Rakie Ayola + Kwami Odoom announced for Nancy Medina’s production of Inua Ellams’ THE HALF-GOD OF RAINFALL
Kiln Theatre, Fuel and Birmingham Repertory Theatre Present THE HALF-GOD OF RAINFALL
CAST ANNOUNCED: RAKIE AYOLA AND KWAMI ODOOM WILL PLAY THE CHARACTERS OF MODUPE AND DEMI DIRECTED BY NANCY MEDINA
TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW FOR INUA ELLAMS’ NEW PLAY AT BIRMINGHAM REPERTORY THEATRE FROM APRIL 13th – APRIL 20th AND KILN THEATRE FROM APRIL 25th – MAY 17th
For thousands of years, Gods enjoyed full dominion over the lives of men. As prayers dwindled, Gods felt their power cut’
Casting has been announced for Nancy Medina’s forthcoming production of Inua Ellams’ new play The Half-God of Rainfall. Rakie Ayola (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) will play Modupe, mother to her half-god son Demi who will be played by Kwami Odoom (Barber Shop Chronicles). This world premiere production will be directed by Nancy Medina, designed by Max Johns, with movement direction by Imogen Knight, sound design by Tanuja Amarasuriya, lighting design by Jackie Shemesh and casting by Briony Barnett.
Modupe, cursed with extraordinary beauty, draws the unwanted attention of the Greek and Yoruba gods. Her son Demi, half Nigerian-mortal, half Olympian child, is bestowed with powers; one of them manifests in the game of basketball. When he unknowingly sparks Zeus’ wrath, Modupe tries to protect him from the capricious whims of the gods.
Inua Ellams writes this contemporary saga that weaves poetry with storytelling in a majestic, chaotic journey across mythologies that transports us from a tiny village in Southern Nigeria to the further reaches of our galaxy and beyond.
This production is a collaboration between Kiln Theatre, Fuel and Birmingham Repertory Theatre and is Ellams’ next play since Barber Shop Chronicles.
Rakie's recent theatre work includes: Leave To Remain (Lyric Hammersmith), Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (The Palace Theatre), The Rest of Your Life (Bush Theatre), King Lear (Royal Exchange/Talawa), Crave/4:48 Psychosis (Sheffield Crucible), The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time (National at The Apollo), The Winter's Tale (RSC). Recent television includes: Noughts and Crosses (ITC/BBC), Shetland (ITV/BBC), No Offence (Abbott Vision/Channel 4), King Lear (Talawa/BBC4) Film includes: Been So Long (Netflix), Dredd (DNA Films), Now Is Good (BBC Films), Sahara (Paramount). Rakie is Patron of @ChildhoodTT, @MelqoshM and @eclipsetcl.
Kwami Odoom’s work in theatre includes: BOYS (The PappyShow/Vaults); A Christmas Carol (Royal Shakespeare Company); Queen Margaret (Royal Exchange); Barber Shop Chronicles (National Theatre); DNA, Pigeon English, and Romeo and Juliet, (National Youth Theatre REP Company). Television includes: The Athena (Sky Kids / Brycoed Productions); The Rook (Lionsgate); and Doctors (BBC).
Film includes: A Family Affair (Florence Keith-Roach)
The Half-God of Rainfall
By Inua Ellams
Supported by London Community Foundation & Cockayne - Grants for the Arts.
Birmingham Repertory Theatre
13 April – 20 April 2019
7.45pm (except 16 April at 7pm)
Press night: 16 April
Tickets: From £15
0121 236 4455
25 April - 17 May 2019
7.30pm / 2.30pm (Wednesday and Saturday)
Press night: 30 April
Tickets: From £10
020 7328 1000
INUA ELLAMS - Writer
Born in Nigeria, Inua Ellams is a poet, playwright & performer, graphic artist & designer. He is a Complete Works poet alumni and a graphic designer at White Space Creative Agency. He facilitates workshops in creative writing where he explores reoccurring themes in his work - Identity, Displacement and Destiny - in accessible, enjoyable ways for participants of all ages and backgrounds.
His creative work has been recognised with a number of awards: The Live Canon International Poetry Prize, The Arts Council of England Award, a Wellcome Trust Award, twice shortlisted for the Brunel Prize for African Poetry, longlisted the Alfred Fagan Award, Edinburgh Fringe First Award 2009 and the Liberty Human Rights Award.
