This November our Soho Rising festival hosts a bunch of the brightest new Soho Theatre Labs voices, over a fortnight.
FRANCESCA MOODY PRODUCTIONS AND SOHO THEATRE PRESENT THE WORLD PREMIERE OF
The story of Mary and Lysander – a mixed-race woman and her very white son
WRITTEN BY GABRIEL BISSET-SMITH
DIRECTED BY SOHO THEATRE’S ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR CHARLOTTE BENNETT
Wednesday 3rd – Saturday 27th July (19:00). Saturday Matinees (14:45)
Press night: Friday 5th July
From BAFTA nominated writer, Gabriel Bisset-Smith comes the hilarious, devastating and timely world premiere of Whitewash. A love letter to London exploring race, family and identity in the ever-changing face of the city. Whitewash is the final production that will be directed by Soho Theatre’s Associate Director Charlotte Bennett (RashDash, Rattlesnake, Happy Hour), produced by Francesca Moody Productions (Angry Alan, Square Go) in a co-production with Soho Theatre and with development support from DryWrite.
Mary’s trying to be the best parent that she can, but that’s hard when you’re a single mum bringing up your kids in social housing and when people think that you’ve kidnapped your child.
Inspired by Gabriel’s own experience of being from Jamaican mixed heritage but white-passing and growing up in North London social housing, Whitewash is the story of Mary and Lysander – a mixed-race woman and her very white son. Looking at where race and class intersect, Whitewash asks how you find a sense of belonging and identity when you neither look like your own family nor no longer recognise the city around you.
Charlotte Bennett said: ‘I am thrilled to be directing Whitewash. Gabriel is a distinct theatrical voice who I have championed and worked with over ten years. This story is a unique, bold and moving portrait of London, told through his personal experience of searching for his own sense of identity in an ever-changing city. I am so excited to share it with Soho audiences this summer.’
Gabriel Bisset-Smith said: ‘This play is the most personal and challenging thing I’ve ever written, and I couldn’t be happier that it’s going on at the Soho Theatre. They have supported me from the very beginning of my career and where better to stage a play about London than at the very heart of it.’
Vicky Jones and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Co-Artistic Directors of DryWrite said: ‘Gabriel’s work has been making us laugh for a very long time. We can’t wait to see Whitewash, the most personal and moving thing he has written to date.’
Alongside the production there will be two post-show panel discussions on 13th and 27th July exploring the current issues faced by social housing with confirmed guests including George Bradley Director of Bradley Van Der Straeten architects and architect on ITV’s Love Your Home and Garden.
Previously, Gabriel has directed, co-created and co-wrote the BBC’s ground-breaking multi-platform murder mystery The Last Hours of Laura K which earned him a BAFTA nomination in digital creativity. His debut short film Thrush won the Vimeo Best Narrative award. He has also been named one of Dazed & Confused magazines Dazed Visionaries and they commissioned him, alongside the likes of Becky & Joe and Bjork, to make his award-winning film Toilets.
Gabriel is also a successful comedian and makes satirical online sketches which have raked up over a million views online, his sketch Shy Corbynites was nominated for a Writers Guild of Great Britain Award. BBC Comedy have commissioned Gabriel to create sketches for their online platforms. Alongside Robert Cawsey, Gabriel is one half of comedy double act GUILT & SHAME, they currently have a podcast of the same name which they make with award-winning playwright and director, Vicky Jones. In 2015, Gabriel directed Jack Rooke’s debut show Good Grief which was nominated for Total Theatre award.
Other credits include: The Charming Man (nominated for the Off West End Most Promising Playwright award); plays at Hampstead Theatre and York Theatre Royal; attachments at the Royal Court and the Soho Theatre. He was selected to workshop his play Dreams of a Butterfly Broker at The Public Theatre in New York. For radio, he wrote and starred in The Black Bono for BBC Radio Four.
Awards and Nominations for Gabriel Bisset-Smith:
Screen Daily’s Screen Star of Tomorrow 2018
Award winner: Vimeo Best Narrative award (Thrush)
BAFTA nomination in Digital creativity (Last Hours of Laura K)
Off West End Most Promising Playwright award (The Charming Man)
Previous press for Gabriel Bisset-Smith:
‘A big, epic, inventive hour.’ Time Out
‘Bisset-Smith is magnetic.’ Fest
‘Bisset-Smith is an engaging solo storyteller: smart, modern and very funny.’ The List
Francesca Moody Productions and Soho Theatre present
Soho Theatre Upstairs
Wed 3rd – Sat 27th July, 7pm
Matinees, 2.45pm on 6th, 13th, 25th and 27th July. 1.15pm on 20th July
No show Sat 20th July (evening only)
Run time: 70 mins
sohotheatre.com / @sohotheatre
Matinee post show Q&A’s:
13 July – Can We Save Social Housing
What can be done to ensure London keeps its affordable housing.
27 July – Social Housing and Mental Health
Exploring the relationship between architecture and communities and how your home can influence your health. Speakers include George Bradley Director of Bradley Van Der Straeten Architects and architect of ITV’s Love Your Home and Garden.
For further information:
Kelly Fogarty / PR & Events Director / firstname.lastname@example.org / 020 7478 0132
Georgia Young / Press Officer / email@example.com / 020 7478 0142
NOTES TO EDITORS
GABRIEL BISSET-SMITH is an award-winning writer, director, actor and comedian, for information on credits please visit www.gabrielbissetsmith.com
FRANCESCA MOODY PRODUCTIONS commissions, develops and presents brave, entertaining and compelling new theatre. They work with the UK’s leading playwrights and discover and nurture new talent to produce bold, award winning shows with universal appeal and commercial potential. Since launching in 2018 the company has been awarded two prestigious Fringe First Awards and has produced the critically acclaimed ANGRY ALAN by Penelope Skinner and SQUARE GO by Kieran Hurley and Gary McNair in their world premieres at the Edinburgh Festival. In 2019 the company will premiere two new shows at the Edinburgh Festival and one in London as well as transfer work to New York, Aspen, Dubai, London and tour across the UK. www.francescamoody.com
SOHO THEATRE is London’s most vibrant venue for new theatre, comedy and cabaret with a national and international touring programme, a digital presence and an additional venue in progress. As entrepreneurial as it is innovative, under the leadership of Executive Director Mark Godfrey and Creative Director David Luff, the charity and social enterprise’s mission is to produce new work, discover and nurture new writers and artists, and target and develop new audiences. Soho Theatre works with artists in a variety of ways, from full producing of new plays, to co-producing new work, alongside working with associate artists and presenting the best new emerging theatre companies. Soho Theatre have numerous artists on attachment and under commission, including Soho Six and a thriving Young Company of writers and comedy groups, and presents two new writing Awards, the Tony Craze Award and the Verity Bargate Award. sohotheatre.com | www.sohotheatreondemand.com | @sohotheatre
CHARLOTTE BENNETT is currently Associate Director at Soho Theatre and is the incoming Joint Artistic Director of Paines Plough. Prior to this Charlotte was Artistic Director of Forward Theatre Project for seven years which made new plays nationally including at the National Theatre, Live Theatre, York Theatre Royal, Northern Stage and Latitude Festival. Charlotte was also Producer for leading feminist theatre company RashDash for four years where she produced national and international tours.
ARTWORK BY JENNY GORDON www.jennygordonartwork.com