Casting has been announced for The Convert, a new play at The Young Vic by American actor and writer Danai Gurira.
Letitia Wright (pictured) will play Jekesai/Ester who is taken into the household of a black Roman Catholic missionary in Rhodesia in 1896, escaping a forced marriage at the cost of leaving behind her family and converting to Catholicism. She co-starred with Gurira in the blockbuster film Black Panther, playing Shuri, and has also appeared on TV in Humans, Black Mirror, Cucumber, Banana, Doctor Who and Top Boy.
Paapa Essiedu, who won acclaim in the title role of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Hamlet, has been cast as the priest, Chilford. Ivanno Jeremiah, best known for playing Max in Channel 4 series Humans, will take on the role of Chancellor.
Further casting includes Jude Akuwudike as Uncle, Rudolphe Mdlongwa as Tamba and Pam
Nomvete as Mai Tamba. Casting for the role of Prudence will be announced at a later date.
Gurira plays Okoye in Black Panther and Michonne in TV series The Walking Dead. With parents born in Zimbabwe, previously Rhodesia, she uses the country as a backdrop for a story exploring whether faith has a cost and, if so, when that cost is too much.
Gurira’s previous plays include Eclipsed which won numerous awards on Broadway and off-Broadway and was nominated for a Tony for best play in 2016. It was staged at London’s Gate Theatre in 2015 with a cast that included Letitia Wright.
The Convert runs at the Young Vic in London from 7 December 2018 to 26 January 2019, directed by Ola Ince.