Last Updated on June 9, 2021 by Fiona Maclean
Four plays scheduled for Summer 2021 at Hampstead Theatre
Hampstead Theatre is re-opening to the public on 28 May 2021 with an enticing line-up of plays for the summer season. Two plays will run in the main theatre alongside two plays in the Hampstead Downstairs.
Death of a Black Man, the compelling drama written by Alfred Fagon, will run from 28 May – 10 July. It will be directed by Dawn Walton who will be making her directorial debut at Hampstead Theatre. The play premiered at Hampstead Theatre in 1975 and is a rare revival from the Black British playwriting canon. The themes are as relevant today as they were in the ’70s with the play exploring questions of identity, sexual politics and capitalism. It will star Nickcolia King-N’da, Natalie Simpson and Toyin Omari-Kinch. The playwright, Alfred Fagon, was born in Jamaica and moved to England in 1955. In addition to being a playwright, Fagon was also a middleweight boxing champion, a solider, a welder, actor and poet. The Alfred Fagon Award is the leading theatre award for Black British writers, set up after his sudden death in 1986 at the age of 49. The 1970s saw the inception of Black British Theatre with Fagon being instrumental to this movement.
Death of a Black Man is set in 1973 when the West Indies have beaten England in the cricket test. Two friends are in high spirits and filled with ambitious plans to crack the booming music industry. They are joined by one of the men’s ex-lovers and the champagne flows while they toast the future. How much and whom will they sacrifice in their quest to attain riches beyond their wildest dreams?
Hampstead Downstairs will host Raya, a comedy by Deborah Bruce. It will run from 11 June – 24 July. The play has two former flames reunited 30 years after their carefree university days. Will they turn back the clock even for one night and attempt to revive and relive their heyday?
The second in the season at Hampstead Theatre is Tennessee Williams’ The Two Character Play which will run from 17 July – 28 August. This revival will be directed by Sam Yates and is exciting not only due it being an innovative, psychological thriller, but because the play premiered at Hampstead Theatre in 1967. At this time, Tennessee Williams was at the height of his career and offered the play to director James Roose Evans. At that stage Hampstead Theatre was regarded as an experimental artistic space and this reputation has continued as the theatre showcases playwrights at all stages of their careers. The Two Character Play was 10 years in the writing and is considered to be partly autobiographical. It tells of two actors, siblings, who have been on a long tour. The rest of the troupe has abandoned them and they are left with is an empty stage and an expectant audience. All they can do is to adapt to their circumstance and perform the only appropriate play in their repertoire, The Two Character Play.
The second play in Hmapstead Downstairs is the premiere of Big Big Sky, written by Tom Wells – a new play that examines the influence of nature on love, friendship and family. Directed by Tessa Walker, Hampstead Theatre’s new Associate Director, the play will run from 30 July – 11 September. The cast includes Jennifer Daley, Jessica Jolleys, Sam Newton and Matt Sutton. The play is set in the playwright’s hometown of Kilnsea, East Yorkshire, and draws on the landscape’s natural beauty while touching on themes of nature’s vulnerability, line dancing and oat slices. The play considers the belief that anyone who is lost can be found, even in the most remote place.
The challenge for all theatres is ongoing uncertainty about whether the remaining restrictions will be lifted on 21 June. However, even if restrictions are lifted on this date, reduced capacity and social distancing will continue to be observed at Hampstead Theatre. If the productions are postponed due to Government advice, full refunds or credit vouchers will be offered.
Tickets for all productions can be booked online at Hampstead Theatre.
THE DEATH OF A BLACK MAN
Playwright Alfred Fagon
Director Dawn Walton
Dates: Friday 28 May– Saturday 10 July 2021
THE TWO CHARACTER PLAY
Playwright Tennessee Williams
Director Sam Yates
Dates: Saturday 17 July – Saturday 28 August 2021
Playwright Deborah Bruce
Director Roxana Silbert
Dates: Friday 11 June – Saturday 24 July 2021
BIG BIG SKY
Playwright Tom Wells
Director Tessa Walker
Dates: Friday 30 July – Saturday 11 September 2021
Address: Hampstead Theatre, Eton Avenue, London, NW3 3EU
Box Office: 020 7722 9301 (staffed Mon – Fri 10.30am-4.30pm) | hampsteadtheatre.com