Following her widely acclaimed appearance at Theatre Royal Bath last year, Olivier Award nominated Tanya Moodie will return to Laurence Boswell’s production of Trouble in Mind when it premieres in London this September. Tanya will make her Print Room at the Coronet debut in the role of Wiletta in Alice Childress’ groundbreaking play, with previews from 14th September. Further casting will be announced in due course.
Trouble in Mind opened at Theatre Royal Bath’s Ustinov Studio in November 2016 to huge critical and public acclaim. Written by trailblazing 1950’s American playwright, the production tells the story of a group of African-American actors rehearsing for a Broadway production, in a theatre dominated by white men. By turns comic and dramatic, Childress’s Trouble in Mind, which has not been presented in London for over 20 years, was the first play by a black woman to be professionally produced in New York.
Tanya Moodie said, “After the success of Trouble in Mind at the Ustinov, I am delighted to be sharing the story in London at the Print Room. I wanted to find a character's voice on stage that articulates the challenges of transcending our limitations and realising one's fullest creative potential. Finding Trouble in Mind, bringing it to Laurence, gathering a superb creative team and sharing Alice Childress' play has been the most uplifting professional experience of my career. Thank you for supporting our work.”
Wiletta Mayer is a talented African-American actress who has spent a lifetime building a career in the theatre. Now she is on Broadway, rehearsing Chaos in Belleville, an anti-lynching play with a white director. As rehearsals progress, Wiletta finds it increasingly difficult to relate to the part she is playing. Will she be able to overcome her misgivings and let the show go on?
Tanya Moodie is a multi-award nominated actress recently recognized for her role in Fences alongside Lenny Henry; Constance in King John (The Globe) and Hamlet with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Further theatre credits include The House that will not Stand (Tricycle Theatre); Intimate Apparel (Ustinov Studio); The Under Room, Chair, A Thousand Stars Explode in the Sky (Lyric Hammersmith); Catch, ACDC, Fewer Emergencies, Incomplete & Random Acts of Kindness (Royal Court); The Overwhelming, The Darker Face of Earth, The Oedipus Plays (National Theatre). On screen she is known for her roles in Legacy, Rabbit Fever, Common, Skins, Sherlock, Lewis, The Street, The Clinic (Series 6 and 7); Casualty, Sea Of Souls and Silent Witness.
The Print Room began life in September 2010 in a converted printing warehouse just off Westbourne Grove, with a mission to present an exciting mixture of theatre, dance, concerts, art exhibitions and a variety of multidisciplinary collaborations. The theatre is now realising its unique artistic vision in its new, permanent home, Notting Hill’s iconic Coronet.
THEATRE ROYAL BATH
Since 2011, The Ustinov Studio has celebrated UK premieres of work from around the globe. Laurence Boswell and his team have identified, researched and developed new plays from around the world - as well as unearthing forgotten gems - marking the Ustinov as a studio epicentre for UK premieres. Laurence Boswell’s inaugural season was in Autumn 2011 with Classic European plays in repertory: The Phoenix of Madrid by Calderon de la Barca in a new translation by Laurence Boswell, Iphigenia by Goethe in a new translation by Meredith Oakes, and The Surprise of Love by Marivaux in a new translation by Mike Alfreds.
Laurence Boswell is an Olivier Award-winner, Artistic Director of the Ustinov Studio and an Associate Artist of the RSC. His recent productions include A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the Theatre Royal’s Main House, and Trouble in the Mind, The Mother, Intimate Apparel and The Spanish Golden Age Season in the Ustinov Studio.
For the RSC his directing credits include: Women Beware Women (the Swan); Beauty and the Beast (RSC); The Dog in the Manger (the Swan); Bartholomew Fair (the Swan) and The Painter of Dishonour (the Other Place). He curated and directed the RSC’s Golden Age Season in 2004, which later transferred to the West End and to Teatro Espaniol, Madrid.
Alice Childress was born in 1916 and raised during the Harlem Renaissance she grew up to become first an actress and then a playwright and novelist. A founding member of the American Negro Theatre, she wrote her first play, Florence, in 1949. Childress became in 1952 the first African-American woman to see her play (Gold Through the Trees) professionally produced in New York. In 1955, Childress’s play Trouble in Mind was a critical and popular success from the beginning of its run off-Broadway at the Greenwich Mews Theatre. Trouble in Mind received a well-reviewed off-Broadway revival in 1998 by the Negro Ensemble Company and has since been produced by Yale Repertory Theatre, Center Stage, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, and Arena Stage.
Childress is perhaps best known today for A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ but a Sandwich, her 1973 novel about a 13-year-old black boy addicted to heroin, which was subsequently made into a movie in 1978. Other plays written by Childress include: Just a Little Simple (1950), Wedding Band: a Love/Hate Story in Black and White (1966) and Gullah (1984).
Alice Childress died in New York in 1994.
14 September – 14 October 2017
Evenings: 7.30pm, Matinees: Saturdays 3pm
Trouble in Mind
by Alice Childress
Directed by Laurence Boswell
Press Night: 21 September 2017
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