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First look: Running With Lions at the Lyric Hammersmith

Nickcolia King-N’da, Velile Tshabalala in Running with Lions. (c) Jahvin Morgan Photography
Nickcolia King-N’da, Velile Tshabalala in Running with Lions. (c) Jahvin Morgan Photography

First look photos from Running With Lions at the Lyric Hammersmith have been revealed!

The co-production between Lyric Hammersmith Theatre and Talawa Theatre Company is the world premiere of the debut stage play from new writing talent Sian Carter.

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The cast features Ruby Barker best known for playing Marina Thompson in Netflix’s hit series Bridgerton, Wil Johnson, who has performed extensively on stage and screen for 30 years, including Waking the Dead (BBC), Nickcolia King N’da (The Death of a Blackman, Hampstead Theatre), Suzette Llewellyn (EastEnders, BBC), and Velile Tshabalala (Doctor Who and Call the Midwife, BBC).

Running With Lions is currently playing at Lyric Hammersmith in London until the 12 March 2022.

Wil Johnson, Suzette Llewellyn, Ruby Barker in Running with Lions. (c) Jahvin Morgan Photography
Wil Johnson, Suzette Llewellyn, Ruby Barker in Running with Lions. (c) Jahvin Morgan Photography
Wil Johnson in Running with Lions. (c) Jahvin Morgan Photography
Wil Johnson in Running with Lions. (c) Jahvin Morgan Photography
Velile Tshabalala in Running with Lions. (c) Jahvin Morgan Photography
Velile Tshabalala in Running with Lions. (c) Jahvin Morgan Photography
Suzette Llewellyn, Ruby Barker, Velile Tshabalala. (c) Jahvin Morgan Photography
Suzette Llewellyn, Ruby Barker, Velile Tshabalala. (c) Jahvin Morgan Photography
Suzette Llewellyn in Running with Lions. (c) Jahvin Morgan Photography
Suzette Llewellyn in Running with Lions. (c) Jahvin Morgan Photography

Following the death of a loved one, a British-Caribbean family struggles to come to terms with their grief.

Isolated by their generational beliefs and challenges to their faith and mental health, they live between the things they do and do not say. Running with Lions explores the journey of one family’s reconciliation after loss and the rediscovery of love and joy.

The production will be directed by Talawa’s Artistic Director Michael Buffong with set and costume design by Soutra Gilmour (Macbeth, Almeida; Out West, Lyric Hammersmith Theatre), lighting design by Aideen Malone (Death of a Salesman, Young Vic and West End), sound design by Tony Gayle (Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical, West End) and casting by Chandra Ruegg (Lava, Bush Theatre).

Tickets are on sale now from lyric.co.uk/shows/running-with-lions.

Suzette Llewellyn and Wil Johnson in Running with Lions. (c) Jahvin Morgan Photography
Suzette Llewellyn and Wil Johnson in Running with Lions. (c) Jahvin Morgan Photography
Ruby Barker, Suzette Llewellyn, Wil Johnson in Running with Lions. (c) Jahvin Morgan Photography
Ruby Barker, Suzette Llewellyn, Wil Johnson in Running with Lions. (c) Jahvin Morgan Photography
Ruby Barker, Suzette Llewellyn, Velile Tshabalala, Wil Johnson. Running with Lions (c) Jahvin Morgan Photography
Ruby Barker, Suzette Llewellyn, Velile Tshabalala, Wil Johnson. Running with Lions (c) Jahvin Morgan Photography
Ruby Barker, Suzette Llewellyn in Running with Lions. (c) Jahvin Morgan Photography
Ruby Barker, Suzette Llewellyn in Running with Lions. (c) Jahvin Morgan Photography
Ruby Barker in Running with Lions. (c) Jahvin Morgan Photography
Ruby Barker in Running with Lions. (c) Jahvin Morgan Photography

Michael Buffong, Artistic Director of Talawa Theatre Company, commented: “Sian Carter is a brilliant new writer; her story of an intergenerational family learning to overcome the challenges we all face today is, I think, life-affirming.

“To be able to co-produce this play with the Lyric is a welcomed dream. We have an amazing cast and I believe this is going to be an absolute treat for audiences.

Rachel O’Riordan, Artistic Director of Lyric Hammersmith Theatre added: “I’ve long admired the work of Talawa Theatre Company and Michael Buffong and it’s a joy to be working with them on Running with Lions, our very first co-production together, and championing an exceptional new writer, Sian Carter.

“We can’t wait to welcome an incredible cast and team to the Lyric and share this bold, exciting work with audiences in the New Year.”


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