First look: Production images of Damian Lewis, Sophie Okonedo and the cast on stage in Edward Albee’s The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?

Shakespeare’s Globe announces the Festival of Independence

Shakespeare's Globe

Shakespeare’s Globe has announced the Festival of Independence, honouring those who have fought for independence, and those who continue to do so across the world today. Curated by award-winning playwright Tanika Gupta MBE, the festival aims to shine a light on struggles for personal, political and artistic freedom, and includes theatre, music, poetry and dance. It features a world premiere of Gupta’s new play Lions and Tigers, directed by Pooja Ghai, in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. The festival will also feature a one-off gig in the Globe Theatre by Mobo award-winning Nitin Sawhney, a new production of Vijay Tendulkar’s revolutionary play A Friend’s Story directed by Akash Khurana, and an evening of words and music in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse with Susheela Raman, William Dalrymple, Sam Mills and Pirashanna Theverajah.

Speaking about the festival, Tanika Gupta, Curator of the Festival of Independence, said, I’m delighted to be curating the Festival of Independence this summer, the 70th anniversary of Indian independence. In our current climate it’s more important than ever to celebrate the struggles of those who have fought for an equal, fairer society. It is our job to protect that hard-won freedom, and to reiterate the need for diversity in all areas of our lives and work. I’m thrilled that the Festival of Independence will be bringing such incredible artists and important, vital stories to one of London’s greatest theatres this summer.”

Based on the true story of her great uncle and freedom fighter Dinesh Gupta, and marking 70 years of Indian independence, Lions and Tigers runs from 23 August – 16 September in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. Set against the backdrop of negotiations between the leaders of the Indian National Congress, the play charts the emotional and political awakening of the 19-year-old Dinesh Gupta, as he is pitted against the British Raj. Gupta’s play is rich with details from her grandfather’s 500 page handwritten journal, along with the 92 letters written by her great uncle from his prison cell.

On 20 and 21 September, the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse hosts Akash Khurana’s new production of Vijay Tendulkar’s revolutionary play, A Friend’s Story, which elicited significant public reaction when it was first performed in India in 1981. Set in and around a college campus in the Poona of the 1940s, A Friend’s Story is about three students in a complex love triangle. The play explores a theme that was still considered taboo at the time – that of two people of the same sex being in a romantic relationship. As we mark 50 years since the de-criminalisation of homosexuality in the UK, this play is a timely reminder of how far we have come, and how far we still have to go.

Along with these new productions in the Playhouse, the festival features several unique musical events. On 21 August, Mobo award-winning Nitin Sawhney will play a one-off gig in the Globe Theatre. Firmly established as an album artist, world-class producer, songwriter, DJ, multi-instrumentalist, orchestral composer and cultural pioneer, Sawhney has become a latter-day Renaissance man in the worlds of music, film, video-games, dance and theatre. After 2016’s acclaimed performance at the Royal Albert Hall and a sold-out 3 day residency at Soho’s Ronnie Scott’s, he reassembles his band of first class musicians to play work from his extensive repertoire.

On 7 June the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse hosts How Many Roads?, an evening of itinerant words and music by William Dalrymple and Susheela Raman, with Sam Mills and Pirashanna Theverajah. In their lives and work, writer William Dalrymple and singer Susheela Raman have both found unique ways of linking India, the UK and the World. Both were born in the UK; Dalrymple lives in India and has become one of its best-selling resident authors, while Raman lives in the UK and was born to South Indian parents in London, and is known as one of the most creative musicians in the global Indian diaspora. The evening includes readings and music shaped by their complementary and contrasting perspectives, and they are joined by London-born guitarist Sam Mills, and British virtuoso of South Indian percussion Pirashanna Theverajah.

The Festival of Independence will include more performances and events, which will be announced in due course.

Lions and Tigers

By Tanika Gupta

Directed by Pooja Ghai

Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

23 August – 16 September 8pm

2.30pm matinee on 2, 9 & 16 August

£62, £48, £38, £32RV, £26RV, £20RV, £10 standing


A Friend’s Story

By Vijay Tendulkar

Directed by Akash Khurana

Sam Wanamaker Playhouse
20 & 21 September 8pm

£35, £25 RV and £10 standing


Nitin Sawhney

Globe Theatre

21 August8pm

£50, £45, £30, £30, £35 standing


How Many Roads?

