Casting has been announced for Imposter 22, a new play by Molly Davies (God Bless the Child, A Miracle), produced by the Royal Court in collaboration with Access All Areas.
The production has been created from an original idea by neurodivergent Royal Court Associate Director Hamish Pirie, and is a co-creation with seven learning disabled and autistic artists who also perform in the piece.
Directed by Hamish Pirie, the artists and performers are Kirsty Adams, Cian Binchy, Housni Hassan (DJ), Dayo Koleosho, Stephanie Newman, Lee Phillips and Charlene Salter. Anna Constable will also perform as an alternate to Stephanie Newman.
They will be joined by award-winning West End actor Jamael Westman (Hamilton).
Billed as a whodunnit caper, the show is inspired by the lived experiences and imaginations of the group, over a five-year workshop process. The production marks a new partnership between Access All Areas and the Royal Court and is a playful account of barrier navigation, the politics of neurodiversity and the power of sharing a platform.
Access All Areas makes award-winning, disruptive performance by learning disabled and autistic artists. Their productions create intimate moments of interaction between performers and public, occupying unexpected spaces in venues, on the streets, online, and in public buildings.
The new production will be created with the sensory needs of neurodivergent audience members in mind and all performances will be relaxed.
Imposter 22 is playing at the Royal Court from 23 September to 14 October 2023.
Quotes from the cast of Imposter 22
Kirsty Adams said: “I’m really excited and happy about making this show. It’s important that learning disabled and autistic people have a voice and express how they feel on stage. We all collaborated and improvised together to create characters, and my character Blossom is cheeky and a little bit bossy.”
Cian Binchy said: “This show is a very original idea, and I’m feeling great about it. Autistic and learning disabled people have got so much to offer so it’s important that we continue to be on every stage. My character Jake doesn’t want to put up with the stuff other disabled people put up with, I’ve helped create the character and improvised with the cast since 2019.”
Housni Hassan (DJ) said: “I feel incredible about making this show – I can’t wait! We are as fantastic as non-disabled people, talented in our own unique way and all of us were born for the stage. My character Kev is a funny, quirky, deep thinker who is generous and kind.”
Dayo Koleosho said: “I feel amazing and I’m looking forward to being in the show. I want to show that we can own and perform on the biggest stages in theatre with confidence, and that’s why it’s important that learning disabled and autistic people are on stage at the Royal Court.”
Stephanie Newman said: “I’m most excited about attracting other learning disabled and autistic people to feel welcomed on stage, and I want us to be an example. I created my character, Rose is friendly and rule breaking.”
Lee Phillips said: “It feels great, a brilliant opportunity to be more creative and become a better performer. I hope the audience takes away the fact that we are amazing, that this is a good story and that they understand the characters. Geoff, the character I play, is clever, likes to have fun and the joke is always on him!”
Charlene Salter said: “It’s really important for learning disabled and autistic people to be represented and shown as role models on stage. We are here to be seen and not pushed aside. For the audience to wake up and realise that we have got talent and we can perform as good as non-disabled actors. We need more roles to represent us on TV and film.”