) The Woods (Southwark Playhouse); All My Sons, Love Letters the Musical, Neville’s Island (Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch); The Temptation of Boris Johnson  (Park Theatre); Macbeth / Romeo & Juliet  (Guildford Shakespeare Company); Illegalized     (Manchester Royal Exchange & Tour);  Pink Sari Revolution (Curve Theatre); Kanye The First (High Tide Festival); Pirates Of Penzance (Grosvenor Light Opera Company); Beyond the Fence a New Musical  (Arts Theatre/ Sky TV); The Three Musketeers (Illyria Theatre Company) Harajuku Girls, The Ladies Cage (Finborough Theatre); Yeh Shen (Polka Theatre & Tour); Last Days of the Limehouse  (Limehouse Town Hall); Incognito (Gate Theatre & Tour); Tango (Reading Rep Theatre, Young Vic Studio); Treasure Island, Peter Pan, Robin Hood (Simply Theatre Geneva); Knock Yourself Out (Courtyard Theatre); Julius Caesar, The Hired Man (Mountview Academy); and The Sound Of A Voice (Volta Theatre, Arcola Tent).

Emma Denson - Assistant Director
Emma Denson (Assistant Director) trained at Mississippi State University. Now based in Brooklyn, New York, she serves as the Associate Director at Origin Theatre Company, and has worked on shows at Irish Arts Center, The Irish Repertory Theatre, and Columbia University. This year, she was selected as the inaugural Drama League Rose Directing Fellow. In addition to assisting on Never Let Me Go, Emma will direct the Rose Youth Theatre in a new play development process for her play, Of Age. Emma wrote and directed Otis and Anna, which won Best Short at NYC’s Downtown Urban Arts Festival 2023. She has participated in residencies in Ireland (Garter Lane Arts Centre, Fishamble) and New York (BRIC, Catswalk Institute). Emma was a 2023 Berkeley Rep Ground Floor Artist, and a 2023 Mississippi State University Director-in-Residence. 

Recent works include: The Taming of Kate (Triskelion Arts); I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (Stagedoor Manor); Emily (The Chain).


Royal & Derngate, 16-26 October | www.royalandderngate.co.uk/whats-on/never-let-me-go

Malvern Theatres, 29 October - 2 November | www.malvern-theatres.co.uk/whats-on/never-let-go

Bristol Old Vic, 5-23 November | www.bristololdvic.org.uk/whats-on/never-let-me-go

Chichester Festival, 26-30 November (tickets on sale in September) | www.cft.org.uk

about the co-producers


Rose Theatre is one of the largest producing theatres in London and has established itself since its 2008 opening as one of the most exciting theatres in the UK. Our mission is to entertain audiences, elevate artists, and empower our community.

Current Rose productions include: The Lion Inside based on the bestselling story by Rachel Bright & Jim Field, in a brand new adaptation and directed by Sarah Punshon, with music and lyrics by Eamonn O’Dwyer that will tour the UK and Middle East through 2024.

Forthcoming Rose productions include: Never Let Me Go based on Kazuo Ishiguro’s international best-selling novel, adapted by Suzanne Heathcote (Killing Eve), and directed by Christopher Haydon, touring until November; Abigail's Party by Mike Leigh, and directed by Jack Bradfield; and for Christmas Robin Hood & the Christmas Heist, written by Olivier Award winner Chris Bush and directed by UK Theatre Award winner Elin Schofield. 

Recent Rose Original productions include: The Boy at the Back of the Class based on the bestselling children’s novel by Onjali Q. Raúf, adapted by Nick Ahad, and directed by Monique Touko; The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, directed by Atri Banerjee and starring Geraldine Somerville; and London premiere of the Royal Lyceum Edinburgh production Macbeth (an undoing) written and directed by Zinnie Harris, after Shakespeare, which transferred to Theatre for a New Audience in New York and received four Drama Desk nominations. 

Previous productions include: Shooting Hedda Gabler by Nina Segal, based on Henrik Ibsen’s classic Hedda Gabler and directed by Jeff James; A View From the Bridge by Arthur Miller, directed by Holly Race Roughan, co-produced with Headlong, Chichester Festival Theatre, and Octagon Theatre Bolton; Richard III directed by and starring Adjoa Andoh; The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, directed by RTST Award winner Denzel Westley-Sanderson (nominated for four Black British Theatre Awards); The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Bertolt Brecht, in a new version by Steve Waters with music by Michael Henry, directed by Christopher Haydon (nominated for Best Revival at the WhatsOnStage Awards); Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie in a new version by Evan Placey, with music & lyrics by Vikki Stone and directed by Lucy Morrell; A Christmas Carol in a new version by Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, with music by Eamonn O’Dwyer, directed by Rosie Jones; Jeff James and James Yeatman’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion,featuring an explosive foam party and a soundtrack of Frank Ocean, Dua Lipa and Cardi B; Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, adapted by Rona Munro, which transferred to the West End in July 2019 following a successful UK tour; and the world premiere stage adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels, My Brilliant Friend, adapted by April De Angelis, which transferred to the National Theatre in November 2019. The latter were both directed by Rose Associate Artist Melly Still.

