Dan McCabe's THE PURISTS & More Announced For Amit Sharma's Inaugural Season at Kiln Theatre

See the complete lineup for the upcoming season.

By: Jun. 05, 2024
Dan McCabe's THE PURISTS & More Announced For Amit Sharma's Inaugural Season at Kiln Theatre
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The lineup for Amit Sharma's inaugural season as Artistic Director of Kiln Theatre will include the European premiere of Dan McCabe's The Purists, and more.

The season is an ambitious programme of new work, opening this Autumn with the world première of Rob Drummond’s Pins and Needles, directed by Sharma – a timely new play exploring the politics around vaccines and the human stories behind them.

Announcing the complete lineup, Amit Sharma said “I’m incredibly proud to share my first season as Artistic Director of Kiln.  My ambition is to make sure we present world class theatre coaligned with new entertainment offerings – so we are well on our way in making this a theatre for all! We have two world premieres, one European premiere and a hugely exciting transfer. At the heart of the theatre programme are human stories which are fun, poignant, relatable, and make for a great night out! Pins and Needles, The Purists, The Lonely Londoners, and Shanghai Dolls are brilliant plays written by incredible playwrights. The common thread they all have is that they tackle the big conversations which explore our cultural and political life - past and present. This neatly intertwines with The Kilburn High Road project, our three-year Creative Engagement project exploring the human histories of our community at a much more local level. We'll also be expanding our offer to audiences by hosting comedy, book launches, podcasts - with other action-packed events on the way. I can't wait to share all this with you as I kick off my new tenure.’’

This is followed by Dan McCabe’s The Purists, which Sharma also directs, examining how far you will go to speak your truth. The Purists was originally staged at the Huntington Theater Company directed by Tony Award winner Billy Porter, and this new production for Kiln Theatre marks its European debut.

Roy Williams’ critically acclaimed adaptation of Sam Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners transfers to Kiln Theatre after a sell out run at Jermyn Street Theatre; and the season is completed with the world première of Amy Ng’s Shanghai Dolls which is based on the true story of Sun Weishi - the first female director of modern spoken drama in Chinese history. 

Also presented today is the company’s most ambitious outreach project to date – The Kilburn High Road Project, a three-year collaboration with local communities which will uncover and explore the hidden stories of people who live and have lived near Kilburn High Road. The project, made possible with The National Lottery Heritage Fund with thanks to National Lottery players, will culminate in events and performances along Kilburn High Road in summer of 2026 and a celebratory exhibition at Brent Museum and Archives in December 2026.

To celebrate Sharma’s inaugural season, Kiln Theatre are offering a Multibuy Season Discount allowing customers the opportunity to buy tickets to more than one show this season and receive 30% off. They are also committing to their £10 rate for under 26-year-olds. Priority booking for the first three shows of the season starts today with general on-sale on Friday 7 June, 12pm. 

The season will also feature a brand-new strand of Kiln Comedy Nights which will complement the core theatre programming and form a regular part of the slate moving forward. The initial line up is Bella Hull and Micky Overman on 9 July, Chloe Petts and Michael Odewale on 10 July, Christopher Hall and Olga Koch on 11 July, Erika Ehler and Tom Ballard on 23 July and Lou Wall and Josh Glanc on 29 July. 

Also announced today is Tom Wright’s appointment as Associate Artistic Director of Kiln Theatre. During his time as the New Work Associate, he oversaw the development and programming of brand-new work for Kiln Theatre, including contributions from acclaimed figures such as Marina Carr, Zadie Smith and Ryan Calais Cameron, with productions successfully transferring to The Abbey Theatre in Dublin and Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York. Tom also established the Kiln’s Young Writers Programme, providing support to local first-time writers in amplifying their voices.


The world première of 

PINS AND NEEDLES 

by Rob Drummond

19 September – 26 October 2024

Press night 25 September 2024 at 7pm

Directed by: Amit Sharma

Caution: Contains truth, lies and misinformation. You decide.  

Rob is putting science and scepticism to the test in his new play. For research, he speaks to Mary, a mother trying to make the best decisions for her family, Toby, an angry son who distrusts institutions, and Edward Jenner, the father of modern vaccinations. The more he listens, the more he struggles to keep his own subjectivity off the table, which begs the question – how do you know who to trust? 

Rob Drummond, whose plays are ‘utterly unpredictable’ (The Stage), explores the politics around vaccines, and the human stories behind them.  

