Papatango presents the world premiere of
By May Sumbwanyambe
4 – 28 May 2016
Arcola Theatre – Studio 2
Director: George Turvey; Designer: Max Dorey
Lighting: Christopher Nairne; Sound: Richard Hammarton
Papatango today announces the full cast for the world premiere of After Independence by May Sumbwanyambe. George Turvey directs Stefan Adegbola (Charles), Sandra Duncan (Kathleen), Peter Guinness (Guy) and Beatriz Romilly (Chipo) in the production which opens at the Arcola Theatre on 6 May, with previews from 4 May, and runs until 28 May 2016.
After Independence is an unflinching examination of land ownership, dispossession and justice in the postcolonial world. It is inspired by real events in Zimbabwe in the late 1990s, when white-owned farms began to be forcibly seized by thousands of war veterans dissatisfied by their corrupt government and desperate for change.
Africa is changing. Country by country, step by step. But for Guy and Kathleen, life on their ranch goes on, just as it has since their ancestors first claimed this land. Until a man from the new government arrives with a smile and a purchase order – but there’s more than just land at stake. Charles will do whatever it takes to restore the farm to the ‘native’ population.
A game of cat and mouse, claim and counter-claim, begins, with the heritage of an entire nation to play for. As truths are revealed and moralities questioned, can things ever be more than simply black and white?
May Sumbwanyambe was born in Edinburgh a year after his parents immigrated to the UK from Zambia. His mother is of the Bemba tribe of the Copperbelt and his father is of the Lozi tribe of the Western Province. Their wider family is split across Zambia, South Africa and Zimbabwe – where After Independence is set. His grandfather was an elected Mayor in Zambia and an advocate for the independence of all African nations, and his father was in the government of the first elected President of Zambia.
Sumbwanyambe was chosen, from 220 anonymous applicants, to be Papatango’s first Resident Playwright supported by the BBC. Since completing his Residency with Papatango, he has been commissioned by National Theatre of Scotland, BBC Radio Four and Scottish Opera. He has also been shortlisted for the Channel 4/Oran Mor Comedy Drama Award, the Alfred Fagon Award, and the Alfred Bradley Award. He won the BBC’s Scriptroom competition.
Stefan Adegbola plays Charles. His theatre credits include Theatre Cafe Denmark (Company of Angels), The Christians (Gate Theatre/Traverse Theatre), The Merchant of Venice and The Comedy of Errors (Shakespeare’s Globe), Widower’s Houses (Orange Tree Theatre), The Epic Adventure of Nhamo the Manyika Warrior and His Sexy Wife Chipo (national tour) and Othello (Riverside Studios). His television work includes Dr Who.
Sandra Duncan plays Kathleen. She won the Vita, Dalro, and Fleur du Cap Awards in South Africa, as well as the Best Actress Star Tonight TV Award. Her UK theatre work includes Redcross, King John and Richard III (RSC), An Inspector Calls (West End/national tour), The House of Bernarda Alba (Shared Experience/Young Vic),Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Under the Blue Sky and Rebecca (Theatre by the Lake), Charlie’s Aunt (Sheffield Theatres), The Importance of Being Earnest, A Chorus of Disapproval, Cause Celebre, Building Blocks, Hayfever and A Streetcar Named Desire (Pitlochry Festival Theatre), The Secretary Bird and Sign of the Times (West End), Mary Stuart (National Theatre) and The Seagull (Donmar Warehouse/national tour). Television work includes Silk, Midsomer Murders, The Merchant of Venice, Westgate, Turn of the Tide, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Honeybird, Macbeth and Big Bread Winner Hog.
Peter Guinness plays Guy. His theatre work includes The Crucibleand As You Like It (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester), Women Beware Women, Sarcophagus and Ion (RSC), The Little Foxes(Donmar Warehouse), The Tempest (Old Vic), Reading Hebron(Orange Tree Theatre), The Pianist (Manchester International Festival/Royal Exchange Theatre, Hong Kong Arts Festival), The Power and The Glory (Chichester Festival Theatre), and Measure for Measure (Young Vic). His recent work for television includes Stan Lee’s Lucky Man, Da Vinci’s Demons, Hidden, Zen, Ashes to Ashes, 1066: The Battle for Middle Earth, Silent Witness; and for film, Knights of the Round Table: King Arthur, Centurion,Conclave, Secret Passage, Greenfingers, Sleepy Hollow, Christopher Columbus: The Discovery and Aliens 3.
Beatriz Romilly plays Chipo. Her theatre credits include The Duchess Of Malfi (Nottingham Playhouse), A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Henry VI: Parts 1, 2 and 3, Doctor Faustus and The God Of Soho (Shakespeare’s Globe), The Sacred Flame, The Three Musketeers and the Princess of Spain (English Touring Theatre), This Much Is True (Theatre 503), Silver Birch House and Pera Palas (Arcola Theatre). Her television work includes Born With It and Green Green Grass; and for film, Henna Night.
George Turvey directs. He is the Artistic Director and co-founder of Papatango Theatre Company. He has appeared as an actor on stage and screen throughout the UK and internationally, including the Arthur Miller world première No Villain (Old Red Lion Theatre/Trafalgar Studios), the role of Batman in Batman Live World Arena Tour, Peter Gill’s The Importance of Being Earnest and Tamara Harvey’s Romeo and Juliet. His directing credits include Leopoldville (Papatango at the Tristan Bates Theatre), and Angel (Papatango at the Pleasance Islington and the Tristan Bates Theatre). As a dramaturg he has overseen and developed each of Papatango’s shows.
Papatango is a charity, without core funding, which discovers and champions talented new playwrights by running open application schemes and opportunities, all free to enter and assessed anonymously.
These include the Papatango New Writing Prize, UK theatre’s only annual award guaranteeing a début playwright a full production, publication, 10% of the gross box office and an unprecedented £6000 commission for a second play, an unmatched commitment to developing new writers.
Other opportunities include the Resident Playwright scheme, taking an emerging playwright through commissioning and development of a new play. Papatango also runs an extensive programme of free playwriting workshops and courses in London, Bristol, Bedford and Liverpool, which trained 721 budding writers in 2015. All writers submitting scripts to Papatango receive full feedback for free, with over 1000 individuals having benefitted from this in the last year.
Papatango is proud to have discovered new playwrights from diverse backgrounds and outside normal industry channels. All of its writers undergo intensive development to prepare them for a writing career, and the success of its discoveries inspires grassroots playwriting. Papatango discoveries include Off West End and RNT Foundation Award-winner Dawn King, James Rushbrooke, Deluge writer Fiona Doyle, BAFTA-winner Dominic Mitchell, Luke Owen, Louise Monaghan, and Oppenheimer writer Tom Morton-Smith.
4 – 28 May
Studio 2, Arcola Theatre, 24 Ashwin St, London E8 3DL
Monday – Saturday 8pm
Saturday matinees 3:30pm
£12.00 – £17.00
020 7503 1646