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Casting Announced for World Première Image of an Unknown Young Woman

Image of an Unknown WomanArtistic Director of the Gate Theatre, Christopher Haydon, today announces the cast for his production of the world première of Elinor Cook’s Image of an Unknown Young Woman – Oliver Birch (Chorus), Susan Brown (Candace), Wendy Kweh (Nia), Emilie Patry (Chorus), Isaac Ssenbandeke (Chorus), Anjana Vasan (Leyla), Eileen Walsh (Yasmin) and Ashley Zhangazha (Ali). The production opens on 8th June, with previews from 4th June, and runs until 27th June.

She is a young woman in a yellow dress.
She has been shot by the police.

As a video goes viral, she quickly becomes an icon of resistance and a revolution begins to stir. Ali and Leyla are panicking – they uploaded the footage and now the authorities are after them. Across town, Yasmin is desperate to know if her missing mother is still alive. Halfway around the world, a woman in London wants to help. As a tornado of dissent and violence spreads, everyone’s life is going to change.

Elinor Cook won the George Devine Award 2013 for Most Promising Playwright. This world première of her new play takes a startlingly theatrical look at what happens when it all kicks off.

Oliver Birch is part of the Chorus. His theatre work includes Treasure Island, There Is a War (National Theatre), Moby Dick, The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (Arcola Theatre), Sixty-Six Books (Bush Theatre), and Macbeth (Broadway’s Lyceum/West End/Chichester Festival Theatre). For television, the work includes In the Flesh; and for film, Macbeth, Peacock Season.

Susan Brown plays Candace. For theatre her recent credits include Good People (Noel Coward Theatre), Julius Caesar (Donmar at St Ann’s Warehouse, New York), Making Noise Quietly, The Wild Duck (Donmar Warehouse), Saved (Lyric Hammersmith), and Harper Regan, The Hour We Knew Nothing Of Each Other, Playing With Fire, Henry IV Parts I & II, Cardiff East (National Theatre). For television her work includes Atlantis, Broadchurch, Call the Midwife and Game of Thrones; and for film, Belle, The Iron Lady, Now Is Good, Brideshead Revisited, Hope And Glory.

Wendy Kweh plays Nia. Her theatre work includes Chimerica (West End), The Oresteia (National Theatre), Moonwalking in Chinatown (Soho Theatre), and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, Little Shop of Horrors, Office Party (Singapore Repertory Theatre). Her television work includes Apocalypse Slough, Holby City (series regular), Coronation Street, Casualty, Murder City, The Year of the Tiger, The Crooked Man and The Bill (series regular); and for film, Snowden, Hot Hot Hot, The Blue Mansion.

Emilie Patry is part of the Chorus. Her theatre work includes The Gamblers (Greyscale UK tour), A Beginning, Middle and an End (Traverse/Tron/Hull Truck), Stars in the Morning Sky (Riverside Studios), and Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down (Arcola). For television, her credits include Casualty 1907, Behind Closed Doors, The Advocates and Gayle Tuesday: The Comeback.

Isaac Ssenbandeke is part of the Chorus. His theatre work includes The Taming of The Shrew (Two Gents), We Are Proud to Present…(Bush Theatre, The Offies – Best Ensemble), and One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show, (Eclipse Theatre). For television, his credits includes Cucumber, The Well, Dubplate Drama and the Dumping Ground; and for film Shoot Me and Columbite Tantalite.

Anjana Vasan plays Leyla. Her theatre credits include Theatre: Dara, Behind the Beautiful Forevers (National Theatre), The Taming of the Shrew, Much Ado About Nothing (RSC), Golgotha (Tristan Bates Theatre), The Radicalistion of Bradley Manning (National Theatre of Wales), and Sixty-Six Books (Bush Theatre). For television, her work includes Fresh Meat, and Asia at War Fighting for India; and for film, Cinderella, and Black + White + Silence.

Eileen Walsh plays Yasmin. For theatre her work includes Lippy (Abbey Theatre/Young Vic) ,Teh Internet is Serious Business, Sand (Royal Court Theatre),The Believers (Frantic Assembly), Liola (National Theatre), Hamlet (Young Vic) and Disco Pigs (Bush Theatre). Her television work includes Catastrophe and Pure Mule; and for film Gold, Morning, Eden, Nicholas Nickleby and The Magdalene Sisters.

