A Raisin in the Sun
Written by Lorraine Hansberry | Directed by Dawn Walton
An Eclipse Theatre Company, Belgrade Theatre Coventry and Sheffield Theatres co-production
UK tour: 28 Jan - 26 March 2016

Raisin in the Sun, Eclipse Theatre Raisin in the Sun, Eclipse Theatre

Injustice, inequality and a housing crisis lead to family tension in Lorraine Hansberry’s landmark play, revived by the UK’s leading Black-led national touring company

Lorraine Hansberry’s groundbreaking play, the first on Broadway written by a Black woman, is to tour the UK in a new production directed by Eclipse Theatre’s Dawn Walton. This intense family drama, written on the cusp of the civil rights era, sees the Younger family await the arrival of a cheque for a life changing $10,000. Driven to conflict as they encounter issues of inequality, housing and lack of opportunity that continue to resonate today, the play acts as a stark warning to anyone who measures happiness and personal worth in capital gain.

This brand new production will star Ashley Zhangazha as Walter, in one of the great roles of American theatre. Widely regarded as one to watch following performances in Henry V for the Michael Grandage Company and alongside Lenny Henry in Fences in the West End, Ashley won the 2013 Ian Charleson Award for his performance in Macbeth at the Sheffield Crucible. He will be joined by Llewella Gideon as Mama, whose recent theatre includes Play Mas at the Orange Tree and Birthday (with Stephen Mangan) at the Royal Court, but also well-known to audiences for her many roles in TV comedies including Nighty Night, Absolutely Fabulous andThe Real McCoy.

Following its debut on Broadway in 1959, Lorraine Hansberry adapted her play into a critically-acclaimed film starring Sidney Poitier as Walter. Testament to its continuing power and relevance, A Raisin in the Sun has been revived numerous times in the intervening years and Walter has been portrayed on stage by actors including Denzel Washington and Danny Glover.

Speaking about the production, Eclipse Artistic Director Dawn Walton said “A Raisin in the Sun is the type of play I love - one with a domestic setting, universal themes and big emotions. Lorraine Hansberry was a visionary and a playwright I always introduce writers to - most recently our ‘Revolution Mix’ writers. Like all great playwrights Hansberry allows her characters to speak the truth in a way that transcends time and place. I am really excited to work with Ashley and Llewella on this exceptional play.”

The inspiration for Nina Simone’s much-loved song ‘Young, Gifted and Black’, Lorraine Hansberry won the New York Drama Critics’ Best Play of the Year Award at just 29 years old, becoming the first Black woman to do so. Before her untimely death at the age of just 34, Hansberry was a keen activist, applauded by many as an inspirational figure. Alongside the National Theatre’s forthcoming production of Les Blancs, the revival provides a timely re-evaluation of Lorraine Hansberry’s work as one of the most significant American playwrights of the period.

Directed by Dawn Walton
Written by Lorraine Hansberry
Sound by Adrienne Quartly
Designed by Amanda Stoodley
Lighting Design by Aideen Malone
Cast: Llewella Gideon, Ashley Zhangazha, Mike Burnside

Listings information

28 Jan – 13 Feb
Sheffield Theatres 55 Norfolk St,
Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1 1DA

28th Jan – 13th Feb 7.45pm,
matinees 4th, 6th , 11th & 13th Feb 2.15pm
www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk | 0114 249 6000

17 Feb – 20 Feb
New Wolsey Theatre

Civic Drive, Ipswich, IP1 2AS

17th – 20th Feb 7.45pm,
matinees 18th & 20th Feb 2.30pm
www.wolseytheatre.co.uk | 01473 295900

23 – 27 Feb
Nuffield Theatre

University Road, Southampton, Hampshire, SO17 1TR
23rd – 27th Feb 7.30pm, matinees 25th & 27th Feb 2.30pm
www.nuffieldtheatre.co.uk | 023 8067 1771

2 Mar – 5 Mar
Liverpool Playhouse

Williamson Square, Liverpool L1 1EL

2nd – 5th March 7.30pm, except Thurs 5.30pm, Sat matinee 2pm (Tickets on sale soon)
www.everymanplayhouse.com | 0151 709 4776

8 Mar – 12 Mar
Watford Palace Theatre

20 Clarendon Rd, Watford, Hertfordshire, WD17 1JS

8th – 12th March 7.30pm, matinee 12th March 2.30pm
www.watfordpalacetheatre.co.uk | 01923 225671

16 – 19 Mar
The Albany,

Douglas Way, Deptford, London, SE8 4AG

16th-19th March, 7.30pm, matinee 19th 2.30pm
www.thealbany.org.uk | 020 8692 4446

22 – 26 Mar
Belgrade Theatre

Belgrade Square, Coventry, CV1 1GS

22nd – 26th March 7.30pm, matinees 23rd & 26th 2.15pm (No performance on 25th)
www.belgrade.co.uk | 0247 6553055

Related links

​UK’s leading black touring company launches Revolution Mix

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