Casting has beenn announced for Winsome Pinnock’s Leave Taking at the Bush Theatre, part of the three-year Passing The Baton initiative.
To begin Bush Theatre’s three-year initiative Passing the Baton, introducing or reacquainting theatregoers with the artists of colour who carved their way through British playwriting with distinction, paving the way for many of the writers and performers who appear at Bush Theatre, Artistic Director Madani Younis will direct a contemporary revival of Leave Taking, Pinnock’s classic, award-winning play from 24 May to 30 June 2018.
For each of the three years of Passing the Baton, a promising emerging writer of colour will be given a full length commission for the main house alongside mentoring to develop their work, so passing the baton between established writers and emerging writers of colour. The first writer will be announced in May.
‘Passing the Baton will create a dialogue between past, present and future generations’ – Winsome Pinnock
The cast of Leave Taking has today been announced as Adjoa Andoh (Mai), Seraphina Beh (Del), Nicholle Cherrie (Viv), Wil Johnson (Brod), Sarah Niles (Enid).
In Deptford, Del and Viv are soul-sick. Del doesn’t want to be at home – staying out late, 3pm-the-next-day late is more her thing. Viv scours her school books trying to find a trace of herself between their lines.
When Enid takes her daughters to the local ‘Obeah’ woman for some traditional Caribbean soul healing, secrets are spilled. There’s no turning back for Del, Viv and Enid as they negotiate the frictions between their countries and cultures.
Two generations. Three incredible women. Leave Taking is the epic story of what we leave behind in order to find home.
Winsome Pinnock won the George Devine Award for Leave Taking in 1991 and was the first black British woman to have a play produced at the National Theatre. She has written numerous, award-winning plays that put black experiences centre-stage. In 2017, Winsome’s short play The Principles of Cartography opened the newly refurbished Bush Theatre as part of Black Lives, Black Words.
Winsome Pinnock said:‘The young woman that I was when I first wrote Leave Taking looked forward to a post-racial world. The play was last produced in London in 1997 so I was thrilled when in October 2017 the Bush Theatre informed me that they were going to revive the play. The exciting news also gave me pause to reflect on whether the goals of my parents’ generation – often called the Windrush generation and the focus of the play – had been achieved.
That same month the government released its Racial Disparity Audit. Twenty years after Leave Taking was last produced in London the statistics reveal that BAME people continue to face discrimination in almost every sphere of social life whether it be within the criminal justice system, housing or employment. It brought into focus the importance of Passing the Baton which I am immensely proud to be part of. The initiative will create a dialogue between past, present and future generations as well give a voice to those who continue to be marginalised.’