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A welcome return for Linden and Ackroyd


Preview by Paul Nelson

MAKING a welcome return to the Finborough Theatre, Sonja Linden and Drew Ackroyd are combining their talents to present a new play by the former, I Have Before Me a Remarkable Document Given to Me by a Young Lady from Rwanda.

The play charts the bittersweet relationship between a young Rwandan woman and a British poet as he tries to help her write out her story. Humorous, touching and at times disturbing, the play was inspired by the real life experiences of young Rwandan refugees in the UK.

I Have Before Me… marks a welcome return to the Finborough Theatre for both playwright, Linden, and director, Ackroyd.

Award-winning playwright, Sonja Linden's play, Call Me Judas, was presented at the Finborough Theatre in 1995, in the same season as Mark Ravenhill's Shopping and F***cing and Naomi Wallace's Slaughter City.

Her plays have been produced in London and in regional theatres in the UK, as well as in the United States and Australia. She won a Fringe First in Edinburgh for her play Present Continuous, and a Time Out Award for Now and At The Hour of Our Death.

The play will be directed by Drew Ackroyd, whose credits include last year's hugely successful UK premiere production of Larry Kramer's The Destiny of Me.

I Have Before Me… was inspired by Sonja Linden's encounters with a number of young Rwandan refugees at the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, where she has been writer-in-residence since 1997.

Here she set up the Write to Life Project, a creative and testimonial writing programme offering clients of the Foundation the opportunity to discharge their painful experiences of persecution and exile through the act of writing.

Her concern to make these voices public led to her recent founding of the theatre company, iceandfire. Born out of the urgent need to give a platform to dispossessed voices, this production marks the launch of the company.

The play was a sell-out during Oxford Africa Week Festival 2002, where it played nightly to hugely enthusiastic houses:

"You will be fortunate to get a ticket to see this remarkable piece. This is a political play in the quietest and most affecting way, where the personal is political - and brought to life with great care." The Oxford Times.

I Have Before Me a Remarkable Document Given to me by a Young Lady From Rwanda, by Sonja Linden, Directed by Drew Ackroyd, Designed by Nicholaos Zavaliaris, Lighting by Sven Ortel, Sound by Jane Watkins. WITH: Doreene Blackstock, Andrew Hawkins. Produced by iceandfire at the Finborough Theatre, The Finborough, 118 Finborough Road, London SW10 (Five minutes from Earl's Court Underground and West Brompton Underground and National Rail) Tuesday to Saturday June 17 to July 12 at 7.30pm, Sunday matinees at 3.30pm. Tickets 020 7373 3842.

Please note that the Finborough Arms Pub has now been renamed "The Finborough".

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