Cast announced and image released for The Trick by Eve Leigh, directed by Roy Alexander Weise at the Bush Theatre

Lachele Carl

Loose Tongue, HighTide and the Bush Theatre have today announced the full cast for The Trick which opens at the Bush Theatre on 19 February prior to national tour will be Lachele CarlDavid VerreyAni Nelson and Sharlene Whyte. A new image of Lachele Carl is also released.

Following its run at the Bush Theatre, The Trick will tour to The North Wall, Oxford (26 & 27 March), Salisbury Playhouse (28 – 30 March), Marina Theatre, Lowestoft (1 April), Aldeburgh Jubilee Hall (2 April), Watford Palace Theatre (5 & 6 April), Birmingham REP (8 & 9 April), Square Chapel, Halifax (11 April) and York Theatre Royal (12 & 13 April).

‘Of course you take me away from the world, and who cares…. you’re the best reason I know to wake up.’

Mira’s husband, Jonah, died seven months ago, but that doesn’t mean that either of them are ready to let him go.

David Verrey

For most of her life Jonah has been Mira’s reason to get out of bed in the morning. So when he does his final disappearing act, Mira can’t quite believe her eyes. She knows she should be moving on. And yet, Mira finds

herself caring less and less about the world outside.

The Trick is a magic show about the parts of life we don’t talk about – the realities of getting older and coming to terms with loss. Ghosts, goldfish, mediums, and sleight-of-hand collide in this unpredictable exploration of ageing and grief by Eve Leigh (Stone FaceSilent Planet). This world premiere will be directed by award-winning Roy Alexander Weise (The MountaintopNine Night).

Sharlene Whyte by John Clark

Eve Leigh is a playwright and theatre-maker. She was the recipient of the 2017 Royal Court commission for the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama; with her play,Spooky Action at a Distance, produced by the Royal Court, RWCMD, and Gate Theatre. She was the first artist-in-residence at the Experimental Stage of the National Theatre of Greece. Her plays Silent Planet and Stone Face were produced by the Finborough Theatre and published by Oberon Books. Stone Face was shortlisted for three Offies, including Best New Play. Other plays include The Curtain (Young Vic Taking Part), Plunder (Young Vic Taking Part), Red Sky at Night (Bush Theatre), Rapture (Soho Theatre), Enough (Birmingham REP Young Rep). Eve was dramaturg on How to Win Against History (Young Vic). Upcoming commissions include work for the Bush Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Place/DanceEast, 36 МАЙМУНИ (Sofia), and DOCK11 (Berlin).

Ani Nelson

Ani Nelson

Director Roy Alexander Weise is the 19th annual winner of the James Menzies-Kitchin Award and directed his critically-acclaimed, sell-out production of The Mountaintopby Katori Hall at the Young Vic. He was shortlisted for the Evening Standard Emerging Talent Award 2018.  Theatre credits include: Nine Night (National Theatre, and currently running at the Trafalgar Studios), Br’er Cotton (Theatre 503), Heretic Voices (Arcola Theatre); Jekyll and Hyde (National Youth Theatre); Dead Don’t Floss (National Theatre); The Ugly One (Park Theatre, Buckland Theatre Company); The Dark (Fuel & Ovalhouse); Zero For The Young Dudes (Young & Talented in association with NT Connections); The Mountaintop (Young Vic); Primetime (Royal Court, Jerwood Theatre); and Stone Face (Finborough Theatre). Assistant Director credits include: Hangmen(Royal Court and West End); XEscaped AloneYou For Me For YouPrimetime 2015Violence and SonWho CaresLiberian Girl (Royal Court); AlbionWe Are Proud To Present… (Bush Theatre) and The Serpent’s Tooth (Talawa/Almeida Theatre). For Television, Roy was Trainee Director on Invisible (Red Room/Ballet Boys/Channel 4). Roy has previously worked at the Royal Court as the Trainee Director, at the Bush Theatre and Lyric Hammersmith as the BBC Theatre Fellow and at The Red Room as Associate Artist. Roy is now Associate Director at the Harts Theatre Company and Lead Acting Tutor at Young & Talented School of Stage & Screen.

Lachele Carl was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and graduated with a degree in Theatre from Point Park College. She lives and works in the UK.  Lachele’s theatre credits include: A Streetcar named Desire at the Young Vic; Gods and Monsters at the Southwark Playhouse; Theatre Festival at Theatre 503; ObamAmerica; AlbansGardens, The Notebook of Trigorin, and with, The Chronic Love Dispensary; Life Mater and Penetration.  Lachele appeared in the series of Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Mysteries as the character Trinity Wells. Other television and film credits include: The Ambassadors, and the series The Honourable WomanModus 2Holby CityDeep State and most recently, Into The Badlands. Film credits include: DenialShowdogs.

Ani Nelson trained at the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts (ALRA).  Her theatre performances include Abigail’s Party (Hull Truck Theatre); A Cratchit Christmas (Theatre 503); Underwater Love (Futures Theatre); The Revenger’s Tragedy (Rose Theatre Bankside); Game (Courtyard Theatre). On television she appeared in Roadkill (Channel 4) and on film, in Crooked House (Brilliant Films).

David Verrey has appeared on stage in Losing Venice (Orange Tree); Platonov, Ivanov (Chichester Festival Theatre and National Theatre); One Man Two GuvnorsThe Recruiting OfficerThe Madness of George III,  The Coast of UtopiaEngland People Very Nice (National Theatre); Mirror Teeth (Finborough); The Years Between(Northampton); The Charming Man (Theatre503); Romeo and JulietA Midsummer Night’s Dream (ESC); Laughter on the 23rd FloorDrums in the NightFilumena(Manchester Library); Dead, Falstaff!Dawn Made MythThe 1985 ShowShrivings (Edinburgh Festival); Accidental Death of an Anarchist (Contact); The Comedy of Errors(RSC); The Tempest (Rose); The White Devil (Pentameters); The Merchant of VeniceFiddler on the RoofAnd Then There Were None (Wolsey, Ipswich); Measure for MeasureMacbeth (Theatre Unlimited); Lock Up Your Daughters (Belgrade, Coventry); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (New End).

Television includes The Long SongDoctorsHolby CityThe GameDoctor WhoRipper StreetGarrow’s LawLittle DorritGame of ThronesJudge John DeedCasanova,The Art of the Garden, Red DwarfBirds of a FeatherLaw and Order UKFuture Tense:The Story Of H.G. WellsPoirotThe FearDiamond Geezer II, Ultimate ForceFamily AffairsPaul Merton:The SeriesThe BillLondon’s BurningKavanagh QCPieces of a Silver LiningMasterworksDream TeamKnightmareLexxSupply and DemandThe Musketeers.

Films include The Secret Garden, The Terrible Tale of Henrietta Tate, Bridget Jones: Edge of ReasonAttack on LeningradSixty-SixMagwitchSecret Weapon.

Sharlene Whyte trained at RADA.  Her theatre appearances include Matilda the Musical (Cambridge Theatre); As Good a Time As Any (Print Room); Wildefire (Hampstead Theatre); Nut (National Theatre); Treasure Island (Theatre Royal, Haymarket); Julius Caesar (Lyric Hammersmith); Born Bad (Hampstead); The Three Birds (Gate); Arabian Nights (Young Vic/ tour).  Television includes Home Alone 2, Casualty, CriticalJonathan Creek: The Case of the Savants Thumb, Bev in Sadie JTruckersRunMightier Than the SwordSpooksThe UndisclosedCoronation StreetDoctors, Adanna Lawal in Waterloo RoadSilent Witness, Jenny Edwards in The Story of Tracy Beaker, Tinsel Town,My HeroBurnsideAs IfOther Peoples Children.  Sharlene’s film appearances include Second ComingVideoSecond Nature, High Heels and Low Lifes.

