Amanda Boxer will star in the world premiere of MUM, a new play about love, loss and dementia by actress and comedian Juliet Cowan, directed by Yasmeen Arden, opening at the Playground Theatre on 18 March and playing until 4 April, with a press night on Friday 20 March. Sian Ejiwunmi-Le Berre will star as ‘Roz’, Lucille Findlay as ‘Laurel’ and completing the cast are Lilly Driscoll and Martin Edwards.
“I thought that if she wasn’t getting run over or shitting herself, all would be OK with the world.”
MUM is a play about identity, love and losing your mind. Roz and Laurel are struggling to manage their mum, who has dementia. Mum is struggling to manage the real world and the compelling world of her hallucinations.
What does it mean to be a mother? Who gets to decide what is real? And when is it OK to laugh instead of cry?
Juliet Cowan says: “I wrote this play as a response to certain hallucinations my mother had. I felt it was so sad that she had to be in them all alone without any of us there to accompany her. So I decided to people her hallucinations with an audience who experienced them alongside her. I like theatre that is a sensory and immersive experience. I hope that MUM is a way for us all to come together and explore the highs and lows of having one foot in this world and the other in somewhere altogether more dreamlike.”
Yasmeen Arden says: “MUM touched my heart and my imagination from the moment I first read it and I was immediately excited to be part of it. Juliet writes with such honesty and truth and in a such a unique style, so the play holds a very real sense of loss on a multi-sensory level, with the most beautifully layered female experience and a truly joyful playfulness.”
This is Juliet Cowan’s first full-length play. Her show, Eat, Pray, Call the Police, sold out at The Zédel and she is currently writing a follow-up called Fuck Off And Leave Me Alone. Juliet is also an actress, best known for her roles in Killed By My Debt, PhoneShop, Pulling, Hank Zipzer, Cuckoo, Sarah Jane Adventures, Skins and Fresh Meat. She’s currently preparing for her role as ‘Barbara Monke’ in Amazon’s adaptation of the novel The Power, opposite Eddie Marsan and directed by Reed Morano. She started her career as a stand-up, beating Jimmy Carr, Russell Howard and Andy Zaltzman in the finals of So You Think You’re Funny.
Yasmeen Arden is Artistic Director at Small Truth Theatre. Most recently, she collaborated to create the Kensington Karavan, a micro-theatre festival in a retro caravan, commissioning and directing new work by Emma Dennis-Edwards, Abi Zakarian, Jessica Butcher and Sid Sagar. Directing credits include: The award-winning The Three Sillies (Arcola Theatre/Somersault/Tour), Poking The Bear by Chris Bush, Elexion by Chloe Todd Fordham (Theatre503), Over The Hill There’s Something Better (New Diorama), Dead Yard (Playwrought/LAB), We are Beautiful (Catalyst Festival), as well as site-specific work such as On The Line (Ivy House/Merge Festival/Platform Southwark) and The Unfortunates on the streets of Watford (Watford Palace Theatre). Yasmeen is currently developing Tapestry by Chloe Todd Fordham and Christopher Hogg’s drum & bass musical Casey & Corey.
Amanda Boxer was born in New York and trained at LAMDA. She won Best Actress in the London Fringe Awards for Strange Snow (Theatre Technis). Theatre credits include: Boots (Bunker Theatre), The Blue Hour of Natalie Barney (Arcola), Mosquitoes (National Theatre), Babette’s Feast (The Print Room), Blue Heart (Bristol Tobacco Factory and The Orange Tree), Medea (Almeida Theatre), Uncle Vanya (St James), Prisoner of Second Avenue (Vaudeville), The Sea Plays (Old Vic Tunnels), The House of Bernarda Alba and The Graduate (Gielgud Theatre), A Touch of the Poet (Young Vic/ West End), Macbeth (Arcola Theatre), The Destiny of Me and Many Roads to Paradise (Finborough Theatre), The Arab Israeli Cookbook (Gate/Tricycle Theatre), The Pain and the Itch and The Strip (Royal Court), Cling To Me Like Ivy (Birmingham Rep), The Rivals (Theatr Clwyd), The Yiddish Queen Lear (Southwark Playhouse/Bridewell), Come Blow Your Horn, The Fall Guy, The Misanthrope and Absurd Person Singular (Manchester Royal Exchange), Way of the World (Cambridge Theatre Company) and A State of Affairs (The Duchess Theatre).
Sian Ejiwunmi-Le Berre trained at Oxford, Queen Mary University London and The Central School of Speech and Drama. Theatre credits include: Target Man (The Kings Head); As You Like It (Shakespeare in the Squares); Electra (The Bunker); Romeo and Juliet (The Globe). TV credits include: Silent Witness, Doctors and EastEnders. Film credits include: The Beach, About A Boy and Shoot the Messenger. Her radio play When Fanny Met Germaine was broadcast in 2019 and she is currently developing several shows for TV and radio. She is assistant director on The Happy Tragedy of Being Woke (Theatre de Complicité) and Death of England (National Theatre).
Lucille Findlay is an award-winning community performance practitioner, actor, writer and singer songwriter who trained at Chichester. Lucille has worked as a session vocalist and performance coach for many years with vocal credits including Jason Mraz, James Morrison, Casey Abrams and Shaun the Sheep Movie Soundtrack. TV credits include: The Bill, EastEnders, Alexis Sayle and Holby City. Theatre credits include: The Blue Room (The Gate), a development of Nine Nights (Arcola) and Black Women Dating White Men (The Drayton Arms).
Lily Driscoll is an actor, writer and poet from London. Credits include: Bricks (The Old Vic for OV12), Enough (Kensington Caravan festival), Only You (Theatre 503), Puppy (The Vault Festival), The Numbers (Amazon Video/Winner of the Creation Award) and Heads A Poppin (Fright Fest winner for Best Short Screenplay). TV credits include: Jekyll & Hyde (ITV), Humans (Channel 4), Tag (BBC) and Silent Witness (BBC).
Martin Edwards was a journalist for more than a decade, having worked as a crime reporter for local newspapers and then the BBC, before training professionally as an actor at The Oxford School of Drama and The Academy of Live & Recorded Arts (ALRA). He has performed at various venues including Trafalgar Studios, Soho Theatre, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham and Southwark Playhouse. As a writer, his work has appeared at Theatre503 and Talawa Theatre Company. He is currently under commission by Radio 4 to write his debut radio drama, due for broadcast in September 2020.
MUM is directed by Yasmeen Arden, with design by Jasmine Swan, lighting design by Ben Jacobs, sound design by Nicola Chang, and is produced by Kitty Wordsworth and Zoe Weldon.
The Playground Theatre W10 is London’s newest off-West End venue. The Playground works with established and emerging artists nationally and across the globe; showing performing arts, drama, festivals and comedy. This ethos has fostered many bold and imaginative new works. Located in W10 near Notting Hill, Ladbroke Grove, Portobello Road and White City the theatre is fully engaged with its rich and diverse community.