Production images are released today for the UK premiere of Blue Door, Tanya Barfield’s searing play with music which examines family, identity and the African-American male experience. First seen in the US in 2006, the UK stage premiere, directed by Eleanor Rhode and starring Ray Fearon and Fehinti Balogun, has its opening night for press this evening and will run at Theatre Royal Bath’s Ustinov Studio until 9 March.

Lewis, a prominent African-American professor of mathematics is just trying to lead a normal, quiet and successful existence. But when he refuses to attend the Million Man March, his wife of twenty-five years suddenly leaves him, and his life is thrown into turmoil. Finding himself suffering from a disorientating insomnia, he inadvertently conjures three generations of his ancestors, who each reveal the hardships and victories that have shaped their lives. Lyrical, funny and poignant, Lewis’s journey grappling at the intersection of his own identity, race and culture, encapsulates more than a hundred years of American history.

Tanya Barfield’s plays include Bright Half Life (Time Out New York Critics’ Pick), The Call (New York Times Critics’ Pick), Of Equal Measure (Center Theatre Group), Chat (New Dramatists’ PlayTime Festival), and The Quick (New York Stage and Film). In 2016, the Profile Theatre devoted an entire season to Barfield’s work. Tanya is the winner of a LAMDA Literary Award, a Lilly Award and Helen Merrill Playwriting Award. She has written for numerous television shows, including FX’s award-winning The Americans.

Eleanor Rhode’s recent work includes the critically acclaimed world premiere of Boudica (Shakespeare’s Globe). She co-founded Snapdragon Productions where directing credits include Toast (UK Tour and New York) and the world premiere of Teddy. Other recent work includes Frankenstein (The Watermill and Wilton’s Music Hall), Beauty and the Beast (Watford Palace), Terrorism (Bush Theatre), When We Were Women (Orange Tree Theatre), Toast and Thark (Park Theatre), two Generous, The Drawer Boy, and A Life by Hugh Leonard (Finborough Theatre) and the world premiere of For All That (Centerstage Theater, Seattle).

Ray Fearon has appeared across stage, film and television. His theatre credits include the title role of Macbeth (Shakespeare’s Globe), Hecuba (RSC), The Lower Ninth (Donmar Warehouse), A Raisin in the Sun (Royal Exchange), The Soldiers Fortune (Young Vic), Guys and Dolls (Detroit). For television he has starred in Snatch, New Blood, Da Vinci Demons, Suspects, Silk and Coronation Street, and film appearances include Origin Unknown, The Foreigner, Beauty and the Beast, The Yellow Birds, The Hooligan Factory.

Fehinti Balogun recently graduated from RADA. He has appeared on stage in Against (Almeida), Myth (RSC) and King Lear (Old Vic) and for film in Juliet, Naked.

The Ustinov Studio’s A Season of UK Premieres from the Americas opened last year with Donald Margulies’ The Model Apartment. Following Blue Door, Claudio Tolcachir’s The Omission of the Family Coleman in a new version by Stella Feehily, directed by Laurence Boswell will complete the season, running from 28 March to 27 April 2019.

A Season of UK Premieres from the Americas

Blue Door
By Tanya Barfield
Directed by Eleanor Rhode
Dates: Thursday 7 February – Saturday 9 March 2019
Press Night: Wednesday 13 February, 7pm
Performance schedule: Mon – Sat 7.45pm, Matinees Thu & Sat 2.30pm
Tickets: £23.50 / £18.50 discounts (Preview Perfs and Mondays, all seats £15)

The Omission of the Family Coleman
By Claudio Tolcachir
In a new version by Stella Feehily
Directed by Laurence Boswell
Dates: Thursday 28 March – Saturday 27 April 2019
Press Night: Wednesday 3 April, 7pm
Performance schedule: Mon – Sat 7.45pm, Matinees Thu & Sat 2.30pm
(No matinee Thursday 28 March)
Tickets: £23.50 / £18.50 discounts (Preview Perfs and Mondays, all seats £15)

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