Politician Enoch Powell making a speech in front of the Union Jack of Great Britain

What Shadows

What Shadows
by Chris Hannan
directed by Roxana Silbert

"I was a storm. I was also a man entirely alone in a storm. There were forces beyond my control and I was one of them."

1968. Midlands MP Enoch Powell has something to say. Something he feels needs to be said. Something that could divide Britain forever.

1992. Oxford academic and daughter of a Caribbean immigrant, Rose Cruickshank wants answers. Enoch's controversial words about immigration shattered her childhood. Will a meeting with the man himself allow her to find the inner peace she desperately craves?

Enoch Powell's 'Rivers of Blood' speech is the post-war's most polarising political speech. Chris Hannan’s (The Iliad, The Lyceum) powerful
play asks how a politically divided country moves forward in the wake of a crisis.

What Shadows is presented by Birmingham Repertory Theatre and marks the return of Scottish actor Ian McDiarmid (Star Wars) to The Lyceum stage for the first time in 45 years, bringing one of Britain’s most infamous politicians to life in a searing performance that has been hailed by critics.

★★★★ 'Ian McDiarmid gives a standout performance as Powell' The Times

★★★★ 'The most provocative theatrical debate of the decade' The Telegraph

Ian McDiarmid (Star Wars) stars as Enoch Powell.

Please note: containts some adult themes and language

Cast and Credits

In alphabetical order
Waleed Akhtar Saeed
Ameet Chana Sultan/Doctor Sharma
Amelia Donkor Rose Cruickshank/Joyce Cruickshank
Nicholas Le Prevost  Clem Jones
Ian McDiarmid Enoch Powell
Joanne Pearce Sofia/Pamela
Paula Wilcox Grace/Marjorie Jones
Young Company
Nyasha Woolhouse Young Rose
Winnie Thomas Young Rose

Roxana Silbert Director
Ti Green Designer
Chahine Yavroyan Lighting Designer
Giles Thomas Original Sound Design
Louis Price Video Designer
Anna Morrissey Movement Director
Stephen Kemble Voice & Dialect Coach
Luke Kernaghan Associate Director


Ian McDiarmid talks about what to expect from What Shadows. 

Dates, Times & Prices

7 - 23 September 2017

PREVIEWS, 7.30pm
7 & 8 September
£10 Preview tickets on sale 14 August

EVENINGS, 7.30pm
Tuesday - Saturday

MATINEES from 9 September, 2pm
Wednesdays and Saturdays

Running Time
Approximately 2hrs 40mins, including 20 minute interval

  • For Access performances see below


Individual Tickets

Tuesday - Saturday: £16 - £32

Wednesday and Saturday: £14 - £28

from £10, not available on Premium Seats
For full details on concession pricing please contact Box Office on 0131 248 4848

Unreserved seating, all tickets £10
On sale 14  August

All prices guaranteed until 1 September 2017


Thursday 21 September, 7.30pm
Touch Tour, 6.15pm
Saturday 16 September, 2pm
Touch Tour, 12.45pm

Wednesday 20 September, 7.30pm

Saturday 16 September, 2pm

Read The Lyceum's Access Statement here

Take Part

Tuesday 19 September 2017
Takes place in the Stalls after the evening's performance

  • FREE, no ticket required

Thursday 21 September 2017, 5.30pm
These workshops will explore varied aspects of the production process to show you how we get a performance from the page to The Lyceum's stage. The session includes complimentary tea & coffee.

Saturday 23 September 2017, 10am
Join us for a practical acting workshop where will explore What Shadows and work on key scenes with one of our Drama Artists.

  • £12 (£6 for students) / Book Here
    Book for all 6 sessions in Season 2017/18 and save!

Press Coverage

"Quite simply completely compelling"
Edinburgh Evening News

"Ian McDiarmid gives a bravura turn as Powell"
The Herald

"Stylishly thought-provoking"
Edinburgh Guide

"You’ve got to hand it to David Greig. The artistic director of Edinburgh’s Lyceum Theatre has shown quite a knack for surfing the zeitgeist with his programming – and more importantly, tackling urgent political issues in a properly theatrical way."
The Arts Desk

Reviews for the original 2016 production at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre:

'Ian McDiarmid gives a standout performance as Powell'
The Times

'The most provocative theatrical debate of the decade'
The Telegraph


Production photos: