Posted on 18 March 2019.

Posted in: Announcements

  • Isabella Nefar stars as Jude, with Paul Brennen, Merch Husey, Caroline Loncq, Luke MacGregor, Shanaya Rafaat, Anna Savva and Emily Taaffe completing the cast.

  • Jude will be the last production that Edward Hall will direct during his tenure as Artistic Director of Hampstead.

A new play by Howard Brenton
Directed by Edward Hall
23 April – 1 June 2019

‘It wasn’t just her freakish ability with language. She saw through to behind the words. It was like she had a direct line to - I was going to say to ‘the gods''

Hampstead Theatre presents the world premiere of Howard Brenton’s latest play Jude, directed by Edward Hall which will be the last production that Edward will direct during his tenure as Artistic Director of Hampstead. Loosely inspired by Thomas Hardy’s novel Jude the Obscure, Jude is a modern day tale of unexpected genius and of our struggle to accommodate extraordinary talent. Isabella Nefar stars as Jude alongside Paul Brennen, Merch Husey, Caroline Loncq, Luke MacGregor, Shanaya Rafaat, Anna Savva and Emily Taaffe.

About to be fired from her cleaning job for stealing a volume of Euripides, Jude turns her employer’s outrage to shock by translating the ancient Greek on the spot. The employer, a Classics teacher, knows great talent when she sees it and the encounter kick-starts Jude's lifelong ambition to study at Oxford University.  Entirely self-taught and possessing an astonishing gift for languages, Jude will stop at nothing to achieve her dream – but she remains oblivious to the hidden barriers that her background has placed in her path... 

Paul Brennen plays Euripides/Roger. His theatre credits includes Saint George and the Dragon (National Theatre); Shakespeare In Love (Disney/Friedman); Wonderland (Hampstead Theatre); Three Sisters (Lyric Hammersmith/tour); Treasure Island (Theatre Royal Haymarket); Troilus and Cressida (Cheek By Jowl); Twelfth Night (RSC/Filter); Faust (Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh); Cleansed (Arcola); King Lear (Shakespeare’s Globe); Baby Doll (National Theatre/West End); Popcorn (UK tour); The Duchess of Malfi (Cheek By Jowl); Women of Troy (Gate); The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (Big Arts); Measure For Measure (World tour) and The War of the Roses (English Shakespeare Company). His film work includes Men in Black; The Man With the Iron Heart; The Divided Heart; Big Pants; Incognito; I.D; Border Crossing and Alien III. His Television work includes Pennyworth (Series I); Wild Bill; Eight Days That Changed Rome; Dark Angel; Happy Valley (Series II); Silent Witness: In Plain Sight; George Gently (Series VII); Holby City (Series XVII); Partners In Crime (Series I); The Borgias (Series 1-3); The Tudors (Series VII); Paradox; Nuremberg: Nazis on Trial; Eastenders (2003 - 2005); Afterlife (Series I); Barking; The Last Detective (Series III); Foyle's War; Shameless; Heartbeat; A&E; Bad Girls; Buried; Holby City; Midsomer Murders and The Lost Prince.

Merch Husey plays Mark Nasrani/ Bob Challow. Merch studied at Identity School of Acting. His theatre work includes Haram Iran! (Above The Stag), television work includes The Durrells (series 2 and 3) and Ransom (series 2) and short film credits include London Arabia; Brexit Weekend; Hybris and The Line.

Caroline Loncq plays Deirdre. Caroline trained at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Her theatre work includes All My Sons (Nottingham Playhouse); Home Truths (Cardboard Citizens); Broken Glass (Tricycle/Vaudeville); Scorched (Old Vic Tunnels); King of Hearts (Hampstead Theatre); The Duchess of Malfi and The Comedy of Errors (both RSC) and Lysistrata (Wyndham’s/Epidaurus). Her film work includes Marie: Queen of Romania; I Could Never be Your Woman; The Affair of the Necklace and Bolse Vita (Prix Europa winner). Television work includes Agatha Raisin; Nightflyers; Lucky Man; No Offence; The Night Manager; Vera; Hooten & the Lady; Affinity; Trial & Retribution; Wire in the Blood and The Queen’s Sister.