Designer Jemima Robinson was awarded the Max Rayne Design Bursary at the National Theatre which she completed in March 2018.  Jemima is a winner of the biennial Linbury Prize for Stage Design and has been nominated for Best Set Design at the Offie awards for Br’er Cotton at Theatre 503 and for Thebes Land at the Arcola Theatre.  She is a former resident artist at Kenya’s Kuona Arts Trust in Nairobi and resident designer for Istanbul’s Talimhane Theatre.

Her recent UK Design credits include: Hansel and Gretel (Opera for Hidden Woods, Iford Arts), Br’er Cotton (Theatre 503, Nominated for Best Set Design for the Offie Awards), The Majority (Dorfman, National Theatre), New NigeriansThebes Land (Nominated for Best Set Design and Winner of Best Production in the Offie Awards), Maria de Buenos Aires (Arcola); Parallel Yerma (Young Vic); License to IllThis Will End BadlyLittle Malcolm and his struggle against the Eunuchs(Southwark Playhouse); Biedermann and the ArsonistsSynergies: NEBT (Sadlers Wells); Mapping Brent (Tricycle Theatre), DylSparks (Old Red Lion); Hearing Things (Albany), The Dark Room (Theatre 503), The Tempest (Watermill Theatre), I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (Zorlu Centre, Istanbul).  Jemima has also designed events, merchandise and foyers for the National Theatre, King’s Cross Theatre and Waldorf Hotel.   She has run workshops and worked on community projects for The Young Vic, Kiln Theatre (The Tricycle), Iford Arts and the National Theatre.

Jemima currently lives and works in London.  When she is not designing, she enjoys illustrating, painting and travelling…  and dinosaurs.

Lighting Designer Amy Mae works across Theatre, Dance, Site Specific and Devised performance. She designed the lighting for the acclaimed ‘Pie Shop’ version of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street which is currently playing at the Barrow Street Theatre in New York.  She won the Knight of Illumination Award in 2016 for the London production, and her designs for the New York production have been nominated for the 2017 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lighting Design and the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Lighting.  Upcoming credits include Wild East (Genesis Directors Award).

Recent Credits include: Hansel and Gretel (Rose Theatre, Kingston); The Fishermen (Edinburgh Fringe, UK Tour); Three Sat Under The Banyan (Polka Theatre); About Leo (Jermyn Street); Mountains: The Dreams of Lily Kwok (Royal Exchange) and Exploding Circus (Pavilion Theatre, Worthing); Br’er Cotton (Theatre 503); OthelloJekyll and Hyde and The Host (NYT Rep Season 2017); Half Breed (Talawa – Soho Theatre & Assembly Rooms); Start Swimming (Young Vic/Summerhall Edinburgh); The Ugly One (Park Theatre); Babette’s Feast (The Print Room); The Lounge (Soho Theatre); Wordsworth (Theatre By The Lake); Paradise of the Assassins (Tara Theatre); Knife Edge (Pond Restaurant, Dalston); Minaturists 55 (Arcola Theatre); Prize Fights (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art); Orphans (Southwark Playhouse); Macbeth (Italia Conti);I’m Not Here Right Now  (Paines Plough’s Roundabout and Soho Theatre); Liola  (New Diorama Theatre); Children in the Uniform, Punk Rock (Tristan Bates Theatre); Sweeney Todd (Harringtons Pie and Mash Shop and West End); The Three Sisters (Cockpit Theatre); Cat Couture (Music Video); In Bed  (London Theatre Workshop); Henry V (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art); PoolThe Gut Girls (Brockley Jack Theatre); The Legacy (The Place).

Programming Credits Include: Jeux (Royal Opera House); Tannhauser (Longborough Festival Opera); Robin Hood (Stratford East Theatre Royal); Lela & Co (The Royal Court); Dirty Butterfly (The Young Vic) and Red Forest (The Young Vic).

She was one of the invited speakers at the 2017 Showlight Conference in Florence.

Amy trained at RADA on the postgraduate Stage Electrics and Lighting Design course and has a degree in Stage Management and Performing Arts from the University of Winchester.

Sound Designer Odinn Orn Hilmarsson is an Icelandic composer and sound designer based in London. Using a mixture of traditional instruments and experimental digital processing, he creates textured and unique sounds and compositions.   Recently Odinn has contributed to the immersive show Reflected (The Milo Wladek Co.); theEastenders podcast (BBC Sounds); The Zoe Ball Book Club (ITV and Cactus TV).

Previously he and Roy Alexander Weise worked together on the National Youth Theatre’s production of Jekyll & Hyde in 2017 and together with Eve Leigh on Stone Face in 2016.

Loose Tongue is a production company that finds, commissions, premieres, and showcases exceptional new writing. The company’s first production was immersive audio installation Hotel Europe, created by Isley Lynn, David Ralf and Philipp Ehmann. This was followed by the premiere of Sea Fret by Tallulah Brown, at Old Red Lion Theatre, before a performance at HighTide Festival 2017 in the play’s spiritual home of Aldeburgh. Producer David Ralf is Executive Director of The Bunker Theatre. Other productions include Devil With the Blue Dress (The Bunker), Brimstone and Treacle, The Wild Party, Steel Magnolias (The Hope Theatre). Producer Matt Maltby founded Pint-Sized. He co-created Earlsfield Stories for Tara Theatre with Jatinder Verma MBE, co-produced Fabric by Abi Zakarian at Soho Theatre and is New Work Co-Ordinator at The Bunker Theatre.

HighTide is a theatre company and charity based in East Anglia that has an unparalleled eleven-year history of successfully launching the careers of emerging British playwrights.  Through their annual festivals and national touring, HighTide have discovered, provided creative development to and/or staged new plays by Luke Barnes, Adam Brace, E V Crowe, Elinor Cook, Rob Drummond, Thomas Eccleshare, Theresa Ikoko, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Anders Lustgarten, Joel Horwood, Ella Hickson, Harry Melling, Nessah Muthy, Vinay Patel, Nick Payne, Phil Porter, Beth Steel, Al Smith, Sam Steiner, Molly Taylor, Jack Thorne and Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig.

HighTide have staged productions with the highest quality theatres across the UK, from the Traverse in Edinburgh, to the Royal Exchange in Manchester, Theatre Royal Bath and the National Theatre in London. Recent productions and co-productions include: Heroine (HighTide/Theatr Clwyd), Kanye The First (HighTide/Paul Jellis/Marlowe Theatre), Girls (HighTide/Talawa/Soho Theatre), Harrogate (HighTide/house/Royal Court) & In Fidelity (HighTide/Traverse Theatre).

Bush Theatre booking details

19 February – 23 March at 7.45pm

Wednesday matinees on 27 Feb, 6, 13, & 20 Mar at 2.45pm

Saturday matinees on 2, 9, 16 & 23 Mar at 2.45pm

Captioned Performance – Wed 20 Mar at 7.45pm

Audio Described Performance – Sat 16 Mar at 2.45pm

There will be a post-show Q&A with cast and creatives following the evening performance on 6 March.  Free to ticket holders on the night.