William Dalrymple and Susheela Raman
Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

7 June8pm

£60 – £10


RV: Restricted View

EXCLUSIVE: Brand new production of Clarke Peters’ Olivier Award-winning and Tony-Award nominated musical, Five Guys Named Moe, to open in September 2017

Five Guys Named Moe

Five Guys Named Moe

Underbelly Productions have today confirmed that a brand new production of Clarke Peters’ Olivier Award-winning and Tony-Award nominated musical, Five Guys Named Moe, will open in September 2017 in a brand new pop-up theatre for London in Marble Arch.  

First seen at the Theatre Royal Stratford East in 1990, it transferred to the West End and played for four years, subsequently playing on Broadway from 1992. Clarke Peters’ (The Wire, Treme, Person of Interest, Porgy and Bess, The Ice Man Cometh) career defining musical features the irresistible hits of trailblazing ‘King of the Jukebox’ Louis Jordan, including Early In The Morning, Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby, Choo Choo Ch’Boogie and Saturday Night Fish Fry. The soundtrack of soul, blues, gospel and early r ‘n’ b is performed on stage by a live band.

The Marble Arch Theatre is being designed specifically for the production and will transport the audience back to the engrossing jazz bars of 1940s New Orleans. A unique, circular auditorium will ensure that the action take place all around the theatre and pre and post-performance drinks never felt so good in the theatre’s authentic 1940s foyer cocktail bar. The band is playing, the bourbon is flowing… come and join the party!


The production, which is to be directed by Peters himself and features the hits of jazz legend Louis Jordan, will have an initial booking period from 28 August to 25 November 2017, with an Opening Night on 14 September. Tickets go on sale today at 2pm.

Five Guys Named Moe will be directed by Clarke Peters with musical staging and choreography by Andrew Wright (Half a Sixpence, Singin’ in the Rain, Guys and Dolls), inspired by Charles Augins’ original choreography, set and costume design by takis (Side Show, In The Heights, Hairspray, The Good Person of Sichuan), lighting design by Philip Gladwell (The James Plays, Cymbeline, Trainspotting, After Miss Julie, Hairspray) and sound design by Ben Harrison (Cabaret, Dreamboats and Petticoats, Dancing in the Streets, The King & I, Starlight Express, Blood Brothers, Soul Sister).

Cameron Mackintosh said: I am really thrilled that Underbelly are producing a brand new production of Five Guys Named Moe in London later this year. It’s a show that brought fun and joy to audiences in the West End for many years so it’s great to see its return for its 25th Anniversary. I am particularly excited that this new production is being staged in a Spiegeltent theatre specifically tailored for Five Guys so that Underbelly’s unique style will give audiences and the show a special intimate experience which will definitely make it the best party in town – a party which I’m delighted to support Underbelly in throwing.”

Clarke Peters said: It’s a rare and wonderful thing to have the chance to direct a show that not only you have created but also performed in. It’s a show that is very close to my heart and soul and is so much of who I am. It’s an honour to return to it on its 25th Anniversary and reimagine the show in this new theatre space; one which is perfect for creating a closeness and dynamic energy between the story and the audience. Further to this it’s a treat to be working with a fantastic creative team and I can’t wait to transport audiences into the magical world of rhythm and blues. This rhythm will lift one and all from their blues!”

Robert Davis, Westminster City Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Business, Culture and Heritage said: “Westminster City Council is delighted to be working with Underbelly Productions to bring Five Guys Named Moe to Marble Arch in its very own, bespoke theatre. Bringing this internationally acclaimed musical to this world-renowned, iconic space is a truly mouth-watering prospect that will further increase the cultural offer available to residents, businesses and visitors throughout the City of Westminster.  To quote the show itself; ‘Let The Good Times Roll!’”

Clarke Peters has a long-established and wide-ranging career in theatre, television, radio and film. His many stage credits include: King Lear (Shakespeare in the Park), Race, Chicago, The Iceman Cometh (New York), Guys and Dolls, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Mourning Becomes Electra (National Theatre), Porgy in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess (Savoy Theatre), Driving Miss Daisy, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Little Shop of Horrors, Blues in the Night and Five Guys Named Moe also written by Clarke.  Films include: Spike Lee’s Red Hook Summer, Notting Hill, Mona Lisa, Bad Education, Marley and Me, Freedomland, The Benefactor, Endgame, Mandela: The Prison Years and Nativity! Peters is also known for his varied television career including regular appearances in The Wire, Tremé, Jericho, The Divide, Chance and The Corner.

