All-star cast for Shawshank Redemption

Joe Absolom and Ben Onwukwe reprise their starring roles in the stage version of the critically acclaimed movie the Shawshank Redemption as it rolls into Oxford.

It takes to the Oxford Playhouse stage from Monday, February 6, for a week long run.

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”.

Based on Stephan King’s 1982 novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, the piece examined desperation, injustice, friendship, and hope behind the claustrophobic bars of a maximum-security facility. It was adapted for stage by Owen O’Neill and Dave Johns.

The Cast of Shawshank Redemption Shawshank Redemption resize3 Photo credit Jack Merriman
The Cast of Shawshank Redemption – Photo credit Jack Merriman

The Shawshank Redemption is the story of Andy Dufresne who is handed a double life sentence for the brutal murder of his wife and her lover, despite protesting his innocence. 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…

Television favourite, Joe Absolom plays the wrongly convicted Andy Dufresne with star of stage and screen Ben Onwukwe as his fellow inmate, Ellis ‘Red’ Redding.

Joe 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.”

L R Joe Absolom Leigh Jones Jay Marsh Shawshank Redemption resize5 Photo credit Jack Merriman
(L-R) Joe Absolom, Leigh Jones, Jay Marsh – photo credit Jack Merriman

Joe’s film and television credits include: The Bay, A Confession, Doc Martin, The Level, Midsomer Murders, New Tricks, Casualty, Eastenders, Dangerfield, Touching Evil, Frighteners, Silent Witness (BBC); The Bill, Extreme Ops, Long Time Dead and Dream.

Ben Onwukwe has a string of stage and television credits including: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, Macbeth, Hamlet, Sense of an Ending, Man in the Middle, Cinderella, Andromache,  London’s Burning, EastEnders, Coronation Street, Holby City; Doctors, The Bill, Hollyoaks Later, Law and Order: UK, After You’ve Gone; Between the Lines.

Tickets at Oxford Playhouse are priced from £10 and are available from the Box Office on 01865 305305 or book online at

The play is a version of the 1994 film (based on the 1982 Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. Released to critical acclaim, it was nominated for seven Academy Awards, and starred Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler, Clancy Brown, Gil Bellows and James Whitmore.