Richard Bean’s new play England People Very Nice is a riotous journey through four waves of immigration from the 17th century to today.

As the French Huguenots, the Irish, the Jews and the Bangladeshis in turn enter the chaotic world of Bethnal Green, each new influx provokes a surge of violent protest over housing, jobs, religion and culture. And the emerging pattern shows that white flight and anxiety over integration is anything but new.

England People Very Nice follows a pair of star-crossed lovers amid cutters’ mobs, Papists, Jewish anarchists and radical Islamists across four tempestuous centuries.

The cast of England People Very Nice features actress Olivia Colman making her National Theatre debut. Colman is best known for her appearances in television comedies including Peep Show, That Mitchell And Webb Look, Look Around You and Beautiful People.

National Theatre Director Nicholas Hytner directs England People Very Nice. Hytner’s previous productions include Major Barbara, The Alchemist and The History Boys, for which he won a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Director.

In addition to England People Very Nice, Bean’s plays also include The English Game, The God Botherers, Honeymoon Suite, In The Club, Under The Whaleback and Harvest, which was nominated for the Best New Play Laurence Olivier Award in 2006.

England People Very Nice plays at the National Theatre Olivier as part of the Travelex £10 season.

For more about England People Very Nice, read the First Night Feature.

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