Natasha Gordon’s NINE NIGHT to open at Leeds Playhouse as part of Jamaica Society Leeds OUT OF MANY FESTIVAL

25th May 2022

This autumn, Leeds Playhouse is proud to present Natasha Gordon’s critically acclaimed debut play NINE NIGHT in co-production with Nottingham Playhouse. Its three-week run on the Courtyard stage is in partnership with the OUT OF MANY FESTIVAL, which takes its name from the Jamaican national motto Out of Many, One People.


The nine-month Jamaica Society Leeds festival will bring productions showcasing Jamaican music and history to Leeds Playhouse and across the city to celebrate 60 years of Jamaican independence. The Playhouse will host two other events, ROAD TO TROJAN (6 Aug) and REBELLION TO ROMANCE (22 Oct) as part of the festival.


As well as theatre and music, the OUT OF MANY FESTIVAL features art, exhibitions, family, film, literature and heritage events, with high-profile national and international artists and collaborations alongside grass roots community events. 



NINE NIGHT, which runs in Leeds from 24 September to 15 October, is a heartfelt comedy that celebrates the rituals of a traditional Jamaican Nine Night wake. Natasha Gordon’s remarkable award-winning debut play holds up a mirror to family life – exploring the love and loss felt when generations gather to mourn a loved one through shared memories, food and reflections.


Writer Natasha Gordon said: “I’m hugely excited that NINE NIGHT is being staged by Leeds Playhouse and Nottingham Playhouse and thrilled that Amanda (Huxtable) is directing. I was blown away by the reaction when it was first staged and I’m really looking forward to us sharing this story with you.”


Director Amanda Huxtable said: “It’s a real honour to make this heartfelt and funny play at Leeds Playhouse in co-production with Nottingham Playhouse. It’s a wonderful opportunity to work with my dream team on a project that I hope will encourage audiences who need a good laugh and a good cry to express themselves in the safe, supportive environment of the theatre. 


“From the moment I started talking with the writer, Natasha Gordon, I felt this was the right time to share her work. Her writing feels particularly resonant and relevant right now because it’s about life and how we choose to live it.


“I would have loved to share this work with some dearly departed family members of my own. Sadly, that’s not possible, but I like to think that they would be proud of what this production goes on to achieve; bringing family, friends and perfect strangers together in a celebration of life.”


NINE NIGHT invites audiences to a traditional Jamaican wake for strong matriarch Gloria. The story unfolds as her children and grandchildren gather to mark her death with nine rum-fuelled nights of music, food, storytelling and laughter – and a seemingly endless parade of mourners.


This new production follows a successful West End run in 2018, which was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best New Comedy and won three awards in the Evening Standard Theatre Awards and Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards. It was originally commissioned by and played at the National Theatre.


While hosting NINE NIGHT, ROAD TO TROJAN and REBELLION TO ROMANCE, the Playhouse will be offering food and drinks influenced by Jamaican culture.


ROAD TO TROJAN is a celebration of Jamaican music featuring legendary singer Freddie McGregor, pioneer DJ Dennis Alcapone, the roof-raising 17-piece Jazz Jamaica All Stars’ History of Trojan spectacular featuring Aswad’s Brinsley Forde, Noel McCoy and vocal trio Dem Three along with the Out of Many Community Choir led by Paulette Morris and choreographed by Donald Edwards. There will also be a National Dance Theatre of Jamaica digital performance for the ultimate Jamaica 60 celebration.


Icons of Black British culture are coming together for one historic night to showcase reggae music as the soundtrack to 1970s and 80s Black Leeds and Britain in REBELLION TO ROMANCE. Live performances from Brinsley Forde and dub producer and lovers rock creator Dennis Bovell provide the dub soundtrack to 80s activism, while ‘Queens of Lovers Rock’ Janet Kay and Carroll Thompson sing the era’s anthems of love and women’s empowerment.  


Inspired by sound system classics that provided the soundtrack to their early years, O.P.D. (Original Phoenix Dance), founders of the pioneering Phoenix Dance Company, will perform their first joint original dance creation in over 30 years.


Revered Leeds designer Clyde Sheriffe’s Gabiccis & Pleats will explore Black British style. Hosted by actors and UK Black comedy legends Eddie Nestor and Robbie Gee, and set against Leeds community imagery, this powerful, moving and joyful event promises to be a night to remember.


More events are scheduled across the city with announcements of further events still to come.


The OUT OF MANY FESTIVAL has been made possible thanks to National Lottery players, The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England.

All tickets for NINE NIGHT and OUT OF MANY are on sale from 10am on Friday 27 May.