Rob Drummond is an award-winning playwright and performer who has worked with the most prestigious theatres in the UK; and an associate artist at the Traverse Theatre. His plays include Roald Dahl’s The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar (Perth Theatre, Macrobert Arts Centre and Eden Court Theatre), Milkshake, The Mack, Eulogy (Òran Mór, Traverse Theatre), Flesh (National Theatre Connections), Our Fathers (Traverse Theatre, Tron Theatre, Scottish tour), Pleading, Top Table, Rolls in Their Pockets (Òran Mór – A Play, A Pie and A Pint), The Majority (National Theatre), Grain in the Blood (Traverse Theatre, Tron Theatre), The Broons (Scottish tour), In Fidelity (HighTide, Traverse Theatre), Uncanny Valley (Edinburgh International Science Festival, Borderline Theatre – CATS Award, Best Production for Children and Young People), Dear Scotland (National Theatre of Scotland), Bullet Catch (Brits Off Broadway 59East59, international tour, Traverse Theatre – Herald Angel Award and Total Theatre Award), Riot of Spring (The Arches Theatre, Glasgow), Quiz Show (Traverse Theatre, National Theatre of Scotland – CATS Award for Best New Play), Rod Drummond: Wrestling (The Arches – Vital Spark Award), Mr Write (NTS, Tron Theatre – CATS Award, Best Production for Children and Young People), Hunter (NTS and Frantic Assembly), Allotment (Govan Shopping Centre), and Sixteen (Arches Theatre Festival). For television his work includes McDonald and Dodds

Amit Sharma is an international award-winning director of theatre and television. Before joining the Kiln Theatre as Associate Director, he was previously Deputy Artistic Director of Birmingham Rep, Associate Artistic Director at the Royal Exchange, Manchester, and Associate Director at Graeae Theatre Company where his journey into theatre began. Sharma directed the critically acclaimed and sell-out run of Retrograde at the Kiln; and has also directed two productions at The National Theatre - The Solid Life of Sugar Water (Graeae Theatre Company/Theatre Royal Plymouth co-production) and The Boy With Two Hearts (also Wales Millennium Centre). He also co-directed Prometheus Awakes, one of the largest outdoor productions featuring Deaf and disabled artists as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad (Graeae Theatre Company/ Greenwich+Docklands International Festival/ Stockton International Riverside Festival/La Fura Dels Baus); and Aruna and The Raging Sun in Chennai, India as part of UK/INDIA Year of Culture 2017. Sharma is a BAFTA nominated director, for his two films which were part of the Criptales season on BBC and BBC AMERICA. He also co-directed the award-winning BBC and NETFLIX television drama Then Barbara Met Alan (Best Single Drama, 2023 Broadcast Awards). He began his training at Graeae Theatre Company with Missing Piece 1. His other theatre credits include One Under (Graeae Theatre Company/Theatre Royal Plymouth), Cosmic Scallies (Graeae Theatre Company/Royal Exchange Theatre), and Iron Man (Graeae Theatre Company/international tour). His other television work includes Hamish, and Thunderbox. 


The European première of 

THE PURISTS 

by Dan McCabe

14 November – 21 December 2024

Press night 22 November 2024 at 7pm

Directed by: Amit Sharma

Subcultures and generations collide in this New York comedy.  

On their stoop in Queens, New York, Lamont, a legendary emcee and Mr Bugz, a hall-of-fame DJ, have been winding up Gerry, a musical lover, for as long as they can remember.  

But when two young women, Nancy and Val, put their rap battling skills to the test, they are forced to confront their convictions on race, sexuality and music. Struggling with secrets and their fears for the future, they realise they have more in common than they thought.  

As this critically acclaimed show makes its European premiere, it asks - how far would you go to speak your truth?

Dan McCabe’s play The Purists premiered at The Huntington Theater in Boston where it won the Elliot Norton Award for Best Production and The Elisabeth Osborn Award for Best Play. Other plays include Blame the Parents and Reptilian. He is co-writing the screenplay for the forthcoming James Baldwin biopic, with Billy Porter portraying the author and civil rights activist.


Kiln Theatre & Jermyn Street Theatre present

THE LONELY LONDONERS

by Sam Selvon

adapted by Roy Williams

10 January - 15 February

Press Night: 16 January

Directed by: Ebenezer Bamgboye

The critically acclaimed adaptation of Sam Selvon’s iconic novel. 

1950s London. Newly arrived from Trinidad, Henry ‘Sir Galahad’ Oliver is impatient to start his new life in London. Carrying just pyjamas and a toothbrush, he bursts through Moses Aloetta’s door only to find Moses and his friends already soured on city life. Will the London fog dampen Galahad’s dreams? Or will these Lonely Londoners make a home in a city that sees them as a threat?   

