First Look: Production Images: Occupational Hazards at Hampstead Theatre

Hampstead Theatre presents the world premiere of Stephen Brown’s play Occupational Hazards, which is based on Rory Stewart’s critically acclaimed memoir of the same name. Directed by Simon Godwin, this new play tells an extraordinary story about the moral conflicts, the dangers and the comic absurdities inherent in any foreign occupation.

September 2003. Rory Stewart, a thirty year old former British diplomat and soldier of distinction and accomplishment, is posted to serve as governor in a province of the newly liberated Iraq. His job is to help build a new civil society at peace with itself and its neighbours – an ambitious mission, admittedly, but outperforming Saddam should surely not prove too difficult…

Yet, freedom from repressive tyranny has allowed centuries of tribal conflict, sectarian tension and ethnic division to burst into the open once more.  These sharp local realities plunge Stewart into a dangerous whirlpool of political intrigue in which the double-dealing of opposing interest groups creates intensifying confusion and chaos.  As pressure for a settlement mounts from all sides he comes to realise that all politics is indeed local, and that Washington may have to rethink its dreams of Iraqi democracy.