Brother Wolf’s ‘Magic Circle’ at The Old Red Lion Theatre as Part of The London Horror Festival

Brother Wolf is proud to present two exclusive performances of Magic Circle, the first full-length dramatic work for the theatre by renowned novelist, Kim Newman, author of the acclaimed Anno Dracula books, performing at the world-renowned Canterbury Festival and the ground-breaking London Horror Festival (sponsored by The Horror Channel). Produced by Brother Wolf’s award- winning Artistic Director James Hyland in collaboration with Harrogate Theatre, Magic Circle is a sinister two-handed mystery play set in 1970 when faddish mysticism becomes something more dangerous. In a room in Calme Manor, blooded by an appalling ritual, a protective chalk circle has been drawn. Inside the circle sits Professor Harry Cutley, trendy academic and occultist, seemingly intent on undoing a dangerous spell cast by a former pupil. Outside the intangible barrier stands Inspector Nicholas Gammell, Nicker of the Yard, a rational detective with an unsolved case on his books and a suspect in his sights. Directed by Associate Director at Harrogate Theatre, Phil Lowe (recipient of the “Unsung Hero of the Year” Award 2016), Magic Circle is Brother Wolf’s tenth production to date and is preceded by a catalogue of award-winning works including A Christmas Carol – As told by Jacob Marley (deceased), the “definitive telling of A Christmas Carol” (Redditch Standard), winner of Best Performer in Theatre (Fringe Report Awards 2012); Fagin’s Last Hour, “powerful and highly accomplished” (The Stage), Recognised by Her Majesty The Queen for its part in Dickensian Scholarship; Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, “magnificently intense, riveting theatre” (The York Press), winner of Best Male Act (Solo Festival 2013); and A Lesson from Auschwitz, “the most powerful refutation there could be of Holocaust denial… a majestic statement of the power of theatre” (Plays To See). By 2012, The Leamington Courier described Brother Wolf’s ground- breaking stage productions as “truly astonishing… unforgettable theatre at its best”.

Praise for Magic Circle:

“deserves much praise… some of the best acting I’ve seen on stage… truly epic”

~Douglas McFarlane, UK THEATRE NETWORK

“you are in for a treat… guaranteed to leave you breathless” ~Peter Fuller, KULTGUY’S KEEP

“I was on the edge of my seat… A must-see horror play!” ★★★★★ ~Jason D. Brawn, BRITISH THEATRE JOURNAL



Kim Newman is a novelist, critic, broadcaster and film historian. His critically acclaimed fiction includes the Anno Dracula series, Life’s Lottery, Professor Moriarty: The Hound of the D’Urbervilles, An English Ghost Story, The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School and Angels of Music; his non-fiction includes Nightmare Movies and BFI Classics studies of Cat People, Doctor Who and Quatermass and the Pit. He co-wrote the comic miniseries Witchfinder: Mysteries of Unland and the play The Hallowe’enSessions. Forth coming are a non-fiction bookVideo Dungeon and novel Anno Dracula One Thousand Monsters. He is a contributing editor to Sight & Sound and Empire magazines.


Actor (playing Inspector Nicholas Gammell) | Producer | Artistic Director at Brother Wolf

James Hyland is Artistic Director and Founder of Brother Wolf. He is also a multi award-winning stage and film actor as well as a critically acclaimed writer, producer and director. James’ work has been described by the press as “immensely powerful” (The Independent), “magnificent” (Plays to See) and “highly accomplished” (The Stage). To date, he has received 135 outstanding reviews as well as over 300 audience testimonials for his ground-breaking performances. Following his education at the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain and Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance, he made his professional acting debut in The North Pole, winning the Guardian International Student Drama Award in 1996. Since then he has appeared in over 70 professional productions, working with a variety of directors including Michael Boyd, Adrian Noble and Matthew Warchus, as well as acclaimed companies such as the Royal Shakespeare Company and Brother Wolf, winning a further four awards including Best Performer in Theatre (Fringe Report Awards, 2012) for his solo performance as Marley’s Ghost in A Christmas Carol – As told by Jacob Marley (deceased) and a nomination for The London Theatre Award (London Awards for Art and Performance 2012) in competition with the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Matilda The Musical. John Park, Director of the Fringe Report Awards, said “The award celebrates the work of James Hyland, actor, and in particular his creation and delivery of A Christmas Carol – As told by Jacob Marley (deceased). It reflects his fine work as an actor in film, TV, radio and theatre in a remarkable range of productions.” In the same year, further honours were bestowed by Her Majesty The Queen at Buckingham Palace in recognition of Dickensian scholarship. By 2014, A Christmas Carol – As told by Jacob Marley (deceased) had been officially rated as one of “the top Christmas shows in London, Edinburgh and around the UK” (High 50 Culture). The show’s unique presentation has even been discussed in best-selling books about the theatre. And now, in the 175th anniversary year of Dickens’ original novella, James’ award-winning show will be performed at The Royal Albert Hall. The production was followed by two more award-winning one-man shows: Fagin’s Last Hour and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. James also serves as adapter and producer on all three productions. All of the shows have toured extensively nationwide, breaking box office records along the way, including his 5-star commemorative drama A Lesson from Auschwitz, of which he is the writer, director, producer and co-actor (commended by The Foundation of Memory Sites Near Auschwitz- Birkenau), reviewed as “a majestic statement of the power of theatre” (Plays to See). His latest 5- star production sees him playing the role of Inspector Gammell in Magic Circle, a two-handed mystery play written by acclaimed novelist Kim Newman. The latest review describes his work as “the best acting I’ve seen on stage” (UK Theatre Network). Collectively, James has completed 28 successful tours through his company, Brother Wolf.

