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The Hackney Volpone - Rose Lipman Building

The Hackney Volpone (or The Fox)

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

NYLon Projects, in partnership with The Mill Co. Project, is presenting The Hackney Volpone (or The Fox) at the Rose Lipman Building on the De Beauvoir Estate from Wednesday, July 23 to Saturday, August 9, 2014.

A vibrant reworking of Ben Jonson’s Jacobean classic, brought to life in the heart of Hackney by a mix of seasoned professionals and members of the local community, The Hackney Volpone is directed by Anna Jones.

Loosely inspired by the traditional story of Reynard the Fox, the play follows the story of a con-trick that spirals out of control when Volpone, a Venetian gentleman, pretends to be on his deathbed, ably assisted by his parasite Mosca, in order to dupe Voltore, Corbaccio, Corvino and Lady Would-Be, four legacy hunters who aspire to inherit his fortune.

Stripping the play of the Sir Politic Would-Be subplot, the production places pace and immediacy at the top of the agenda, aiming to produce the freshest possible reworking of the playwright’s finest work.

Director Anna Jones and Co-creator Jamel Rodriguez said: “Through our collaboration with the terrific acting company and design team led by James Turner and Elspeth Brooke, we hope to create a non-traditional, highly theatrical and irreverent take on Jonson’s play about greed, lust and betrayal. The Hackney Volpone represents an exciting opportunity for NYLon Projects to collaborate with a great classic.

“We’re looking forward to building a relationship with local people by having eight community members form our supporting cast. In a production that is inspired by the theme of play-acting yet also interested in being part of a contemporary conversation about greed and corruption, having Hackney and Islington residents help build Jonson’s topsy-turvy courtroom and devise new satirical entertainments as members of Volpone’s household, will give the show a grounding both in the present day and in the community.”

Founded in 2010 by Anna Jones and Jamel Rodriguez (graduates of the Yale School of Drama), NYLon Projects aim to create innovative and ‘alive’ theatre through both scripted and devised material, which draws on the company’s varied training and present collaborators. Their previous work includes Alena Smith’s Plucker at Southwark Playhouse, and The Brooklyn Bumpkin, inspired by Jamel’s own childhood experiences in the Dominican Republic and performed in schools across East London.

Starring as Volpone is Jamel Rodriguez, whose theatre credits include Too Much Memory at New York Theatre Workshop. His film and television work includes Three Backyards and Law and Order.

Babou Ceesay co-stars as Mosca. His previous stage credits include The Overwhelming at the National Theatre and Elektra at the Young Vic. His recent film and television credits include Half of a Yellow Sun, Strikeback for HBO and Luther for the BBC.

The cast also features Karina Fernandez (Double Feature, National Theatre, Mike Leigh’s Happy Go Lucky and Another Year) as Voltore/Nano; Amara Karan (Much Ado about Nothing and The Taming of the Shrew, RSC and Simon Pegg’s A Fantastic Fear of Everything) as Celia/Corbaccio; and Simon Rhodes.

The Hackney Volpone is designed by James Turner and has music by Elspeth Brooke.

The Hackney Volpone is suitable for ages 14+.

Tickets: £12, £8 concessions – available on 020 7923 3565 or online at

Times: Wednesday to Saturday at 7.30pm, Saturday matinees at 2.30pm.

Running Time: Approximately 120 minutes (not including interval of 15 minutes).

Rose Lipman Building, 43 De Beauvoir Road, London, N1 5SA