We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo
28 Apr – 6 May 2023

Brixton House

We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo, Brixton House
We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo, Brixton House

An adaptation of the Booker Prize-nominated novel about coming-of-age in Zimbabwe and America

Based on the book by NoViolet Bulawayo | Adapted by Mufaro Makubika |

Directed by Monique Touko

A defiant and exuberant coming-of-age story follows a young girl from the playgrounds of Zimbabwe to an America that is not the utopia she imagined, in an adaptation of the novel by NoViolet Bulawayo. 

We Need New Names was nominated for the Booker Prize in 2013, a first for a Zimbabwean and a Black African woman, and has been adapted for the stage by fellow Zimbabwean Mufaro Makubika (SHEBEEN, Alfred Fagon Award winner). Full of humour and humanity, it follows the path of a girl dreaming of wonders away from her home country, only to find herself in a hinterland between where she was from and where she now is, belonging to and claimed by neither. 

We Need New Names will be performed by a six-strong cast, marking a first-time collaboration between East Midlands’ companies Fifth Word and New Perspectives, following on from New Perspectives’ Stage Award and Black British Theatre award-winning adaptation of Chigozie Obioma’s The Fishermen.

Paradise. Home of 10-year-old Darling and her friends: four children on the edge of innocence. A playground overflowing with mischief and games where they imagine countries a luxurious life away from theirs in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe. But when Darling moves to Michigan, the Western world she encounters as a teenager is far from the American utopia of her dreams…

NoViolet Bulawayo was born Elizabeth Zandile Tshele in Zimbabwe. We Need New Names was her debut novel, and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2013, as was her second novel Glory in 2022, making her the first Black African woman to appear on the Booker list twice. In addition, she has been long-listed for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2023 for Glory.

Cast includes: 
Lukwesa Mwamba (as Darling), Munashe Chirisa, Anashe Danai, Kalungi Ssebandeke

NEED TO KNOW: We Need New Names is at Brixton House from 28 Apr – 6 May 2023 | Approx. Running Time: 1hr 50 mins | Suitable for ages 14+ | Content warning: contains sensitive subject matter including references to violence and rape