Ticket prices

From £10 (Studio)

Concessions: Bush Locals, Senior Citizens, Disabled and Unemployed patrons, and Bush Connect (Students and U26) members will be eligible for concession prices.


Phone                   020 8743 5050

In person             Bush Theatre, 7 Uxbridge Road, W12 8LJ



HighTide announces Suba Das as new Artistic Director



The trustees of HighTide have announced today that they have appointed Suba Das, currently Associate Director of the Curve, Leicester, as the next artistic director of HighTide.

Based in East Anglia, HighTide works across the UK to find, nurture and showcase the country’s best new playwrights and plays.

Suba leads Curve’s Artist Development programmes, overseeing the commissioning and development of new work by artists from across the region. Curve’s Inside Out Festival, established by Das in 2014, has seen over 20 world premieres reaching over 30,000 attenders and touring work to 100 cities and towns worldwide. Born and brought up in the North East, Suba is a trustee of the North Music Trust, which operates Sage Gateshead.

After reading English at Cambridge, he began his career as Resident Assistant Director at Theatre Royal Stratford East, with productions including a site-specific production ofMedea using his own translation, with choreography by Kenrick Sandy of the Olivier Award-winning street dance company Boy Blue Entertainment. In 2008, he became Resident Director at the National Theatre Studio and English Touring Theatre under Purni Morrell and Steve Unwin. In 2010, he co-founded Custom/Practice, staging Off West End Award-nominated site-specific productions across London of Othello, The Winter’s Tale and The Revenger’s Tragedy in collaboration with the Old Vic Tunnels and Hoxton Hall. In 2012, he was appointed Associate Director at Curve.

Directing credits at Curve include the world premieres of Wipers by Ishy Din and Pink Sari Revolution by Purva Nareshand new productions of Abigail’s Party and The Cat In The Hat with Rose Theatre Kingston and the National Centre for Circus Arts.

In 2017, Das made his opera debut directing the world premiere of Sukanya for the Royal Opera in co-production with Curve and the London Philharmonic, receiving a WhatsOnStage Award nomination for Breakthrough Artist in UK Opera.

Das has also directed for venues including Northern Stage, Nottingham Playhouse, the Young Vic and the Roundhouse, and taught and lectured at Cambridge and East 15, Mountview and Oxford drama schools.

Tim Clark, Chair of the HighTide Board said:

All of us at HighTide are delighted that Suba has agreed to be our next Artistic Director.

We set out to find an outstanding and talented individual who would lead HighTide with passion, imagination, integrity and with a commitment to its mission, objectives and values. Suba’s approach to theatre and his tremendous achievements, particularly in the area of new writing, show that he completely meets this objective. He will be an inspiring leader, building on the huge successes achieved by Steven Atkinson at HighTide, and will continue to enhance the place that HighTide has earned in developing UK theatre over the last 12 years. With huge thanks to Steven for all his achievements, we now look forward to working with Suba to embrace our exciting future continuing to bring new work to diverse audiences in areas of low cultural engagement.

Suba Das said: What a privilege to take on the HighTide mantle. Over the past twelve years, HighTide has created the most stunning theatre and festival experiences across the UK. I’m grateful to Steven, the Board and team, and extraordinary supporters including Lansons, the Backstage Trust and Arts Council England for creating the conditions in which our country’s very best writers have been able to emerge, dream and astonish.

I’m also thankful to the audiences of East Anglia and Suffolk, who have shown such appetite and excitement for bold new work by diverse voices, supporting so many artists to thrive. With a new festival now planned for Lowestoft, I look forward to deepening our commitment to the East as our home first and foremost. A place where we sit at the edge of the country, looking back at the whole of a shifting UK; and out at a changing Europe. I can’t wait to meet the writers and makers of the East especially and see how we might together tell the region’s stories with pride for each other and for communities all over the world. As HighTide becomes a teenager, we’ll be even more rebellious, passionate, and playful. It’s going to be an adventure!

Suba replaces Steven Atkinson, who co-founded HighTide and has been Artistic Director of the organisation for the last 12 years.

Hightide’s 2018 Festival programme revealed, as Steven Atkinson prepares to stand-down as Artistic Director

Steven Atkinson
Steven Atkinson

Steven Atkinson

  • Hightide will be in Edinburgh with World Premieres from 1-27 August, Aldeburgh from 11-16 September and will return to Walthamstow for the second year from 18-30 September.
  • Programme includes new plays by Tallulah Brown, Jessica Butcher and Danusia  Samal.
  • Hightide’s  founding Artistic Director Steven Atkinson to stand down in 2019

Steven Atkinson, Artistic Director of HighTide, has today released the full line up for the 2018 HighTide Festivals in Aldeburgh and Walthamstow. At the same time he has announced his intention to move on from HighTide in 2019 after twelve years of successful leadership.

Tim Clark, HighTide’s chairman, said: ‘Steven’s contribution to HighTide, and to theatre in the UK more generally, has been immense. Starting with Adam Brace’s Stovepipe, which was listed in the Sunday Times Ten Best Theatre Productions of the Decade, his eleven years of leadership have been filled with many successes. These include Ella Hickson’s Boys, Nick Payne’s Incognito, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins Neighbors and Al Smith’s Harrogate. He also led new festivals in Aldeburgh and Walthamstow, and secured a decade of Arts Council England National Portfolio funding. We now embark on finding a successor to Steven who will continue to bring passion, flair, integrity and commitment to the role of Artistic Director.’

Steven Atkinson said: ‘Creating and leading HighTide has been such a brilliant start to my career. I’ve decided that in 2019, after twelve years as Artistic Director and CEO, it’s the right time to take up new opportunities in theatre producing. I’m proud of HighTide’s contribution to Waltham Forest’s winning bid as the first London Borough of Culture in 2019 and my programming will conclude with HighTide Festival Walthamstow in September 2019.’

HighTide Expands to Three Festivals

For the first time, the company will present a season of five world premiere productions at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, before transferring them to its Aldeburgh and Walthamstow Festivals, as part of a brand-new mentoring scheme for new playwrights and producers. The launch of the programme marks the company’s continued commitment to creating a bridge that supports new theatre makers starting out on the fringe building on the festival’s proven ability in providing a platform for launching careers in the UK’s leading theatres.

HighTide’s centrepiece production, co-produced with their associate company DugOut Theatre, is a song-laced coming of age tale by Aldeburgh-based writer Tallulah Brown called Songlines. Set in Reydon, Suffolk, it features live folk music from the award-winning band TRILLS. HighTide’s associate productions, selected through an open script submission process, are: SparksJessica Butcher’s two-hander musical about the brain’s response to grief with original music by Anoushka LucasDanusia Samal’s gig-theatre piece Busking It, drawing on a decade of busking on the tube; The Extinction Event from David Aula and Simon Evans –  an examination of what happens when science starts thinking for itself; and finally, Harry Blake’s fierce, fabulous new comedy musical about Norse gods Thor and Loki.

HighTide Aldeburgh

2018 marks the fourth annual HighTide Festival in the coastal town of Aldeburgh, Suffolk, following eight highly successful HighTide Festivals in neighbouring town, Halesworth. Notable new plays and writers premiered in the Aldeburgh HighTide Festival include Al Smith’s Harrogate, which transferred to the Royal Court Theatre and was nominated for the Evening Standard’s Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright, and Girls by rising star Theresa Ikoko, who is currently under commission to HighTide.

