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The Nation’s favourite movie becomes an acclaimed event: THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION

Based on Stephen King’s 1982 novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption and adapted by Owen O’Neill and Dave Johns, this thrilling stage production examines desperation, injustice, friendship and hope behind the claustrophobic bars of a maximum-security facility.

Presented by Bill Kenwright The Shawshank Redemption comes to The Lowry, Salford from Mon 31 Oct – Sat 5 Nov as part of its 2022 UK Tour.

The 1994 feature film, starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, was nominated for seven Academy Awards. The Shawshank Redemption went on to become the nation’s favourite movie and a huge source of inspiration to film makers, with The National Film Registry citing the film as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

Despite protests of his innocence, Andy Dufresne is handed a double life sentence for the brutal murder of his wife and her lover. Incarcerated at the notorious Shawshank facility, he quickly learns that no one can survive alone.

Andy strikes up an unlikely friendship with the prison fixer Red, and things take a slight turn for the better. However, when Warden Stammas decides to bully Andy into subservience and exploit his talents for accountancy, a desperate plan is quietly hatched…

This production will see Joe Absolom take on the role of the wrongly convicted Andy Dufresne with Ben Onwukwe as his inmate Ellis “Red” Redding.

Joining the cast for the Autumn tour Mark Heenehan (Stammas), Kenneth Jay (Brooksie), Coulter Dittman (Tommy Williams), Joe Reisig (Bryan Hadley), Owen Oldroyd (Entwistle), Jay Marsh (Bogs Diamond), Jules Brown (Rico), Leigh Jones (Rooster), Kieran Garland (Dawkins), and Samarge Hamilton (Ensemble).

Joe Absolom’s impressive TV career has barely seen him off our screens in twenty-five years: from Matthew Rose in EastEnders to Al Large in Doc Martin, Christopher Halliwell in A Confession and Andy Warren in The Bay.

Joe Absolom said, “The Shawshank Redemption is one of my favourite films, an incredibly moving tale of friendship and injustice, and I’m thrilled to be playing the iconic role of Andy Dufresne on stage around the UK”.

Ben Onwukwe boasts a 30-year stage career including leading roles with the RSC and the Royal Court, as well as 11 years on TV as Recall McKenzie in London’s Burning and, more recently, the role of Jackson Donckers in Professor T. He reprises his critically acclaimed performance as Ellis “Red” Redding in The Shawshank Redemption, which he first played in the production’s 2016 tour.

Ben Onwukwe said, “I’m delighted to be returning to the role of “Red” in this amazing production. The Shawkshank Redemption film is one which many hold close to their hearts, and it’s exciting to be bringing Stephen King’s story to new audiences. It is a modern meditation on HOPE and in these times, it is Hope that we need”.


Joe Absolom’s television credits include: The Bay (ITV); A Confession (ITV); Doc Martin (ITV); The Level (ITV); Midsomer Murders (BBC); Suspects (Channel 5); Hatfield and McCoy’s (ThinkFactory Media and Sony Pictures); Scaredy Cat (Sky One); Ashes to Ashes (BBC); New Tricks (BBC), Casualty (BBC), Vincent (BBC), The Long Firm (BBC), P.O.W (ITV), Trevor’s World of Sports (BBC), Servants (BBC); Unconditional Love (ITV); Stan the Man (Granada); Now You See Her (Red Productions); Eastenders (BBC); Dangerfield (BBC); Touching Evil (Anglia); Frighteners (Myrddin Productions); Silent Witness (BBC); The Bill (Thames Television); Tennant of Wildfell Hall (BBC); Dear Dilemma (BBC);  Antonia & Jane (BBC).

His film credits include: Extreme Ops (Feature); Long Time Dead (Feature); Dream (Feature); Bottle (short film); Girl Number Nine (short film); Small Things (Short Film) and his stage credits include: Abigail’s Party (Menier Chocolate Factory). Joe received a Supporting Actor BAFTA nomination 2020 for his performance as ‘Christopher Halliwell’ in A Confession, opposite Martin Freeman, and Imelda Staunton.

Ben Onwukwe’s stage credits include: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh); Pericles, The Winter’s Tale, Days of Significance (RSC); A Family Business (Palace Theatre); Macbeth (Out of Joint); Hamlet (Glasgow Citizens); Sense of an Ending, Man in the Middle (Theatre 503); Cinderella (Hackney Empire); Andromache (Old Vic); The After Dinner Joke, The Making of Moo (Orange Tree Theatre), Sunset Baby (The Gate Theatre); The Love Girl & The Innocent (Southwark Playhouse); Greenland, The Emperor (Royal Court); Doctor of Honour (Cheek by Jowl); Pandora’s Box (Arcola).

His television credits include: London’s Burning, EastEnders; Coronation Street; Holby City; Doctors; The Bill; Hollyoaks Later; Law and Order: UK; After You’ve Gone; Between The Lines.

Radio credits include: No 1 Ladies Detective Agency; Book at Bedtime; Triple Word Score; Three Strong Women; Wild Blood; Udenfor Borgen; The Exorcist; Sounds Like London; Citizens.