LONDON – Coming to London this May, Theatre503 presents J’Ouvert, a brand new production crafted by a team of black women and non-binary artists. In this rhythmic and vibrant testimony of womanhood, watch as the Notting Hill Carnival and the streets in West London come alive. But amidst this spectrum of colour and sequins and feathers, best friends Jade and Nadine are fighting for space in a world they thought was theirs in this hilarious and fearless tale of the battle to preserve tradition in a society where women’s bodies are frequently under threat.
Written by Theatre503 resident playwright Yasmin Joseph in her playwright debut, and directed by Rebekah Murrell in her directorial debut, the show is inspired by the Black British experience and the sexual politics that are experienced at Carnival and beyond, and will star Nicole Lecky and Yvette Boakye.
Comments writer Yasmin Joseph: “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.”
Says director Rebekah Murrell: “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!”
The personal becomes the political as Theatre503 transforms into the vibrant streets of Carnival, and through J’Ouvert, aims to empower Black British artists to not question the validity or worthiness of their stories but to be inspired to tell them in a world that constantly tells them they do not belong.
J’Ouvert plays from 29th May to 22nd June 2019 at Theatre503, 503 Battersea Park Rd, London SW11 3BW. Tickets available here