Ashley Zhangazha plays Ali. His theatre work includes Ah Wilderness (Young Vic), Hamlet (Manchester Royal Exchange), Venice Preserv’d (The Spectators Guild), Henry V (Michael Grandage Company), Fences (Duchess Theatre/Theatre Royal Bath), Macbeth (Sheffield Crucible – 1st Prize Ian Charleson Award), Belong and Truth And Reconciliation (Royal Court Theatre), Richard II and King Lear – Ian Charleson Commendation (Donmar Warehouse), Danton’s Death (National Theatre), Oliver! (London Palladium), Whistle Down The Wind (Aldwych Theatre). For television, his credits include Humans and Ordinary Lies.

Elinor Cook’s play Microwave was short-listed for the Old Vic/Theatre 503 Award for new writing. The Girl’s Guide to Saving the World was produced by HighTide as part of their festival in April 2014, directed by Amelia Sears. Her play The Boy Preference will feature as part of the 2015 National Theatre Connections programme this summer. Cook was the recipient of the George Devine Award 2013 for Most Promising Playwright. Her play The Circle Game was the recipient of the Old Vic New Voices Time Warner Ignite 3 competition and was also performed at Latitude Festival. This is Where We Got to When You Came In, an interactive performance, co-written by Cook and non zero one was the Bush Theatre’s final production in their old home. In 2012 she was part of Paines Plough’s project The Big Room in association with Channel 4. She wrote an episode The Secrets, which was directed by Dominic Savage on BBC One.

Artistic Director Christopher Haydon directs. His work for the Gate includes The Edge of Our Bodies, Grounded (also Edinburgh Festival, Washington DC, Sweden and on UK tour), Purple Heart, The Trojan Women, The Prophet and Wittenberg. He was formerly an Associate Director at the Bush Theatre and with On Theatre. He studied at Cambridge University and trained at Central and the NT Studio. In 2007 he received both the inaugural Chichester Festival Theatre Heller Fellowship and the Channel Four Theatre Director’s Bursary at the Salisbury Playhouse. Other credits include Twelve Angry Men (Birmingham Rep, West End and UK tour), Sixty Six Books, In The Beginning (Bush Theatre/ Westminster Abbey), A Safe Harbour for Elizabeth Bishop (Southbank Centre), Grace, Pressure Drop – starring Billy Bragg (On Theatre), Deep Cut (Sherman Cymru/National Tour), Monsters, Notes from Underground (Arcola Theatre), A Number (Salisbury Playhouse), The Stone (RWCMD). He recently directed a short film for the Guardian/Royal Court called Devil In The Detail. He has co-edited three books; Conversations on Religion, Conversations on Truth and Identity and Identification. Haydon has written for The Guardian, The Scotsman, The New Statesman, The FT, The Independent and Prospect Magazine.

Directed by: Christopher Haydon; Designer: Fly Davis
Lighting Designer: Mark Howland; Sound Designer: George Dennis

Image of an Unknown Young Woman was developed with the support of the National Theatre Studio.

Gate Theatre Listings
Above The Prince Albert Pub, 11 Pembridge Road, London, W11 3HQ
Box Office: 020 7229 0706

Twitter: @gatetheatre

Performance times:
Monday – Saturday at 7.30pm
Saturday matinees at 3pm

Previews and matinees: £10
Full price: £20
Concessions £15
Under 26’s on selected evening £7.50
Image of an Unknown Young Woman
By Elinor Cook
Part of the Gate Theatre’s Icons and Idols season

4th June to 27th June 2015
Press night: 8 June at 7pm

Tuesday 19th May 2015


  • Neil Cheesman

    First becoming involved in an online theatre business in 2005 and launching londontheatre1.com in September 2013. Neil writes reviews and news articles, and has interviewed over 150 actors and actresses from the West End, Broadway, film, television, and theatre. Follow Neil on Twitter @LondonTheatre1

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