Hackney Showroom today announces the world première of for all the women who thought they were Mad by Zawe Ashton which will open at Stoke Newington Town Hall – marking a new partnership with the London Borough of Hackney to bring theatre to Stoke Newington Town Hall. Directed by Jo McInnes it opens on 17 October, with previews from 14 October, and runs until 9 November.

"they like to see us fall
to slip on branches full of fruit we have not tasted"

Lately, it’s small things. Pop songs. The radio. Every day anguish, becomes madness. Call on your family. Call on the ancestors. Can they guide you home?

“we are pearl and earth and root
we know ourselves to be natural and complete
carved from rock that floats
but we should still be careful what we wish for
some of us can sink in the upstream”

Zawe Ashton said today, “I am a woman of colour who has written a play about women of colour. It’s a play about many things, but at its centre is an investigation into the fallout of colonialism and it’s resounding impact on the women of the African diaspora, specifically women living in the United Kingdom. It looks at how these women are constantly maltreated and marginalised by the institutions in which they operate or ask for professional help. Their workplaces, their hospitals or GP’s office - and so on. It’s a play about cultural bias and systemic oppression. Black women are the empathetic centre of the piece, their emotions are our emotions. Their struggle is our struggle as an audience.

Nina Lyndon and Sam Curtis Lindsay have, with director Jo McInnes, seen complex and vital questions that need to be raised. If it wasn’t for their refreshing approach to the event of theatre - I wouldn’t be writing this. I have finally found a home for my play and for myself as an artist and a team of collaborators that prioritise creating theatre for a wide and inclusive audience.”

Cllr Guy Nicholson, Hackney Council Cabinet Member for Planning, Culture and Inclusive Economy, also said, "Hackney Council is delighted to welcome this innovative Hackney Showroom production to Stoke Newington Town Hall. Hosting this new work, created by the talented Zawe Ashton in such an iconic Hackney venue is exciting enough, but the fact that Zawe also grew up in the borough makes it even more special. Hackney Showroom has made a great contribution to the cultural life of the borough, and connecting such a trail-blazing arts organisation with Stoke Newington Town Hall will breathe life back into some of its spaces. This a timely arrival as Hackney Council embarks on plans to shape the town hall's future."

Nina Lyndon and Sam Curtis Lindsay, co-Artistic Directors and co-Founders of Hackney Showroom added, “This is the play that brought us together to launch Hackney Showroom five years ago and so it has a special place in our hearts. We are so thrilled to be working with the Culture Team at LB Hackney to realise the artistic ambition of this play in such a striking building which will be transformed for this project. Zawe Ashton has written a profoundly moving and unforgettable piece of theatre and we are honoured to bring it before audiences this autumn.”

Zawe Ashton is an actor and writer. Her playwriting credits include Harm’s Way, Skunk and She from the Sea. As an actor, her theatre credits include Betrayal (Harold Pinter Theatre – and the forthcoming Broadway transfer to Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre), The Maids (Trafalgar Studios), Splendour (Donmar Warehouse), Gone too Far!, Rhinoceros, The Arsonists (Royal Court Theatre), and Othello and The Frontline (Shakespeare’s Globe). Her television credits include Wanderlust, Guerrilla, Fresh Meat and Not Safe for Work; and for film, Velvet Buzzsaw, Greta, Nocturnal Animals, Dreams of a Life and St Trinian’s: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold. Ashton’s debut novel, Character Breakdown, was published this year.

Jo McInnes directs. Her theatre credits include Valhalla (Theatre503), 36 Phone Calls (Hampstead Theatre), Another Place (Theatre Royal Plymouth), I Can Hear You, This Is Not An Exit (RSC/Royal Court Theatre), Vera, Vera, Vera, Red Bud (Royal Court Theatre), Marine Parade (Brighton Festival) and Christmas (Brighton Festival/Bush Theatre). She is an Associate Director of Hackney Showroom and was previously Artistic Director of New Writing South.

Supported by Arts Council England, Wellcome Trust and Cockayne Foundation.


Hackney Showroom @ Stoke Newington Town Hall
Stoke Newington Church Street, N16 0JR

14 October – 9 November 2019
Press night: Thursday 17 October, 7.30pm

Box Office: hackneyshowroom.com/for-all-the-women