He has been commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company, National Theatre, Tate Modern, Louis Vuitton, Chris Ofili, BBC Radio & Television. His first three pamphlets of poetry ‘Thirteen Fairy Negro Tales’ and ‘Candy Coated Unicorn and Converse’ were published Flipped Eye and 'The Wire-Headed Heathen' by Akashic Books. Several plays including the critically acclaimed BLACK T-SHIRT COLLECTION and award-winning THE 14TH TALE are published by Oberon. In 2005, he founded the Midnight Run— an arts-filled, night-time, playful, walking, urban movement that attempts to reconnect inner city lives with inner city spaces.
His play BARBER SHOP CHRONICLES has had two sold-out seasons at the National theatre, and recently toured Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada. In 2019 it will commence a UK tour and a season at The Roundhouse in London.
NANCY MEDINA - Director
Nancy Medina is originally from Brooklyn NY, and currently based in Bristol. She is the 2018 RTST Sir Peter Hall Directors Award winner and will be collaborating with Royal & Derngate and English Touring Theatre on a production of TWO TRAINS RUNNING in 2019. In 2017 she won the Genesis Future Director Award at the Young Vic. She is an acting tutor at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and Course Leader for a post 16 Professional Acting Diploma at Boomsatsuma.
Upcoming projects: THE HALF GOD OF RAINFALL (Fuel / Birmingham Rep / Kiln Theatre);STRANGE FRUIT (Bush Theatre); and TWO TRAINS RUNNING (Royal & Derngate /ETT / RTST).
Directing credits include: COLLECTIVE RAGE: A PLAY IN 5 BETTIES (Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama); WHEN THEY GO LOW (NT Connections/Sherman Theatre); YELLOWMAN (Young Vic);ROMEO AND JULIET, AS YOU LIKE IT (GB Theatre); CURRIED GOAT AND FISH FINGERS(Bristol Old Vic); DOGTAG (Theatre West); STRAWBERRY & CHOCOLATE, DUTCHMAN (Tobacco Factory Theatres) and PERSISTENCE OF MEMORY (Rondo Theatre).
MAX JOHNS - Designer
Max Johns trained in theatre design at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and was the recipient of a BBC Performing Arts Fellowship in 2015. Prior to this he worked for a number of years as a designer in Germany. His most recent UK productions include WENDY AND PETER PAN for the Royal Lyceum, UTILITY for the Orange Tree Theatre, BUGGY BABY for the Yard Theatre, YELLOWMAN for the Young Vic, KES and RANDOM for Leeds Playhouse, BADDIES for Synergy Theatre Project, FIDELIO for the London Philharmonic Orchestra, THERE SHALL BE FIREWORKS for the Plasticine Men, TWELFTH NIGHT for the Orange Tree Theatre, LIFE RAFT and UNDER A CARDBOARD SEA for Bristol Old Vic, DUTCHMAN and STRAWBERRY AND CHOCOLATE for Tobacco Factory Theatres, and HAMLET and ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL for Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory. Max has also had work produced at the V & A and Theatre Royal Bath.
Forthcoming productions include THE HALF-GOD OF RAINFALL for Fuel / Birmingham Rep / Kiln, STRANGE FRUIT for the Bush, and KING JOHN for the RSC.
IMOGEN KNIGHT – Movement Director
Imogen works across multiple disciplines; theatre, classical and electronic music, performance art installations, film, TV and opera. She also runs workshops and movement sessions for institutions, community groups and individuals across the UK.
