Birmingham graduates join international tour of ‘War Horse’


Four Royal Birmingham Conservatoire graduates are set to appear in the internationally acclaimed production of ‘War Horse’.

Rianna Ash and Khalid Daley both graduated from Birmingham City University’s Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in 2017, while Lewis Howard and Gareth Radcliffe from the classes of 2012 and 1997 respectively also appear in the 34-strong cast for the play’s upcoming international tour.

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

Birmingham City University

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Acting graduate Rianna Ash from Winchester will be playing the role of the Head of Joey, a horse from Devon who was sold to the British cavalry during the First World War and shipped to France.

She said:

“’War Horse’ is such an ensemble piece of theatre and my training at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire has prepared me really well for this.

“We also had such a wide variety of classes, particularly in movement – from animal studies to body conditioning, to movement improvisation – which has helped me build a great foundation and fitness for this very physically demanding role.”

The National Theatre play, based on the award-winning novel by Michael Morpurgo, centres around Joey’s journey as he gets caught up in enemy fire, fights on both sides and eventually finds himself in no man’s land. It also follows Joey’s owner, Albert, who is on a mission to find his beloved horse and bring him home to England.


Alongside a record-breaking eight year London run, ‘War Horse’ has been seen by over seven million people in 97 cities and 10 countries around the world. It has won 25 awards, including the Tony Award for Best Play on Broadway, and is the most successful play in the National Theatre’s history.

At its heart are ground-breaking puppets by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, who bring breathing, galloping and charging horses to life on stage.

Rianna added:

World tour

The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire graduates will join the production on its upcoming international tour, beginning at the Glasgow SEC on Friday 15 January next year. The play will then visit various UK cities including Sunderland, Canterbury and Stoke-on-Trent, before heading to Ireland, Hong Kong and New Zealand. The show will return to the UK in July with performances in Liverpool, Oxford and Leicester. 

Danièle Sanderson, Head of Undergraduate Studies (Acting) and BA (Hons) Acting Course Director, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, said:

“It’s amazing that four of our graduates have secured role in this wonderful production and we look forward to seeing them in action when they tour next year.”

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