Modern Classic ‘Two Trains Running’ From Tony Award And Pulitzer Prize Winner August Wilson To Be Presented To UK Audiences For The First Time By Award-Winning Director Nancy Medina.
There’s a controversial new president in the White House, and racial tensions are on the rise. It is Pittsburgh, 1969, and the regulars of Memphis Lee’s restaurant are struggling to cope with the turbulence of a rapidly changing world. The diner is in threat of being torn down, a casualty of the city’s renovation project that is sweeping away the buildings of a community, but not its spirit.
Written by iconic American playwright August Wilson (1945 – 2005), Two Trains Running paints a vivid portrait of everyday lives in this defining moment of American history. As well as his defining work on Two Trains Running, Wilson won a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award for his play Fences and earned a second Pulitzer Prize for The Piano Lesson. His other notable works include King Hedley II, Seven Guitars, Gem of the Ocean, Jitney and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
Directed by 2018 RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award winner Nancy Medina, this major Two Trains Running revival will introduce this Pulitzer Prize shortlisted modern classic to UK-wide audiences for the first time. Nancy is the recipient of the 2018 RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award, this year hosted by Royal & Derngate, to enable an emerging director of exceptional potential to direct their first regional mainstage production.
The full cast for Nancy Medina’s production of August Wilson’s Two Trains Running is led by Geoff Aymer (West), Ray Emmet Brown (Wolf), Derek Ezenagu (Hambone), Andrew French (Memphis), Leon Herbert (Holloway), Michael Salami (Sterling) and Anita-Joy Uwajeh (Risa).
The production opens at Royal & Derngate Northampton on September 4, with previews from August 31, and runs until September 14, before embarking on a UK tour to Nuffield Southampton Theatres (September 17-21), Oxford Playhouse (September 24-28), Cast Doncaster (October 1-5), New Wolsey Theatre (October 8-12), Yvonne Arnaud Theatre (October 15-19) and Derby Theatre (October 22-27).
Geoff Aymer plays West. His theatre credits include The Color Purple (Leicester Curve), Robin Hood and the Arrow of Destiny (Theatre Peckham), The Plague (After La Peste by Albert Camus) (Arcola Theatre), The Importance of Being Earnest (UK tour), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Young Vic), and To Kill a Mockingbird (Barbican Theatre/ UK tour).
Ray Emmet Brown plays Wolf. His previous theatre credits include Sweet Bird of Youth (Chichester Festival Theatre), Moon on a Rainbow Shawl (National Theatre/UK tour), A Raisin in The Sun (Royal Exchange), and Les Negres (Young Vic). For television, his credits include The Stranger, Mum, The Dumping Ground and Outlaws.
Derek Ezenagu plays Hambone. His previous theatre credits include Perseverance Drive (Bush Theatre), Death and the King’s Horseman (National Theatre), Othello (Keble Reilly Theatre), A Village Without Lights (Crescent Theatre), Mother Courage and Her Children (Nottingham Playhouse/UK tour), Musical Youth (Birmingham Repertory Theatre), Hamlet and Much Ado About Nothing (RSC).
Andrew French plays Memphis. His previous theatre credits include Romeo and Juliet (RSC), While We’re Here (Bush Theatre), The Flesh of Mine/When Nobody Returns (Theatre Bay, Acklam Village), The Iphigenia Quartet (Gate Theatre), Bully Boy (Mercury Theatre), and Julius Caesar (RSC). For television, his credits include A Very English Scandal, Marvin Can’t Fail, and Perfect Parents.
Leon Herbert plays Holloway. His previous theatre credits include Gone With The Wind, West Side Story (Coventry Belgrade Theatre), Napoleon Noir, Robeson (Young Vic),The Great White Hope (Tricycle Theatre). Television credits include Outlander, The Paradise Club and The 10th Kingdom. For film, his credits include Alien 3, Batman, Scandal and Emotional Backgammon as Director.
Michael Salami plays Sterling. Previous theatre credits include The Night Before Christmas (Southwark Playhouse), Housed (The Old Vic), Negril Beach (Bush Theatre), Crosswords (Theatre503), The Grandfathers (Soho Theatre), and Kettled Passions (Lyric Hammersmith). For television, his credits include Temple, Just A Couple, and as series regular Shane Sweeney in Hollyoaks for which he won Best Actor at the UK Entertainment Awards.
Anita-Joy Uwajeh plays Risa. Her previous theatre credits include King Lear (Duke of York’s Theatre), Grotty (Bunker Theatre), Twelfth Night (Shakespeare’s Globe), Girls, Fury (Soho Theatre), and We Wait in Joyful Hope (Theatre503). For television, her credits include Lucky Man, Not Safe for Work and Transporter.
Nancy Medina was the 2018 winner of the RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award and the 2017 Genesis Future Director Award winner for the Young Vic. She is an acting tutor at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and Course Leader for a post-16 Professional Acting Diploma at Boomsatsuma.
Her directing credits include Strange Fruit (Bush Theatre), Half God of Rainfall (Kiln Theatre), Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Betties (Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama), When They Go Low (NT Connections/ Sherman Theatre), Yellowman (Young Vic), Curried Goat and Fish Fingers (Bristol Old Vic), Dogtag (Theatre West), Strawberry and Chocolate, Dutchman (Tobacco Factory Theatres) and Persistence of Memory (Rondo Theatre).
Two Trains Running is supported by a production grant from The Royal Theatrical Support Trust (RTST). The production is part of Royal & Derngate’s Made In Northampton season, sponsored locally by Michael Jones Jeweller.
Royal & Derngate Northampton
31 August – 14 September 2019
Press Night: Wednesday 4 September, 7pm
Box Office: 01604 624811 / www.royalandderngate.co.uk
Before touring to:
Nuffield Southampton Theatres
17 – 21 September 2019
Box Office: 023 8067 1771 / www.nstheatres.co.uk
24 – 28 September
Box Office: 01865 305305 / www.oxfordplayhouse.com
1 – 5 October 2019
Box Office: 01302 303 959 / www.castindoncaster.com
New Wolsey Theatre
8 – 12 October
Box Office: 01473 295900 / www.wolseytheatre.co.uk
Yvonne Arnaud Theatre
15 -19 October 2019
Box Office: 01483 44 00 00 / www.yvonne-arnaud.co.uk
22 – 27 October 2019
Box Office: 01332 59 39 39 / www.derbytheatre.co.uk