Alongside the five headline shows, HighTide in Aldeburgh, running from 1116 September, will feature:

East Anglian poet Luke Wright with work in progress Poet Laureate, Jon Brittain’s acclaimed cabaret musical about depression A Super Happy Story (about Feeling Super Sad), Gail Ludlow and Jeffrey Holland’s …And This is My Friend Mr Laurel, a tribute to one of Hollywood’s greatest film comedians, Isley Lynn’s sexual odyssey Skin A Cat, Woke by Apphia Campbell and Meredith Yarbrough – a new story on 20th-century African-American experience – and Soul Sessions with Apphia Campbell direct from sell-out performances across the world. Comedy includes Flo & Joan: Alive on Stage, and Adam Kay – This is Going to Hurt (Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor). For families there’s Mrs H Sings, the unique singalong band, and One Duck Down – a big adventure about 7000 rubber ducks. Wonderful Beast will present a sharing of The Last Woodwose staring Diana Quick, and Solar Productions present Amy Gwillams’ The Profit. Performances take place across the Aldeburgh Jubilee Hall, Pumphouse, Aldeburgh Cinema, Aldeburgh Beach Lookout and for the first time ever this year late night events will take place in Ye Olde Cross Keys.  The Festival will be partnering with The Aldeburgh Bookshop for literary ‘In Conversations’ with Kate Mosse and Patrick Gale.

Festival Returns to Walthamstow

HighTide have also announced the full line-up for their second year in Walthamstow, following the news of Waltham Forest becoming the Mayor of London’s first London Borough of Culture in 2019, meaning the area will receive £1.35m in funding across the year. The festival, running 18-30 September, will once again be primarily based in the Festival Hub, situated in Walthamstow Town Square Gardens. The Festival Hub is free to enter and features an outdoor stage with nightly music gigs, along with local food and drink vendors. The Festival will include eleven family shows including local company Baby Panda presenting Five Little Monkeys, an outdoor interactive adventure in a bespokely made greenhouse – The Little Gardener, kids comedy, The Storm Whale with Walthamstow based author Benji Davies, original songs in Hey Diddle Diddle!, E17 Puppet Project’s The Vote, and How to Hide a Lion, adapted from the popular children’s book by Helen Stephens. Visiting companies include HighRise Theatre with Lil.Miss.Lady, exploring the history of Grime, and Waltham Forest company Stand and Be Counted presenting Where We Began, featuring an international cast exploring notions of home and a reading of Ali and Dahlia by Tariq Jordan presented by Pleasance Theatre, alongside several more first commissions and readings. The comedy programme will feature Tim Key’s Megadate, a work in progress from Sofie Hagen, and The Horne Section. There will also be gigs from Arthur Darvill and Inès De Clercq,  Songlines band TRILLS, and Soul in the Van will present intimate gigs in the back of a van in the Festival Hub. HighTide will also present a showcase of some of the hottest young talent from Waltham Forest in a night of variety performance.

On the return of the Festival, Councillor Clare Coghill, Leader, Waltham Forest Council said: “Returning with their beautiful pop-up venue in Walthamstow Town Centre, HighTide Festival will once again bring high quality and accessible theatre and live performance to our public spaces and local venues. Building on the successes of the 2017 Festival, this year’s HighTide is providing an even greater platform for our local artists to create work in their own community. There is a real buzz about culture in our borough as we step up to be the first ever London Borough of Culture in 2019. We are proud to support projects such as HighTide, which continue to build our reputation as a cultural destination, and which ensure arts and culture is accessible to all our residents here on our doorstep.”

New Artistic Director

HighTide has established itself as the first new major British theatre company of this Century and has been instrumental in launching the careers of many major playwrights, including Ella Hickson, Nick Payne and Vinay Patel. The HighTide Festival is the Sundance of theatre, allowing new artists to experiment and become known to audiences and the theatre world. HighTide productions have played in theatres across the UK, including the National Theatre, Royal Court, Young Vic and Traverse Theatres, introducing new writers and challenging plays to audiences. The trustees of HighTide are now looking for a successor for Steven Atkinson, who can develop HighTide’s mission, vision and values and further its role in British Theatre. The application process for the next Artistic Director is opening now, with a view to the appointment being announced before the end of the year.


Hightide in Edinburgh, Aldeburgh And Walthamstow

High Tide
High Tide

High Tide

  • Hightide to present five brand-new productions at Edinburgh Fringe 2018 before transferring them to its festivals in Aldeburgh and Walthamstow
  • The premieres mark the launch of Hightide: Edinburgh, a new annual mentoring scheme which financially and creatively  supports new writers and producers bridge the fringe and a professional career
  • Hightide will be in Edinburgh from 1-27 august, Aldeburgh from 11-16 September and will return to Walthamstow for the second year from 18-30 september.

Steven Atkinson, Co-Founder and Artistic Director of HighTide, has today announced that the company will present five world premiere productions at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe, before transferring them to its Aldeburgh and Walthamstow Festivals, as part of a brand-new mentoring scheme for new playwrights and producers. The launch of the programme marks the company’s commitment to creating a bridge that supports new theatre makers starting out on the fringe and is indicative of festival’s proven ability in providing a platform for launching professional careers with the UK’s leading theatres.

Steven Atkinson said: ‘The fringe remains the key development ground for new writers and producers, so HighTide helping these artists to make the most of it artistically and as a launch pad is an exciting new element of HighTide’ s unique work in championing new talent. In then presenting the plays at our Aldeburgh and Walthamstow festivals, HighTide can both further support the artists in their career development and also ensure a wide range of audiences see the work.’

Over more than a decade HighTide has built a reputation for commissioning and producing the country’s best new playwrights at its festival in Aldeburgh, and in theatres across the UK. Last year the company launched the Festival in London’s Walthamstow, recognising both the opportunity for new plays to be seen by as wide an audience as possible, and the lack of performance venues in the borough. The ten-day event welcomed over 6,000 new audiences and following this year will return in 2019 as part of Waltham Forest’s London Borough of Culture programme.

HighTide’s centrepiece production, co-produced with their associate company DugOut Theatre, is a song-laced coming of age tale by Aldeburgh-based writer Tallulah Brown called Songlines, and features live folk music from the award-winning band TRILLS. HighTide’s associate productions selected through an open script submission process are: SparksJessica Butcher’s two-hander musical about the brain’s response to grief; Danusia Samal’s gig-theatre piece Busking It, drawing on a decade of busking on the tube;The Extinction Event from David Aula and Simon Evans an examination of what happens when science starts thinking for itself; and finally, Harry Blake’s fierce, fabulous new comedy musical about Norse gods Thor and Loki.

In a new partnership for HighTide, four productions will be presented by the Pleasance. The partnership is part of a wider commitment by both organisations to increase support to new writing across the Fringe and wider Festival circuits. Songlines, Sparks, Busking It and The Extinction Event will run at Pleasance throughout August. Thor and Loki will run at Assembly.

Songlines by Tallulah Brown, directed by George Chilcott, will be presented by HighTide and DugOut Theatre. Interwoven with live folk songs from award winning band TRILLS, Songlines follows Stevie and Stan, in a coming-of-age love story in all its awkward teen glory. Tallullah is part of the Channel 4 Screenwriting Scheme and recent theatre includes: Seafret, After the Heat We Battle for the Heart andStaring at You. Songlines is Tallulah’s first commissioned full length play. George is Artistic Director and Founder of DugOut Theatre, and formerly an Associate Director at HighTide.