Following its sold out run at Jermyn Street Theatre, Roy Williams’ adaptation of Sam Selvon’s iconic novel, The Lonely Londoners, comes to Kiln. Ebenezer Bamgboye’s critically acclaimed production opens a window into the hopes, dream and realities of generation Windrush.

Sam Selvon (1923 – 1994) was a Trinidadian novelist. He is best known for his novels, including Moses Ascending (1975), A Brighter Sun (1952), Ways of Sunlight (1957), Turn Again Tiger (1958) and Those Who Eat the Cascadura (1972). His other works include short stories, poetry, essays, plays.

Roy Williams is an award-winning playwright. He returns to Kiln Theatre, following the recent NW Trilogy. His other recent plays include Death of England: Closing Time, Death of England (National Theatre), 846 (Theatre Royal Stratford East and GDIF), Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads (Chichester Festival Theatre/National Theatre), The Fellowship, The Firm, Wildefire (Hampstead Theatre, Downstairs), Soul: The Untold Story of Marvin Gaye (Royal and Derngate / Hackney Empire), Antigone (Pilot Theatre / UK tour), Advice for the Young at Heart (Theatre Centre), an adaptation of The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (Pilot Theatre/ UK Tour), Sucker Punch (Royal Court Theatre, nominated for Olivier Award for Best Play), Kingston ‘14 (Theatre Royal Stratford East) and Category B (Kiln Theatre).

Ebenezer Bamgboye is the current Programming Associate at Southwark Playhouse and was the Carne Deputy Director of Jermyn Street Theatre 2021-22. As a director, his credits include The Cherry Orchard (RADA), Under The Kunde Tree (Southwark Playhouse), Julius Caesar (GSA), Little Sweet Thing (LAMDA), The Anarchist, Two Horsemen (Jermyn Street Theatre) and Boys Cry (Riverside Studios). As Associate Director - Faustus: That Damned Woman (tour); and as Assistant Director, A Very Expensive Poison (The Old Vic), Three Sisters (Almeida Theatre), Sleeping Beauty (Theatre Royal Stratford East) and Steel (Sheffield Theatres). 


The world première of 

SHANGHAI DOLLS

by Amy Ng

April – May 2025

The true story of a cultural martyr and a cultural oppressor.  

When two penniless actresses meet in Shanghai at auditions for Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, they quickly become inseparable. But as political upheaval rips through China, their tumultuous friendship will alter not only the course of their lives, but the course of history. One will become China’s first female director. The other, the architect of the Cultural Revolution.  

Amy Ng’s newest play looks at the untold story of two of the most influential women in Chinese history – Madam Mao and Sun Weishi – and how the personal truly is political.

Amy Ng is a British-Hong Kong playwright. Her plays include Under the Umbrella (Belgrade Theatre Coventry, UK Tour), Acceptance (Hampstead Theatre) and Shangri-La (Finborough Theatre). Radio plays include Tiger Girls (BBC Radio 4) and Kilburn Passion (BBC Radio 3). Adaptations include Miss Julie (Chester Storyhouse and UK tour 2020, 2021; Singapore Repertory Theatre 2022, and a bilingual version for the Hong Kong International Arts Festival, 2024). Amy trained as a historian and is the author of ‘Nationalism and Political Liberty’ (Oxford University Press).  She is fluent in English, German and Chinese and regularly translates Chinese plays into English.  


KILBURN HIGH ROAD PROJECT

Over three years and through co-creation, Kiln Theatre in collaboration with local residents, artists and organisations will uncover and showcase the intangible heritage - including personal histories and oral traditions, social practices, performing arts and more, of people who live and have lived near Kilburn High Road. 

Local residents are invited to participate in heritage-inspired activities that will amplify the voices of the communities who call Kilburn home. The project will bring local people together to celebrate Kilburn, its communities and cultures. 

Throughout the three-year initiative, Kiln will work in partnership with local residents, artists, organisations and community groups to platform stories through theatre, music, movement, poetry, visual art, costume, film and photography. Activity will take place across Kilburn; making use of green spaces, unoccupied premises, collaborating with businesses and organisations, encouraging connection, cultural exchange and a sense of pride along the High Road. The project will culminate in events and performances along Kilburn High Road in summer of 2026 including Celebrating our Stories on the main stage at Kiln and will close with a period of evaluation and a volunteer coordinated celebratory exhibition at Brent Museum and Archives in December 2026.

A Community Advisory Board of local volunteers will help attract participants and develop activity, and Kiln Collaborators, local adults aged 25+ receiving paid creative facilitation training, will support the delivery of the programme. Through the Neighbours programme, training and upskilling opportunities will be created for local people to take on backstage roles and support the production of the final performances.  




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