Custody - coming to Ovalhouse

London theatre news: Wednesday 22 May 2019

Off-West End - Shows - Tours

As part of a wider tour, Custody returns to London's Ovalhouse next month after a previous successful run at the venue in 2017.
Custody at Ovalhouse

Image: Ovalhouse

Interrogating the impact of police brutality on BAME communities, Custody has embarked on a tour after a previous, hugely successful run at Ovalhouse in 2017.

As part of this tour, Custody returns to Ovalhouse from 5 to 22 June 2019.

Custody tackles an uncomfortable and devastating truth often naively assumed to be an American issue and questions the ability of the police to police themselves.

When another young black man dies in police custody and apparently no-one is to blame, one bereaved family battle for answers and for justice.

Created by Urbain Hayo (The Art Machine) and written by Tom Wainwright (Banksy: the Room in the Elephant), Custody is a contemporary fictional narrative built on truth.

As it emerged in January, there has been a 400% rise in police use of 'stop and search' powers, and the Assistant Commissioner of London's Metropolitan Police calls for Stop and Search to be introduced to schools, while recent reports also find that black people are being disproportionately targeted, this is a production of pressing importance intended to provoke debate.

Inspired by Migrant Media's banned cult documentary films Injustice and Who Polices the Police, Custody draws on the real experiences of families who have suffered from police injustice.

Its exploration of the police's treatment of young black men comes from creator Urban Wolf's own experiences of the controversial stop and search procedures.

Urban Wolf commented...

"We're bringing back Custody not only because of its success in London, but also after seeing how effective it was with audience members.

Deaths in police custody is an issue that is ongoing and while we're doing this to share amazing stories, we're also raising awareness of this.

There are many regions in the UK where this has happened, and is still happening, but people aren't always aware about these cases.

We're passionate about bringing the momentum and sharing those stories beyond London."

Tour dates

29 May - Crucible Theatre, Sheffield

30 May - Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield

5 - 22 June - Ovalhouse, London

Show listing information


When a young black man, Brian, dies in police custody, it sends shock waves across the community.

Reeling from his death, Brian's family struggle to make sense of their loss, whilst pursuing a lengthy court battle to find justice.

Inspired by creator Urban Wolf's own experiences with the police, this stark and timely new play explores how young black men are slipping through the cracks in society.


Mother - Muna Otaru

Lover - Rochelle James

Sister - Ewa Dina

Brother - Urban Wolf


Author: Tom Wainwright and Urban Wolf
Director: Gbemisola Ikumel
Designer: Fran Horler
Lighting: Will Burgher
Movement: Sara Dos Santos
Production: Sarah Wrixon for Prime Theatre


Ovalhouse - Theatre downstairs
52-54 Kennington
SE11 5SW


From: Wednesday 5 June 2019

Closed: Saturday 22 June 2019


Previews: £10

Standard: £16

Concessions: £10


Show website
ActDrop full listing for Custody

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