Rakie Ayola and Kwami Odoom to star in The Half God Of Rainfall
Posted on: 22nd February 2019
Casting has been announced for Nancy Medina’s forthcoming production of Inua Ellams’ new play The Half-God of Rainfall. Rakie Ayola (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) will play Modupe, mother to her half-god son Demi who will be played by Kwami Odoom (Barber Shop Chronicles). This world premiere production will be directed by Nancy Medina, designed by Max Johns, with movement direction by Imogen Knight, sound design by Tanuja Amarasuriya, lighting design by Jackie Shemesh and casting by Briony Barnett.
Modupe, cursed with extraordinary beauty, draws the unwanted attention of the Greek and Yoruba gods. Her son Demi, half Nigerian-mortal, half Olympian child, is bestowed with powers; one of them manifests in the game of basketball. When he unknowingly sparks Zeus’ wrath, Modupe tries to protect him from the capricious whims of the gods.
Inua Ellams writes this contemporary saga that weaves poetry with storytelling in a majestic, chaotic journey across mythologies that transports us from a tiny village in Southern Nigeria to the further reaches of our galaxy and beyond.
This production is a collaboration between Kiln Theatre, Fuel and Birmingham Repertory Theatre and is Ellams’ next play since Barber Shop Chronicles.
Rakie’s recent theatre work includes: Leave To Remain (Lyric Hammersmith), Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (The Palace Theatre), The Rest of Your Life (Bush Theatre), King Lear (Royal Exchange/Talawa), Crave/4:48 Psychosis (Sheffield Crucible), The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time (National at The Apollo), The Winter’s Tale (RSC). Recent television includes: Noughts and Crosses (ITC/BBC), Shetland (ITV/BBC), No Offence (Abbott Vision/Channel 4), King Lear (Talawa/BBC4) Film includes: Been So Long (Netflix), Dredd (DNA Films), Now Is Good (BBC Films), Sahara (Paramount). Rakie is Patron of @ChildhoodTT, @MelqoshM and @eclipsetcl.
Kwami Odoom’s work in theatre includes: BOYS (The PappyShow/Vaults); A Christmas Carol (Royal Shakespeare Company); Queen Margaret (Royal Exchange); Barber Shop Chronicles (National Theatre); DNA, Pigeon English, and Romeo and Juliet, (National Youth Theatre REP Company). Television includes: The Athena (Sky Kids / Brycoed Productions); The Rook (Lionsgate); and Doctors (BBC).
Film includes: A Family Affair (Florence Keith-Roach)
INUA ELLAMS – Writer
Born in Nigeria, Inua Ellams is a poet, playwright & performer, graphic artist & designer. He is a Complete Works poet alumni and a graphic designer at White Space Creative Agency. He facilitates workshops in creative writing where he explores reoccurring themes in his work – Identity, Displacement and Destiny – in accessible, enjoyable ways for participants of all ages and backgrounds.
His creative work has been recognised with a number of awards: The Live Canon International Poetry Prize, The Arts Council of England Award, a Wellcome Trust Award, twice shortlisted for the Brunel Prize for African Poetry, longlisted the Alfred Fagan Award, Edinburgh Fringe First Award 2009 and the Liberty Human Rights Award.
He has been commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company, National Theatre, Tate Modern, Louis Vuitton, Chris Ofili, BBC Radio & Television. His first three pamphlets of poetry ‘Thirteen Fairy Negro Tales’ and ‘Candy Coated Unicorn and Converse’ were published Flipped Eye and ‘The Wire-Headed Heathen’ by Akashic Books. Several plays including the critically acclaimed BLACK T-SHIRT COLLECTION and award-winning THE 14TH TALE are published by Oberon. In 2005, he founded the Midnight Run— an arts-filled, night-time, playful, walking, urban movement that attempts to reconnect inner city lives with inner city spaces.
His play BARBER SHOP CHRONICLES has had two sold-out seasons at the National theatre, and recently toured Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada. In 2019 it will commence a UK tour and a season at The Roundhouse in London.
