Adam Blanshay Productions and Park Theatre kick off the New Year with the UK Premiere of the award-winning original stage play Kim’s Convenience which spawned the beloved hit Netflix sitcom of the same name.
Written by leading playwright, screenwriter and actor Ins Choi, the comedy drama follows the hilarious and heart-warming tale of a Korean family-run convenience store.
First staged at the Toronto Fringe Festival in 2011, this ground-breaking play won many plaudits for its East Asian representation and its rare foregrounding of their characters.
This brand-new production at Park Theatre in Park200, will be the first time the play has been seen by audiences outside of Canada and the US. In a full circle moment, Ins (who played Mr Kim’s son in the original stage play) will star as Mr Kim (Appa) the proud, hardworking patriarch of the family who grapples with his changing neighbourhood and the growing schism between his first-generation immigrant values and those of his second-generation children.
Ins, whose own experiences growing up in a family-run convenience store inspired the play, comments: “My family arrived in Canada in 1975 in search of freedom, with just two hundred dollars, three kids and a lot of hope. My father worked at my uncle’s convenience store by day and went to English speaking language classes by night while my mother took care of me and my two older sisters. This story is my love letter to my parents and to all first generation immigrants who have made the country they have settled in their home.”
On playing the title character, Ins says: “I’m very much looking forward to returning to where it all began 12 years ago. It’s a wonderful journey and it feels great to have finally grown into this role. This play launched my career and continues to provide a great vehicle for Asian actors and shines an important light on representation.”
Esther Jun, who also has a long history with the play, having been cast in the original, returns this time to direct the five strong cast which for the UK production also includes Namju Go, Jennifer Kim, Brian Law and Miles Mitchell.
Esther Jun says: “I have been involved with Kim’s Convenience in some shape or form for nearly 20 years and to finally bring it to London, where I learned my craft as a director is extra meaningful. There is so much love and history in this story. The simple genius of this play is how it continues to resonate for different cultures and ages at different times in people’s lives. It’s a true generational play with so much heart, truth and laughter. It’s a gift that keeps on giving.”
Adam Blanshay, the show’s Canadian/UK based producer says: “Kim’s Convenience is a true snapshot of multiculturalism in Canada, and a view into the traditions and heritages that make up the vast tapestry of the Nation. I hope this universal story resonates in the UK and that it will win a new legion of fans on this side of the pond.”
Jez Bond, Artistic Director of Park Theatre adds: ”I’m excited to be staging this comedy drama whose characters so many people are already familiar with through its wildly successful television series. I hope this play, where it all began, resonates with a whole new audience coming to Park Theatre.”