Andrew Wright is a double Olivier Award nominee. He choreographed Half A Sixpence for Cameron Mackintosh (Chichester Festival Theatre, Noel Coward Theatre), Singin’ In The Rain  (Chichester Festival Theatre, Palace Theatre, UK national tour, Japan, Asia, Russia and Australia; winner of Best Choreographer WhatsOnStage Awards 2013 and nominated for Best Choreographer Olivier Awards 2012), Guys and Dolls (Chichester Festival Theatre, Phoenix Theatre, Savoy Theatre, UK national Tour; nominated for Best Choreographer Olivier Awards 2016 and Broadway World Awards 2014/16), Barnum  (Theatre in the Park, Chichester, UK national Tour), 42nd Street  (Chichester Festival Theatre, Curve Theatre, Leicester), The Critic/The Real Inspector Hound  (Minerva Theatre), High Society (UK national tour), Wonderful Town (UK national tour), Betty Blue Eyes  (UK national tour), Saturday Night Fever  (UK national tour), A Little Night Music  (Palace Theatre), Follies (Royal Albert Hall), the world premiere of Mrs Henderson Presents (Theatre Royal, Bath ,Noel Coward Theatre, Toronto), The Showgirl Within  (Garrick Theatre) and Almost Like Being In Love  (National Theatre).

Let the Good Times Roll!


Underbelly Productions
in association with Cameron Mackintosh,
Steven Harris and Westminster City Council presents
A musical by Clarke Peters
Featuring Louis Jordan’s greatest hits
Directed by Clarke Peters
Musical Staging and Choreography by Andrew Wright
Inspired by Charles Augins’ original choreography

Set and Costume Design by takis
Lighting Design by Philip Gladwell
Sound Design by Ben Harrison
Casting by Will Burton CDG for DGA

The original production of FIVE GUYS was produced in 1990 at the Theatre Royal Stratford East and subsequently in the West End by Cameron Mackintosh
Performed by arrangement with 



Marble Arch Theatre

Marble Arch



Initial booking period 29 August 2017 – 25 November 2017
Monday – Saturday 7.45pm
Thursday and Saturday matinees 2.30pm
Opening Night 14 September
Pricing: from £10
Box office: 0844 545 8252

Hampstead Theatre announces three Hampstead Downstairs Originals

Kiss Me

Kiss Me

Hampstead Theatre today announced three Hampstead Downstairs Originals which will open this spring. Following an initial development run at Hampstead Downstairs, the updated plays Deposit and Alligators will open at Hampstead Theatre and Kiss Me at Trafalgar Studios.

  • Matt Hartley’s Deposit will be directed by Lisa Spirling and will open on Wednesday 17 May at Hampstead Theatre Downstairs.
  • Andrew Keatley’s Alligators will be directed by Simon Evans and will open on Wednesday 28 June at Hampstead Theatre Downstairs.
  • Richard Bean’s Kiss Me will be directed by Anna Ledwich and open on Friday 9 June at Trafalgar Studios.

Artistic Director Edward Hall comments
‘I’m extremely proud to officially open Deposit, Kiss Me and Alligators this summer. Matt Hartley, Richard Bean and Andrew Keatley present revised versions of their original drafts, which they’ve been able to develop following their respective runs Downstairs. Hampstead Downstairs has been able to provide this kind of unique support where writers can trial, adjust and refine their scripts through rehearsal and preview.’ Hampstead Downstairs’ mission is to identify and develop new plays that are entertaining, original and ambitious. Celia Atkin will be the new supporter of Hampstead Downstairs’ work for the next five years, following the innovative visionary patronage of The Peter Wolff Theatre Trust.

Edward Hall comments
‘Celia’s generosity will ensure that Hampstead Downstairs continues to grow and develop over the next five years, giving opportunity to create a whole canon of new work for new audiences. A major contribution to British new writing.’

