Ahead of King Hamlin premiering at Park Theatre next month, award-winning playwright Gloria Williams speaks to Theatre Bubble about what her new play has in store. Exploring gentrification, the knife crime epidemic and postcode wars, Gloria discusses why these urgent issues need to be explored on our stages.
Can you tell us about King Hamlin and your inspiration behind it?
I’ve seen so much news about knife crime and was determined to bring it to the London stage. I understood that masculinity and postcode wars were strong themes and was inspired by the idea of taking a young mixed race boy, in 2022 London with gentrification and postcode wars as a backdrop, and throwing him into a 3 act story as a modern day tragic hero.
Why is now such an important time to be staging this play?
With knife crime increasingly on the rise in London, there needs to be a response to the epidemic such as early intervention with young people. King Hamlin takes a strong position within Drama and performance to deliver a story that shows the social indicators of knife crime.
What role can theatre play in reclaiming narratives which are under constant scrutiny in the media?
When it comes to knife crime, the media portrays young males as being othered in dangerous light and very much isolated from civil society. The play aims to shows their fears, dreams and humane side instead. The play is also aims to take control of the narrative
What do you want audiences to take away from the show?
I would like the audience to become empathetic towards young people living in an unfavourable context. Hopefully, the play can create less of a society division whilst raising awareness on the world we live in.
What’s next for you?
My previous play Bullet Hole has become a screenplay, co-written with Lara Genovese, and is now an optioned feature film. I am also writing my next script.
King Hamlin runs from 19th October – 12th November at Park Theatre. For more information and to buy tickets, please visit the website.