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Lenny Henry in Fences (photo: Nobby Clark)

Lenny Henry in Fences at the Duchess Theatre (photo: Nobby Clark)

Lenny Henry: “I may write for NT”

Published 29 January 2014

Lenny Henry, who collected the 2013 Critics’ Circle Best Actor Award, has hinted that the future may find him writing a play for the National Theatre.

The performer, who won the award for his role in August Wilson’s Fences, told Official London Theatre that he had already had preliminary meetings with the National’s Associate Director (Literary) Sebastian Born to discuss the project. “I may write a play for them,” he said. “How cool is that?”

Best known as a comedian, Fences was only Henry’s third stage production, following an acclaimed touring production of Othello and The Comedy Of Errors, which first took him to the National Theatre.

“God is telling me that I need to do drama,” he told us. “Who knew? I love comedy. Comedy is why I’m here, but clearly [drama] is something I need to do more of.”

Henry, who also provides the voices for children’s TV favourites Big And Small and Tinga Tinga Tales, was one of the most excited recipients of an award at this year’s ceremony where the big prize winner was the Almeida Theatre and Headlong co-production of Chimerica.

The drama, which tells the story of a photojournalist’s attempt to discover the truth behind the hero he caught on camera in Tiananmen Square, won three awards for Best Designer (Es Devlin), Best Director (Lyndsey Turner) and Best New Play. Its writer, Lucy Kirkwood, who spent six years working on the piece before it opened at the Almeida, was never convinced about how well it would be received, telling us “We thought we might get away with it.” Instead it became one of 2013’s biggest hits and most talked about productions.

Kirkwood, whose TV drama The Smoke will air on Sky 1 this spring, currently has a couple of plays in the early stages of development including a Royal Court commission that she’s “feeling around”.


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