Nikki Amuka-Bird Leads Kwame Kwei-Armah Directed play The Lady from the Sea at Donmar Warehouse

Donmar Associate Director Kwame Kwei-Armah returns to the Donmar to direct The Lady from the Sea, in a new version by Elinor Cook.  BAFTA nominated Nikki Amuka-Bird will lead the cast as Ellida.

Ellida, the lighthouse-keeper’s daughter, is trapped in her marriage and longs for the sea. When a former lover returns from years of absence, she is forced to decide between freedom and the new life she has made for herself.

Nikki Amuka-Bird – (Ellida) returns to the Donmar Warehouse after appearing in World Music by Steve Waters in 2004. Other theatre credits include God Bless The Child, Birdland and Love and Information (Royal Court), The Trial of Ubu (Hampstead Theatre), Welcome to Thebes (National Theatre), and Twelfth Night (Bristol Old Vic) for which she was nominated for an Ian Charleston Award. She has worked extensively in television and has a BAFTA-nomination for her role in the BBC adaption of Zadie Smith’s NW. She is perhaps best known for her appearance in BBC One’s Small Island, as well with other TV credits including Quarry, Denial, Inside No.9, Luther, House of Fools, Sinbad, Survivors, The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency, Torchwood, Robin Hood, The Line of Beauty and Death in Paradise.

Elinor Cook – (Writer) was the winner of the George Devine Award 2013 for Most Promising Playwright, and is currently under commission to the Gate Theatre and Warwick Arts Centre (co-commission). She has been commissioned by Paines Plough for The Roundabout 2017 season. Plays include Extra Yaran (Orange Tree Theatre), Pilgrims (HighTide Festival 2016), Ten Weeks and Image of an Unknown Woman (Gate Theatre), The Boy Preference (National Theatre Connections), The Girls Guide to Saving The World (HighTide Festival 2014), and This is Where we got to When you Came in (Bush Theatre).

Kwame Kwei-Armah – (Director) is Associate Director at the Donmar where his directing credits include the Olivier Award-nominated One Night In Miami…. Kwame is an award-winning British playwright, director, actor, and broadcaster. His plays include Marley, Beneatha’s Place, Seize the Day, A Bitter Herb, Blues Brother Soul Sister, Big Nose, and his seminal triptych of plays chronicling the struggles of the British African-Caribbean community in London—Elmina’s Kitchen, Fix Up and Statement of Regret—which each premiered at the National Theatre between 2003-2007.

With Elmina’s Kitchen he became the first Black Briton to have a play produced in London’s West End; Elmina’s Kitchen and Let There be Love each had their American debuts at Center Stage in the US. He wrote the 2010 teleplay, Walter’s War, about the first black commissioned officer to lead British troops during WWI.

As an actor, Kwei-Armah has appeared in Casualty, Holby City, Afternoon Play, Between the Lines and The Bill. He has presented documentary programmes for Channel 4 including Christianity: A History and On Tour With the Queen. He has also appeared on Newsnight, Question Time and The Culture Show.

He is Artistic Director of Center Stage in Baltimore, Maryland, where he made his directing debut with Naomi Wallace’s Things of Dry Hours. Since then he has directed One Love: The Bob Marley Musical at the Birmingham Rep, the Pulitzer nominated playwright Esa Davis’s 10-minute play Dave Chappelle was Right for the 24 Hour Plays on Broadway, and two successful productions of his play Let There Be Love at the Tricycle Theatre. Kwei-Armah was Goodwill Ambassador for Trade for Christian Aid; Chancellor of University of the Arts London; and served as Artistic Director for the World Arts Festival in Senegal, a month-long World Festival of Black Arts and Culture. He was awarded an OBE in 2012 for services to drama.


Lady of the Sea runs at The Donmar Theatre Thursday 12 October – Saturday 2 December 2017 find out more and book your tickets here.

Alongside every Donmar production, we run Open Workshops designed to give members of the public of all ages a unique insight into the process of theatre-making. These Open Workshops are not targeted at professional actors or theatre-makers, but at members of our audience interested in learning more about the Donmar’s rehearsal process.

Join The Lady from the Sea Open Workshop:

  • Wednesday 15 November, 5.00pm-7.00pm
  • Saturday 25 November, 11.00am-1.00pm

Making theatre accessible to as many people as possible is at the heart of the Donmar’s mission. The Lady from the Sea will have KLAXON tickets – an allocation of tickets, starting from £10, put on sale every Monday for performances in the following three weeks. Tickets will be available across the auditorium at every price band.

The Donmar’s YOUNG+FREE scheme, which provides free tickets to those aged 25 and under, will also continue throughout the season, with tickets released on the final Friday of every month. YOUNG+FREE is made possible thanks to donations from Donmar audiences via PAY IT FORWARD. These donations and the partnership support of Delta Airlines have allowed the Donmar to allocate almost 9,000 free tickets to those aged 25 and under over the past year.

Read TBB’s interview with Nikki Amuka-Bird here.


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