Ryan Calais Cameron's For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Hue Gets Too Heavy, inspired by Ntozake Shange's classic for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf, begins performances in London's West End March 25.
The play, which has previously enjoyed sold-out runs at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs and the New Diorama Theatre, plays a six-week limited engagement at London's Apollo Theatre March 25–May 7.
The work spotlights six young Black men who meet for group therapy and let their hearts and imaginations run wild. Originally conceived by Cameron following the murder of Trayvon Martin, the piece, "located on the threshold of joyful fantasy and brutal reality," has been developed over the last decade with young Black men and mental health groups.
The original cast appears in the West End production, after collectively winning Best Performer in a Play at the Stage Debut Awards in 2022: Mark Akintimehin, Emmanuel Akwafo, Nnabiko Ejimofor, Darragh Hand, Aruna Jalloh, and Kaine Lawrence. All six will be making their West End debuts.
Said Cameron, also directs the West End production, in a previous statement: "A West End transfer of For Black Boys will be a momentous occasion for my community and those who have taken the show into their hearts. We really hope this show will drastically change the commercial theatre landscape by ensuring theatre is for everyone and reflects our society; we could not have gotten this far without the immense support of our advocates and audiences.”
The production features set and costume design by Anna Reid, lighting design by Rory Beaton, additional music and sound design by Nicola T Chang, movement direction by Theophilus O. Bailey, and musical direction by John Pfumojena. Tristan Fynn-Aiduenu directed the show’s original run at New Diorama Theatre.
The play was originally commissioned by New Diorama Theatre and co-commissioned by Boundless Theatre. The West End production is presented by the Royal Court Theatre, Nica Burns, New Diorama Theatre, and Nouveau Riche.