Zodwa Nyoni’s play opens West Yorkshire Playhouse season Compelling new voice in the UK’s cultural landscape … Leeds-based Zodwa Nyoni

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ZIMBABWE born playwright, poet and performer Zodwa Nyoni’s first full length play Boi Boi is Dead opens the new season at the West Yorkshire Playhouse on Saturday, running until early next month.
Described by critics as a compelling new voice on the UK’s cultural landscape, Zodwa’s short play Nine Lives sold out at the Playhouse last year.
The Leeds-based playwright presents Boi Boi is Dead just after completing a year as the Channel 4 writer in residence at the Playhouse.
Set in Zimbabwe, the production breaks a much criticised tradition whereby major theatres rarely “enlist the talents – or tell the stories – of anyone outside the white establishment”, remarked a local critic.
In the production, Boi Boi – an Afro-jazz legend, father, lover, playboy, husband, rule breaker, enigmatic force of nature – is dead. But not forgotten.
And left alone to rebuild her life, Miriam’s heartache is however, interrupted when Boi Boi’s reckless ex-wife Stella and traditionalistic brother show up to stake their claim on his name, on his property and to revel in the glory of his fame.
Determined to keep her family together, Miriam’s life is thrown into turmoil when Stella discovers the secret she shared only with Boi Boi. Will the beguiling Stella be triumphant in the face of Boi Boi’s death?
The plays is directed by Lucian Msamati, a renowned actor, perhaps best known for his role as JLB Matekoni in the television adaptation of Alexander McCall Smith’s The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency and as Salladhor Saan in Game of Thrones.

The play is poetic, refreshing and a very different way to start the year … Lucian Msamati