News: Running With Lions cast announced

The Lyric Hammersmith Theatre and Talawa Theatre Company have announced the full cast for the world premiere of Running With Lions.  The production will star Ruby Barker best known for playing Marina Thompson in Netflix’s hit series Bridgerton, Wil Johnson, who has performed extensively on stage and screen for 30 years, including Waking the Dead (BBC), Nickcolia King-N’da (The Death of a Blackman, Hampstead Theatre), Suzette Llewellyn (EastEnders, BBC), and Velile Tshabalala (Doctor Who and Call the Midwife, BBC;).  The debut stage play from new writing talent Sian Carter will be directed by Talawa’s Artistic Director Michael Buffong (A Kind of People, Guys & Dolls) at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre from 10th February to 12th March.

Running with Lions is an intergenerational family drama about love, loss and hope: following three generations of women, it explores what it means to allow those we love to be themselves.  It marks the first co-production between the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre and Talawa Theatre Company, the UK’s outstanding Black British Theatre Company.  The production is based on the audio play of the same name originally commissioned by BBC Radio 4.

Michael Buffong, Artistic Director of Talawa Theatre Company, comments, Sian Carter is a brilliant new writer; her story of an intergenerational family learning to overcome the challenges we all face today is, I think, life-affirming.  To be able to co-produce this play with the Lyric is a welcomed dream. We have an amazing cast and I believe this is going to be an absolute treat for audiences.

Rachel O’Riordan, Artistic Director of Lyric Hammersmith Theatre says, I’ve long admired the work of Talawa Theatre Company and Michael Buffong and it’s a joy to be working with them on Running with Lions, our very first co-production together, and championing an exceptional new writer, Sian Carter.  We can’t wait to welcome an incredible cast and team to the Lyric and share this bold, exciting work with audiences in the New Year.

Set and costume design is by Soutra Gilmour (Macbeth, Almeida; Out West, Lyric Hammersmith Theatre), lighting design by Aideen Malone (Death of a Salesman, Young Vic and West End), sound design by Tony Gayle (Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical, West End) and casting by Chandra Ruegg (Lava, Bush Theatre).

Following the death of a loved one, a British-Caribbean family struggles to come to terms with their grief.  Isolated by their generational beliefs and challenges to their faith and mental health, they live between the things they do and do not say.  Running with Lions explores the journey of one family’s reconciliation after loss and the rediscovery of love and joy.

To book tickets visit

As part of the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre’s Free First Night scheme, all tickets for the first preview of Running with Lions on Thursday 10th February will be free to people who live or work in Hammersmith and Fulham.  Registration for the ballot will open in January 2022 via


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