Cast Revealed For The UK Premiere of DUCK at Arcola Theatre

The production opens on 29 June, with previews from 27 June, and runs until 15 July.

By: Jun. 02, 2023
Cast Revealed For The UK Premiere of DUCK at Arcola Theatre

The cast has been announced for the UK première of Duck by maatin, at Arcola Theatre. Imy Wyatt Corner, associate artist at Arcola Theatre, directs Omar Bynon as Ismail. The production opens on 29 June, with previews from 27 June, and runs until 15 July.

This one-man show is about a British Indian schoolboy attempting to reach dizzying heights of cricketing glory, whilst having to contend with the challenges of adolescence, the pressures of sporting competition, and come to terms with his identity in an environment that doesn't cater for difference.

On Friday 30 June and Saturday 1 July, playwright and producer maatin is hosting three performances designed for those who are usually underrepresented in theatre – both on the stage and in the audience – to feel welcomed, celebrated, and comfortable. Inspired by the BLACK OUT performances curated and championed by playwright Jeremy O. Harris, and entitled A Space For Us, these performances are particularly open to those who identify as Desi, Brown, or Muslim, but are an invitation to all who are a minority in white spaces.

Crucially, no one is excluded from attending them. Instead, the hope is to fill each performance with as many people as possible who identify with the character and the themes of the play.

The 15:30 performance on Saturday 1 July will be followed by an event with figures from the world of sport and academia in discussion with the playwright on south Asian representation and discrimination in sports and beyond, including broadcaster Miriam Walker-Khan, policy researcher Alba Kapoor, and author & academic Duncan Stone.

Playwright and producer maatin said: “This role was written to give a south Asian performer a stage all to themselves, bringing audiences into the seldom-seen perspective of a British Indian, Muslim teenager boy, while playing a wide variety of characters. Omar Bynon is an exceptionally talented performer who has the charisma and skills to bring Ismail's world to life on stage. Additionally, it's an fact that those of us from minoritised identities rarely make up large numbers in theatre spaces, particularly those who identify as non-white. It is my biggest goal to try and change that. To purposefully invite communities that have been excluded – whether deliberately or otherwise – into the theatre should be seen as a positive act that I hope will be celebrated.

It's the summer of 2005, and Ismail – 'Smiley' to his schoolmates – is about to become the youngest-ever member of his elite public school's First XI cricket team. A star player full of ambition and talent, he sets his sights on immortality – breaking the school batting record and getting his name into Wisden. But at the start of the season, new coach Mr. Eagles takes a particular dislike to him, for reasons Ismail can't quite put his finger on. Desperate to prove himself, he runs into a patch of poor form at just the wrong time. Bad luck on the pitch leads to issues off it too, and Ismail finds that no one – friends, family, teammates – seems to get what he's going through.

Set during England's famous Ashes victory and the events of 7/7, Ismail discovers that cricket might not be able to take care of everything as it once did.

maatin is a London-based playwright, screenwriter, and dramaturg who focuses on Muslim storytelling. Most recently, his play Friday at the masjid was selected for the RSC's new national playwriting competition 37 Plays, after being longlisted for the The Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting 2022 and the Soho Theatre's Verity Bargate Award 2022. Previously, his work was longlisted for BBC Comedy Room 2020, and nominated for the Edinburgh TV Festival's New Voice Awards 2021 and has been performed at the Hampstead Theatre and Bush Theatre. He was selected for the Hampstead Theatre's INSPIRE Programme 2020/21 and graduated from Royal Central School of Speech and Drama with an MFA in Writing for Stage and Broadcast Media.

Omar Bynon plays Ismail. His theatre credits include Julius Caesar (Shakespeare's Globe), 2036: Pawn (Bush Theatre), Heartfelt, and Poet's Manifesto (Theatre Royal Stratford East).

Imy Wyatt Corner has directed at theatres including Theatre503, Pleasance Theatre, North Wall Arts Centre, International Theatre Frankfurt and Jermyn Street Theatre, where she was a Creative Associate. She has worked as Associate/ Assistant Director on touring shows to theatres including Theatre Royal Bath, Royal & Derngate, Cambridge Arts & Arcola Theatre, where is currently an Artistic Associate. She trained on the Drama Directing MA at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Young Vic skill building program and The Kiln New Artist Development Program. From 2018/2020 she was a script reader for Hamsptead Theatre. 

2023 Regional Awards


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