Celia Atkin comments
‘As an admirer of the direction of Hampstead Theatre since Edward Hall’s brilliant tenure, I’m delighted to ensure that this special space, Hampstead Downstairs, continues to thrive. Developing a body of enduring new work, whilst encouraging a younger audience into the theatre is my particular passion. Hampstead Downstairs is a cauldron of creativity, providing a flexible space for writers and directors to try out new ideas and perfect their craft and I’m very pleased to support it.’

A Hampstead Downstairs Original Deposit By Matt Hartley Directed by Lisa Spirling 11 May – 10 June Press Night Wed 17 May 7pm
‘Well today is a brave day, friends are uniting. To help each other’s dreams come true.’
Rachel and Ben want to buy a flat in London. And so do their friends, Melanie and Sam. But what with rent, tax, student loans and bills, it’s impossible to save for a deposit.
So the foursome comes up with a fast-track solution to the problem: live together. Sneakily split the rent and bills on a tiny one bedroom flat for a year. But with paper thin walls and space growing sparser by the day, which will they sacrifice first – the friendship, the relationship or the dream of buying their own property?

Matt Hartley’s Deposit throws a lively and topical spotlight on ‘Generation Rent’ and the lengths they will go to in order to get that first step on the property ladder. Hartley returns to Hampstead with a new version of Deposit following a sold out run Downstairs in 2015. His theatre credits include the Bruntwood Award winning Sixty Five Miles (Paines Plough/ Hull Truck), Here I Belong (Pentabus) and Myth (Royal Shakespeare Company).

Lisa Spirling returns with Deposit to Hampstead Downstairs following Ken, Pine, Fault Lines and I Know How I Feel About Eve. Lisa is the Artistic Director of Theatre503. Other credits include Donkeys’ Years, Here (Rose Theatre, Kingston) and Jumpy (Theatr Clwyd).

A Hampstead Downstairs Original Alligators By Andrew Keatley Directed by Simon Evans 22 June – 22 July Press Night Wed 28 June 7pm
‘Are there things that you’ve done that you’re ashamed of? Things that – if they came out – would break your life in half?’
Daniel Turner has it all. A devoted wife, two beautiful children and a teaching job he loves. But when a series of allegations surface from six years earlier his world begins to crumble around him.
Can all the good he’s done be erased by one pointed finger? How can his loved ones doubt his innocence and can life ever be the same again?

Andrew Keatley’s burning new thriller asks how well we actually know those closest to us and explores how shameful secrets, that we thought long buried, can come back to bite us… Keatley returns to Hampstead with a new version of Alligators following a sold out run Downstairs last year. Keatley’s theatre credits include The Gathered Leaves (Park Theatre) and Colourings (Old Red Lion).

Simon Evans’ previous credits include the critically acclaimed Bug and The Dazzle (both Found111) and the forthcoming The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (Donmar), starring Lenny Henry.

Mark Cartwright presents A Hampstead Downstairs Original Kiss Me By Richard Bean Directed by Anna Ledwich 6 June – 8 July Press Night Fri 9 June 7pm

‘I’m thirty-two and I want a baby. There are no men.’

A desperate woman. A chivalrous man. And a forbidden kiss that changes everything.

Richard Bean’s new play is a beautiful and unorthodox love story about two people struggling to escape the guilt and ghosts of the past, set against the shifting world of London post- World War I.

Following a sold out run at Hampstead Theatre Downstairs, Kiss Me opens at the Trafalgar Studios. His other plays include One Man, Two Guvnors, Great Britain, Made in Dagenham and the sell-out hit The Nap, which starred Jack O’Connell.

Director Anna Ledwich will be returning to the Trafalgar Studios following her Olivier-award nominated Hampstead Downstairs production of Four Minutes Twelve Seconds.

Casting for the productions will be announced in due course.

Gate Theatre announces full casting for world première of Kalungi Ssebandeke’s Assata Taught Me

Gate Theatre, Notting Hill today announces the full cast for its world première production of Assata Taught Me, the debut play by Kalungi Ssebandeke which tells the story of an imagined friendship between Assata Shakur, former Black Panther and the FBI’s most wanted woman, and her pupil in Cuba.  Associate Director of the Gate Lynette Linton directs Adjoa Andoh as Assata and Kenneth Omole as Fanuco in the production which opens on 8 May, with previews from 4 May, running until 27 May.