Sparks by Jessica Butcher, directed by Jessica Edwards, will be presented by Michelle Barnette Productions and Flipping the Bird with HighTide. Sparks is a two-hander musical about the brain’s response to grief. This will be Jessica’s debut play. Jessica recently directed Denim World Tour and has been associate to Jamie Lloyd on The Maids and Doctor Faustus.

Busking It by Danusia Samal, directed by Guy Jones, will be presented in association with HighTide and Shoreditch Town Hall. Drawing on a Danusia’s decade busking on the tube, this piece of gig-theatre gives voices to passers-by, blending chance encounters with live music. Danusia is has performed at theatres including the Royal Court, RSC, The Globe, Soho Theatre and Manchester Exchange. She is a Resident Playwright with Tamasha. Guy’s directing credits include Mayfly (Orange Tree) and Spokesong (Finborough). He is Literary Associate of the Orange Tree and has been an Associate Artist of Company Three.

The Extinction Event written and directed by David Aula and Simon Evans will be presented by SEDA and Glynis Henderson Productions in association with HighTide. After 60 minutes, mankind will vanish. Hypnotist magicians David Aula and Simon Evans present an examination of what happens when science starts thinking for itself. Not the story of a magic trick. The story of real magic.David’s previous work includes The Cement Garden which headlined VAULT, Personal Enemy – 59E59 NYC and Meat.  Simon’s work includes The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui at the Donmar Warehouse and Bug and The Dazzle both at Found 111. The pair most recently collaborated on The Vanishing Man.

Thor and Loki by Harry Blake, directed by Eleanor Rhode, and created with award-winning cabaret duo House of Blakewellwill be presented by Vicky Graham Productions in association with HighTide and Something For The Weekend. Thor and Loki is a fierce, fabulous new comedy musical rooted in Norse mythology. War rages and the apocalypse approaches, but an unlikely friendship emerges as audiences follow Thor and Loki’s quest to change the world. Harry is an award-winning composer, lyricist and sound designer. He was Resident Composer at West Yorkshire Playhouse in 2017 and was the first composer appointed to the OLD VIC 12. Eleanor is an Associate Artist for HighTide, recent work includes: Teddy (currently at the Vaults) and Boudica at Shakespeare’s Globe.

Full details for HighTide’s 2018 festival programmes in Aldeburgh and Walthamstow will be announced in June.


HighTide and DugOut Theatre present
Songlines by Tallulah Brown
Pleasance Courtyard, Beneath
Wed 1 – Sun 26 August 15:15 (1h)
Press performance: Sat 4 AugustSunday 5 August

Michelle Barnette Productions and Flipping the Bird in association with HighTide present
Sparks by Jessica Butcher
Pleasance Courtyard, Beneath
Wed 1 – Sun 26 August 11:30 (1h)
Press performance: Sat 4 AugustSunday 5 August

Coin Drop in association with HighTide and Shoreditch Town Hall present
Busking It by Danusia Samal
Pleasance Courtyard, Upstairs
Wed 15 – Mon 27 August 12:45 (1h)
Press performance: TBC

SEDA and Glynis Henderson Productions in association with HighTide present
The Extinction Event by David Aula and Simon Evans
Pleasance Courtyard, Above
Wed 1 – Mon 27 August 15:40 (1h)
Press performance: Sat 4 AugustSunday 5 August

Vicky Graham Productions in association with HighTide and Something For The Weekend present
Thor and Loki by Harry Blake
Assembly Roxy
Wed 1 – Sun 26 August 19:15 (1h15min)
Press performance: Sat 4 AugustSunday 5 August

Telephone: 0131 226 0000
Prices from £6

HighTide Aldeburgh
Tues 11-Sun 16 September

HighTide Walthamstow
Tues 18- Sun 30 September

Hightide announce casting for Heroine & Kanye The First


Heroine Photography by Helen Maybanks and Rebecca Pitt Artwork by Rebecca Pitt

HighTide have today announced casting for Heroine and Kanye The First, their world premiere commissions for 2017. Heroine, co-production with Theatr Clwyd by Nessah Muthy (The Host) will be directed by HighTide’s Artistic Director Steven Atkinson with a cast including: Asmara Gabrielle, Maggie McCarthy, Wendy Morgan, Lucy Thackeray and Hannah Traylen. Asmara Gabrielle, who plays Grace, is a newcomer to a lead stage role. Comic drama Kanye The First by Sam Steiner (Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons) is a co-production with Paul Jellis in association with The Marlowe and The North Wall, directed by HighTide Associate Director Andrew Twyman and the cast will include: Imogen Doel, Caroline Faber, Daniel Francis-Swaby and Keziah Joseph. Imogen Doel will lead the cast and has extensive experience in theatre, having previously performed in a number of West End productions, as well as multiple collaborations with Anthony Neilson.

Muthy’s devastating exploration of patriotism and nativism in modern Britain follows young ex-soldier Grace as she struggles to reassimilate into society following a medical discharge from the army.

Steiner’s first commission, and highly original new play will be the first major stage work around one of the most celebrated artists in popular music history, charting the second coming of global pop icon Kanye West. The play takes a timely look at identity and guilt in contemporary culture.

Alongside these productions Theresa Ikoko’s Girlsjoint winner of the George Devine Award (2016), the Alfred Fagon Award (2015), is set to return with a new cast including: Heather Agyepong, Yvette Boakye and Yasmin Mwanza. Telling the tale of three young friends who are kidnapped in Nigeria, Ikoko wrote Girls to highlight the stories behind the headlines that quickly become yesterday’s news. Girls is a co-production between HighTide, Talawa Theatre Company and Martha Rose Wilson.

Kanye the First Photography by Helen Maybanks and Rebecca Pitt Artwork by Rebecca Pitt

Kanye the First Photography by Helen Maybanks and Rebecca Pitt Artwork by Rebecca Pitt

The Suffolk festival, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2016, is set to continue its winning formula of finding, commissioning and producing the country’s best new playwrights at its home in Aldeburgh in September. This year the company will transfer the productions to East London’s Walthamstow in a brand new temporary theatre space with Waltham Forest Council and in association with The National Theatre. ‘The Mix’ will come to London’s Walthamstow Town Centre for 12 days following the Aldeburgh season, bringing an eclectic arts programme to an area of London which currently has no mid to large scale theatre spaces and where there are consequently relatively low levels of engagement with theatre. The diverse programmes in both locations will include three headline plays and a programme of comedy, cabaret, talks and music. The Festival in Aldeburgh will run 12 – 17 September with a Press Day on 16 September. The Walthamstow Festival will run 26 September – 8 October with Press Nights on 26 & 27 September.

Kanye The First was developed through The Marlowe’s Roar programme.


Imogen Doel most recently appeared in Twelfth Night at the National Theatre. Other theatre credits include The Taming of the Shrew (Shakespeare’s Globe),  A Midsummer Night’s Dream (RSC), Marat/Sade (RSC) The Importance of Being Earnest (Vaudeville Theatre), Serpent’s Tooth (Almeida), In the Vale of Health (Hampstead Theatre),  Narrative (The Royal Court), The Get Out (The Royal Court) and The Seagull (Gaiety Theatre Dublin). Her television credits include Resistance (RTE) and Misfits (E4).

Caroline Faber’s recent stage credits include My Mother Said I Never Should (St James Theatre), The Iliad(Almeida), Luna Gale (Hampstead Theatre) and The Taming of the Shrew (RSC), King Lear (Young Vic), Romeo and Juliet (Headlong) and  Paradise Lost (Headlong). Television credits include EastEnders (BBC), Berlin Station(Paramount), Merlin (BBC), Dis/connected (Shine Productions)A Good Murder (Sally Head Productions).

