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New Perspectives’ adaptation of The Fishermen transfers to Trafalgar Studio 2

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

FOLLOWING a Stage Award-winning run at Edinburgh Festival Fringe and two sold-out runs at the Arcola, New Perspectives’ adaptation of Chigozie Obioma’s Booker Prize-nominated novel, The Fishermen, is transferring to the West End – to Trafalgar Studios where it will run from September 3 to October 12, 2019.

Gbolahan Obisesan has adapted the story of four brothers torn apart by a prophecy.

In a small Nigerian town, Ben and Obembe slip away to fish at a forbidden river along with their two older brothers. Risking the wrath of their father, who expects great things of them all, they continue unnoticed and carefree until one day the prophecy of a madman changes the course of their lives.

Based on the Man Booker Prize-shortlisted novel by one of Africa’s major new voices, New Perspectives present Chigozie Obioma’s powerful allegory of brotherhood, vengeance and fate.

The Fishermen is the debut novel by Nigerian author Chigozie Obioma. It was nominated for the 2015 Man Booker Prize, and was named a best book of the year by the Observer, the Economist, the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal.

Chigozie Obioma will be headlining at the Africa Writes festival alongside a staged reading of the play on Sunday, July 7. The author will also be talking about his new novel, An Orchestra of Minorities.

Director Jack McNamara said: “The Fishermen has been on an extraordinary journey since it first opened at Home Manchester last summer, going on to sell out in Edinburgh and London and win an award for its two outstanding young actors. Given the continual demand for this play, we are delighted to bring it to more audiences in London for six weeks this autumn, marking New Perspectives first transfer to the West End. We are thrilled to showcase cutting edge work made in Nottingham and bring one of the many great contemporary African stories into focus on the London stage.”

Gbolahan Obisesan is a director and Fringe First-winning writer. His previous plays include an adaptation of Pigeon English (Bristol Old Vic, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013) and the Fringe First-winning Mad About the Boy (2011), and he was one of the six writers commissioned by the Royal Court and the Young Vic for Rufus Norris’ Feast.

Obisesan recently held the role of Genesis Fellow/Associate Director at the Young Vic Theatre, previously directed the 2017 Olivier nominated Cuttin it (Young Vic, Birmingham Rep, Sheffield Crucible, Royal Court, Yard Theatre) and Off The Page, a short film for the Royal Court/Guardian’s microplays season.

New Perspectives is an East Midlands based company with over 40 years’ experience of touring highly original productions to venues of all sizes across the UK, from mid-scale theatres to village halls. Since 2012, they have been led by Artistic Director Jack McNamara whose productions include The Boss of It All by Lars von Trier (Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh and Soho Theatre), The Lovesong of Alfred J Hitchcock by David Rudkin (Brits off Broadway, New York and UK tour), and Darkness Darkness (Nottingham Playhouse co-production).

They will be touring a new adaptation of Swiss cult film The Man Without A Past in the Summer, and debbie tucker green’s trade in the Autumn.

Africa Writes festival is a celebration of contemporary literature from Africa and the diaspora, brought to you by The Royal African Society and presented in partnership with the British Library. The eighth edition of the festival takes place from Friday, July 5 to Sunday, July 7, 2019.

The Fishermen is designed by Amelia Jane Hankin. Casting for the West End transfer has not yet been announced.

The Fishermen is suitable for ages 12+.

Tickets: £30 – £20. To book, call 0844 871 7615 or visit www.atgtickets.com/venues/trafalgar-studios/.

Times: Monday to Saturday at 7.45pm, Thursday and Saturday matinees at 3pm.

Running Time: 1 hour 10 minutes.

Also at Trafalgar Studios: the award-winning comedy Admissions, starring Alex Kingston (until May 25) and Robert Chevara’s acclaimed production of Philip Ridley’s Vincent River (May 16 to June 22, 2019).