Zawe Ashton’s Bold Exploration of Black Women’s experiences of Identity, Mental Health and Motherhood – “For all the women that thought they were mad”

Zawe Ashton’s urgent experimental play opened in the new pop up theatre in Stoke Newington’s Town Hall- part of a pledge of Hackney Council’s partnership with Hackney Showrooms to bring more plays to the borough. Ashton’s theatre piece which has taken 11 years to get to the stage looks at how Black women are conspired against though various forces in their lives as it pertains to motherhood, work and their mental health. The world premiere in London on 17th October was followed by an Off-broadway opening.

for all the women who thought the were Mad. Mina Andala (Joy) and Janet Kumah (Rose). Credit - Helen Murray

A play that opens up the conversations about situations where Black women may be deemed “mad” if in pursuit of the answers to what some of them experience in their everyday lives in the UK.  Central to the piece is Mina Andala’s Joy, the “voices” get louder for this working woman as she struggles with motherhood and childlessness and work life issues that eventually might push her over the edge. Andala’s Joy has the right amount of vulnerability and dignity (detachment). Jumoke Fashola’s Ruth is firece and powerful as she plays the mother that urges Joy to go back to her “roots”. The set is largely a neon-lit platform surrounded by  the dark  which gives an eerie shrilling feel to the production.

A thought provoking play that delivers strong performances.  This play is not just for “all the women who thought they were mad” but for anyone looking to be entertained and “informed”. A universal story for all to enjoy.

A multi-generational cast consist of Mina Andala, Jumoké Fashola, Layo-Christina Akinlude, Janet Kumah, Jennifer Dixon, Joy Elias-Rilwan, Michael Fitzgerald. And introducing: Elena Coleman, Chiamara Nwosu and Rae Ann Quayle.

Directed by Jo McInnes
Designed by Natalie Pryce & ULTZ
Associate Director Gail Babb
Lighting Designer Kevin Treacy
Sound Designer Tony Gayle
Composer Dan Batters
Movement Director Leah Muller

For All the Women that Thought They were Mad runs until 9th November 2019. BOOK HERE

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