Check out TBB’s list of exciting new productions, with extraordinary creatives that are about to hit our stages on and off west end May – June 2019.
Death of a Salesman – by Authur Miller
Following her recent award-winning success with Company and Angels in America, Marianne Elliott co-directs Death of a Salesman with Miranda Cromwell (Company, Angels in America), bringing a unique vision to one of the greatest plays of the 20th century, seen through the eyes of an African American family.
Wendell Pierce (The Wire, Suits, Selma) makes his UK stage debut as Willy Loman, with Olivier Award-winning Sharon D. Clarke as ‘Linda Loman‘ and Arinzé Kene (Misty, Been So Long) as Biff Loman. They are joined by Ian Bonar, Trevor Cooper, Martins Imhangbe, Joseph Mydell, Nenda Neurer, Jennifer Saayeng, Matthew Seadon-Young, Maggie Service, and Femi Temowo.
Death of a Salesman runs at the Young Vic Theatre from 1st May – July 2019.
Find out more and book tickets here.
Read TBB’s Out Of 100 review here.
King Hedley II – by August Wilson; directed by Nadia Fall.
1980s Pittsburgh, a city in decay. Against the backdrop of Reagan’s America, King, an ex-con, is trying to rebuild his life and start a family. He’s got hopes and dreams of opening a video store and building a new life. If only he can get ten thousand dollars together, if only he can catch a break. In his dusty backyard he plots and plans with his friend Mister, but is this all a pipe dream?
Featuring Lenny Henry as smooth-talking hustler ‘Elmore‘, August Wilson’s touching and angry King Hedley II is a quest for redemption for one man and a whole community.
King Hedley II runs at Theatre Royal Stratford East Theatre from Fri 17th May – Sat 15th June 2019. Find out more and book tickets here.
Small Island – by Andrea Levy, adapted by Helen Edmundson, directed by Rufus Norris.
Andrea Levy’s epic, Orange Prize-winning novel bursts into new life on the National Theatre’s Olivier stage. A company of 40 tells a story which journeys from Jamaica to Britain, through the Second World War to 1948 – the year the HMT Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury.
Adapted for stage by Helen Edmundson, Small Island follows three intricately connected stories. Hortense yearns for a new life away from rural Jamaica, Gilbert dreams of becoming a lawyer, and Queenie longs to escape her Lincolnshire roots. Hope and humanity meet stubborn reality as the play traces the tangled history of Jamaica and the UK.
The cast includes CJ Beckford, Shiloh Coke, Jacqueline Boatswain, Chereen Buckley, Gershwyn Eustache Jnr, Leah Harvey, Sandra James-Young, Natey Jones, Trevor Laird, Johann Myers, Daniel Norford.
Small Island runs at The National Theatre from 1st May – 10th August 2019.
Find out more and book tickets here.
Salt – by Selina Thompson
A journey to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. In February 2016, two artists got on a cargo ship, and retraced one of the routes of the Transatlantic Slave Triangle – from the UK to Ghana to Jamaica, and back.
Their memories, their questions, and their grief took them along the bottom of the Atlantic and through the figurative realm of an imaginary past.
It was a long journey backward, in order to go forward.
This show is what they brought back.
Part of artist Selina Thompson’s wider body of work looking at Black British identity, the award-winning Salt. focuses on grief, home, afropressism, the Black Atlantic, the forgetting of the UK’s colonial history and the impact that has on the daily life of Caribbean communities in the UK today.
Winner of The Stage Edinburgh Award / Winner of the Total Theatre Award for Experimentation, Innovation and Playing with Form / Winner of the Filipa Braganca Award for Best Female Solo Performance
Salt runs at the Royal Court Theatre from Tue 14th May – Sat 1st June 2019. Find out more and book tickets here.
Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner – by Jasmin Lee Jones, directed by Milli Bhatia.
“112 Million People. That’s how many people follow her on Instagram – and counting… As if she’s like a prophet. Or a material messiah or something…”
Holed up in her bedroom Cleo’s ignored 22 calls from Kara and has cut off contact with the rest of the world. It doesn’t mean that she’s been silent though – she’s got a lot to say. On the internet, actions don’t always speak louder than words…
Jasmine Lee-Jones developed as a writer through the Royal Court’s Young Court programme. Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner was first commissioned as part of The Andrea Project – A day of free events inspired by the life, work and legacy of Andrea Dunbar. This work was part of the Young Court’s mission to expand the Royal Court’s commitment to new voices. Milli Bhatia is the Royal Court’s current Trainee Director.
Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner is part of the Royal Court’s Jerwood New Playwrights programme, supported by Jerwood Arts.