NANCY MEDINA – Director
Nancy Medina is originally from Brooklyn NY, and currently based in Bristol. She is the 2018 RTST Sir Peter Hall Directors Award winner and will be collaborating with Royal & Derngate and English Touring Theatre on a production of TWO TRAINS RUNNING in 2019. In 2017 she won the Genesis Future Director Award at 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.
Upcoming projects: THE HALF GOD OF RAINFALL (Fuel / Birmingham Rep / Kiln Theatre);STRANGE FRUIT (Bush Theatre); and TWO TRAINS RUNNING (Royal & Derngate /ETT / RTST).
Directing credits include: 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);ROMEO AND JULIET, AS YOU LIKE IT (GB Theatre); CURRIED GOAT AND FISH FINGERS(Bristol Old Vic); DOGTAG (Theatre West); STRAWBERRY & CHOCOLATE, DUTCHMAN (Tobacco Factory Theatres) and PERSISTENCE OF MEMORY (Rondo Theatre).
MAX JOHNS – Designer
Max Johns trained in theatre design at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and was the recipient of a BBC Performing Arts Fellowship in 2015. Prior to this he worked for a number of years as a designer in Germany. His most recent UK productions include WENDY AND PETER PAN for the Royal Lyceum, UTILITY for the Orange Tree Theatre, BUGGY BABY for the Yard Theatre, YELLOWMAN for the Young Vic, KES and RANDOM for Leeds Playhouse, BADDIES for Synergy Theatre Project, FIDELIO for the London Philharmonic Orchestra, THERE SHALL BE FIREWORKS for the Plasticine Men, TWELFTH NIGHT for the Orange Tree Theatre, LIFE RAFT and UNDER A CARDBOARD SEA for Bristol Old Vic, DUTCHMAN and STRAWBERRY AND CHOCOLATE for Tobacco Factory Theatres, and HAMLET and ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL for Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory. Max has also had work produced at the V & A and Theatre Royal Bath.
Forthcoming productions include THE HALF-GOD OF RAINFALL for Fuel / Birmingham Rep / Kiln, STRANGE FRUIT for the Bush, and KING JOHN for the RSC.
IMOGEN KNIGHT – Movement Director
Imogen works across multiple disciplines; theatre, classical and electronic music, performance art installations, film, TV and opera. She also runs workshops and movement sessions for institutions, community groups and individuals across the UK.
Theatre credits include: THE BIRTHDAY PARTY (West End); THE LAST TESTAMENT OF LILLIAN BILOCCA (Co-Director & Choreographer, Hull City of Culture 2017); BELLEVILLE, KNIVES IN HENS and THE LADY FROM THE SEA (Donmar Warehouse); OUR LADIES OF PERPERTUAL SUCCOUR (National Theatre of Scotland, National Theatre, UK tour and West End); NUCLEAR WAR (as Director), BODIES, FAKE NEWS, LINDA, GOD BLESS THE CHILD, THE LOW ROAD, A TIME TO REAP (Royal Court); MACBETH, AMADEUS, DEAD DON’T FLOSS, THE THREEPENNY OPERA, LES BLANCS, I WANT MY HAT BACK, EDWARD II, DIDO, QUEEN OF CARTHAGE (National Theatre); THE SEAGULL, SEVENTEEN (Lyric Hammersmith); WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF (West End); ALL THE ANGELS, THE BROKEN HEART, TIS PITY SHE’S A WHORE (Shakespeare’s Globe); THE EMPEROR, MEASURE FOR MEASURE, DIRTY BUTTERFLY (Young Vic); FIVE FINGER EXERCISE (The Print Room); THE SKRIKER (Manchester International Festival & Royal Exchange); AGAINST, CARMEN DISRUPTION, LITTLE REVOLUTION, TURN OF THE SCREW, KING LEAR, FILUMENA, MEASURE FOR MEASURE, WHEN THE RAIN STOPS FALLING (Almeida); HAMLET, BLINDSIDED, CANNIBALS (Royal Exchange Theatre); IN TIME O’STRIFE, AN APPOINTMENT WITH THE WICKER MAN, THE MISSING (National Theatre of Scotland); THE CRUCIBLE (Old Vic); PESTS (Clean Break, Royal Exchange, Royal Court & UK Tour); ARDEN OF FAVERSHAM (Royal Shakespeare Company); OF MICE AND MEN, AS YOU LIKE IT (West Yorkshire Playhouse).
