Cast announced for Winsome Pinnock’s ‘Leave Taking’ at Bush Theatre

Winsome Pinnock is ‘the godmother of Black British playwrights’ (The Guardian) who defined and inspired a generation with her work for the stage.

To begin Bush Theatre’s three-year initiative Passing the Baton, introducing or reacquainting theatregoers with the artists of colour who carved their way through British playwriting with distinction, paving the way for many of the writers and performers who appear at Bush Theatre, Artistic Director Madani Younis will direct a contemporary revival of Leave Taking, Pinnock’s classic, award-winning play from 24 May to 30 June (press night 31 May).

For each of the three years of Passing the Baton, a promising emerging writer of colour will be given a full length commission for the main house alongside mentoring to develop their work, so passing the baton between established writers and emerging writers of colour.  The first writer will be announced in May.

‘Passing the Baton will create a dialogue between past, present and future generations’ –  Winsome Pinnock

The cast of Leave Taking has today been announced as Adjoa Andoh (Mai), Seraphina Beh (Del), Nicholle Cherrie (Viv), Wil Johnson (Brod), Sarah Niles (Enid).


In Deptford, Del and Viv are soul-sick.  Del doesn’t want to be at home – staying out late, 3pm-the-next-day late is more her thing.  Viv scours her school books trying to find a trace of herself between their lines.

When Enid takes her daughters to the local ‘Obeah’ woman for some traditional Caribbean soul healing, secrets are spilled.  There’s no turning back for Del, Viv and Enid as they negotiate the frictions between their countries and cultures.

Two generations.  Three incredible women.  Leave Taking is the epic story of what we leave behind in order to find home.

Winsome Pinnock won the George Devine Award for Leave Taking in 1991 and was the first black British woman to have a play produced at the National Theatre. She has written numerous, award-winning plays that put black experiences centre-stage. In 2017, Winsome’s short play The Principles of Cartography opened the newly refurbished Bush Theatre as part of Black Lives, Black Words.

Winsome Pinnock said:

‘The young woman that I was when I first wrote Leave Taking looked forward to a post-racial world. The play was last produced in London in 1997 so I was thrilled when in October 2017 the Bush Theatre informed me that they were going to revive the play.  The exciting news also gave me pause to reflect on whether the goals of my parents’ generation – often called the Windrush generation and the focus of the play – had been achieved.

That same month the government released its Racial Disparity Audit. Twenty years after Leave Taking was last produced in London the statistics reveal that BAME people continue to face discrimination in almost every sphere of social life whether it be within the criminal justice system, housing or employment. It brought into focus the importance of Passing the Baton which I am immensely proud to be part of. The initiative will create a dialogue between past, present and future generations as well give a voice to those who continue to be marginalised.’

Adjoa Andoh is making her Bush Theatre debut.  Previous theatre includes Julius Caesar (Bridge Theatre), Assata Taught Me (Gate Theatre), Soul(Royal & Derngate, Hackney Empire), Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Donmar Warehouse), Wolf in Snakeskin Shoes (Tricycle Theatre), Great Expectations (Bristol Old Vic), Julius Caesar (RSC),  Or You Could Kiss Me (National Theatre),  Joe Turner’s Come and GoneIn The Red And Brown Water (Young Vic), The Revenger’s Tragedy (National Theatre), Purgatorio (Arcola), Sugar Mummies (Tricycle), Nights at the Circus (Lyric, Hammersmith), Blood Wedding (Almeida Theatre), His Dark Materials (National Theatre), In The Bunker With The Ladies (Drill Hall), Stuff Happens(National Theatre), Pericles (Lyric, Hammersmith), The Vagina Monologues (Old Vic), Breath Boom (Royal Court), A Streetcar Names Desire(National Theatre studio), The Dispute (RSC/Lyric Hammersmith), Starstruck (Tricycle), Tamburlaine and The Odyssey (RSC), Death Catches the Hunter (Traverse), Love at A Loss (BAC National tour), Cloud Nine (Contact), The Snow Queen  and Glory (Lyric, Derby Playhouse, West Yorkshire Playhouse), Our Day Out (Birmingham Rep), Princhdice and Co (Women’s Theatre Group), Crowned With Fame (Swan RSC), Getting Through(International tour), Twice Over (Gay Sweatshop), Lear’s Daughters (Women’s Theatre Group). On film Adjoa has appeared in Brotherhood,RemainderJulius CaesarInvictusAdulthoodEvery Time I Look at YouA Rather English Marriage, I Is a Long Married Woman and What My Mother Told Me.

