The National Theatre and Young Vic co-production with Good Chance Theatre of Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson’s The Jungle will receive a West End transfer.
The production, directed by Stephen Daldry and Justin Martin, is set in Europe’s largest unofficial refugee camp, the Calais Jungle, which in 2015, became a temporary home for more than 10,000 people. Previewing from 16 June, The Jungle will have an opening night on 5 July at the Playhouse Theatre.
The Jungle will transfer to the Playhouse Theatre in the West End, where the traditional proscenium theatre will undergo a remarkable transformation. The auditorium stalls will be completely reconfigured to house Miriam Buether’s critically-acclaimed set design as seen at the Young Vic, where audiences were invited to sit at the benches and tables of the Afghan café in the Calais camp.
The Dress Circle will be renamed “Cliffs of Dover” and will allow unique views over the performance space, which extends out beyond the proscenium arch and over the stalls. This in-the-round transformation will reduce the capacity of the theatre to 450 seats, to more closely re-create the intimate and immediate experience audiences had at the Young Vic. Top price tickets are directly enabling 40% of the house to be priced at £25 and under, and a proportion of tickets will be held off sale to be offered to refugees and targeted groups in order to maximise diversity and accessibility.
This is the place where people suffered and dreamed. Meet the hopeful, resilient residents of the Jungle – just across the Channel, right on our doorstep. The Jungle tells stories of loss, fear, community and hope, of the Calais camp’s creation – and of its eventual destruction. Join the residents over freshly baked naan and sweet milky chai at the Afghan Café, and experience the intense, moving and uplifting encounters between refugees from many different countries and the volunteers who arrived from the UK.
The majority of the original cast will transfer with the production, including actors from refugee backgrounds, some of whom came through the Jungle. The full cast includes: Ammar Haj Ahmad, Mohammad Amiri, Girum Bekele, Elham Ehsas, Trevor Fox, Moein Ghobsheh, Ansu Kabia, Alex Lawther, John Pfumojena, Rachel Redford, Rachid Sabitri, Mohamed Sarrar, Ben Turner and Nahel Tzegai.
Joe Robertson and Joe Murphy said:
“The Jungle was a reluctant home for thousands of people from all over the world. It was a place where people built temporary lives and communities formed out of necessity. People who visited asked why we built a theatre in a refugee camp, but it’s always seemed clear to us that theatre should be at the centre of the conversation. That’s why we’re thrilled to bring this play to new audiences and to the West End, in a totally transformed Playhouse Theatre, a stone’s throw from Parliament.”
Rufus Norris, director of the National Theatre said: “Having visited the Calais Jungle at the end of 2015 it felt incredibly important to tell this story. Joe and Joe’s script together with Stephen and Justin’s production perfectly captures the lives of so many individuals caught up in an impossible situation. The Jungle is an unforgettable experience which is both powerful and moving, and it is wonderful that it has now found a home in the West End.”