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Part of the Playground's Gail Louw Season


5 - 10 MAR
Tuesday – Saturday | 7.30 PM
Sunday | 4 PM

Written by Gail Louw 

Directed by Anthony Shrubsall

With Emma Wilkinson Wright (The Mitfords)

Set Design Male Arcucci

Lighting Design Chuma Emembolu 

“Wilkinson Wright is a tremendous actress”  Broadway World

“ Wilkinson Wright managed the narrative as an odyssey punctuated by screams. Its already a phenomenal performance, and the actor is so wholly immersed in Rika you know you are in the presence of something remarkable” (Play reading at Jermyn Street Theatre, Fringe Review, Simon Jenner). 

Rika’s Rooms is inspired by the playwright’s own mother, who moved from Nazi Germany to Palestine and then into the midst of Apartheid, where Rika becomes a war victim and freedom fighter. Aged seventy six, living in England with dementia, Rika inhabits two worlds: the present, which makes no sense, and the past, populated by ghosts.

Executive Producer APTER ART


Duration: 90 mins 

Interval: 15min

Content Warnings:

Discriminative language, references to racism and strong language

Recommended for 16+

Tickets (All unreserved)


We are offering a pass to see all 4 shows for £60 only.

The pass will be available to purchase only until the 3rd March Feb and will be valid to use once per show.

Once you have purchased your pass you will need to contact the box office to reserve the dates you want to attend the 4 performances and we will issue the confirmation tickets for each show.

Should you wish to walk up for any show we would be only too pleased to welcome you. Please make sure to bring your pass (email confirmation) with you and present at the box office to redeem your ticket.

For any enquiries please contact

General Admission £24
Senior 60+ | Student | Unemployed £20

Access for All £20
Note: Please contact for your complementary ticket for a carer/companion/friend

For a Student Discount Code contact us at

The Playground Theatre will honour multi-award winning playwright Gail Louw with a five-week season presenting three world premieres along with one acclaimed international production of her best-known work Blonde Poison.

Peter Tate, Founder and Artistic Director of The Playground Theatre, encountered Gail Louw's plays at the Edinburgh Fringe 2023, and was captivated by the dramatic clarity of her writing. He explains, “I admire Louw's wide divergence in content and wanted to explore more. She is a remarkable writer and what could be a better way to celebrate her work than by presenting a Gail Louw Season at The Playground."

Gail Louw is an award-winning playwright with more than 30 plays published worldwide and is particularly known for her monologues. All her plays are based on real events and focus on flawed characters. Her best-known play, Blonde Poison, also presented in this season, has had eight productions worldwide, including at the Sydney Opera House, in LA, and Berlin. 




Gail Louw, an award-winning playwright, has had 20 of her plays produced, with 13 published in three collections by Oberon Books. She is globally recognised for her monologues and her plays, inspired by real events, often centre on flawed characters. Her most renowned work, Blonde Poison, showcased in this season, has enjoyed eight productions worldwide, including performances at the Sydney Opera House, in LA, and Berlin. This play won the Argus Angel award for Artistic Excellence at the Brighton Festival. Duwayne was honoured as the Best New Play at the Brighton Festival. Her other works, And This is My Friend Mr Laurel and Shackleton’s Carpenter, have toured extensively.

Gail was born into a Jewish family in South Africa and lived in Israel before moving to the UK in 1976. Once an academic and lecturer, she has focused on playwriting for the last 24 years. The death of her maternal grandparents in a concentration camp and the rich culture of her upbringing have significantly influenced her life. Her earliest plays consistently explored Jewish themes, particularly those related to her mother and aunt. Louw's body of work is politically charged, highlighting recurring social injustices, post-colonialism, and racial issues like apartheid and anti-Semitism.



Anthony Shrubsall is a freelance director and former academic.

