Seventy years after it was written, African-American playwright Theodore Ward’s ‘lost play’ Big White Fog received its European premiere last Thursday (17 May 2007, previews from 11 May) at the Almeida Theatre, in a production directed by artistic director Michael Attenborough and performed by, according to one critic, “the best of British black actors” (See Today's Review Round-up).

Set in Chicago between 1922 and 1933, Big White Fog follows the journey of Victor Mason (Danny Sapani) and his family in the pursuit of their ideological beliefs, as they steer a course through post-World War II racism and the Great Depression. Supported by wife Ella (Jenny Jules), Vic’s loyalty is to Marcus Garvey’s separatist Back to Africa campaign, while his brother-in-law Dan (Tony Armatrading) is committed to the American Dream, believing that the black community can prosper and succeed within the system.

Ward’s play was first produced by the Negro Playwrights’ Company in New York in 1937 but has been rarely seen since. At the Almeida, Sapani, Jules and Armatrading are joined in the cast by American Novella Nelson, Clint Dyer, Tunji Kasim, Guga Mbatha-Raw, Lenora Crichlow, Ayesha Antoine, Martin Barron, Aaron Brown, Al Matthews, Susan Salmon, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Gynn Sweet and Tony Turner.

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For 1st Night Photos, our Whatsonstage.com photographer Dan Wooller was on hand for the post-show party at the Almeida Theatre along with the company and other first night guests including actors Adrian Lester, Rudolph Walker, Ralph Brown, Emmanuel Idowu, Indra Ove, TV presenter Alexa Povah, playwrights Roy Williams and Nicholas Wright, Young Vic artistic director David Lan, the cast of the Almeida’s last production Dying for It, and descendants of Big White Fog author Theodore Ward.

- by Malcolm Rock & Terri Paddock