Daniel Francis-Swaby recently appeared in Twelfth Night at the Royal Exchange. Other recent theatre credits include On Fleek (The Royal Court), Les Blancs (National Theatre) and Milk Milk Lemonade (Ovalhouse).

Asmara Gabrielle’s theatre credits include Pimp Bobby (Leicester Square Theatre). Her film credits include Finding Fatimah (BMTV), My Abuse, and How to Succeed.

Keziah Joseph’s theatre credits include Silver Lining (Rose Theatre Kingston), Wuthering HeightsRomeo and Juliet and Twelfth Night (all Royal Central School of Speech and Drama). Her radio credits include Doctor Who- Cold VengeanceThe Archers, and Watership Down (all BBC Radio 4).

Maggie McCarthy’s theatre credits include Silver Lining (English Touring Theatre and Rose Theatre Kingston), We Wait in Joyful Hope (Theatre 503), Juno and the Paycock (Bristol Old Vic and Liverpool Theatres), Private Lives(Chichester Festival Theatre) and Absence of War (Headlong, Rose Theatre, Kingston & Sheffield Theatres). National Theatre credits include Children of the SunCocktail Sticks and Mother Clap’s Molly House. Recent television credits include Dancing On The Edge (BBC), Call the Midwife (BBC/Neal Street Productions) and Coronation Street (Granada Television). Film credits include Angela’s AshesAttack the BlockThe History BoysCalendar Girls and soon to be released Ghost Stories.

Wendy Morgan’s theatre credits include Animal Farm,  Martine (Olivier and Standard Best Actress Nominations), Yonadab, As I Lay Dying, Bacchai, Streetcar Named Desire, Phedre (National Theatre) Hatched and Dispatched (Park Theatre). Film credits include Yanks (Most Promising Newcomer Award), Birth of The Beatles84 Charing X RoadThe Mirror Crack’d’, Television credits include The Jewel In The Crown (Granada TV), Midsomer Murders (Bentley Productions), Casualty (BBC), Wire in the Blood (ITV) and Emmerdale (ITV).

Lucy Thackeray recently appeared in Alginate at the Bunker Theatre. Other theatre credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare’s Globe), My Beautiful Black Dog (Bush Theatre) and Bike (Salisbury Playhouse). Her television credits include Damned (Channel 4) New Tricks (BBC), The Five (Red Productions for Sky) and Casualty(BBC).

Hannah Traylen graduated from Italia Conti last year and is making her professional stage debut. Her theatre credits whilst at drama school include Coram BoyThe LibertineTime and the Conways, Three Sisters, and Twelfth Night (all Italia Conti), Oliver Twist (Italia Conti, Edinburgh Fringe) and God Bless Ye Merry Gentleman (Grindstone, Tristan Bates Theatre). Her television credits include Howards End (BBC/Starz), Doctors (BBC), Harlots (ITV Encore), Call the Midwife (BBC/Neal Street Productions) and Unforgotten (ITV).

Steven Atkinson is co-founder and the Artistic Director of HighTide. His directing credits for HighTide include In Fidelity (Traverse  Theatre), The Sugar Coated Bullets of the Bourgeoisie (Arcola Theatre) Forget Me Not (Bush Theatre); So Here We Are (Royal Exchange Theatre); Lampedusa (Soho Theatre); peddling (Arcola Theatre/ Off-Broadway); Pussy Riot  (Bush Theatre/ Southbank Centre); Neighbors (Nuffield Theatre); Bottleneck (Soho Theatre/ UK tour); Dusk Rings A Bell (Watford Palace Theatre) and Lidless (Trafalgar Studios). His other productions include Chicken (Paines Plough Roundabout) and The Afghan and the Penquin (Radio 4).

Following the staged reading of Normal in HighTide 2015, Theresa Ikoko, a Talawa Writers’ Programme playwright, debuted Girls at HighTide 2016. Girls won the Alfred Fagon Award, was joint winner of the George Devine Award and was a named finalist for the Verity Bargate Award.

Elayce Ismail was awarded the JP Morgan Award for Emerging Directors 2014/15 and was Resident Director at the National Theatre Studio, where she directed The Rise and Shine of Comrade Fiasco at the Gate Theatre as part of the Freedom Burning season. Her other directing credits include The Sound Of Yellow (Creative Associate, Young Vic Taking Part), Simpatico (‘5 Directors, 5 Plays, 5 Days’ project at the Young Vic), Bed and Breakfast (Brighton Fringe and National Tour).  She worked with Joe Wright as Jerwood Assistant Director on A Season in The Congo at the Young Vic. She was also co-founder and Artistic Director of Offstage Theatre.

Nessah Muthy is a writer for TV and theatre. She has written for Cardboard Citizens, National Youth Theatre and the Royal Court Theatre. Nessah is under commission to the Kali Theatre and the National Youth Theatre. For screen, Nessah has written for Holby City, following successful completion of the show’s shadow scheme and has previously written for EastEnders: E20 and currently developing an original television drama for the BBC Drama Writers’ Programme.

Sam Steiner is a playwright and screenwriter from Manchester, who has just finished an attachment at Paines Plough as their Playwright Fellowship. Sam’s debut play, Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons, completed a national tour in 2016 after back-to-back sell-out runs at the Edinburgh Fringe. The play is published by Nick Hern Books, received a reading in New York from Sienna Miller and Russell Tovey in 2016 and has been translated into several different languages. Other pieces of Sam’s work have been showcased at the Royal Exchange, Soho Theatre, Southwark Playhouse and Cannes Film Festival. Sam is also under commission at Paines Plough and Theatre Royal Plymouth.

Andrew Twyman is currently the Associate Director at HighTide and an Associate Artist at Live Theatre Newcastle. For HighTide as Associate Director: Sugar Coated Bullets Of The Bourgeoisie (Arcola Theatre). For HighTide  as Assistant Director: Those Who Trespass (The Arts Educational Schools), Forget Me Not (Bush Theatre). Theatre includes: Machinal (The Arts Educational Schools), Odd Shaped Balls (Old Red Lion/Edinburgh Festival/Space UK) Don’t Smoke In Bed (Finborough Theatre); Te Karakia (Vibrant 2015 at Finborough Theatre); Reason and Force (King’s Head Theatre); Fair Exchange (Tabard Theatre). Andrew was also a member of the writing programme at the Live Theatre, Newcastle.


HighTide runs 12-17 September in Aldeburgh, Suffolk and 26 September – 8 October in Walthamstow, London.

Press performances:
Heroine & Kanye The First16 September, Aldeburgh
Kanye The First26 September, Walthamstow
Heroine: 27 September, Walthamstow

Box Office and more information:

For information on the Festival in Aldeburgh see here. For information on the Festival in Walthamstow see here.

HighTide and Theatr Clwyd presents
by Nessah Muthy
Directed by Steven Atkinson
Set and Costume by Richard Kent
Lighting Design by Elliot Griggs
Sound Design by Adrienne Quartly
Venue: The Mix
Running time: 1h 30m (no interval)
Recommended age: 14+ Contains strong language

HighTide and Paul Jellis in association with The Marlowe and The North Wall presents
by Sam Steiner
Directed by Andrew Twyman
Set and Costume by Camilla Clarke
Lighting Design by Jai Morjaria
Sound Design and Composition by Alexandra Faye Braithwaite
Dramaturg – Roy Alexander Weiss
Consultant Dramaturg (Marlowe Theatre) – James Baldwin
Venue: The Mix
Running time: 1h 40m (no interval)
Recommended age: 14+ Contains strong language

Talawa Theatre Company, HighTide and Martha Rose Wilson presents
by Theresa Ikoko
Directed by Elayce Ismail
Set and Costume by Rosanna Vize
Lighting Designer Andy Purves
Sound Design and Composition by Richard Hammarton
Venue: The Mix
Running time: 1h 30m (no interval)
Recommended age: 14+

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Out of Joint Co-Director, Kate Wasserberg, Interview: “I want to work with new people and I want to open doors.”

