News: Hampstead Theatre Announces The Memory of Water and world premiere of Malindadzimu

Hampstead Theatre is delighted to announce further live productions for 2021. Shelagh Stephenson’s Olivier Award-winning play The Memory of Water will run from 3 September until 16 October 2021. Alice Hamilton will direct this poignant and painfully funny comedy about conflicting memories, life and loss. The play originally premiered at the theatre in 1996. Hamilton returns to Hampstead Theatre after her recent 60th anniversary production of The Dumb Waiter and the Olivier-nominated Every Day I Make Greatness Happen and Paradise.

The World Premiere of Malindadzimu by Mufaro Makubika will also run from 17 September until 30 October 2021 at Hampstead Downstairs. This delicate, witty and epic new play, which explores a mother and daughter’s search for belonging and their struggle with a multicultural heritage, will be directed by Monique Touko who will be making her professional directing debut.

Roxana Silbert, Artistic Director of Hampstead Theatre said: “I am delighted to be announcing The Memory of Water by one of our pioneering female playwrights, Shelagh Stephenson. This Olivier Award-winning funny, timeless and vibrant play offers three female actors great roles as sisters who come together and behave outrageously, sorting out their family home in the wake of their mother’s death.

Downstairs, twenty-five years later, another Hampstead commission premieres. Monique Touko makes her professional debut as a director of Mufaro Makubika’s Malindadzimu, a beautiful investigation of dual identity told through the relationship between a mother and daughter.”

Shelagh Stephenson, playwright of The Memory of Water said: “The Memory of Water has been on quite a journey since it premiered at Hampstead Theatre all those years ago. I look back, and I see we were in a more hopeful place then. So I’m happy it’s coming home in these dark, uncertain times. I hope it brings laughter, and despite the subject matter, joy. Alice Hamilton is going to do a great job. I can feel it in my bones.”

Mufaro Makubika, playwright of Malindadzimu said: “I am so excited to be making my debut at Hampstead Theatre with Malindadzimu. It is a play that questions belonging, and the concept of ‘home’ and I very much look forward to exploring these themes with Monique.”

The Memory of Water makes a highly anticipated return to Hampstead Theatre twenty-five years after its World Premiere in 1996. Winner of the Olivier Award for Best Comedy, Shelagh Stephenson’s poignant and painfully funny comedy is about conflicting memories, life and loss. Following West End and New York transfers, Stephenson also adapted The Memory of Water into a film, Before You Go (2002), directed by Lewis Gilbert and starring Julie Walters, John Hannah, Joanne Whalley and Victoria Hamilton.

Stephenson’s other plays include An Experiment with an Air Pump (Royal Exchange/Hampstead Theatre), Ancient Lights (Hampstead Theatre), Five Kinds of Silence (Lyric Hammersmith) and Mappa Mundi (National Theatre).

Alice Hamilton returns to Hampstead following her 60th anniversary production of Harold Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter (2020) and the Olivier-nominated Every Day I Make Greatness Happen and Paradise (both Hampstead Downstairs). Other directing credits include Blood Wedding (Salisbury Playhouse) and While We’re Here (Bush Theatre). She will be joined by designer, Anna Reid; lighting designer Johanna Town; composer and sound designer, Harry Blake with casting by Briony Barnett CDG. The production has been supported with a philanthropic gift from Lin and Ken Craig, long-standing supporters of Hampstead Theatre.

Malindadzimu by Mufaro Makubika is a delicate, witty and epic new play, set in Nottingham and Zimbabwe, which explores a mother and daughter’s search for belonging, their struggle with a multicultural heritage, and a haunting history that they cannot ignore.

Malindadzimu, (“Hill of the Ancestral Spirits”) is situated in the Matobo National Park in south-west Zimbabwe. It is considered to be a sacred place by locals. Controversially, Cecil John Rhodes is buried on the summit of Malindadzimu.

Malindadzimu is Makubika’s second play following his critically acclaimed Shebeen (Nottingham Playhouse/Theatre Royal Stratford East), which won the 2017 Alfred Fagon Award for Best New Play. Malindadzimu will be Makubika’s debut at Hampstead Theatre.

Monique Touko will be making her professional directing debut at Hampstead Theatre with Malindadzimu. She will be joined by designer, Zoë Hurwitz; lighting designer, Matt Haskins and sound designer, Max Pappenheim.

The Memory of Water will remain with reduced capacity and socially distancing from 3 September until 25 September. The theatre hopes to increase capacity from 27 September but out of concern for audiences, staff and performing companies, it is exercising caution and will not be putting these dates on sale until closer to the time.

Malindadzimu will remain with reduced capacity and social distancing for the duration of its run.

In the event of either of the productions being postponed due to UK Government advice, full refunds or credit vouchers will be offered.

Hampstead Theatre is currently staging Tennessee Williams’ The Two Character Play which will run until 28 August. Sam Yates is directing this innovative, psychological thriller by one of the world’s great dramatists which originally premiered at the theatre in 1967. Yates is making a highly anticipated return to the theatre following his Olivier-nominated production of The Phlebotomist (2019). The World Premiere of Big Big Sky, by Tom Wells will run from 30 July until 11 September at Hampstead Downstairs. This beautifully tender new play, which explores nature’s influence on love, friendship and family, will be directed by Tessa Walker, Hampstead Theatre’s new Associate Director. Both productions are remaining as originally sold, with reduced capacity and social distancing for the duration of their runs.

Tickets will go on sale from Thursday 29 July at 10.30am at hampsteadtheatre.com.

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