Casting has been announced for J’Ouvert, the debut play from one of Theatre503’s resident playwright’s Yasmin Joseph.
Nicole Lecky (Superhoe, Royal Court Theatre; C4’s Fresh Meat, Channel 4; SENSE8, Netflix), Annice Boparai (17, The Vaults; Trojan Horse, Edinburgh) and Yvette Boakye (Girls, UK tour and Soho Theatre; Heroine & Kanye The First, HighTide Festival) will bring to life Joseph’s production. An incredible team of black women and non-binary artists join forces to present a rhythmic and vibrant testimony of womanhood in this authentic show.
It’s the Notting Hill Carnival and the streets in West London are alive. In dazzling colour and endless sequins and feathers, Jade and Nadine are fighting for space in a world they thought was theirs. J’Ouvert is a hilarious and fearless story of two best friends, battling to preserve tradition in a society where women’s bodies are frequently under threat.
Rebekah Murrell (Nine Night, National Theatre, Trafalgar Studios) will make her directorial debut offering a timely reflection on the Black British experience and the sexual politics that are experienced at Carnival and beyond. In a time when this country is constantly under threat, J’Ouvert reminds us to release our inhibitions while asking us what it means to belong.
Using the lens of a relatable friendship between two young women, J’Ouvert highlights just how much the personal can be political. The production, which transforms Theatre503 into the vibrant streets of Carnival, aims to empowers Black British artists to not question the validity or worthiness of their stories but to be inspired to tell them.
Yasmin Joseph said: “Carnival is of immense personal significance to me. Not just because it carves a space that allows me to honour my Caribbean heritage, but because in practice I believe it’s a powerful act of resistance.Throughout my life I’ve always seen women as being at the helm of the tradition, they are both the purveyors and innovators of carnival and are fundamental in keeping it alive. This play is my way of reconciling with how Black women are often mistreated in the spaces that they pioneer.”
Rebekah Murrell, added: “Staging this play is going to be a huge theatrical feat as we transform a black box theatre above a pub into the explosive, dizzying world of Notting Hill Carnival. We’re bringing together a team of the most exciting Black woman and non-binary theatre artists working in UK theatre today to create an experience unlike any we have ever seen, evoking the sights, sounds and smells of an event which is so much at the heart of London’s annual calendar and which holds immense social and cultural significance to everyone involved. We hope J’Ouvert will be a landmark production in both what the play says, what it celebrates and how we are making it. I can’t wait for the world to see it!”
Photo credit: Krystal Neuville