Kate Wasserberger

Kate WasserbergKate Wasserberg’s new job as co-Artistic Director of Out of Joint sees her joining founder Max Stafford-Clark to helm the company. Out of Joint have performed in six continents and co-produced with leading theatres globally, led from the start by Stafford-Clark.  So, how will the new management structure work? “Max was very central to the recruitment process and we had really honest conversations about the fact that I was already an Artistic Director. I made it clear that I was interested in running the company with him as a partnership, that I wanted us to have a genuine relationship as co-directors and that we would find a way to run it shoulder-to-shoulder,” she says. “Audiences can expect a commitment to political work, alongside a commitment to an aesthetic”, she says. “I want to find a language for my work that is complimentary with Max’s work with Out of Joint, but also distinct, so that we are increasing our breadth as a company. I want us to engage young audiences. I want us to be the hot ticket in town, and I think that often we are – but I want to build on that.”

Variety is the key both to her work and her artistic tastes. “I want to work with new people and I want to open doors. If we all keep working with people we know then there is no way for new people to break in,” she says. Wasserberg wants to be part of a wider conversation that reaches beyond theatre. “One of the reasons that I had to apply for the job was because of the political climate. Out of Joint is one of those companies that directly affects discussions around the kitchen table all up and down Britain. That doesn’t mean that all our work will be political with a capital ‘p’ but it means I’m going to engage with those conversations on a national level.”

There’s no question that Wasserberg has put in the work to reach where she is now. She was Associate Director at Theatr Clwyd and the Finborough Theatre and has directed plays for the Traverse, Soho TheatrePaines Plough and HighTideThe shape of my career is that I’ve made a lot of shows and sometimes I’ve learned by doing it wrong. My work hasn’t been as diverse at it could have been and I probably should have tried harder. That is something that I will be doing,” she says. “I feel like I’ve taken the slow road. It wasn’t my choice and when I was in my twenties and I saw my contemporaries excel I was, at times, envious.”

In 2014, Wasserberg founded and ran the Cardiff pub theatre the Other Room. She and her team achieved some remarkable things in a very short space of time. (The Other Room was named Fringe Theatre of the Year by The Stage in 2016). I ask her what she’ll miss most“Oh God, everything. They are the most remarkable group of people I have ever had the privilege to work with in my life. Every single day we did the impossible. Their standards are really high, they are so passionate, so talented.” She is satisfied with her achievements but looking to the future. “I doubt I’ll have that precise experience again in my life. It was so profound and special. The things that run through The Other Room like a stick of rock: an absolute commitment to artistic excellent, always thinking about the audience first and paying everyone properly. I’m really proud of that.”

When it comes to influences, she cites Emma Rice, Tamara Harvey and Neil McPherson: “Neil taught me that excellence is the only option,” she smiles. I think it’s really important to remain a fan of theatre and stay in love with it.”

We discuss Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s extraordinary play An Octoroon, which is both an adaptation of a 19th-century melodrama and a postmodernist critique of it. “It blew me away – I felt really fired up by it,” she pauses. “I’m quite conflicted too though because I’ve read the Exeunt response and it was so intelligent and considered. It made me question my easy response. My reaction to that work, though, was as a white audience member. I thought it was gloriously bold, I thought the company was incredible. I found it really bracing… the Orange Tree Theatre is a fireball of ingenuity.”

Wasserberg bluntly describes the challenges of being a working mother in this industry. “I struggle with it constantly; it’s a scramble,” she says, “The thing I was unprepared for was the emotional toll of being away from them. I have two extraordinary, resilient and optimistic children, but I still struggle with it. I’m excited to get them to London and as they grow – they may not be interested in the arts at all – but they will meet all sorts of people and their world will be large. I wish I could do all of that and put them to bed every single night… OSunday night I was a bit tearful about being away from home and my husband, who is a very wise man, said: try and enjoy this, you’ve worked so hard for it. If I’m away from them and I feel guilty then there’s no point in doing it”, she declares “so, when I go home I’m going to turn the phone off and live both parts of my life fully.” 

Rita, Sue and Bob Too, A revival of the play, directed by Max Stafford-Clark, tours from September.

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Award winning play Girls coming to Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Girls - A Talawa Theatre Company, HighTide and Soho Theatre production. Photo by THE OTHER RICHARD

Girls – A Talawa Theatre Company, HighTide and Soho Theatre production. Photo by THE OTHER RICHARD

Girls, the funny and fiercely passionate play by award-winning playwright Theresa Ikoko will make its Edinburgh Festival premiere in 2017. Telling the tale of three young friends who are kidnapped in Nigeria, Girls examines the stories behind the headlines that quickly become yesterday’s news.

“Why is everyone so bloody obsessed with hashtags?

Can you use it to shoot your way out of here?”

Three everyday girls, three best friends forever and three big issues: love, sex, religion. But when they’re kidnapped from home, their world is turned upside down. Hope and despair blur, jokes and fights become one, and the only hashtag that now matters is survival. Girls is a play about enduring friendship, the power of imagination and how the West often turns a blind eye to the stories behind headlines.

Theresa Ikoko wrote Girls when she became curious about the girls in the headlines, as well as those that are left unnoticed. With a background in criminology, Theresa works with gangs and serious youth violence offenders in the community, plus young women affected by gang and serious youth violence.

Theresa is a Talawa Writers’ Programme Playwright and continues to work closely with both HighTide and Soho Theatre.

Directed by Elayce Ismail (The Rise and Shine of Comrade Fiasco, Gate Theatre; Iphigenia Quartet: Chorus, Gate Theatre; Nanjing, The Yard), Girls won critical acclaim in its opening performances at London’s Soho Theatre, the Birmingham Rep and HighTide Festival in 2016. Girls follows Theresa’s debut play Normal, which was part of Talawa Firsts in 2014 and staged at HighTide Festival in 2015.

Girls was the joint winner of the George Devine Award (2016), the Alfred Fagon Award (2015), and was shortlisted for Soho Theatre’s Verity Bargate Award (2015).  

@TalawaTheatreCo / @_HighTide_ / @sohotheatre / @TheresaIkoko



Venue: Pleasance 2, Pleasance Courtyard

Dates: Tuesday 22 – Sunday 27 August, 12pm

Age Recommendation: 14+

Running Time: 90 mins without interval

Prices: £12 / £10.50 weekend | £11/£9.50 weekday
Box office: | 020 7609 1800

Nigel Lindsay joins Sarah Ridgeway in Hightide’s production of Al Smith’s debut play Harrogate and full touring dates announced

Let’s see how this goes shall we:

Casting is today announced for the HighTide production of Al Smith’s debut play Harrogate. Nigel Lindsay joins Sarah Ridgeway, who starred in the original production at HighTide Festival 2015, for the London premiere at the Royal Court Theatre from 20 – 29 October and UK Tour. Richard Twyman, the newly appointed Artistic Director of English Touring Theatre, returns to direct Harrogate, which had an acclaimed sell-out run at the influential annual HighTide Festival in Aldeburgh, Suffolk.

