Donmar Warehouse announces full cast for Dominique Morisseau’s Skeleton Crew

Words: Sophia A Jackson
Published: Sunday 12 May 2024, 7:15pm

Donmar Warehouse announces full cast for Dominique Morisseau’s Skeleton Crew
Donmar Warehouse announces full cast for Dominique Morisseau’s Skeleton Crew

The Donmar Warehouse has announced the full cast for Dominique Morisseau’s Skeleton Crew – the final production in Michael Longhurst’s tenure as Artistic Director. Olivier Award-winner Matthew Xia directs Tobi BamtefaBranden CookPamela Nomvete, and Racheal Ofori.

Also announced today are the creative team joining Xia – designs are by ULTZ, lighting design by Ciarán Cunningham, composition and sound design by Nicola T. Chang, movement direction by Ingrid Mackinnon, the voice and dialect coach is Aundrea Fudge, and casting is by Anna Cooper CDG.

Morisseau’s 2016 play was nominated for three Tony Awards, including Best Play, for its 2022 Broadway run. This production, which marks the UK première, opens on 4 July and runs until 24 August with previews from 28 June.

I’m not asking you to make up happy endings. All I’m asking is that you tell ‘em they can’t write us off. You got to fight for us.”

In 2008 Detroit, one of the city’s last surviving car factories is threatened with closure. A tight-knit group of workers face crushing economic reality. Torn between loyalty to each other and their own self-interest, can they hang on to their dreams, to their ambitions, to hope?

Detroit-born playwright Dominique Morisseau’s masterful feeling for voice and character brings depth and authenticity to a story about the human effects of a global financial crisis.

Tobi Bamtefa plays Reggie. His theatre work includes Three Sisters (National Theatre), The Last King of Scotland (Sheffield Theatres), Barber Shop Chronicles (National Theatre and Leeds Playhouse), Network (National Theatre), Sweet Taboo (Talawa) and Step (Theatre Royal Stratford East). For television, his work includes The Mayor of Kingstown, Britannia, Cheaters, The Girlfriend Experience, Invasion, Feel Good, Responsible Child, Mae and George, A Confession, The Witcher, Berlin Station, Lucky Man and Tin Star; and for film, A Scam Called Love, Back in Action, Horrible Histories: The Movie, How To Build a Girl and Lost in London.

Branden Cook plays Dez. This marks his professional stage debut. His television work includes Masters of the Air, Industry, Tell Me Lies; Chicago PD; and short films include What In The World and Pseudonym.

Pamela Nomvete plays Faye. Her theatre credits include To Kill a Mockingbird (Gielgud Theatre – Olivier Award nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role), The Doctor (Almeida Theatre), The Convert (Young Vic), Meet Me At Dawn (Market Theatre Johannesburg), They Drink it in the Congo (Almeida Theatre), Teddy Ferrara (Donmar Warehouse), Belong, Truth and Reconciliation, Now or Later (Royal Court Theatre), The Comedy of Errors, Welcome to Thebes (National Theatre), Archbishop and the Antichrist (Synergy), Twelfth Night (RSC – Duke of York’s Theatre) and Nothing But the Truth (Market Theatre Johannesburg). Her television credits include Andor, Flesh and Blood, Noughts and Crosses, Gangs of London, Avenue 5, Wild Bill, In the Long Run, Motherland, Lockdown, and The Widow; and for film, The Forgiven, Kingmakers, Sometimes in April, Zulu Love Letter, and The Special Relationship.

Racheal Ofori plays Shanita. Her theatre credits include The Southbury Child, Bach and Sons (Bridge Theatre), Rare Earth Mettle; Wish (Royal Court), So Many Reasons (Soho Theatre/ Fuel Theatre, Three Sisters (National Theatre), Blood Wedding (Omnibus Theatre), Snowflake (Arts at Old Fire Station), Pygmalion (Headlong), Romeo & Juliet (Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company, West End), This is Private Property (Camden People’s Theatre), Portrait (Edinburgh Fringe/ UK tour/ Bush Theatre/ Southbank Centre), The Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare’s Globe), and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Camden Fringe). Her television credits include: Spent, Big Age, Sliced, In the Long Run, Treadstone, Enterprice, Carnage: Swallowing the Past, Come Home and Wizards vs. Aliens, and for filmJackdaw, I Used to Be Famous, Artemis Fowl, Guns Akimbo, and Ready Player One.

Dominique Morisseau is the author of The Detroit Project (a three play cycle) which includes the following plays: Skeleton Crew (Atlantic Theater Company), Paradise Blue (Signature Theatre) and Detroit ’67 (Public Theater, Classical Theatre of Harlem and NBT). Additional plays include: Pipeline (Lincoln Center Theatre), Sunset Baby (LAByrinth Theatre); Blood at the Root (National Black Theatre) and Follow Me To Nellie’s (Premiere Stages). She is also the TONY nominated book writer on the new Broadway musical Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations (Imperial Theatre). Dominique is alumna of The Public Theater Emerging Writer’s Group, Women’s Project Lab, and Lark Playwrights Workshop and has developed work at Sundance Lab, Williamstown Theatre Festival and Eugene O’Neil Playwrights Conference. She served as Co-Producer on the Showtime series Shameless (three seasons). Additional awards include: Spirit of Detroit Award, PoNY Fellowship, Sky-Cooper Prize, TEER Trailblazer Award, Steinberg Playwright Award, Audelco Awards, NBFT August Wilson Playwriting Award, Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama, OBIE Award (2), Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellowship, Variety’s Women of Impact for 2017-18, and a MacArthur Genius Grant Fellow.

Matthew Xia is the award-winning Artistic Director of ATC (Actors Touring Company).  He was previously Associate Artistic Director at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, (where he established OPEN EXCHANGE, an artist development scheme for over 400 next generation theatre-makers); Director-in-Residence at the Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse; Associate Director at Theatre Royal Stratford East; Associate Artist at the Nottingham Playhouse, as well as a founding member of Act for Change. For theatre, his directing credits include the Olivier Award-winning Hey Duggee – The Live Theatre Show (Kenny Wax Family Entertainment/Cuffe & Taylor), the Fringe First award-winning Feeling Afraid As If Something Terrible Is Going To Happen (FMP/Roundabout and Bush Theatre), Tambo & Bones (ATC/Stratford East), The Architect (ATC/GDIF), Rice (ATC/Orange Tree), The Wiz (Ameena Hamid Productions/Hope Mill/BBC Big Night of Musicals), Family Tree (GDIF/ATC), 846 Live (Theatre Royal Stratford East/GDIF), Amsterdam (ATC/Orange Tree/Plymouth Theatre Royal), Blood Knot (Orange Tree), Eden (Hampstead Theatre), One Night In Miami… (Nottingham Playhouse/Bristol Old Vic/HOME), Into The WoodsFrankenstein (Royal Exchange Theatre), Wish List (Royal Exchange Theatre/Royal Court), Shebeen (Nottingham Playhouse/Theatre Royal Stratford East), Sleeping Beauty (Theatre Royal Stratford East), Dublin Carol (Sherman Theatre), Blue/Orange, The Sound of Yellow (Young Vic), Sizwe Banzi is Dead (Genesis Future Director Award Winner – Young Vic/Eclipse), The Blacks (CoDirector, Theatre Royal Stratford East), I Was Looking at The Ceiling and Then I Saw The Sky (Co-Director, Theatre Royal Stratford East/The Barbican) and Suckerpunch Boom Suite (The Barbican/NitroBEAT).