Although it is a charity and receives no regular funding from Arts Council England, Rose Theatre operates with support of  two key funders: The Royal Borough of Kingston and Kingston University.

For more information visit: www.rosetheatre.org   


Chief Executive Jo Gordon

Artistic Director Jesse Jones

Royal & Derngate Northampton is the main venue for arts and entertainment in Northamptonshire and one of the major regional producing theatres in the country, with its acclaimed Made in Northampton work touring nationally and internationally.

The theatre was nominated for Theatre of the Year in The Stage Awards 2022. Eight of its productions transferred to London and the West End in 2019, with The Worst Witch winning the 2020 Olivier Award for Best Family Show and Our Lady of Kibeho being nominated for the 2020 Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre. The adapted screenplay from Royal & Derngate’s original play commission of The Pope was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the Academy Awards as Netflix’s The Two Popes.

Looking ahead, the theatre is excited to be presenting the world premiere of The Jolly Christmas Postman, as well partnering with Paines Plough on My Mother’s Funeral: The Show and with the Rose Theatre in Kingston for this new stage adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go.

Other recent Made in Northampton productions have included Ralph Fiennes in the world premiere stage adaptation of T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets which transferred to the West End and was made into a film, a new version of Joe Penhall’s Blue/Orange, touring co-productions of Animal Farm and Othello with the National Youth Theatre, a brand new musical Gin Craze! by April de Angelis and Lucy Rivers, the world premiere stage adaptation of Mog The Forgetful Cat, the national and international tour of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None and most recently Spymonkey’s The Frogs.

The venue also presents a diverse range of visiting productions on both the Derngate and Royal stages, featuring musicals, dance, comedy and music, and its two-screen cinema presents the best in world, independent, British and mainstream film.

Royal & Derngate’s nationally recognised Creative Engagement programme works with schools, families and communities in Northamptonshire and beyond, and its Generate artistic development programme regularly supports hundreds of regional artists each year.

Box Office 01604 624811



Malvern Theatres is a major centre for the arts in the West Midlands. Hailed both locally and nationally as a model of artistic and architectural excellence, the venue boasts a long and proud history, having started life in 1884 as the Malvern Assembly Rooms. From 1929 it was the home of the famous Malvern Festivals, founded by Barry Jackson and George Bernard Shaw and now houses one of the most varied selections of plays, music, comedy dance, film and education work available under a single roof anywhere in the country. An independent charitable trust with less than 1% of its revenue turnover publicly funded, Malvern Theatres comprises four auditoria: the Festival Theatre, an 850-seat proscenium arch theatre; the Forum Theatre, a modern versatile space with a maximum capacity of over 800; a 300-seat cinema and a newly built studio (Studio One), which opened in 2023. Malvern Theatres is committed to developing the next generation of audiences and industry professionals and in 2012, the Malvern Theatres Young Company was founded, followed by The Malvern Theatres Stage Company in 2020. These two companies have collectively staged over 20 productions. Malvern Theatres is proud to be co-producing this production of Never Let Me Go.



Bristol Old Vic is the UK's longest continuously running theatre and has welcomed millions of people through its doors since opening nearly 260 years ago.

Led by Executive Director Charlotte Geeves and Artistic Director Nancy Medina, the organisation is committed to platforming and creating opportunities for the multitude of stories that Bristol and the UK have to offer.

From its extensively redeveloped building in the Old City, Bristol Old Vic offers a year-round programme of inspiring, original new work; one of UK theatre's biggest learning and engagement programmes and has recently relaunched its artist development programme, including a five year commitment to new writing. Plus, through Bristol Old Vic On Screen, audiences across the world have seen its productions live or on demand, including most recently Complicite's acclaimed Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, and its own stylish hit, Hamlet - which was also shown in 250 cinemas across the UK.

We will make a theatre which is for our whole community. Not a passive place but one of activism. Not one voice but many. We will ask questions of ourselves and of Bristol. We invite you to come on in and help us make this building sing with possibility.” Nancy Medina. Artistic Director.


Find out more about the show
Never Let Me Go