“I was a storm. I was also a man entirely alone in a storm. There were forces beyond my control and I was one of them.”
Enoch Powell‘s Rivers of Blood speech was the most polarising political speech of the last 50 years.
Oxford academic and daughter of a Caribbean immigrant, Rose Cruickshank wants answers. Enoch’s controversial words about immigration shattered her childhood. Rose cannot find inner peace until she understands what led him to make the speech that defined a generation. Will a meeting with the man himself give her the answers she desperately craves?
Olivier and Tony Award-winning actor Ian McDiarmid (The Star Wars films, Merchant of Venice, Life of Galileo) plays MP Enoch Powell in Chris Hannan’s searing new play, What Shadows, transferring this autumn to London’s Park Theatre after critical acclaim for its world premiere at Birmingham Rep last year.
“Ian McDiarmid gives a standout performance as Powell” – ★★★★ The Times
“The most provocative theatrical debate of the decade” – ★★★★ The Telegraph
“Compelling” – ★★★★ Financial Times
Birmingham Rep artistic director Roxana Silbert directs Ian McDiarmid (The Star Wars films, Merchant of Venice, Life of Galileo) as one of the most provocative figures in recent history, in a top-notch cast that also features Amelia Donkor as Rose Cruickshank and Joyce Cruickshank, Nicholas Le Prevost, Paula Wilcox, Waleed Akhtar, Ameet Chana and Joanne Pearce.
Director Roxana Silbert says of What Shadows:
“As we near the 50th anniversary of Enoch Powell’s explosive ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech, the nation finds itself again facing profound and difficult questions about national identity and attitudes to immigration. Chris’ powerful play is a scorching interrogation of prejudices and how a bitterly divided country moves forward in the wake of a crisis. It couldn’t be more necessary.”
I’ll discuss those issues with members of the company and the audience after the evening performance on Tuesday 10 October 2017.