News: Cast revealed for Orange Tree’s Meetings

Orange Tree Theatre has announced the full cast for Mustapha Matura’s Meetings. JMK Award winner Kalungi Ssebandeke directs Kevin N Golding (Witness for the Prosecution) as Hugh, Bethan Mary-James (Trouble in Butetown) as Elsa, and Martina Laird (Casualty, Dreamland) as Jean in this poignant comedy exploring identity and belonging. Meetings premiered at Hampstead Theatre in 1982; the OT’s production marks the first major UK revival, opening on 18 October with previews from 14 October and running until 11 November.

Mustapha Matura’s MEETINGS
Produced in association with the JMK Trust
Directed by Kalungi Ssebandeke; designed by Olivia Jameson; lighting by Ali Hunter; sound designed by Jose Puello 
Cast: Kevin N Golding (Hugh), Bethan Mary-James (Elsa), and Martina Laird (Jean)
14 October – 11 November 2023
OT On Screen: 14 – 17 November

Dis country still must have people who know how ter eat an cook good food

Suited, booted, and stuffed with American burgers and fries, Hugh walks out of a meeting and buys a mango on the street. To the bemusement of his high-flying wife Jean, Hugh becomes obsessed with the foods of his Trinidadian childhood and hires a cook, Elsa, to indulge his nostalgic passion. Mustapha Matura’s razor-sharp comedy is about identity, belonging and the cost of progress.

Following his performance in 2019’s Blood Knot and his OT playwriting debut Prodigal for Inside/Outside in 2021, Kalungi Ssebandeke returns to the OT as the winner of the prestigious 2023 JMK Award. The OT follows Mustapha Matura’s Play Mas in 2015 with the first major UK revival of Meetings: an atmospheric, entertaining, and poignant play set to capture the sights, sounds and smells of the Caribbean.

Mustapha Matura’s (1939 – 2019) plays include As Time Goes By (Traverse Theatre, Royal Court Theatre), Another TuesdayMore MoreIndiaParty, and My Enemy (Institute of Contemporary Arts), Bakerloo LineNice (Almost Free Theatre), Black Slaves – White ChainsPlay Mas (also at the Orange Tree, 2015) , Rum an’ Coca Cola (Royal Court Theatre), Bread (Young Vic), Dialogue (Institute of Contemporary Arts), The Coup (National Theatre), A Dying BusinessOne Rule (Riverside Studios), Independence (Bush Theatre), Meetings (Hamstead Theatre), Playboy of The West Indies (Tricycle Theatre), A Small World  (Southwark Playhouse), Welcome Hom Jacko (The Factory), and Trinidad Sisters (Donmar Warehouse).

Kalungi Ssebandeke is a director, writer and actor. He recently directed Attempts on Her Life by Martin Crimp for the newly formed drama school Bristol School of Acting founded by Stuart Wood with co-artistic director Nancy Medina the incoming Artistic Director of Bristol Old Vic Theatre. Prior to that, he worked as Director in Residence at Tonbridge School, whilst also directing NT Connections play Remote by Stef Smith for White City Youth Theatre at Lyric Hammersmith. He is also returning to the OT after performing in Blood Knot and writing Prodigal a short play for their Inside/Outside series. His further acting credits include Othello (The Watermill Theatre). His film credits include Columbite Tantalite and for television Dr Who. As a writer, his debut play Assata Taught Me premiered at Gate Theatre in 2017, starring Adjoa Andoh and Kenneth Omole and directed by BAFTA Nominated Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre Lynette Linton. Both plays (Assata Taught Me and Prodigal) are published by Bloomsbury and Nick Hern Books respectively. 

Kevin N Golding returns to the Orange Tree to play Hugh – he previously appeared in Mustapha Matura’s Play Mas. His other theatre credits include Witness For The Prosecution (London County Hall), Shakespeare in Love (UK tour), Sad (Omnibus Theatre), Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet, King Lear, Cymbeline, Venice Preserved, The Provoked Wife (Royal Shakespeare Company), Kuene and The King (Royal Shakespeare Company partnership with Fugard Theatre), Sense of An Ending (Theatre 503), The Sting (Wilton’s Music Hall), Home Sweet Home (Freedom Studios), Throats (Pleasance Theatre), Fan The Flame (Theatre Royal Stratford East), Othello (White Bear Theatre), Nina And Shaz (Brockley Jack Theatre), Otieno (Southwark Playhouse), How To Cook a Country (Riverside Studios), Reality Chokes (London Ensemble Theatre Company), Macbeth (Northcott Theatre), The Exchange (Jermyn Street Theatre), and Children of The Crown, and Mother Courage and Her Children (Nottingham Playhouse). His television credits include Rosie Molloy Gives Up Everything, Dark Matters, Silent Witness, and Footballers Wives; and for film, The Beekeeper, My Day, Chasing Shadows, It Never Sleeps, Je Suis Daddy, The Counterfeit Butterfly, The Fallen Word, The Plague and The Incredibly Strange People Show.

Bethan Mary-James plays Elsa. Her theatre credits include Trouble in Butetown (Donmar Warehouse), The Meaning of Zong (Bristol Old Vic/The Barbican), The Methyr Stigmatist (Sherman Theatre), Antigone (National Theatre Wales), Much Ado About Nothing (Tobacco Factory), This Beautiful Village (Abbey Theatre Dublin), Henry II (Minster of St Mary the Virgin Church), Pride and Prejudice (Nottingham Playhouse/York Theatre Royal), The Revengers Tragedy (West Yorkshire Playhouse),  All My Sons (Royal Exchange Theatre), and Moon On a Rainbow Shawl (National Theatre). Her television credits include SistersFriday Night DinnerThe CollectionCuffs, Stella, and Public Enemy; and for film, Belle.

Martina Laird plays Jean. Her theatre credits include The Animal Kingdom (Hampstead Theatre), 15 Heroines (Jermyn Street Theatre), King Hedley IIBad Blood Blues (Theatre Royal Stratford East), All’s Well That End’s WellRomeo and Juliet (Shakespeare’s Globe), Shebeen (Nottingham Playhouse), CoriolanusThe White Devil, Three Hours After MarriageTroilus and Cressida (Royal Shakespeare Company), Julius CesarHenry IVThe TempestOthello (Donmar Warehouse), Who CaresBreath Boom (Royal Court Theatre), Moon On a Rainbow Shawl (Tawala Theatre Company/National Theatre), The House That Will Not Stand (Kiln Theatre), Hopelessly Devoted (Birmingham Rep), All The Little Things We Crushed (Almedia Theatre), MulesArabian Nights (Young Vic Theatre), The Five Wives of Maurice Pinder (National Theatre), and Hyacinth Blue (Lyric Theatre). Her television credits include Dreamland, Unforgotten, Shakespeare and Hathway, The Bay, Eastenders, Jericho, The Dumping Ground, London’s Burning and Casualty (as series regular Comfort Jones); and for film, The Little MermaidBoxing DaySummerland, and Fedz.

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