The play runs at the Royal Court Theatre from 4th July – 27th July 2019. Find out more and book tickets here.
The Firm – by Roy Williams
In a pub in South London ‘The Firm’ reunite for the first time in twelve years. Once, they were a notorious criminal gang. Today, they’re older, wiser and wistful – their lives changed beyond recognition. But when an uninvited guest turns up to their reunion with an intriguing proposition and an explosive secret, they’re tempted to try their hands at one last job… Will they escape their pasts unscathed?
Roy Williams’ gripping play is a tale of growing up, lifelong loyalties and how, sometimes, it is possible to choose your own family. The Firm returns to Hampstead Downstairs following a sold-out run in 2017.
Multi-award winning playwright Roy Williams’ other theatre credits include Sucker Punch, Sing Yer Heart Out For The Lads, Soul. Denis Lawson returns to direct his sell-out production of The Firm. Directing credits include The Meeting, Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against the Eunuchs, The Anniversary.
Ray Fearon (Fleabag, Silent Witness) is ‘Gus’. He is joined by Makir Ahmed, George Eggay, Jay Simpson and Clarence Smith.
The Firm runs at Hampstead Theatre from 3rd May – 8th of June 2019.
Find out more and book tickets here.
Yvette – by Urielle Klein-Mekongo.
Evie is thirteen and lives in Neasden with her Mum. She wants to tell us about something… her crush on Lewis, trying to be a woman, hello kitty underwear, and her personal battle with body hair. She wants to make us laugh – she’s good at it. She wants to tell us something, but she daren’t let it out.
In a performance that is equal parts hilarious and powerfully moving, the award-winning Urielle Klein-Mekongo mixes spoken-word, garage remixes and vibrant original songs to tell the story of a young girl navigating her teens.
Commissioned by Bernie Grant Arts Centre in association with Hull 2017.
Yvette runs at the Bush Theatre from May 14th – 4th June 2019. Find out more and book here.
Strange Fruit – by Caryl Phillips
Alvin and Errol can’t picture much of a future for themselves. They’re young, Black and living in England in the 1980s, with an entire country and political system set against them. Instead, they focus firmly on their past – the sunny Caribbean and heroic father they left behind when their mother brought them to England twenty years ago. But when Alvin returns home from his grandfather’s funeral a new version of their past emerges and the two brothers are caught in a desperate struggle to unearth the truth about their existence.
Powerful and compelling, Strange Fruit by Caryl Phillips (winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize) is the story of a family caught between two cultures, and the uncrossable no man’s land that can come between parents and their children. It will be directed by Nancy Medina (Persistence of Memory, Dutchman).
Strange Fruit is the latest edition in the Passing the Baton series, following Winsome Pinnock’s Leave Taking in 2018. The play runs at the Bush Theatre from 12th June – 27th June 2019. Find out more and book here.
The Half God of RainFall – by Inua Ellams.
We risk war. This is the consequence. Battle. Shield. Spear and sword. Conflict amongst the Gods. This must be avoided. When Demi, the half Nigerian-mortal, half Greek-God, is angry, rain clouds gather. When he cries, rivers burst their banks. The first time Demi takes a shot on the local basketball court, the deities of the land awaken. As he unknowingly sparks Zeus’ wrath, his mother Modupe takes matters into her mortal hands and the consequences change their lives forever.
From award-winning poet and playwright Inua Ellams (Barber Shop Chronicles; An Evening With An Immigrant) comes a new myth. The Half God of Rainfall is a contemporary epic that weaves poetry and storytelling in a majestic journey that transports us from a tiny village in South West Nigeria to Mount Olympus, to the further reaches of our galaxy and beyond.
The Half God of Rainfall – runs at the Kiln Theatre from 9th May – 17th June 2019.
Hoard – by Bim Adewunmi.
“If I hadn’t come here this evening, when would I have met him?”
Dalston, autumn 2019. Rafi and Ami’s sister is coming round for dinner – and for the first time, she’s bringing her boyfriend, Brian. Then out of the blue, without any warning, their mother arrives. Why doesn’t she know that Brian exists?
Hoard is the funny, frank and gripping debut play from writer Bim Adewunmi – the story of a close-knit family, and a closely-guarded secret which threatens to tear it apart.
Femi Elufowoju jr – winner of the Off West End Award for Best Director (The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives) – directs this world premiere. Production from Arcola, Avalon, and the BBC.
Hoard runs at the Arcola Theatre 15th May – 8th June 2019. Find out more and book tickets here.
What’s On by Kojo Kamara