The cast of Red Pitch, a new play by Tyrell Williams following the friendship of three young lads, their love of football and their local area, opens at the Bush Theatre, London on 16 February (press night 22 February). On a visit last week to neighbouring Queen’s Park Rangers the actors Kedar Williams-Stirling, Emeka Sesay and Francis Lovehall were able to soak up the unique atmosphere of the Loftus Road stadium during a photoshoot for the show’s poster.
Director of Red Pitch, Daniel Bailey said, ‘The staff at QPR have been brilliant in getting me and the actors in the right head-space for the play showing that when the theatre meets the theatre of dreams, some amazing relationships can happen. We’re both in the business of helping develop aspiration in young people at a grass-roots level whether through our Young People’s Theatre Company and discounted theatre tickets or QPR’s ‘QPR in the Community Trust’. We both contribute hugely to the cultural life of west London and our collaboration has built a bond which we look forward to strengthening.’
Three lifelong friends Omz, Bilal, and Joey are playing football. Like they always have. Living out dreams of football stardom. Beyond their football pitch, local shops are closing, old flats are being demolished as new flats shoot up, some residents struggle to stay while others rush to leave. When a small football pitch has been a home from home, a place you’ve laughed, fought, and forged friendships, what happens when it’s under threat?
Kedar Williams-Stirling (Bilal) is currently starring in the Netflix series Sex Education. His television credits include Steve McQueen’s anthology series Small Axe for the BBC and Amazon, the History Channel mini-series Roots and Wolfblood. Kedar’s stage credits include playing Young Simba in The Lion King (Lyceum), Big White Fog (Almeida Theatre), Welcome to Thebes (National Theatre), The Dutchman, and The History Boys.
Emeka Sesay (Joey) recently shot BBC independent feature Pretty Red Dress directed by Dionne Edwards. His previous credits include The Power for Amazon, The Novels That Shaped Us for BBC 2 with Russell Tovey, Top Boy for Netflix, and Armando Iannucci’s David Copperfield alongside Dev Patel, Hugh Laurie, and Tilda Swinton. In 2016 Emeka appeared in Shadowman as well as BAFTA-nominated short films Samuel613 and Goodnight.
Francis Lovehall (Omz) most recently featured in Steve McQueen’s highly acclaimed Small Axe: Lovers Rock in his screen debut. He made his professional debut in Nick Hytner’s celebrated production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at The Bridge before graduating from RADA in 2019. Last year, Francis wrapped Masters Of The Air for Apple TV+ with Dee Rees directing his episodes, which he shot concurrently with His Dark Materials 3 for HBO and BBC.
Opened in 1972, the Bush Theatre is an internationally renowned ‘new writing powerhouse whose size belies its influence’ (Financial Times).
A champion of playwrights and operating in one of the most culturally diverse areas of London, the Bush Theatre has a commitment to its local community and the wider artistic community. Braiding these two strands of work together, the Bush produces an engaging and challenging programme that reflects the world we live in.
Recent successes include Arinzé Kene’s Misty which transferred to the West End; Jellyfish, Ben Weatherill’s love story about a young woman with Down’s Syndrome which transferred to the National Theatre; a re-imagining of Jackie Kay’s 1986 masterpiece, Chiaroscuro, directed by the Bush’s Artistic Director Lynette Linton; and the co-production of Richard Gadd’s Baby Reindeer, which won the Olivier Award for ‘Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre’.
The Bush Theatre’s talent development programmes discover and develop the very best of the UK’s leading artists. The Bush team believe the theatre has a responsibility to programme and generate opportunities for new and established makers and, with long-term residencies, add to the sustainability of their careers.
Since re-opening in March 2017 after a year-long £4.3 million renovation by architects Haworth Tompkins, the Bush continues to create a space where all communities can be part of its future and call the theatre home.