Luke MacGregor plays Jack. He graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in June 2016. In the same year he performed at Shakespeare’s Globe in the Sam Wanamaker Festival and was awarded the BBC Carleton Hobbs Bursary Award. His theatre work includes The Winter’s Tale and Eyam (both Shakespeare’s Globe); Julius Caesar; Antony and Cleopatra and Titus Andronicus (all RSC Roman Season, Stratford and London).

Isabella Nefar plays Judith Nasrani. Her theatre work includes Goats (Royal Court) and Salomé (National Theatre).  Her film work includes Waiting for the Barbarians and Small City. Her television work includes Ransom 3: It's a Greco; Aspirin and Attori o Corsari.

Shanaya Rafaat plays Pat. Shanaya trained at RADA. Her theatre work includes: Romeo and Juliet and Richard III (Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre; York); Frankenstein (Manchester Royal Exchange); Uncle Vanya (Theatr Clwyd/Sheffield Crucible); Terror (Lyric Hammersmith); The White Devil (Shakespeare's Globe); A Tale of Two Cities (Royal & Derngate/UK tour); Great Expectations (West Yorkshire Playhouse); Stateless (Tristan Bates Theatre); Around the World in 80 Days (St James); King Lear (Shakespeare's Globe/International tour); Twelfth Night (The Lion and Unicorn Theatre); The Illusion (Southwark Playhouse); The Malcontent (White Bear Theatre); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (RSC/Roundhouse/International tour); Judith; Sexual Perversity in Chicago; Blackbird 13 and Hayavadana (National Centre for the Performing Arts, Mumbai) and The Maids (National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai). 

Anna Savva plays Martha Nasrani. Her theatre work includes The Wedding Party (One-woman play  at the Ohrid Festival Macedonia); The Dybbuk (NY Fringe Festival - Theater for the New City); Enduring Freedom (Finborough); The Battle of Green Lanes (Theatre Royal, Stratford East); The Tunnel (Edinburgh Festival, Hill Street Theatre); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Manchester Royal Exchange); Frida & Diego (Red Shift Theatre - Time Out nomination for Best Actress); Kvetch (West Yorkshire Playhouse); Salome (Glasgow Citizens); A View from the Bridge (Liverpool Playhouse); The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Glasgow Citizens);  Measure For Measure (Arcola); The Snow Queen (Theatr Clywd); Beauty and the Beast (Manchester Library Theatre); The House of Bernarda Alba (Shaw Theatre); Hot Fudge & Ice Cream (Manchester Contact Theatre); Blood Wedding (Leicester Haymarket); Hiawatha (Sheffield Crucible); Carmen (Derby Playhouse) and Macbeth (Cherub Theatre Company). Her Film work includes The Correspondence; Exodus; The Cut; The Horror of the Dolls; The Quiet Assassin; Akamas; Restoration and Grandma's Funeral. Her Television work includes The Durrells (series regular); Genius: Picasso; True Horror; Tyrant; Law & Order, UK; Planespotting; London's Burning; The Chief; Yo Picasso; Family; Minder; Sharpe's Honour; Drowning in the Shallow End and Silent Witness.

Emily Taaffe plays Sally. Her theatre work includes Three Sisters (Southwark Playhouse); The American Plan (Theatre Royal, Bath/St James); Twelfth Night; The Tempest and The Comedy of Errors (all RSC); The Veil; The Cherry Orchard and Nation (all National Theatre); Translations (Leicester Curve); Memory Cells (Pleasance Theatre, Edinburgh Fringe); The Crucible (Regent’s Park); The House of Special Purpose (Chichester Festival Theatre); Rock ‘n’ Roll (Manchester Library Theatre); Three Sisters (Abbey Theatre Dublin) and Intemperance (Liverpool Everyman Theatre). Her film work includes Rare Beasts; His House; The Dig; VS and Beast. Her television work includes Silent Witness, Informer; Striking Out ; Paula; Death In Paradise; Lucky Man; War and Peace; Camp X; Ripper Street; New Tricks; Call the Midwife; Atlantis; Vera and The Borgias.