Theatre credits include: THE BIRTHDAY PARTY (West End); THE LAST TESTAMENT OF LILLIAN BILOCCA (Co-Director & Choreographer, Hull City of Culture 2017); BELLEVILLE, KNIVES IN HENS and THE LADY FROM THE SEA (Donmar Warehouse); OUR LADIES OF PERPERTUAL SUCCOUR (National Theatre of Scotland, National Theatre, UK tour and West End); NUCLEAR WAR (as Director), BODIES, FAKE NEWS, LINDA, GOD BLESS THE CHILD, THE LOW ROAD, A TIME TO REAP (Royal Court); MACBETH, AMADEUS, DEAD DON’T FLOSS, THE THREEPENNY OPERA, LES BLANCS, I WANT MY HAT BACK, EDWARD II, DIDO, QUEEN OF CARTHAGE (National Theatre); THE SEAGULL, SEVENTEEN (Lyric Hammersmith); WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF (West End); ALL THE ANGELS, THE BROKEN HEART, TIS PITY SHE’S A WHORE (Shakespeare’s Globe); THE EMPEROR, MEASURE FOR MEASURE, DIRTY BUTTERFLY (Young Vic); FIVE FINGER EXERCISE (The Print Room); THE SKRIKER (Manchester International Festival & Royal Exchange); AGAINST, CARMEN DISRUPTION, LITTLE REVOLUTION, TURN OF THE SCREW, KING LEAR, FILUMENA, MEASURE FOR MEASURE, WHEN THE RAIN STOPS FALLING (Almeida); HAMLET, BLINDSIDED, CANNIBALS (Royal Exchange Theatre); IN TIME O’STRIFE, AN APPOINTMENT WITH THE WICKER MAN, THE MISSING (National Theatre of Scotland); THE CRUCIBLE (Old Vic); PESTS (Clean Break, Royal Exchange, Royal Court & UK Tour); ARDEN OF FAVERSHAM (Royal Shakespeare Company); OF MICE AND MEN, AS YOU LIKE IT (West Yorkshire Playhouse).
JACKIE SHEMESH – Lighting Designer
Jackie Shemesh is a designer of lighting and space. He works internationally in dance, theatre, music and with performance and visual artists
Theatre and Opera design includes works for The Almeida; Lyric Hammersmith; Bristol Old Vic; Duchess Theatre and Trafalgar Studios West End; The Young Vic; Bush Theatre; Curve Theatre, Leicester; and Grange Opera.
Jackie has designed the lighting for many dance companies including Lost Dog Dance, Rambert, Batsheva Ensemble, Ballet Boyz, Arthur Pita/Sadler’s Wells, National Dance Company of Wales, Scottish Dance Theatre, CandoCo, and Protein among others.
Other collaborations around Europe include with Manchester International Festival; the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra; Steirischer Herbst Festival Austria and several productions for the Hebbel Theatre, Berlin.
Jackie was shortlisted for a Knight of Illumination 2018 Award for his design for Goat, choreographed by Ben Duke for Rambert.
TANUJA AMARSURIYA – Sound Designer
Tanuja Amarasuriya is a Director and Sound Designer who works across theatre, film and digital sound. As a Director and Dramaturg she has worked with playwrights and theatremakers including Improbable, Timothy X Atack, Dipika Guha, Sam Halmarack, Eno Mfon, Marietta Kirkbride and Raucous. As Sound Designer, her work includes with Selina Thompson, Sookie Greene, and Chris Thorpe & Rachel Chavkin. She is co-Artistic Director of Sleepdogs, a wide-ranging collaboration with writer and composer Timothy X Atack, making theatre, film and audio work characterised by imaginative storytelling and visceral, emotional, sensory aesthetics. Sleepdogs’ work has been developed and presented nationally and internationally, including at: the National Theatre (London), Bristol Old Vic, Seattle International Film Festival, Manchester Royal Exchange, Channel 4 television, BBC Radio, NexT International Film Festival (Bucharest), BIOS (Athens) and Sura Medura (Sri Lanka). She is a Leverhulme Arts Scholar attached to Bristol Old Vic and a resident at Watershed’s Pervasive Media Studio.
BRIONY BARNETT CDG – Casting Director
Theatre credits include: PRINCESS AND THE HUSTLER (Bristol Old Vic/tour); THE TRICK (Bush Theatre/tour); WHITE TEETH (Kiln Theatre); AGAIN (West End); AN ADVENTURE (Bush Theatre); ABIGAIL’S PARTY (Hull Truck); BLACK MEN WALKING (Manchester Royal Exchange/ Royal Court/ tour); FEMALE PARTS (Hoxton Hall); HANDBAGGED (West End/ Tricycle Theatre); FENCES (West End/Theatre Royal Bath); A RAISIN IN THE SUN (Sheffield Crucible/tour); TICKING (West End); PLAY MAS (Orange Tree); THE INVISIBLE HAND; BEN HUR; A WOLF IN SNAKESKIN SHOES; THE HOUSE THAT WILL NOT STAND; THE COLBY SISTERS AND ONE MONKEY DON’T STOP NO SHOW (all at the Tricycle Theatre).
