THE WIFE OF WILLESDEN
Kiln Theatre presents
In association with Brent 2020, London Borough of Culture
THE WIFE OF WILLESDEN
Adapted by Zadie Smith from Chaucer’s The Wife of Bath
‘Married five times. Mother. Lover. Aunt. Friend.
She plays many roles round here. And never
Scared to tell the whole of her truth, whether
Or not anyone wants to hear it. Wife
Of Willesden: pissed enough to tell her life
Story to whoever has ears and eyes…’
The world premiere of Zadie Smith’s The Wife of Willesden comes to Kiln Theatre for a strictly limited run. Based on Chaucer’s The Wife of Bath, this irreverent, bawdy and beautiful new comedy celebrates the life and times of one of literature’s most beloved characters.
Kiln Theatre Artistic Director Indhu Rubasingham directs following her 2018 sold out, hit production of Smith’s White Teeth.
This production is supported by Dasha Epstein.
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Writer Zadie Smith was born in North London in 1975 to an English father and a Jamaican mother. She read English at Cambridge, graduating in 1997. Her acclaimed first novel, White Teeth (2000), is a vibrant portrait of contemporary multicultural London, told through the story of three ethnically diverse families. The book won a number of awards and prizes, including the Guardian First Book Award, the Whitbread First Novel Award, and the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Overall Winner, Best First Book). It also won two EMMA (BT Ethnic and Multicultural Media Awards) for Best Book/Novel and Best Female Media Newcomer, and was shortlisted for the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Author’s Club First Novel Award. White Teeth has been translated into over twenty languages and was adapted for Channel 4 television in 2002. Her tenure as Writer in Residence at the Institute of Contemporary Arts resulted in the publication of an anthology of erotic stories entitled Piece of Flesh (2001). She also wrote the introduction for The Burned Children of America (2003), a collection of eighteen short stories by a new generation of young American writers. Smith’s second novel, The Autograph Man (2002), a story of loss, obsession and the nature of celebrity, won the 2003 Jewish Quarterly Literary Prize for Fiction. In 2003 she was nominated by Granta magazine as one of 20 ‘Best of Young British Novelists’. Her third novel, On Beauty, was published in 2005, and won the 2006 Orange Prize for Fiction. She has also published two collections of non-fiction, Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays (2009) and Feel Free (2018), and a collection of short stories, Grand Union (2019).
Smith became a tenured professor of fiction at New York University in 2010 and lives between New York City and London. Her most recent novels are NW (2012), set in north west London; and Swing Time (2016), set in London, New York and West Africa.
Artistic Director of Kiln Theatre Indhu Rubasingham directs. Her work for the company includes Pass Over, When the Crows Visit, Wife, White Teeth, Holy Sh!t, Red Velvet (which transferred to New York and later to the Garrick Theatre as part of the Kenneth Branagh Season) and Handbagged (winner of Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre – also West End, UK tour, Washington DC and New York). Other productions for Kiln Theatre include The Invisible Hand, A Wolf in Snakeskin Shoes, Multitudes, The House That Will Not Stand, Paper Dolls, Women, Power and Politics, Stones in His Pockets, Detaining Justice, The Great Game: Afghanistan, Fabulation and Starstruck. Other theatre credits include The Great Wave, Ugly Lies the Bone, The Motherf**cker with the Hat (Evening Standard Award for Best Play), The Waiting Room (all National Theatre), The Ramayana (National Theatre/ Birmingham Rep), Belong, Disconnect, Free Outgoing, Lift Off, Clubland, The Crutch and Sugar Mummies (Royal Court), Ruined (Almeida), Yellowman and Anna in the Tropics (Hampstead Theatre), Secret Rapture and The Misanthrope (Minerva, Chichester), Romeo and Juliet (Chichester Festival Theatre ), Pure Gold (Soho Theatre), The No Boys Cricket Club and Party Girls (Theatre Royal Stratford East), Wuthering Heights (Birmingham REP), Heartbreak House (Watford Palace Theatre), Sugar Dollies and Shakuntala (Gate Theatre), A River Sutra (Three Mill Island Studios), Rhinoceros (UC Davis, California) and A Doll’s House (Young Vic).
Ben and Max Ringham
Composers & Sound Designers
Julia Horan CDG
Associate Costume Designer
Voice & Dialect
A huge thank you to the generous individuals who are helping us bring this production to life:
Matthew Greenburgh and Helen Payne
Nicola Horton and Tiffany Evans
Jonathan Levy and Gabrielle Rifkind
James Baer and Henry Chu
To find out more about supporting The Wife of Willesden, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and our Fundraising Team will be in touch.