Theatre Royal Stratford East to host premiere of play Room

Taye Kassim Junaid-Evans and Witney White in rehearsal for Room. Picture: Scott Rylander

Taye Kassim Junaid-Evans and Witney White in rehearsal for Room. Picture: Scott Rylander - Credit: Scott Rylander

A play based on an acclaimed novel is set to premiere in Theatre Royal Stratford East next month.

Witney White and Darmani Eboji. Picture: Scott Rylander

Witney White and Darmani Eboji. Picture: Scott Rylander - Credit: Scott Rylander

Room is based on the 2010 novel by Emma Donaghue which was made into an Academy Award winning film, telling of a young woman, Ma, and her son Jack as they are held captive in a shed and their eventual integration back into society.

The play will premiere in Stratford on Tuesday, May 2, and Witney White, who plays Ma, couldn’t wait to start the role after reading the book.

Witney said: “When I got the scripts I knew I had to take the role. It was such an interesting choice for the story to be told from the perspective of the little boy, who’s never known anything else but this room.

“The story still has all these themes of depression and loneliness. This wounded young woman stops thinking about the fact she is trapped and focuses on protecting her son.”


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The role of Jack will be shared by three young actors, Darmani Eboji, Taye Kassim Junaid-Evans and Harrison Wilding, and Miss White has found working with the boys a breeze.

She said: “I did not find it difficult at all. They keep me on my toes!”

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In a new twist, the play, adapted by Donaghue, will include music written by Scottish songwriters Cora Bissett and Kathryn Joseph.

“They are not so much musical numbers, but more just songs that just help to tell the story,” Witney said.

She first got an interest in stage performing when she was growing up, and has performed in various stage productions such as wonder.land, Loserville and Dusty.

“Me and my grandfather used to watch Charlie Chaplin films together, and my mother loved musicals and used to take me to them all the time,” she said.

The show’s youngest stars are excited to be taking to the stage, too.

Harrison said: “It means the world to me. It’s fantastic to be the main character in a world premiere!”

Darmani added: “It means a lot because I didn’t think that I would get in but I got in and now I am really proud of myself. I’m really happy to be playing the role of Jack.”

Room will run at Theatre Royal Stratford East from Tuesday, May 2 until Saturday, June 3. Tickets start at £12 from stratfordeast.com.

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