JACKIE SHEMESH – Lighting Designer
Jackie Shemesh is a designer of lighting and space. He works internationally in dance, theatre, music and with performance and visual artists
Theatre and Opera design includes works for The Almeida; Lyric Hammersmith; Bristol Old Vic; Duchess Theatre and Trafalgar Studios West End; The Young Vic; Bush Theatre; Curve Theatre, Leicester; and Grange Opera.
Jackie has designed the lighting for many dance companies including Lost Dog Dance, Rambert, Batsheva Ensemble, Ballet Boyz, Arthur Pita/Sadler’s Wells, National Dance Company of Wales, Scottish Dance Theatre, CandoCo, and Protein among others.
Other collaborations around Europe include with Manchester International Festival; the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra; Steirischer Herbst Festival Austria and several productions for the Hebbel Theatre, Berlin.
Jackie was shortlisted for a Knight of Illumination 2018 Award for his design for Goat, choreographed by Ben Duke for Rambert.
TANUJA AMARSURIYA – Sound Designer
Tanuja Amarasuriya is a Director and Sound Designer who works across theatre, film and digital sound. As a Director and Dramaturg she has worked with playwrights and theatremakers including Improbable, Timothy X Atack, Dipika Guha, Sam Halmarack, Eno Mfon, Marietta Kirkbride and Raucous. As Sound Designer, her work includes with Selina Thompson, Sookie Greene, and Chris Thorpe & Rachel Chavkin. She is co-Artistic Director of Sleepdogs, a wide-ranging collaboration with writer and composer Timothy X Atack, making theatre, film and audio work characterised by imaginative storytelling and visceral, emotional, sensory aesthetics. Sleepdogs’ work has been developed and presented nationally and internationally, including at: the National Theatre (London), Bristol Old Vic, Seattle International Film Festival, Manchester Royal Exchange, Channel 4 television, BBC Radio, NexT International Film Festival (Bucharest), BIOS (Athens) and Sura Medura (Sri Lanka). She is a Leverhulme Arts Scholar attached to Bristol Old Vic and a resident at Watershed’s Pervasive Media Studio. www.sleepdogs.org
BRIONY BARNETT CDG – Casting Director
Theatre credits include: PRINCESS AND THE HUSTLER (Bristol Old Vic/tour); THE TRICK (Bush Theatre/tour); WHITE TEETH (Kiln Theatre); AGAIN (West End); AN ADVENTURE (Bush Theatre); ABIGAIL’S PARTY (Hull Truck); BLACK MEN WALKING (Manchester Royal Exchange/ Royal Court/ tour); FEMALE PARTS (Hoxton Hall); HANDBAGGED (West End/ Tricycle Theatre); FENCES (West End/Theatre Royal Bath); A RAISIN IN THE SUN (Sheffield Crucible/tour); TICKING (West End); PLAY MAS (Orange Tree); THE INVISIBLE HAND; BEN HUR; A WOLF IN SNAKESKIN SHOES; THE HOUSE THAT WILL NOT STAND; THE COLBY SISTERS AND ONE MONKEY DON’T STOP NO SHOW (all at the Tricycle Theatre).
Film credits include: BRUCE; GYPSY’S KISS; THE KNOT; HIGH TIDE; WHAT WE DID ON OUR HOLIDAY (children); COMMON PEOPLE; TEZZ; FINAL PRAYER; LOVE/LOSS; ZERO SUM AND 10BY10.
Television credits include: OUTNUMBERED (children); JUST AROUND THE CORNER (children); DICKENSIAN (children) and INSIDE THE MIND OF LEONARDO.