Olivier and Tony Award-winning actor, Ian McDiarmid will play MP Enoch Powell in Chris Hannan’s searing play, What Shadows. Directed by Roxana Silbert (Artistic Director, Birmingham Repertory Theatre), What Shadows tells the story of Powell’s explosive Rivers of Blood speech, bringing to life the community that inspired it and, 30 years later, its effects on a woman trying to make sense of her life. The production runs 27 Sep – 28 Oct in PARK200, with a national press night on Tuesday 3 October.

"I was a storm. I was also a man entirely alone in a storm. There were forces beyond my control and I was one of them."

Oxford academic and daughter of a Caribbean immigrant, Rose Cruickshank wants answers. Enoch's controversial words about immigration shattered her childhood. Rose cannot find inner peace until she understands what led him to make the speech that defined a generation. Will a meeting with the man himself give her the answers she desperately craves?

Director Roxana Silbert says of What Shadows: “As we near the 50th anniversary of Enoch Powell’s explosive ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech, the nation finds itself again facing profound and difficult questions about national identity and attitudes to immigration. Chris’s powerful play is a scorching interrogation of prejudices and how a bitterly divided country moves forward in the wake of a crisis. It couldn’t be more necessary.”

The full cast and creative team includes:

Ian McDiarmid as Enoch Powell
Nicholas Le Prevost as Clem Jones
Amelia Donkor as Rose Cruickshank & Joyce Cruickshank
Paula Wilcox as Grace Hughes & Marjorie Jones
Waleed Akhtar as Saeed
Ameet Chana as Sultan & Doctor Sharma
Joanne Pearce as Sofia & Pamela

Roxana Silbert Director
Ti Green Designer
Chahine Yavroyan Lighting Designer
Giles Thomas Original Sound Design
Louis Price Video Designer
Anna Morrissey Movement Director
Stephen Kemble Voice & Dialect Coach
Luke Kernaghan Associate Director

Ian McDiarmid is an Olivier and Tony award-winning British character actor and director, internationally renowned for his role as Palpatine in George Lucas’ Star Wars films. His film credits include Sleepy Hollow, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Gorky Park and Dragonslayer, and his recent theatre credits include the title role in A Life of Galileo directed by Roxana Silbert for the RSC, Shylock in The Merchant of Venice at the Almeida, Maximus in Emperor and Galilean for the National Theatre, the title role in John Gabriel Borkman for the Donmar Warehouse and the father in Rupert Goold’s Six Characters in Search of an Author for Chichester Festival Theatre.

Box office: 020 7870 6876*

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For more information, images, interviews or press tickets, please contact Nick Pearce, Target Live, Nick.Pearce@target-live.co.uk / 020 3372 0966

What Shadows
Venue: PARK200, Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, London N4 3JP
Dates: 27 September – 28 October 2017
Press night: Tuesday 3 October
Performances: Tue – Sat Evening 19.30, Thu & Sat Matinees 15.00
Prices: Previews £18.50, Tue-Thu & Sat Matinees, Standard £20.00 - £26.50, Concessions £18.50, Child £15
Young Patrons: £10 (27 Sept – 3 Oct)
Groups: Buy 10 tickets get the 11th free
Audio described: Wed 11 Oct 19.30, Touch Tour 18.00
Age guidance: 14+
Running time: 2 hours 15 mins inc. interval
* Telephone booking fee: 10% (capped at £2.50 per ticket)

Roxana Silbert - Director
Roxana Silbert is artistic director of Birmingham Repertory Theatre and was previously an associate director of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Roxana was artistic director of Paines Plough Theatre Company (2005-2009), literary director at the Traverse Theatre (2001-2004) and associate director at the Royal Court (1998-2000). Recent credits for Birmingham Repertory Theatre include: Amédée; The Government Inspector (in association with Ramps On The Moon/UK Tour); Anita And Me (UK Tour); The King’s Speech (UK Tour); Of Mice And Men (UK Tour); Khandan (Family) (with Royal Court) and Tartuffe. Other credits include Dunsinane (National Theatre of Scotland/Royal Shakespeare Company) and A Life Of Galileo (with Royal Shakespeare Company and Bath Theatre Royal).

Chris Hannan – Writer
Chris Hannan’s plays include: Elizabeth Gordon Quinn (Traverse, 1985); The Evil Doers (Time Out Award 1990 and Charrington London Fringe Best New Play Award); Shining Souls which opened at the Traverse in 1996 and was revived by the Old Vic in 1997, winning a Scotland on Sunday Critics Award and a Lloyds Bank Playwright of the Year nomination.

In 2006 Elizabeth Gordon Quinn was revived by the National Theatre of Scotland in its inaugural season. The God Of Soho was staged by Shakespeare’s Globe (2009) and The Three Musketeers And The Princess Of Spain (Traverse/English Touring Theatre/Belgrade Theatre, Coventry) was nominated in the 2011 CATS (Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland) in four categories, winning Best New Play and Best Ensemble.

As well as original plays, Hannan has adapted Crime And Punishment (Glasgow Citizens’ Theatre/Liverpool Playhouse/Lyceum Edinburgh, 2013) and The Iliad (Lyceum Edinburgh, 2016); and also made new versions of Ibsen’s The Pretenders (Royal Shakespeare Company, 1991); Gogol’s Gamblers (Tricycle, 1992) and Stars In The Morning Sky (Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, 2012). His 2008 novel Missy was awarded the McKitterick Prize for a debut novel.