Following the current National Theatre production of Antony Sher’s one-man show Primo, which transferred following a sell-out run last year at the NT Cottesloe (See News, 10 Sep 2004), north London’s Hampstead Theatre will receive two more new plays: The Girl with Red Hair, co-produced by Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre and London’s Bush (See Today’s Other News), and the Eclipse Theatre production of Roy Williams’ Little Sweet Thing.

Written by Scottish playwright Sharman Macdonald - whose first play, When I Was a Girl I used to Scream and Shout, premiered at the Bush in 1984 - The Girl with Red Hair is currently at the Royal Lyceum, where it opened on 17 February and continues until 12 March 2005, before moving to Hampstead from 23 March to 16 April 2005.

One summer in a small town on the west coast of Scotland, three generations are profoundly affected by the death of 17-year-old Roslyn. The Girl with Red Hair is directed by Bush artistic director Mike Bradwell and designed by Robin Don (See News, 29 Sep 2004). The cast are: Sean Biggerstaff, Emma Campbell Jones, Joanne Cummins, Christopher Dunne, Patricia Kerrigan, Helen McAlpine, Sheila Reid and Sandra Voe.

Little Sweet Thing runs at Hampstead from 19 to 23 April 2005 at the conclusion of a regional tour. Tash is tough. At least on the surface. But she can't afford to drop her tough-girl image. Her brother Kev is out of prison and trying to go straight. But his past has a nasty habit of catching up with him. Can they survive the pressures of the gang culture that surrounds them?

Roy Williams’ other plays include Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads, Clubland and Fallout. Little Sweet Thing is directed by Michael Buffong and designed by Ruari Murchison. The cast are: Kay Bridgeman, Ben Brooks, Richie Campbell, Seroca Davis, Glenn Hodge, Ashley Madekwe, Marcel McCalla and Lauren Taylor.

Eclipse Theatre is inspired by the findings of the Eclipse report, issued after the June 2001 conference held in Nottingham to develop strategies for combating racism in theatre. This is the third Eclipse production, following 2003’s Moon on a Rainbow Shawl and 2004’s Mother Courage and Her Children.

Currently at Hampstead, Primo, written by and starring Sher, continues until 19 March 2005.

- by Terri Paddock