Hampstead Downstairs/ The Peter Wolff Trust presents

Downstairs: Ignorance/Jahiliyyah

By Steve Waters

Directed by Nathan Curry

15 November - 15 December

Archived £6 - £12
‘I am reading things, everything I read, I read and read, I read so many books… I awake with the words in my mouth and they are not simply words they are calls…to action.’



1949. Small town Colorado. A group of regular American students struggle to accept a foreigner in their midst; their unthinking behaviour will have terrible consequences that are to change world history. In London, sixty years later, a university professor’s work analysing those consequences takes on a frightening personal dimension when Layla Ahmad walks into his office…

Steve Waters is one of the most highly respected playwrights in the UK today and no stranger to Hampstead. He returns after the hugely successful and critically acclaimed English Journeys (1998), After the Gods (2002) and Fast Labour (2008) all produced on Hampstead Theatre Main Stage. His many other plays include Capernaum (The Bush), The Contingency Plan (The Bush and Radio 3) and World Music (Sheffield Crucible & Donmar). Steve is currently under commission to Cowboy Films for Channel 4 Films, Out of Joint and Birmingham Rep.

Nathan Curry reunites with Waters after directing Little Platoons at The Bush. He is currently Co-Artistic Director of theatre company Tangled Feet and his previous credits include Where’s My Seat?, An Affair to Remember (both The Bush) and as assistant director on A Moon for the Misbegotten (Broadway, NYC).

Running time: Approx 2 hours and 20 minutes including 20 minute interval


Ignorance/Jahiliyyah: What the audience thinks

Our social media followers review Ignorance/Jahiliyyah

A Cup of Tea with... Ignorance/Jahiliyyah's Dan Rabin

We caught up with Dan Rabin about the intimacy of Hampstead Downstairs, taking on two characters and his love of open spaces. Dan is playing Philip and Gates in Ignorance/Jahiliyyah which runs until…

A Cup of Tea with... Ignorance/Jahiliyyah's Andy Apollo

We chatted to Andy Apollo over a cup of tea between performances about his dream roles, playing a ‘bigoted jerk’ and his critically acclaimed turn as a dragon. Andy is playing Wayne in I…

Ignorance/Jahiliyyah: Production Photos

Ignorance/Jahiliyyah production photos take by Bob Workman

'Searching for Qutb': Steve Waters writes about his Ignorance/Jahiliyyah research trips

Steve Waters blogs on visiting Colorado and Egypt

'The audience can expect electric performances': Nathan Curry talks about directing Ignorance/Jahiliyyah

We talk to Ignorance/Jahiliyyah director Nathan Curry

Ignorance/Jahiliyyah: In Rehearsals

Ignorance/Jahiliyyah rehearsal photos

Hampstead Downstairs Autumn Season announced

Hampstead Downstairs new season priority booking now open

The Peter Wolff Trust - a tribute

The Peter Wolff Trust was created in 1998 to support unknown and yet to be established British Playwrights and to encourage and nurture their talent. Founded by Peter Wolff, a successful businessman…

Cast & Crew

Artistic Team


Steve Waters


Nathan Curry


Georgia Lowe

Lighting Designer

Mark Howland

Sound Designer

Edward Lewis


Akuwudike Jude pic (scanned @ higher res).jpg


Jude Akuwudike



Laila Alj

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Andy Apollo



Scarlett Brookes



Dan Rabin