Ian McDiarmid to play Enoch Powell in What Shadows

Ian McDiarmid as Enoch Powell

Ian McDiarmid as Enoch Powell © Ellie Kurttz

Olivier and Tony Award-winning actor, Ian McDiarmid will play MP Enoch Powell in Chris Hannan’s searing play, What Shadows. Directed by Roxana Silbert (Artistic Director, Birmingham Repertory Theatre), What Shadows tells the story of Powell’s explosive Rivers of Blood speech, bringing to life the community that inspired it and, 30 years later, its effects on a woman trying to make sense of her life. The production runs 27 Sep – 28 Oct in PARK200, with a national press night onTuesday 3 October.

“I was a storm. I was also a man entirely alone in a storm. There were forces beyond my control and I was one of them.”

Oxford academic and daughter of a Caribbean immigrant, Rose Cruickshank wants answers. Enoch’s controversial words about immigration shattered her childhood. Rose cannot find inner peace until she understands what led him to make the speech that defined a generation. Will a meeting with the man himself give her the answers she desperately craves?

Director Roxana Silbert says of What Shadows“As we near the 50th anniversary of Enoch Powell’s explosive ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech, the nation finds itself again facing profound and difficult questions about national identity and attitudes to immigration. Chris’s powerful play is a scorching interrogation of prejudices and how a bitterly divided country moves forward in the wake of a crisis. It couldn’t be more necessary.”

The full cast and creative team includes:

Ian McDiarmid as Enoch Powell

Nicholas Le Prevost as Clem Jones

Amelia Donkor as Rose Cruickshank & Joyce Cruickshank
Paula Wilcox as Grace Hughes & Marjorie Jones

Waleed Akhtar as Saeed

Ameet Chana as Sultan & Doctor Sharma

Joanne Pearce as Sofia & Pamela

Roxana Silbert Director

Ti Green Designer

Chahine Yavroyan Lighting Designer

Giles Thomas Original Sound Design

Louis Price Video Designer

Anna Morrissey Movement Director

Stephen Kemble Voice & Dialect Coach

Luke Kernaghan Associate Director

Ian McDiarmid is an Olivier and Tony award-winning British character actor and director, internationally renowned for his role as Palpatine in George Lucas’ Star Wars filmsHis film credits include Sleepy Hollow, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Gorky Park and Dragonslayer, and his recent theatre credits include the title role in A Life of Galileo directed by Roxana Silbert for the RSC, Shylock in The Merchant of Venice at the Almeida, Maximus in Emperor and Galilean for the National Theatre, the title role in John Gabriel Borkman for the Donmar Warehouse and the father in Rupert Goold’s Six Characters in Search of an Author for Chichester Festival Theatre.


Box office: 020 7870 6876*

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What Shadows

Venue: PARK200, Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, London N4 3JP

Dates: 27 September – 28 October 2017

Press night: Tuesday 3 October

Performances: Tue – Sat Evening 19.30, Thu & Sat Matinees 15.00

Prices: Previews £18.50, Tue-Thu & Sat Matinees, Standard £20.00 – £26.50, Concessions £18.50, Child £15
Young Patrons: £10 (27 Sept – 3 Oct)
Groups: Buy 10 tickets get the 11th free

Audio described: Wed 11 Oct 19.30, Touch Tour 18.00

Age guidance: 14+
Running time: 2 hours 15 mins inc. interval
* Telephone booking fee: 10% (capped at £2.50 per ticket)