Television includes Death in Paradise (BBC), Acceptable Risk (RTE) Liar (ITV), Line of DutyNew TricksRiver (BBC), Cucumber (Ch4), Brian Pern: Death of Rock (BBC4), Broadchurch: Series 2 (ITV), Wizards vs Aliens (CBBC), The Interceptor (BBC), Chasing Shadows (ITV), Grandpa in My Pocket (CBBC), Law and OrderScott and Bailey (ITV), Missing (BBC), Mrs. Inbetweeny (BBC3), MI HighDoctor WhoThe Shadow in the North,  (BBC), Wire in the Blood (ITV), Chopra TownSilent Witness (BBC), The Bill (ITV), Dalziel & PascoeEvery Time I Look At YouCasualtyIn Search of Myths and HeroesMacbethJonathan CreekA Rather English MarriageClose Relations (BBC), The BillPeak PracticeThieftakers (ITV), Brass Eye(Ch4), Twelve Angry Men (ITV), An Independent Man (BBC), Tomorrow PeopleCircle of Deceit (ITV), What My Mother Told Me (Film Four), Health and Efficiency , Brittas Empire (BBC), Birthrights; West Indian Women at War (Ch4), The Missing FingerEastenders (BBC), The South Bank Show(ITV), One in Four A Short Film About MemoirsBedtime Stories (BBC).

Seraphina Beh recently appeared in the Bush Theatre and Royal Exchange Theatre’s production of Parliament Square. Her other theatre credits include: Pigeon EnglishRomeo & JulietDNA (National Youth Theatre); Cosmic Jives (Albany Theatre); Black Attack (Bush Theatre); My Beautiful City (Arcola Theatre); Jack and The Beanstalk (Lyric Hammersmith); OndistingRomeo & Juliet Et Al and Skeen (Ovalhouse Theatre). Television credits include: Eastenders (BBC), Casualty (BBC), Game Face (Objective Productions) and Live at The Electric (Avalon Television).

Nicholle Cherrie is a recent graduate of Arts Ed. Her theatre credits include: Mamma Mia (Cyprus) in the role of Lisa and Jesus Christ Superstar(Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre). Whilst in training her credits include: The LifeThe Mystery of Edwin DroodWish Me LuckCandideHay Fever(Arts Ed); My Lifelong Love; Olivier Awards 2016; Olympia Horse Show.

Wil Johnson Wil Johnson is an extraordinary stage actor whose extensive credits include: Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (Old Vic), King Lear(Royal Exchange), A Wolf In Snakeskin Shoes (Tricycle Theatre), Fuente Ovejuna (Royal National Theatre), Redundant (Royal Court), A Mad World My Masters (Shakespeare’s Globe), Serious Money (Birmingham Rep), The Queen and I (Out Of Joint), Torn (Arcola Theatre) and the lead in Othello(Royal Lyceum). Most recently, Wil appeared in Fuente Ovejuna (National Theatre).

TV credits include Carnival Row (Legendary), Outlander (Starz/Amazon), Vera (ITV), Waking the Dead (BBC), Lewis (ITV), The Five and Clocking Off(Red Productions), Moving On (LA Productions) and BAFTA best drama series, Cracker (Granada Television). Wil has also appeared in Waterloo Road (Shed Production), Hollyoaks (C4) and Emmerdale (ITV Yorkshire).

Wil’s film credits include Adulthood (Adulthood ltd), Anuvahood (Revolver), Midnight Breaks (Film 4), Dead End (Oceanstorm films) and Macbeth(Green Screen Productions).

