From an epic Polish poem of independence to a 1930s Chinese tragedy.
A Yiddish folktale of tormented spirits to a contemporary Indian family drama.
What is a classic play and who decides?
Taking place from 19 May – 5 June, both live at the Almeida and online, is Six Artists in Search of a Play. Ebenezer Bamgboye, Atri Banerjee, Nastazja Domaradzka, Anthony Lau, Audrey Sheffield and Cherrelle Skeete present seminal plays and new works from across the globe that have often been overlooked by British theatre.
Each artist will direct a semi-staged reading of their chosen play, and curate a programme of live music, dance and panel discussions exploring theatrical traditions from around the world. Events will be performed to socially distanced audiences at the Almeida and made available digitally at a later date.
All tickets are £10 (with £5 concessions). Tickets will go on sale slightly later than originally advertised:
Almeida Members 12pm Tuesday 11 May
General Sale 12pm Wednesday 12 May
Become an Almeida Member here to access Priority Booking
Audrey Sheffield presents
THE DYBBUK by S. Ansky, in a translation by Golda Werman
Wednesday 19 May, 7pm
On the day of her wedding, Leah is possessed by a dybbuk - the spirit of her former lover who died after learning of her engagement to another man. Set in the vanished, mystically religious world of 19th-century Eastern European Hasidism, S. Ansky’s The Dybbuk is a complex and meticulously crafted tragedy in which two lovers, betrothed before birth and denied earthly communion, are ultimately bound together for all eternity. More info
Anthony Lau presents
THUNDERSTORM by Cao Yu. Dramaturgy by Amy Ng
Friday 21 May, 7pm
Businessman Zhou Puyuan is pressured into choosing duty over love, cruelly abandoning his first wife in order to remarry for wealth and status. Generations of his family are haunted by this choice – his new wife seeks comfort for her loneliness, secret love affairs run amok, and brother is pitted against brother. First produced in 1935, Thunderstorm was the first play from Cao Yu, a pioneer of the Huaju form of Chinese drama. Originally considered scandalous for its controversial themes and notable for its three central female characters, the play is now regarded as one of the most important works of modern Chinese theatre. More info
Ebenezer Bamgboye presents
THE GODS ARE NOT TO BLAME by Ola Rotimi
Wednesday 26 May, 7pm
Inspired by Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, The Gods Are Not To Blame follows Nigerian king Odewale on a rousing journey to discover what is bringing such bad luck to the people of his kingdom, only to find that the answer lies close to home... Considered an allegory of colonialism, Ola Rotimi’s play was first staged in Nigeria at the Festival of the Arts in 1968 and awarded first prize in the African Arts/Arts d'Afrique playwriting contest in 1969. More info
Nastazja Domaradzka presents
DZIADY/FOREFATHERS' EVE by Adam Mickiewicz, in a translation by Charles S. Kraszewski. Dramaturgy by Dr. Kasia Lech
Friday 28 May, 7pm
Polish political prisoner Gustav finds himself incarcerated for nationalistic activities against Tsar Alexander I. Through Part III of Dziady/Forefathers’ Eve, he is re-Christened as Konrad and transformed from the maudlin, self-absorbed lover, to the impassioned revolutionary, striving to bring his nation together and free his people from oppression. Dziady/Forefathers’ Eve is the best-known work of Adam Mickiewicz, widely accepted as Poland’s greatest poet. Considered a significant work of European Romanticism, Mickiewicz’s poetic drama is presented on a British stage for the first time. More info
Atri Banerjee presents
NAME, PLACE, ANIMAL, THING by Annie Zaidi
Wednesday 2 June, 7pm
Since arriving in the city, Nancy has been housed, clothed, fed and educated by the middle-class Maliks. But, there is a difference between being ‘like one of the family’ and being family and Nancy’s ambitions reach beyond the limited horizon of a female domestic worker. Name, Place, Animal, Thing explores the complexities of class, caste and gender within the contemporary Indian home. More info
Cherrelle Skeete presents
MICHAEL X by Vanessa Walters
Friday 4 June, 7pm
Orator and Black Power activist Michael X addresses the crowd at the 1965 Racial Adjustment Action Society, ‘the lifeblood of the Black man in Britain.’ His incendiary speech takes in his journey from Trinidad to Notting Hill and the destruction of the Caribbean dream in the face of British racism. More info
An accompanying programme, curated by the six artists, of live music, traditional dance, rehearsed readings and panel discussions will also be announced soon.