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Camden People’s Theatre presents dark comedy ‘English Kings Killing Foreigners’


Camden People’s Theatre presents dark comedy ‘English Kings Killing Foreigners’

REALFAKE Theatre and Camden People’s Theatre announce the premiere of English Kings Killing Foreigners…

The production will be performed at Camden People’s Theatre from 23rd April – 11th May.

Commissioned as the 2023 recipients of Home Run – CPT’s largest-scale commissioning scheme, this visually rich piece of theatre skilfully combines a refreshing exploration of English culture with a frank and bold criticism of the institution of Shakespearean theatre in the UK. Philip Arditti and Nina Bowers write and star in this darkly funny and unflinching look at nationalism, intersecting identities … and Henry V.

English Kings Killing Foreigners is inspired by Nina and Phil’s real-life experience of starring in several productions of Henry V including at Shakespeare’s Globe in 2019 where they first met.  Both performers bring their extensive backgrounds in British theatre and of performing Shakespeare, to this ‘silly show about serious things’.

The piece asks; what does it mean to cast a Global Majority actor in a Shakespeare play? How does a non-white, non-English person fit into this most English hero-making story? And shows us what the cost might be to the artists taking on these roles.

English Kings Killing Foreigners A tell-all dark comedy peeling back English cultural identity to premiere at Camden People’s Theatre

At its heart, this is a workplace comedy with a fresh perspective. In the play, we meet Nina and Philip; two actors cast in a highly anticipated production of Henry V. These two ‘outsiders’ bond over their scepticism of the Shakespearean institution and its role in the national identity and narrative of England.

But discord is just around the corner. Following the death of the “National treasure” star of their show – naturally, a White, English actor reviving his performance of Henry V for the fifth time – Nina and Philip find their relationship shifting. Nina is thrust into the title role, a move which inevitably impacts the dynamic; causing increasing conflict and tension between the two.

As an audience to both the play, and the play-within-the-play, we watch Nina and Phil rehearse and perform sections of the play while being pushed to personal and professional extremes. Brutality bubbles under the surface before boiling over with results that will long reverberate, just as King Henry is taking to the battlefield at Agincourt.

The piece skilfully leads us through the micro-aggressions of the rehearsal room, the battlefields of France, and the bureaucratic machinery of the British citizenship system. It draws on Nina and Philip’s real-life personal histories with England, and their experiences as unwilling actors in a national (but potentially untrue) story about Englishness.


Venue: Camden People’s Theatre, 58-60 Hampstead Road, London, NW1 2PY
23rd April – 11th May

Press Night: Thursday 25th April 2024

Time: 7.00 pm

Running time: 80 mins


Captioned: 30 Apr – 4 May

Touch Tour: 2 May

BSL: 8 May

Relaxed: 30 Apr & 2, 8, 9 May

Chilled: All performances are chilled performances

Post-show Q&A with Mena Arts UK: 1st of May

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