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Casting announced for Jerker at the King's Head Theatre

King's Head Theatre

Casting news

CASTING has been announced for Robert Chesley’s play Jerker. Returning to London for the first time in 29 years, it runs at the King’s Head Theatre from October 30 to November 23, 2019.

Ben Anderson (Junior Associate of the King’s Head Theatre) will direct Tibu Fortes as Bert and Tom Joyner as J R.

Jerker has been described as “one of the most important pieces of gay theatre ever created” (Los Angeles Times). It also has the dubious reputation of triggering stricter broadcast indecency guidelines in the US, after excerpts of the play were aired on KPFK Pacific Radio in Los Angeles in 1986.

The only previous staging of Jerker in London was directed by Stephen Daldry at the Gate Theatre in 1990.

As the AIDS epidemic intensifies in the early 80’s, Bert and J.R. begin having phone sex. They’ve never met, never seen each other and never touched, but together, they explore their wildest fantasies and the contours of their lonely souls. Both erotic and tender, this intimate two-hander will leave you breathless before breaking your heart.

In addition to its erotic nature, Jerker embodies a deeper social importance. It reflects one of the worst periods in gay history, where the stigma of AIDS hung over the gay community, heightening public prejudice. The fear and silence around this subject was broken by a new wave of plays that began to emerge on the topic, acknowledging the crisis, humanising lives and encouraging the need for a personal response.

In Robert Chesley’s script notes, he says: “I can only hope that Jerker has done and will continue to do some good, with its message of pride in gay identity and honesty about sex.”

Tibu Fortes trained at the Drama Centre London. Recent theatre credits include: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare’s Globe); Passage to India (Park Theatre); Coconut (Ovalhouse); The Point of It (RADA Fest); Henry V (New Generation Festival); Satyagraha (Improbable) and L.O.V.E. (Volcano Theatre). Recent screen credits include: The Capture, Johnny English Strikes Again, EastEnders, The Reluctant Landlord, People Just Do Nothing and Requiem.

Tom Joyner graduated from Drama Centre London in 2018. He made his professional debut in Maurice (Above The Stag). His TV credits include: The Trial of Christine Keeler, Bounty Hunters, Alex Rider and Waiting. Credits while training include: The Mercy Seat, Lungs and The Effect.

Jerker is designed by Lee Newby, with lighting design by Clancy Flynn and sound design by Tingyong Ding. Intimacy direction is by Yarit Dor and Enric Ortuno.

Jerker is suitable for ages 18+.

To book tickets, call the box office on 0207 226 8561 (10.30am – 6pm, Monday – Friday) or visit

Also at the King’s Head Theatre: The Elixir of Love (until October 26, 2019).