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Jude and The Firm come to Hampstead Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

HAMPSTEAD Theatre has announced its next two productions. The first will be the world premiere of Jude by Howard Brenton, which will be directed by Edward Hall, his last as Artistic Director of Hampstead.

The second will be Roy Williams’ gripping play The Firm, which returns to Hampstead Downstairs following a sold out run in 2017 and will be directed by Denis Lawson.

Artistic Director Edward Hall commented: “Jude will be the last production that I will direct for Hampstead before Roxana Silbert’s first season in the Autumn. It has been a huge privilege to work with so many extraordinary people backstage and front during my time as Artistic Director, with writers such as Mike Bartlett, Martyna Majok, Beth Steel, Lauren Gunderson, Ryan Craig, Fiona Doyle and David Lindsay-Abaire to name but a few.

“But it is a particularly happy moment for me to be directing one of Howard Brenton’s plays as my last. Howard has given us five plays during my time here, with Jude emerging from our Next Decade programme, a fund that will support new work well beyond my tenure. It feels somehow appropriate then to sign off on this incredible journey with the world premiere of a Hampstead Theatre Next Decade play from this brilliant and original playwright, an artist whose work lies at the very heart of the British theatre canon.”

Jude runs from May 2 (previews from April 23) to June 1, 2019.

It wasn’t just her freakish ability with language. She saw through to behind the words. It was like she had a direct line to – I was going to say to ‘the gods’.

Loosely inspired by Thomas Hardy’s novel Jude the Obscure, Jude is a modern day tale of unexpected genius and of our struggle to accommodate extraordinary talent.

About to be fired from her cleaning job for stealing a volume of Euripides, Jude turns her employer’s outrage to shock by translating the ancient Greek on the spot. The employer, a Classics teacher, knows great talent when she sees it and the encounter kick-starts Jude’s lifelong ambition to study at Oxford University.

Entirely self-taught and possessing an astonishing gift for languages, Jude will stop at nothing to achieve her dream – but she remains oblivious to the hidden barriers that her background has placed in her path…

Howard Brenton makes a highly anticipated return to Hampstead following Lawrence After Arabia in 2016. His other Hampstead premieres include #aiww: The Arrest of Ai Weiwei (2013); Drawing the Line (2013) and 55 Days (2012).

The Firm runs at Hampstead Theatre Downstairs from May 14 (previews from May 3) to June 8, 2019.

I can’t get out of bed without groaning or feel summin inside of me is creaking… We’re too old for this shit.

The Firm is a tale of growing up, lifelong loyalties and how sometimes, it is possible to choose your own family.

In a pub in South London ‘The Firm’ reunite for the first time in twelve years. Once they were a notorious criminal gang. Today, they’re older, wiser and wistful – their lives changed beyond recognition. But when an uninvited guest turns up to their reunion with an intriguing proposition and an explosive secret, they’re tempted to try their hands at one last job… Will they escape their pasts unscathed?

Roy Williams’ previous work at Hampstead Theatre includes The Firm (Downstairs); Wildefire and Local Boy (Main Stage).

Also at Hampstead Theatre: Ella Road’s debut play The Phlebotomist (March 19 to April 20) and the world premiere of Hannah Patterson’s Eden (until March 16, 2019).

For more information or to book tickets, call the box office on 020 7722 9301 or visit