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Our trip to the opening night of J’Ouvert

Hira Desai

By Hira Desai First Published 22 June 2021, Last Updated 22 June 2021

Yesterday night marked the opening night of J’Ouvert, the debut play of James Tait Black Award-winner Yasmin Joseph, at the Harold Pinter Theatre. Jess and Damien from the Official London Theatre team went to check it out and described the experience as “it’s engaging, it’s funny but it’s searing storytelling. It hits you like a ten ton truck.” 

Jess was super excited to see J’Ouvert having spoken to Gabrielle Brooks on Theatre Chat Live all about her her experiences with carnival and how from the age of 15, attending Notting Hill Carnival became an annual tradition for her and her close friends.  

Related Article: Theatre Chat Live: Gabrielle Brooks and Paul Taylor-Mills
Jess speaks to Gabrielle Brooks, who will be starring in the upcoming play J'Ouvert and Paul Taylor-Mills, Artistic Director at The Turbine Theatre.

Set in 2017, Yasmin Joseph’s J’Ouvert – first seen at Theatre503 – reveals Notting Hill Carnival through the eyes of two best friends. Jade and Nadine are fighting for space in a world that should be theirs. A timely echo of Caribbean resistance across centuries and a story of the joys and dangers of young Black womanhood in 21st Century Britain. 

The play forms part of Sonia Friedman Production’s new Re:Emerge season at The Harold Pinter Theatre, which creates a space for vital, new voices and fresh talent in the West End and beyond, working alongside some of the industry’s greatest theatremakers and artists.

Sapphire Joy Jade, Gabrielle Brooks Nadine and Annice Boparai Nisha (Photo credit: Helen Murray)Sapphire Joy, Gabrielle Brooks and Annice Boparai in J’Ouvert (Photo credit: Helen Murray)

The extraordinary collection of plays curated by SFP alongside Ian Rickson – who becomes Artistic Director for the season – tackles urgent issues integral to rebuilding our society, including structural inequality, climate change and the economics of truth in an internet age.

This was echoed in Jess and Damien’s final thoughts, saying “it has so much to say, and a lot to tell people.” Follow their trip to J’Ouvert below.


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If you want to see a joyful and fearless story of two best friends, battling to preserve tradition in a society where women’s bodies are frequently under threat or you simply want to check out some brilliant new emerging talent, grab your tickets below to see J’Ouvert, playing at the Harold Pinter Theatre until 3 July.


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