With Zadie Smith’s The Wife of Willesden currently running at the company’s home base in Kilburn ahead of a transfer to the US, Kiln Theatre’s Artistic Director Indhu Rubasingham today announces the world première of Ryan Calais Cameron’s new play based on a true event in the life of actor Sidney Poitier in 1950s Hollywood. From the writer of the award-winning, smash hit For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy, Retrograde will be directed by Kiln Associate Director Amit Sharma.
The production will open at the Kiln Theatre on 26 April, with previews from 20 April, and will run until 27 May 2023. Casting to be announced.
Indhu Rubasingham said today, “It’s a real privilege to be producing Ryan Calais Cameron’s next play following his smash hit For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy… Directed by Associate Director Amit Sharma, this brand new play about Sidney Poitier promises to be both insightful and relevant.”
Ryan Calais Cameron added, “What drew me to writing a play about the Hollywood Blacklist is the intricacies around the idea of what it means to be Blacklisted and also Black. Retrograde tells the unheard story how Sidney Poitier, the cultural icon that we know and love, came to be and the huge decision he had to make. It explores what it feels to be an artist of colour, and the decisions and challenges we navigate on a day-to-day basis. It’s the right time to tell this story and ask these questions – the play explores what was, but also what is.”
Amit Sharma added: “Retrograde was the first script I read as Kiln Associate Director. I was blown away by it; the extraordinary Ryan Calais Cameron has written a complex and gripping play exploring a moment in Sidney Poitier’s life which reinforces the legend. I’m honoured to be directing it.”
The Golden Age of Hollywood. Behind closed doors, aspiring actor Sidney Poitier is offered a lucrative contract that could make him a superstar. But what is he willing to sacrifice?
From the writer of award-winning, sold-out, For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy, Ryan Calais Cameron’s explosive new play explores identity, resilience, and integrity as it examines a true event in 1950’s Hollywood and the reality of a Black actor’s journey to stardom.