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Octagon

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★★★★ The Independent, Exeunt, West End Wilma, Afridiziak

After Wall Street and Tahrir Square, after ISIS and the NSA, after Ferguson and Eric Garner: here come the poets.

In a downtown poetry slam eight young poets prepare to do battle. Personal stories and political struggles collide with a place on the team up for grabs. But in the end is it about winning, or finding the words that need to be said?

This unique ensemble performance fuses the frenetic energy of a live poetry gig with a heartfelt cry of protest from contemporary America. Fearless, compelling and utterly original, OCTAGON reunites director Nadia Latif with award-winning poet, playwright and activist Kristiana Rae Colon of the #LetUsBreathe Collective, alongside a stunning soundscape from Olivier Award-nominated composer Simon Slater (Constellations).

★★★★ ‘A beautifully sophisticated play… with humour, tenderness, rage and lust [in] Nadia Latif’s fine production’Time Out on Colón’s but i cd only whisper

★★★★ “A wonderfully exhilarating ear-opener… electrifying cast… breathtaking” – The Independent

★★★★ “Magnificent and visceral… throbs with the anger of American youth” – Exeunt Magazine

★★★★ “Beautiful, angry, indignant… a production that is guaranteed not to disappoint” – LondonTheatre1

★★★★ “Fearless” – West End Wilma

★★★★ “Genuinely unique and unexpectedly moving, Octagon is a sensational piece of theatre – hugely recommended” – Ought to be Clowns

★★★★ “Colon’s writing is second to none… A super-natured torrent of language… Extraordinary.” – Grumpy Gay Critic

★★★★ “Recommended to poets young and old” – Afridiziak Magazine

“Nadia Latif’s production boasts superlative quick-fire poetry performances… they could enter real-life competitions and cause headaches for the favourites.” – Evening Standard

“Champions the power of words” – Time Out

Winner: National Latino Playwriting Award 2014 (USA)


Director Nadia Latif‘s recent productions include Slaves at Theatre503 and Even Stillness Breathes Softly Against A Brick Wall at Soho Theatre.

Produced by Olivier and Fringe First Award-winning company Supporting Wall (BULL, Young Vic; Radiant Vermin, Soho Theatre; Dark Vanilla Jungle, UK Tour/Soho Theatre).

World premiere


Free accompanying events

Saturday 26 September, 5.15pm
After Ferguson
Inspired by Kristiana Rae Colón’s play ‘Octagon’, British and American poets discuss the impact of Ferguson on their work, alongside notions of freedom of speech, identity and race. With R.A. Villanueva (Chair), Kristiana Rae Colón, Malika Booker and Victoria-Anne Bulley. Presented in association with Apples and Snakes.

Thursday 24 September, 9.45pm
LATE NIGHT SLAM: Open Mic
Come down to wow the audience and win over the judges with three minutes of spoken word, with guest host Michelle Masden (Hammer and Tongue) and feature poet Antosh Wojick (Roundhouse Slam Winner). Everyone welcome.

Thursday 1 October, 9.45pm
LATE NIGHT SLAM: Burn After Reading vs Roundhouse Collective ‘Spare the Poets’
After the show, see two of London’s foremost poetry collectives battle it out. Everyone welcome.

The pre-show event on 10 October has unfortunately been cancelled. Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

Monday – Saturday evenings at 7:30pm
£17 / £12 concessions

Saturday matinees at 3:00pm (not 1 October)
£14 / £12 concessions

Opening performances (16-21 September) – All tickets £12

Pay What You Can Tuesdays (tickets in person from 6pm – limited and subject to availability)
Tickets are £10 or less with Arcola Passport

Running time: 2 hours 20 minutes approximately (including interval).
In Studio 1, seating is allocated.

Cast

Lara Rossi
Crystal Condie
Estella Daniels
Martins Imhangbe
Solomon Israel
Harry Jardine
Leemore Marrett Jr
Asan N'Jie

Text

Kristiana Rae Colón

Direction

Nadia Latif

Designer

Lorna Ritchie

Lighting

Christopher Nairne

Sound/Composer

Simon Slater

Costume

Holly Rose Henshaw

Casting Advisor

Annelie Powell

Poetry Events Producer

Harriet Creelman


A production by Supporting Wall in association with Tabula Rasa Theatre.

Suitable for