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Preview: Shawshank Redemption at Newcastle Theatre Royal


Gripping stage production comes to Newcastle Theatre Royal


The Shawshank Redemption

Newcastle Theatre Royal

Tuesday 17 – Saturday 21 January 2023

Two TV favourites will take to the stage in The Shawshank Redemption when the stunning adaption plays Newcastle Theatre Royal.

Joe Absolom, best known his roles in EastEnders and Doc Martin, plays the wrongly convicted Andy Dufresne with Ben Onwukwe, known to many for his long-standing role in London’s Burning, as his inmate Ellis ‘Red’ Redding.

Based on Stephen King’s 1982 novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, this superb stage production examines desperation, injustice, friendship and hope behind the claustrophobic bars of a maximum-security facility.

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…

The 1994 feature film, starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, was nominated for seven Academy Awards and went on to be voted as the nation’s favourite movie.

Joe Absolom’s impressive TV career has barely seen him off our screens in 25 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.”

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, as 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.”

Photos (preview tour): Jack Merriman



The Shawshank Redemption plays at Newcastle Theatre Royal from Tuesday 17 – Saturday 21 January 2023. Tickets can be purchased at or by calling 0191 232 7010.

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