“Luther” star Idris Elba has joined the team at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre as an associate producer for the U.K. production of “School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play” by Jocelyn Bioh, in association with Mark Gordon Pictures and Francesca Moody Productions.
The play is set in Ghana’s prestigious Aburi Girls Boarding School in 1986, and follows Queen Bee Paulina and her crew as they await the arrival of the Miss Ghana pageant recruiter. It’s clear that Paulina is in top position to take the title until her place is threatened by Ericka – a beautiful and talented new transfer student.
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The cast includes Heather Agyepong, Bola Akeju, Deborah Alli, Francesca Amewudah-Rivers, Jadesola Odunjo, Tara Tijani, Alison A. Addo and Anna Shaffer.
The play originally opened at MCC Theater to critical acclaim and has had nearly 60 productions across the U.S. The U.K. premiere, directed by Monique Touko, winner of the 2022 Stage Debut Award for Best Director, will open at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre on June 14 June.
Elba said, “Jocelyn Bioh is changing the way West African stories are being told on our stages, and I’m proud to see this transfer to a London stage. Not only is it incredibly funny, its setting is relatable to the experiences of millions of teenagers all over the world. In the U.S., the play was extended several times, audiences couldn’t get enough of it. My hope is that new audiences will engage with the show and find their own connections with this unforgettable story and its endearing characters.”
Bioh added: “To be able to now say that I’m working with Idris Elba – a shining beacon of West African representation in the entertainment industry – is truly stunning. Words can’t even begin to describe what his support as a producer on ‘School Girls…’ means to me. It is a possibility I never could have imagined. Together, we endeavor to make Ghana proud.”
Elba is currently filming “Heads of State” with John Cena and Priyanka Chopra Jonas and can next be seen in the upcoming Apple series “Hijack.” He is repped by The Artists Partnership and The Lede Company.
Bioh is a Ghanaian-American writer/performer from New York City. Her written works for theatre include “Merry Wives” (Public Theater/Shakespeare in the Park, PBS Great Performances), “Nollywood” (MCC Theater) and “Goddess The Musical” (Berkeley Rep). She will make her Broadway debut as a playwright with the world premiere of “Jaja’s African Hair Braiding” at Manhattan Theatre Club in the fall.
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