Fanuco’s taking English lessons from the only American he knows. The thing is, she’s the FBI’s most wanted woman and he’s a Cuban teenager desperate to live the American Dream.

When will he realise his mentor is a former Black Panther, a convicted felon and the bounty on her head has just been upped to two million dollars?

The world première of Ssebandeke’s gripping and tense play explores black struggle across generations and genders.

This is Kalungi Ssebandeke’s first full length play.  He has previously appeared as an actor at the Gate in Image of an Unknown Young Woman. His short plays include View of Her Own Beauty, My Darling Wife, The Star and Raceless. 

Andoh Adjoa

Andoh Adjoa © Matt Writtle

Adjoa Andoh plays Assata.  Her recent theatre work includes Soul (Royal & Derngate, Northampton and Hackney Empire), Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Donmar Warehouse), A Wolf in Snakeskin Shoes (Tricycle Theatre), Great Expectations (Bristol Old Vic),Julius Caesar (RSC), Or You Could Kiss Me, The Revenger’s Tragedy, His Dark Materials and Stuff Happens (National Theatre), Joe Turner’s Come and Gone and In The Red and Brown Water (Young Vic), Sugar Mummies, Breath Boom (Royal Court Theatre) and Pericles and Nights at the Circus (Lyric Hammersmith/Kneehigh).  For television, she has appeared as a series regular in M.I. High, Missing, Doctor Who, Casualty and Chasing Shadows and her other recent television credits include Liar, Acceptable Risk, Line of Duty, River, Cucumber and The Life of Rock with Brian Pern; and for recent film, Brotherhood,Remainder, Invictus and Adulthood and Julius Caesar.  She has also worked extensively on the radio and is the reader of the award-winning No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency Audiobook series.

Kenneth Omole

Kenneth Omole

Kenneth Omole plays Fanuco.  He recently graduated from Rose Bruford College and this marks his professional stage debut.

Lynette Linton is a director and playwright. She is the current Associate Director of the Gate Theatre and co-founder of production company Black Apron Entertainment. Her directing credits include Indenture (Dark Horse Festival), Naked (Vault Festival 2015), Pornado (Theatre Royal Stratford East), This Wide Night (Albany Theatre), a scratch performance of Sweet Like Chocolate, Boy (Rich Mix), and she was co-director on Chicken Palace (which she also wrote, Theatre Royal Stratford East).  As an Assistant Director her work for the Gate includes Image of An Unknown Young Woman and The Christians and she also worked on Torn at the Royal Court Theatre.  Her writing credits include Step, Service (Boom Festival, Bush Theatre), Ergo Sum(Theatre Delicatessen) and #Hashtag Lightie (Arcola Theatre).

 Gate Theatre                                                                                                                                             Listings

Above The Prince Albert Pub, 11 Pembridge Road, London, W11 3HQ

Twitter: @gatetheatre

Box Office: 020 7229 0706

Performance times:

MondaySaturday at 7.30pm

Saturday matinees at 3pm

Previews and matinees: £10

Full price: £20
Concessions: £15
Under 26’s on selected Young Peoples Night: £7.50

Young Peoples Night: 19 May

Captioned performance (followed by post-show Gate Debate): 25 May

In person booking and ticket collection is only available on the day of performance from one hour before the performance begins.

The Gate is supported by:

15 Years of Jerwood Young Designers at the Gate

This year, we celebrate 15 years of Jerwood Charitable Foundation supporting the training of young designers at the Gate Theatre providing essential on-the-job training of theatrical designers at the start of their career.  This partnership is an essential part of the Gate’s ‘teaching theatre’ mission, acting as the crucial bridge into professional theatre-making for young artists, giving them time, resources and expertise to test, improve, and ultimately showcase their work.

In 2014 the Programme was extended to not only support four breakthrough Designers a year at the Gate, but also four Design Assistants right at the very start of their careers.

By the end of the 2016/17 programme, the Jerwood Young Designers Programme will have supported 84 placements over the course of 15 years.

Jerwood Young Designer alumni include Soutra Gilmour, Jon Bausor, Tom Scutt, Chloe Lamford, Oliver Townsend and Fly Davis.