Film credits include: BRUCE; GYPSY’S KISS; THE KNOT; HIGH TIDE; WHAT WE DID ON OUR HOLIDAY (children); COMMON PEOPLE; TEZZ; FINAL PRAYER; LOVE/LOSS; ZERO SUM AND 10BY10.
Television credits include: OUTNUMBERED (children); JUST AROUND THE CORNER (children); DICKENSIAN (children) and INSIDE THE MIND OF LEONARDO.
Based in Kilburn, Kiln Theatre creates internationally renowned, high-quality, engaging and innovative work which presents the world through a variety of different lenses, amplifying unheard voices into the mainstream. Led by Artistic Director Indhu Rubasingham and Executive Director Daisy Heath, it makes theatre that crosses continents and tells big stories about human connections across cultures, race and languages.
We encourage artists of all ages and backgrounds. Our work is commissioned specifically for our theatre and produced by Kiln Theatre’s artistic team, as well as additional work which is programmed in collaboration with national or international partners.
Recent productions include White Teeth by Zadie Smith, adapted by Stephen Sharkey, Holy Sh!t by Alexis Zegerman, Approaching Empty by Ishy Din and The Son by Florian Zeller. Recent collaborations include the National Theatre, Tamasha and Sundance Theatre Lab (US).
The ambitious Creative Learning programme aims to champion the imagination, aspiration and potential of the Brent community young and old. It invests in creating meaningful relationships with young people to inspire and encourage their creativity, their confidence and self-esteem. It works with older people to create a thriving community around the theatre.
Fuel produces an adventurous, playful and significant programme of work - live, digital, and across art forms – for a large and representative audience across the UK and beyond. They collaborate with outstanding artists with fresh perspectives and approaches who seek to explore our place in the world, expose our fears, understand our hopes for the future, create experiences which change us and in turn empower us to make change in the world around us. Led by Kate McGrath, Fuel is supported by Arts Council England as a National Portfolio Organisation, the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, and Wellcome Trust through Sustaining Excellence. Kate McGrath, Director of Fuel, and Inua Ellams met in 2008, after Kate saw what became Inua’s first theatre show, The 14th Tale, at BAC. Fuel helped Inua develop his debut play and produced it, premiering it at the Edinburgh Festival, winning a Fringe First, touring it in the UK and internationally and presenting it at the National Theatre. Since that first meeting, Fuel has worked closely with Inua, producing Untitled, Knight Watch, Long Song Goodbye, Black T-shirt Collection, The Spalding Suite, An Evening with an Immigrant, Barber Shop Chronicles and now The Half-God of Rainfall. Other shows in Fuel’s 2019 Season include Touching the Void (David Greig/Tom Morris), The Kids Are Alright (Encounter Productions), The Day I Fell Into A Book (Lewis Gibson) and Fly The Flag (Ai Weiwei).
Birmingham Repertory Theatre Company is one of Britain’s leading producing theatre companies. Its mission is to inspire a lifelong love of theatre in the diverse communities of Birmingham and beyond. As well as presenting over 60 productions on its three stages every year, the theatre tours its productions nationally and internationally, showcasing theatre made in Birmingham.
The commissioning and production of new work lies at the core of The REP’s programme and over the last 15 years, the company has produced more than 130 new plays. The theatre’s outreach programme engages with over 7000 young people and adults through its learning and participation programme, equating to 30,000 individual educational sessions. The REP is also committed to nurturing new talent through its youth theatre groups and training for up and coming writers, directors and artists through its REP Foundry initiative. The REP’s Furnace programme unites established theatre practitioners with Birmingham’s communities to make high quality, unique theatre.
Many of The REP’s productions go on to have lives beyond Birmingham. Recent tours and transfers include Brief Encounter, Nativity! The Musical, What Shadows, LOVE, The Winslow Boy, The Government Inspector, Of Mice and Men, Anita and Me, Penguins and The King’s Speech. The theatre’s long-running production of The Snowman celebrates its 25th anniversary this year as well as its 21st consecutive season at London's Peacock Theatre.