The Kiln Theatre in North London has announced the world premiere of Ryan Calais Cameron’s new play Retrograde.
Based on a true event in the life of actor Sidney Poitier in 1950s Hollywood, Retrograde will start at the Kiln Theatre on 20 April, playing to 27 May 2023.
Retrograde will be directed by Kiln Associate Director Amit Sharma, and casting is to be announced.
Ryan Calais Cameron is the writer of hit play For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy, which is set to transfer from the Royal Court Theatre into the West End, playing the Apollo Theatre from 25 March 2023.
Billed as an explosive new play that explores identity, resilience and integrity, Retrograde examines a true event in 1950’s Hollywood: Behind closed doors, aspiring actor Sidney Poitier is offered a lucrative contract that could make him a superstar. But what is he willing to sacrifice?
The play examines the reality of a Black actor’s journey to stardom, and explores a moment in a career which paved ways and changed perceptions, cementing the legacy of a Hollywood icon.
The Kiln Theatre’s Artistic Director Indhu Rubasingham said in a press statement: “It’s a real privilege to be producing Ryan Calais Cameron’s next play following his smash hit For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy… Directed by Associate Director Amit Sharma, this brand new play about Sidney Poitier promises to be both insightful and relevant.”
Writer Ryan Calais Cameron said: “What drew me to writing a play about the Hollywood Blacklist is the intricacies around the idea of what it means to be Blacklisted and also Black. Retrograde tells the unheard story how Sidney Poitier, the cultural icon that we know and love, came to be and the huge decision he had to make. It explores what it feels to be an artist of colour, and the decisions and challenges we navigate on a day-to-day basis. It’s the right time to tell this story and ask these questions – the play explores what was, but also what is.”
Director Amit Sharma said: “Retrograde was the first script I read as Kiln Associate Director. I was blown away by it; the extraordinary Ryan Calais Cameron has written a complex and gripping play exploring a moment in Sidney Poitier’s life which reinforces the legend. I’m honoured to be directing it.”
The show’s design will be by Frankie Bradshaw, with Lighting Design by Amy Mae, Sound Design by Beth Duke, Casting Direction by Juliet Horsley CDG, and the Kiln-Mackintosh Resident Assistant Director will be Jessica Mensah.
Currently playing at the Kiln Theatre is Zadie Smith’s The Wife of Willesden, until 11 February 2023.