J'Ouvert - Theatre503

London theatre news: Wednesday 8 May 2019

Casting - Off-West End - Shows

Casting has been announced for Yasmin Joseph's J'Ouvert, directed by Rebekah Murrell, which will see Theatre503 transformed into the explosive, dizzying world of Notting Hill Carnival - from 29 May 2019.
J'Ouvert at Theatre503

Image by Krystal Neuville

J'Ouvert, the debut play from one of Theatre503's resident playwright's Yasmin Joseph, 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.

J'Ouvert will play at Theatre503 from 29 May to 22 June 2019 and will see the black box theatre transformed into the explosive, dizzying world of Notting Hill Carnival.

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.

Rebekah Murrell (Nine Night, National Theatre, Trafalgar Studios) will make her directorial debut with the play, offering a timely reflection on the Black British experience and the sexual politics that are experienced at Carnival and beyond.

The cast brings together a team of black women and non-binary artists to present a rhythmic and vibrant testimony of womanhood:

- 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).

The production, which transforms Theatre503 into the vibrant streets of Carnival, aims to empower Black British artists to not question the validity or worthiness of their stories but to be inspired to tell them.

Yasmin Joseph commented ...

"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."

Director 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!"

About the playwright

Yasmin is one of Theatre503's resident playwrights, The 503Five, her debut play 'J'Ouvert' was selected from over 450 submissions.

Yasmin's first introduction to writing was as a member of the Soho Theatre Young Writers Lab, where her play 'Pinch' was longlisted for the Alfred Fagon 'Best New Play of the Year 2015' Award.

Following this, during her tenure at Theatre503 Yasmin has collaborated with a number of venues to produce her work, including the play 'Sugar' as part of Kiln Theatre's 'Mapping Brent Festival' as well as short plays; 'The Place of Shining Light' at Theatre503 and 'Do You Pray?' which transferred from Theatre503 to Southwark Playhouse.

'Do You Pray?' was Yasmin's first collaboration with director Rebekah Murrell and the play has since gone on to be published by Routledge in an anthology titled 'Short Plays with Great Roles for Women' which will be released in 2020.

More recently, Yasmin was also shortlisted for the Royal Court/Kudos Fellowship 2019.

About the director

Rebekah Murrell is a director, performer and facilitator who primarily works with new and devised writing by and about women of colour.

Rebekah was nominated for BBC Audio Drama Award 2018 for 'Best Debut Performance' for 'The Gift' by Vicky Donohue, and most recently played 'Anita' in the Olivier Award-nominated National Theatre production 'Nine Night', written by award-winning playwright Natasha Gordon and directed by JMK Award Winner Roy Alexander Weise, which made theatre history as the first play by a Black British female playwright to be staged on a West End stage after its transfer in 2018.

Rebekah has trained as a Director with established organisations such as Company Three, Tangle and Young Vic Theatre, gaining her positions as an Associate Artist with companies Coney and KIT Theatre.

Rebekah's Assistant Director credits include; 'We Too Are Giants' by Chino Odimba (Kiln Theatre), 'Black Lives Black Words' (Bush Theatre), Short Plays credits include; 'Stopcock' by Christine Robertson (Southwark Playhouse; Little Pieces of Gold, Omnibus Theatre, Canal Cafe Theatre), 'Do You Pray?' by Yasmin Joseph (Theatre503; Southwark Playhouse: Little Pieces of Gold), 'Red As Rubies' by Kate Webster (Arcola Theatre), 'Long Walk From Home' by Yarrie Bangura (Lyric Hammersmith).

Show listing information


“What people you know can party through all of the earth's elements?”

Carnival is here.

The streets of Notting Hill are alive with history, and amongst the pulsating soca, dazzling colour, and endless sequins and feathers, Jade and Nadine are fighting for space in a world they thought was theirs.

A timely reflection on the Black British experience and sexual politics of Carnival, J'Ouvert is a piercing, hilarious and fearless story of two best friends, battling to preserve tradition in a society where women's bodies are frequently under threat.


Jade - Nicole Lecky

Nisha - Annice Boparai

Nadine - Yvette Boakye


Author: Yasmin Joseph
Director: Rebekah Murrell
Designer: Sandra Falase
Lighting: Simisola Majekodunmi
Sound: Mwen
Movement: Shelley Maxwell
Production: Tobi Kyeremateng and BadBreed in association with Theatre503


The Latchmere
503 Battersea Park Road
SW11 3BW


From: Wednesday 29 May 2019

Closed: Saturday 22 June 2019


Previews: £10


£17 / £18

£10 Weds. Matinees

Concessions: £12


Show website
ActDrop full listing for J'Ouvert

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