Howard Brenton makes a highly anticipated return to Hampstead following Lawrence After Arabia in 2016. His other Hampstead premieres include #aiww: The Arrest of Ai Weiwei (2013); Drawing the Line (2013) and 55 Days (2012). His many plays include Christie In Love (Portable Theatre, 1969);  Magnificence (Royal Court Theatre, 1973); The Churchill Play (Nottingham Playhouse, 1974 twice revived by the RSC 1978 and 1988); Weapons Of Happiness (National Theatre, 1976, Evening Standard Best Play Award); Epsom Downs (Joint Stock Theatre, 1977); Sore Throats (RSC, 1978); The Romans In Britain (National Theatre, 1980, Sheffield Crucible 2006); Thirteenth Night (RSC, 1981); Bloody Poetry (Foco Novo 1984/Royal Court, 1987); Pravda with David Hare (National Theatre,1985 -  Evening Standard Best Play Award); Greenland (Royal Court, 1988); Moscow Gold (with Tariq Ali, RSC, 1990); Berlin Bertie (Royal Court, 1992); Kit’s Play (RADA, 2001); Paul (National Theatre, 2005); In Extremis (Shakespeare’s Globe, 2006/7 and toured in 2013 retitled Eternal Love); Never So Good (National Theatre, 2008); Anne Boleyn (Shakespeare’s Globe, 2010 - revived there 2011 and toured in 2013, winner of the Whatsonstage Best Play Award and UK Theatre Awards Best Touring Production); The Guffin (one act play, NT Connections 2013); Doctor Scroggy’s War (Shakespeare’s Globe, 2014); Ransomed (one act play, Salisbury Playhouse, 2015); The Blinding Light (Jermyn Street, 2017) and The Shadow Factory (New Nuffield Theatre, Southampton, 2018, revived in 2019). His versions of classics include The Life of Galileo (National Theatre, 1980); Danton’s Death (National Theatre, 1982 and a new version in 2010) and Goethe’s Faust (RSC, 1995/6).  He adapted Robert Tressell’s The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists (Liverpool Everyman and Chichester Festival Theatre, 2010); Dances of Death (after Strindberg) was presented by The Gate Theatre, Notting Hill in 2013. His version of Strindberg’s Miss Julie was presented at The Theatre By The Lake, Keswick, then at The Jermyn Street Theatre in 2017, revived by those theatres in rep with his version of Strindberg’s Creditors in 2019.

As Artistic Director of Hampstead Theatre Edward Hall’s productions include Cost of Living; I and You; The Strange Death of John Doe; Cell Mates; Filthy Business; Rabbit Hole; Wonderland; Sunny Afternoon (also Harold Pinter Theatre/ UK tour); Raving; Chariots of Fire (also West End); No Naughty Bits; Loyalty; Enlightenment and Firebird (Hampstead Downstairs/Trafalgar Studios). As Artistic Director of Propeller, his productions have included Rose Rage (adapted from Henry VI, I, II & III); Henry V; The Winter’s Tale; The Taming of the Shrew; Twelfth Night; The Merchant of Venice; Richard III; A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Comedy of Errors. His Propeller work has toured worldwide, played the West End and Broadway (as well as regular seasons at Hampstead Theatre) and has won numerous awards both in the UK and overseas. His other theatre work includes Once in a Lifetime with David Suchet (National Theatre); A Streetcar Named Desire with Natasha Richardson (Roundabout, New York); A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (National Theatre); Mark Ravenhill’s Dick Whittington (Barbican); Calico (Duke of York’s); Edmond with Kenneth Branagh (National Theatre); Two Men of Florence (Huntingdon, Boston); Macbeth with Sean Bean (Albery); The Constant Wife (Apollo); Julius Caesar (RSC); Tantalus (Denver Centre/UK tour); Henry V (RSC); The Deep Blue Sea (Vaudeville) and The Two Gentleman of Verona (RSC). His television work includes The Durrells; Partners in Crime, a six part series for the BBC; Restless; Downton Abbey; Strike Back; Spooks; Kingdom; Trial and Retribution; Miss Marple – Sleeping Murder; Cutting Edge: Safari Strife and Richard III.

The commissioning of Jude was funded by NEXT DECADE, a joint Hampstead Theatre/AKO Foundation imitative.


Jude runs on the Main Stage 26 April - 1 June


Back to top


1 Social Distanced 1