Sarah Niles last appeared at the Bush Theatre in The Interrogation of Sandra Bland as part of Black Lives, Black Words. Her theatre credits include: BThe Sewing GroupFather Comes Home From The Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3), Truth & Reconciliation (Royal Court); Boy (Almeida); The Crucible (Old Vic); Anthony & Cleopatra (RSC/Off Broadway); TableMrs Affleck (National); A Question of Freedom (Feelgood); The Long Road(Curve, Leicester); The Quiet Little Englishman (Zho Visual); Play Size (ATC/Young Vic); Bones (Bush Theatre); The Bogus WomanThe Lion the Witch & the WardrobeTo Kill a Mockingbird (Haymarket, Leicester); Entarete Musik (Amazonia Theatre Company); Lowdown High Notes (Red Ladder);Black Love (Black Arts Development Project); Caucasian Chalk Circle (Manchester Library).

Madani Younis took over as Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre in 2012. Last year, he was appointed to the Mayor of London’s Cultural Leadership Board to advise Sadiq Khan on issues facing the creative industries and culture sector and help him craft a bold new Culture Strategy for London.  In 2016 he directed the world premiere of Zaida and Aadam by Gbolahan Obisesan and revived 2015’s critically acclaimed production of The Royaleby Marco Ramirez. In 2013 he won the Groucho Club Maverick Award for the theatre, following the most successful season in the theatre’s history which played to 99% capacity. Also for the Bush Theatre he has directed Perseverance Drive and Chalet Lines. Prior to his appointment at the Bush Theatre, he was Artistic Director of Freedom Studios in Bradford, Yorkshire where his work included the site-specific work, The Mill – City of Dreams. He has also worked nationally and internationally as a theatre director, writer and practitioner. Whilst at Freedom Studios he collaborated with the Bush Theatre through workshops culminating in Freedom’s two-week residency in 2010 at the theatre. He was previously Director of Red Ladder Theatre Company’s Asian Theatre School. He originally trained in film, and his debut short film Ellabellapumpanella, commissioned by the UK Film Council, was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2007. He was the recipient of the Decibel Award at the South Bank Awards show in 2006.

Designer Rosanna Vize trained at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.  She has worked regularly as an assistant to Anna Fleischle and was the resident design assistant for the RSC from September 2014 – September 2015.  She was a Linbury Prize Finalist in 2013 working with English Touring Opera and is currently one of the Jerwood Young Designers. Rosanna’s theatre work includes: King Lear (Shakespeare’s Globe, Dir: Nancy Meckler), The Earthworks & Myth (Royal Shakespeare Company), The Almighty Sometimes (Royal Exchange Manchester), Yous Two and The Phlebotomist(Hampstead Theatre), Henry I (Reading Between the Lines),  Girls (Soho Theatre, Hightide & Talawa Theatre), FUP (Kneehigh Theatre), Noye’s Fludde (Kneehigh Theatre), Dark Land Lighthouse (Bristol Old Vic), St Joan of the Stockyards (Bristol Old Vic), A Thousand Seasons Passed (Bristol Old Vic), The Tinder Box (Bristol Old Vic), The Last Days of Mankind (Bristol Old Vic), Talon (Bristol Old Vic), Diary of a Madman (The Gate Theatre), The Rise and Shine of Comrade Fiasco (The Gate Theatre), Infinite Lives (Tobacco Factory Theatre), Banksy: The Room in the Elephant(Tobacco Factory Theatre and Traverse Theatre), Coastal Defences (Tobacco Factory Theatre) Edward Gants Amazing Feats of Loneliness (Bristol Old Vic Theatre School), The Wicked Lady (Bristol Old Vic Theatre School), The Picture of John Grey (The Old Red Lion), Measure for Measure (Oxford School of Drama).  Opera includes: Don Giovanni (Hampstead Garden Opera), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (RSC & Garsington Opera).

BushGreen Live post-show events are free to ticket holders and will include

Post-Show Q&A: Wed 6 June

Ask cast and creatives about the creation and performance of Leave Taking after the show.


24 May – 30 June at 7.30pm

Wednesday matinees on 6, 13, 20, 27 June at 2.30pm

Saturday matinees on 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 June at 2.30pm

Audio described performance on Sat 9 June at 2.30pm

Captioned performance on Thurs 21 June at 7.30pm


Ticket prices

Count Me In: £10

Adult: From £20

Count Me In tickets are just £10 and are available for performances in the Theatre. These are unreserved tickets which will be allocated to a seat on the day of performance. Audience members might not be sitting next to the people they booked with but will be guaranteed a seat.

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

Online                  bushtheatre.co.uk