Nick Sidi and Sarah Ridgeway in the 2015 production of Harrogate at HighTide Festiva

Nick Sidi and Sarah Ridgeway in the 2015 production of Harrogate at HighTide Festiva

“I dream about you young. When I’m asleep you’re as young as the girl I met.”

Time passes. Roles Change. People become different versions of themselves.
From lover, to father, to husband, one man craves the past but knows his desire for it will destroy his family.

“Each one of us is gonna sit down one day and not be able to stand up, like we’ve disappeared to ourselves.”

Harrogate is Al Smith’s debut professional production. His other credits for theatre include: Diary of a Madman (Traverse, Gate Theatre); EnolaRadioThe Bird (Underbelly); The Astronaut Wives Club (Soho Theatre). He is currently under commission to the Royal Court Theatre and the Traverse Theatre. Writing for television includes: Shakespeare Live!The CoronerFather BrownThe Cut;AfricaHolby CityEastEnders. Writing for radio includes: LifeLinesDuchamp’s UrinalEveryday Time MachinesLife in the FreezerThe Postman of Good HopeRadio. Al was awarded the BFI / Wellcome Trust Screenwriting Prize for Halflife, and was a recipient of the Pearson Playwriting Bursary at the Finborough Theatre.

Nigel Lindsay plays Him. Theatre credits include: Guys and Dolls (Phoenix, West End); Bull (Young Vic); Speed-the-Plow (Playhouse); A Small Family Business; The Pillowman; London CuckoldsBlue Remembered Hills; Dealer’s Choice (also Vaudeville) (National Theatre); Richard II (RSC); The Same Deep Water as Me; The Real Thing (also Albery and Broadway); Morphic Resonance (Donmar Warehouse); Shrek the Musical (Theatre Royal Drury Lane, Olivier and WhatsOnStage nomination for Best Actor in a Musical); Broken Glass (WhatsOnStage award for Best Supporting Actor); Anna Karenina (Tricycle Theatre); Sucker PunchThe Woman Before; Push Up; King Lear (Royal Court);Under the Blue Sky (Duke of Yorks); The Homecoming; Awake and SingThe Earthly Paradise;RomanceThe Tower (Almeida); Guys and Dolls (Piccadilly); World MusicHamlet (Sheffield Crucible); The Tempest (Old Vic); Bedroom Farce (Aldwych); Katerina (Lyric Hammersmith). Nigel’s film credits include: Alan Partridge: Alpha PapaFour Lions (nomination for Best British Comedy Performance in Film); Scoop (directed by Woody Allen); Rogue Trader; and his television credits include: VictoriaYou, Me and the ApocalypsePoirotThe Tunnel; Rome; Spooks; I’m Alan Partridge; Waking the Dead. Future productions include: White Gold (BBC); Innocent; Unforgotten II (ITV).

Sarah Ridgeway plays Her. Sarah’s TV credits include: Miss Marple (ITV); The Crimson Petal and The White (BBC); The Suspicions of Mister Whicher (ITV); Call The Midwife; Making of a Lady; Holby City. Theatre credits include: The Acrington Pals; You Can’t Take it With You (Royal Exchange);Sucker Punch (The Royal Court) Days of Significance; Titus Andronicus; A Mad World My Masters;Candide (RSC), The Cherry Orchard; (Young Vic); Forget Me Not (HighTide, Bush Theatre); Fury(Soho Theatre).

Richard Twyman has been appointed Artistic Director for English Touring Theatre, where he will start in November 2016. Previously, Richard was Associate Director (International) at the Royal Court Theatre from 2013 – 2016, where his directing work includes Torn, You For Me For You;Fireworks; The Djinns of Eidgah and PIIGS. His other theatre credits include Harrogate (HighTide), The Djinns of Eidgah (Rage, Mumbai/Writers’ Bloc Festival), Henry IV Pt II (RSC), Ditch (Old Vic Tunnels/HighTide), Dr Marigold & Mr Chops (Theatre Royal Bath & UK Tour), Sixty-Six Books (Bush Theatre) and Give Me Your Hand (Irish Rep, New York – nomination for the Drama Desk Award 2012 for Outstanding Unique Theatrical Experience). Between 2003 and 2008 he worked at the Royal Shakespeare Company. He was Associate Director to Michael Boyd on the multi-award winning Histories Cycle for which he directed Henry IV Pt II.  The production, alongside the Histories, was honoured with three Olivier Awards (2009 Best Revival, Best Ensemble, Best Costume), the Evening Standard Editor’s Choice Award, and named by Michael Billington as his productions of the decade 2000-2010. Richard also works as a dance dramaturg, where his credits include Bayadère-The Ninth Life (Shobana Jeyasingh Dance, Linbury ROH), Please be Seated (New Movement Collective, Royal Festival Hall), Nest (New Movement Collective, Stone Nest) and Who Killed Bambi (Renaud Wiser Dance Company).

Soho Theatre, HighTide and Talawa Theatre Company present Theresa Ikoko’s award-winning new play Girls

Girls, the funny and fiercely passionate new play by award-winning playwright Theresa Ikoko will premiere at HighTide Festival 2016 in September before its London premiere at Soho Theatre on 27 September. The production will also run at Birmingham Rep Theatre in between those dates. Girls was the winner of the George Devine Award (2016), the Alfred Fagon Award (2015), and was shortlisted for Soho Theatre’s Verity Bargate Award (2015). 

Cast of Girls

Cast of Girls. Click on the image to book your tickets

Three everyday girls, three best friends forever and three big issues: love, sex, religion. But when they’re kidnapped from home, their world is turned upside down. Hope and despair blur, jokes and fights become one, and the only hashtag that now matters is survival. Girls is a new play about enduring friendship, the power of imagination and the stories behind the headlines that quickly become yesterday’s news.

Theresa Ikoko wrote Girls to give a voice to girls abducted in Nigeria and around the world in conflict zones. Following Boko Haram’s recent violent uprising, she became frustrated with selective media coverage on attacks that are quickly forgotten, and unreported and overlooked violence ignored by the West. This is a play about the girls in the headlines as well as those left unnoticed. With a background in criminology, she wrote the play alongside her full time job reducing involvement in youth crime and violence as part of a London Borough Gangs Team. She is a Talawa Writers’ Programme Playwright and continues to work closely with Soho Theatre as part of 2016’s Soho Six.

Directed by Elayce Ismail (The Rise and Shine of Comrade Fiasco, Gate Theatre; Iphigenia Quartet: Chorus, Gate Theatre; Nanjing, The Yard), Girls follows Theresa’s debut play Normal which was staged at HighTide Festival in 2015.

Performances of the production at Soho Theatre are kindly supported by The London Community Foundation and Cockayne – Grants for the Arts

Important dates:
HighTide Festival: 8 –18 SeptemberPress Day: Saturday 10 Sept
Birmingham Rep: 20 – 24 September
Soho Theatre: 27 Sep – Sat 29 OctPress Night: Thursday 29 September

Contact details for more information:
HighTide Festival:
Maisie Lawrence / [email protected] / 020 7831 7657
Soho Theatre:
Laura Steele / [email protected] / 020 7478 0128
Talawa Theatre Company:
Nick Pearce / [email protected]  / 0203 372 0966

@TheresaIkoko / @sohotheatre /@_HighTide_ /  @TalawaTheatreCo