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Black Jesus - Finborough Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

BLACK Jesus, a new play on Zimbabwe by Finborough Theatre Playwright-in-Residence Anders Lustgarten, receives its world premiere at the Finborough Theatre, where it runs from Tuesday, October 1 to Saturday, October 26, 2013.

And do you know why I was called by that name? Because I decided who would be saved and who would be condemned. I took that responsibility for others and now I take it for myself. I am Black Jesus. I do not crawl.

Zimbabwe. 2015. Eunice Ncube, working for the new Truth and Justice Commission, interviews Gabriel Chibamu, one of the most infamous of the old regime’s enforcers. As Gabriel’s trial approaches, Eunice sifts through the past – to find that right and wrong, and guilt and innocence, are far less clear than she first thought…

Black Jesus unpicks the political complexities of Zimbabwe through the devastating personal journeys of two very different people, both shaped and scarred by one of Africa’s most complex and notorious regimes.

David Mercatali directs a cast that includes Paapa Essiedu, Alexander Gatehouse, Debbie Korley and Cyril Nri.

David Mercatali is a director and writer. His production of the world premiere of Philip Ridley’s Tender Napalm, received a nomination for the Evening Standard Best Newcomer Award and the OffWestEnd Award for Best Director. His previous work includes Feathers in the Snow (Southwark Playhouse), the acclaimed verbatim play Someone to Blame (King’s Head Theatre), the breakthrough premiere production of Philip Ridley’s Moonfleece (London and National Tour), Weights and his own play The Sound (Blue Elephant Theatre), Runners: The Return (Underbelly for the Edinburgh Festival) and People’s Day (Pleasance London).

He was Assistant Director on The Eleventh Capital (Royal Court Theatre), is currently Assocate Director at the Southwark Playhouse and has developed new work with Paines Plough and Theatre503.

Playwright Anders Lustgarten’s most recent play was If You Don’t Let Us Dream, We Won’t Let You Sleep, an exceptionally insightful and optimistic dissection of modern British politics at the Royal Court Theatre Downstairs in March 2013, for which he won the inaugural Harold Pinter Playwrights’ Award. His work at the Finborough includes A Day at the Racists (2010), about the BNP and New Labour’s betrayal of the working class, which won the Catherine Johnson Award. Other work includes Socialism is Great (National Theatre), Blair’s Children (Cockpit Theatre) and Three Gifts (Royal Court Theatre).

Presented by HMD Productions in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre, Black Jesus is designed by Max Dorey, with lighting by Howard Hudson and sound by Max Pappenheim.

A sold-out workshop production of Black Jesus at the Harare International Festival of Arts, Zimbabwe, was described by the Guardian as “a highlight of the festival”.

Performance Length: Approximately ninety minutes (no interval).

For more information or to book, call the box office on 0844 847 1652 or visit

The world premiere of Fishskin Trousers, by multi-award-winning playwright Elizabeth Kuti, continues at the Finborough Theatre until September 28, 2013.