Stage adaptation of The Fishermen secures West End transfer

Last Updated on 25th March 2019

An acclaimed touring production of Chigozie Obioma’s Booker Prize-nominated novel, The Fishermen, has secured a transfer to London’s West End.

The Fisherman tickets Trafalgar Studios
Valentine Olukpga and Michael Ajao in The Fisherman. Photo: Pamela Raith

Presented by Nottingham-based New Perspectives theatre company, the production will come to Trafalgar Studio 2 from 3 September to 12 October 2019.

Adapted by Gbolahan Obisesan and directed by Jack McNamara, it enjoyed an award-winning run at Edinburgh Festival Fringe last year and two sold-out runs at Arcola Theatre in north London alongside a UK tour.

The production, which previously starred Michael Ajao and Valentine Olukoga, is yet to announce the cast for this autumn’s transfer. It has been designed by Amelia Jane Hankin.

The Fishermen is a powerful allegory of brotherhood, vengeance and fate, telling the story of four brothers torn apart by a prophecy. In a small Nigerian town, Ben and Obembe slip away to fish at a forbidden river along with their two older brothers. Risking the wrath of their father, who expects great things of them all, they continue unnoticed and carefree until one day the prophecy of a madman changes the course of their lives.

It was Obioma’s debut novel and went on to be nominated for the 2015 Man Booker Prize. He will be headlining at the Africa Writes festival alongside a staged reading of the play on 7 July. He will also talk about his new novel, An Orchestra of Minorities.

McNamara said: “The Fishermen has been on an extraordinary journey since it first opened at Home Manchester last summer, going on to sell out in Edinburgh and London and win an award for its two outstanding young actors.

“Given the continual demand for this play, we are delighted to bring it to more audiences in London for six weeks this autumn, marking New Perspectives’ first transfer to the West End. We are thrilled to showcase cutting-edge work made in Nottingham and bring one of the many great contemporary African stories into focus on the London stage.”

Obisesan’s previous plays include an adaption of Pigeon English at Bristol Old Vic and Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the Fringe First-winning Mad About the Boy. He directed the Olivier-nominated Cuttin it at the Young Vic, Birmingham Rep, Sheffield Crucible, Royal Court and Yard Theatre.

New Perspectives has more than 40 years’ experience of touring original productions across the UK, led by McNamara as artistic director since 2012. Productions include The Boss of It All by Lars von Trier at Assembly Roxy in Edinburgh and Soho Theatre in London, The Lovesong of Alfred J Hitchcock by David Rudkin for Brits Off Broadway in New York and a UK tour, and Darkness Darkness with Nottingham Playhouse. They will be touring a new adaptation of Swiss cult film The Man Without A Past in the summer and then debbie tucker green’s Trade in the autumn.

Africa Writes festival is a celebration of contemporary literature from Africa and the diaspora, run by The Royal African Society and presented in partnership the British Library. The eighth edition of the festival takes place from 5 to 7 July 2019.



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