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Ian McDiarmid to play Enoch Powell in What Shadows

What Shadows 2016: Ian McDiarmid as Enoch Powell - c Ellie Kurttz
What Shadows 2016: Ian McDiarmid as Enoch Powell – c Ellie Kurttz

Olivier and Tony Award-winning actor, Ian McDiarmid will play MP Enoch Powell in Chris Hannan’s searing play, What Shadows. Directed by Roxana Silbert (Artistic Director, Birmingham Repertory Theatre), What Shadows tells the story of Powell’s explosive Rivers of Blood speech, bringing to life the community that inspired it and, 30 years later, its effects on a woman trying to make sense of her life. The production runs 27 Sep – 28 Oct in PARK200, with a national press night on Tuesday 3 October. “I was a storm. I was also a man entirely alone in a storm. There were forces beyond my control and I was one of them.

Oxford academic and daughter of a Caribbean immigrant, Rose Cruickshank wants answers. Enoch’s controversial words about immigration shattered her childhood. Rose cannot find inner peace until she understands what led him to make the speech that defined a generation. Will a meeting with the man himself give her the answers she desperately craves?

Director Roxana Silbert says of What Shadows: “As we near the 50th anniversary of Enoch Powell’s explosive ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech, the nation finds itself again facing profound and difficult questions about national identity and attitudes to immigration. Chris’s powerful play is a scorching interrogation of prejudices and how a bitterly divided country moves forward in the wake of a crisis. It couldn’t be more necessary.”

The full cast and creative team includes:

Ian McDiarmid as Enoch Powell
Nicholas Le Prevost as Clem Jones
Amelia Donkor as Rose Cruickshank & Joyce Cruickshank
Paula Wilcox as Grace Hughes & Marjorie Jones
Waleed Akhtar as Saeed
Ameet Chana as Sultan & Doctor Sharma
Joanne Pearce as Sofia & Pamela

Roxana Silbert Director
Ti Green Designer
Chahine Yavroyan Lighting Designer
Giles Thomas Original Sound Design
Louis Price Video Designer
Anna Morrissey Movement Director
Stephen Kemble Voice & Dialect Coach
Luke Kernaghan Associate Director

Ian McDiarmid is an Olivier and Tony award-winning British character actor and director, internationally renowned for his role as Palpatine in George Lucas’ Star Wars films. His film credits include Sleepy Hollow, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Gorky Park and Dragonslayer, and his recent theatre credits include the title role in A Life of Galileo directed by Roxana Silbert for the RSC, Shylock in The Merchant of Venice at the Almeida, Maximus in Emperor and Galilean for the National Theatre, the title role in John Gabriel Borkman for the Donmar Warehouse and the father in Rupert Goold’s Six Characters in Search of an Author for Chichester Festival Theatre.

What Shadows
Venue: PARK200, Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, London N4 3JP
Dates: 27 September – 28 October 2017
Press night: Tuesday 3 October
Performances: Tue – Sat Evening 19.30, Thu & Sat Matinees 15.00
Age guidance: 14+
Running time: 2 hours 15 mins inc. interval


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