Screen credits include We Are Monster, nominated for The Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film (Edinburgh Festival, 2014) and the multi award-winning music videos/short films from Kaskade and Tinie Tempah in which James plays the lead roles: A Little More and Disappoint You, again serving as writer (and improviser) of the dialogue. His latest roles on screen see him performing in Unstoppable Entertainment’s award-winning film The Sound (in which he appears opposite Joseph Mawle), selected for the exclusive HollyShorts Film Festival 2017, and the nine-time award-winning film Transmission in which James plays the lead role of Dr Sam, currently screening at more than 80 festivals worldwide including The Fisheye Film Festival, The Horrible Imaginings Film Festival and Torino Underground Cinefest for which James has recently received three Best Actor nominations. His performance has been reviewed as “the key to this short film’s success… it is Hyland who really sells it. Enigmatic and maniacal, he lures you into comfort and just as quickly kicks the chair out from underneath you… anchored by a superb performance from James Hyland, Transmission brings classic dystopian cinema to the modern era” (Screen Anarchy). To date, James has appeared in six award-winning films, four in which he plays the lead role.


Director | Stage Designer | Lighting Designer | Associate Director at Harrogate Theatre

Phil Lowe has directed 19 productions at Harrogate Theatres over the past 15 years including the last ten pantomimes. In 2011, he directed Fagin’s Last Hour with Brother Wolf which received Royal Recognition from The Queen. In 2013, he teamed up with Brother Wolf again for Strange Case of Jekyll & Hyde, which won Best Male Act at the Solo Festival. As well as co-writing Harrogate Theatre’s Pantomime, Phil also wrote and directed Harrogate Theatre Young Company’s inaugural production I Could Murder A Fat Rascal which was performed at the world famous Betty’s Tea Rooms. Phil has also directed Harrogate Youth Theatre’s main house productions of The BFG, The Witches and Who Shot the Sheriff. In 2016, Phil was recognised for the huge success of Harrogate Theatre’s Pantomimes and won “Unsung Hero of the Year” at the Harrogate Hospitality and Tourism Awards for his contribution to tourism; attracting over 30 000 people each year to the town.


Actor (playing Professor Harold Cutley)

Michael Shon studied an MA in Acting at the Arts Education School London and continued his training with the Impulse Theatre Company 1 year program under the tutelage of Scott Williams. He was a member of the National Youth Theatre, making his professional stage debut appearing in their production of Savages at the Royal Court Theatre in 2006.

Michael has been working with Brother Wolf since 2016, having met James Hyland whilst working together on the short film Transmission. Michael has since performed and toured with Brother Wolf on two projects. Firstly, in James Hyland’s powerful 5-star commemorative production A Lesson from Auschwitz, playing the Jewish prisoner Abraham Könisberg. Having premiered at Stafford Gatehouse Theatre in 2016, the production has toured the UK extensively, garnering excellent reviews and audience testimonials in which Michael’s performance was described as “magnificent” and “totally believable”. In 2017 Michael worked again with Brother Wolf in collaboration with Harrogate Theatre on Kim Newman’s occult thriller Magic Circle, playing the hippy occultist Professor Harry Cutley. The show, directed by Phil Lowe, premiered on the main stage at the Harrogate Theatre and has since toured the UK, garnering fantastic reviews and audience testimonials along the way.

Michael is also a member of RSC Associate Director Aileen Gonsalves’ site-specific Butterfly Theatre Company. Michael has completed two tours of Germany with the company, playing the titular role in Macbeth (2014) and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet (2015), as well as Jacques in As You Like It (2014- 15) and Mort in California Suite Part 2 (2014) in London, Buxton and Devon.

Screen credits include the political prisoner Leonard in the multi-award winning short film Transmission by Parallel Madness, in which Michael received a Best Actor nomination at the Torino Underground Film Festival. He also appeared as a sardonic hipster Justin in NTE Production’s short comedy Love, Hate, Date as well as the role of Dr. Francis Grappell in the Victorian crime docudrama Murder Maps now available on Netflix. Commercial work includes TV and in-house idents for Barclays, Weetabix and Perkbox.

Michael can be heard voicing the disgruntled animal rights campaigner Travis Jones, alongside Brendan Coyle and Lia Williams in the Audible’s Animal Instinct: Human Zoo, written by Simon Booker. He also has a recurring role as Tom Cunningham in Big Finish’s cult Dark Shadows, appearing extensively in the highly successful Bloodlust miniseries.

Listings information

Festival Dates:

OCT 20 @ 7.30pm

St Mary’s Hall Studio Theatre, The Borough, Canterbury, CT1 2EZ
01227 787 787

OCT 22 @ 6.30pm

Old Red Lion Theatre, 418 St John Street, London, EC1V 4NJ 0333 012 4963

Writer – Kim Newman
Producer – James Hyland
Director – Phil Lowe
Cast – Michael Shon and James Hyland Stage/Lighting Designer – Phil Lowe Composer/Sound Designer – Chris Warner Costume Designer – Charlene Braniff Costume Maker – Katie Males
Poster Designer #1 – Rosie Carmichael Poster Designer #2 – Paul McCaffrey

Recommended for: Ages 12+

This category is recommended when the material is suitable only for those aged 12 and over.

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