Theatre Direction includes The Return of Sherlock Holmes (Upstairs at the Gatehouse Theatre and currently touring), Power Luncheon (The Hope Theatre) The Good Dad (Golden Goose Theatre, The Hope Theatre and Old Red Lion Theatre), A Boy Called Porro (Pleasance Theatre), Edred The Vampyre (Old Red Lion Theatre), An Absence Of (Old Court, Windsor) winner of the Kenneth Branagh new writers award), It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play (0ld Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham) Death of a Hunter (Finborough Theatre), The Gin Chronicles series (ArtsSpace Edinburgh), Orbits (Drayton Arms Theatre), RealLife TV (Barons Court Theatre) and Saffron Hill ( Pleasance Theatre), LANZA (Kings Head Theatre) The Seagull (Tabard Theatre),  Zena Edwards’s Security (Battersea Arts Centre) the first UK production selected for Tadashe Suzuki’s Shizuoka Festival, Japan, and Richard Tyrone Jones’s Big Heart, adapted into a series for BBC Radio 4. Online direction from 2020 includes: Love Screens (OnComm Award winner) and Death of a Hunter (OnComm Award winner). He has directed two short cross disciplinary promotional films of Shakespeare works Macbeth with Terry Deary, author of the Horrible Histories and Romeo and Juliet with Tate Modern.  He was formerly Artistic Director of OPEN Ealing Arts Centre and the Drayton Court Theatre, where productions included The Bullet, Landscape, The Lover and Mojo.  He has published on directing Vsevolod Meyerhold’s acting technique, Harold Pinter’s Mountain Language, Samuel Beckett’s Rockaby and the theatre of Jacques Lecoq.  He is a member of Equity, The Chelsea Arts Club and Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts.



Emma is a British born, half-Roma actor. She was born in Leicester and raised in North Wales.

She graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in 2019, and has also trained at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (RCSSD). She has also trained at the Globe (RSC Globe Studio Training).

She has played Adelaine Hain in The Only White at Chelsea Theatre, where her performance gained her a mention by Peter Hain on BBC Radio 4 The Today Program as "an incredible actress”  (The Today Program, 6th April 2023). 

Emma has worked extensively across theatre, film, radio and VO. Her recent theatre work includes: JS in Necessary Targets at The Southwark Playhouse; Hazel in Patterns at Leicester Curve; Connie in ASSISTED for EdFringe 2023 where the piece received a BBC Popcorn award nomination, and a Pick of the Fringe award; Helen Reed in Secret Thoughts at Southwark Playhouse; Martha Freud and Pauline Strauss in Love, Genius and a Walk at Theatro Technis; Clytemnestra in Iphigenia in Aulis at The Cockpit Theatre; Woman in Tiny Camel for The Finborough Theatre; Mother in The After Dinner Joke for the Greenwich Theatre; and Trish in Meal with Friends at The White Bear Theatre. Film includes: Carlotta in PANDA (dir. Sylvie Briggs); Abby in Square Peg Round Hole (IMDB, Best in Festival, Champion Film Salon International Festival 2022); Mary in Dusk (IMDB, Avani Films); Angry Woman in The Queue (IMDB, Galeria Pictures Ltd, Crystal Palace International Film FestivaL 2022); Jones in Slave (Best Festival Script, Milan Gold Awards 2021); and Mercy in Traces of Suburbia (Semi Finalist, Chicago Indie Film wards 2021). Radio and VO work includes Gran in Umbrella for Bloomsbury Radio and Shelia in All My Tomorrows (Audible). Emma trained at RADA and RCSSD and is represented by Robert Fucilla at Imperial Artists Agency.

Male Arcucci

Set Design and Costume 

Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Malena Arcucci is a theatre designer and costume supervisor based in London. She is co-artistic director of Mariana Malena Theatre, a female led Latinx company that focused on devised and collaborative theatre practices.

@MaleArcucci  (Twitter) @malearcucci (Insta)

Chuma Emembolu

Lighting Design

For over two decades now Chuma Emembolu has become one of the industries leading go-to designers for exciting and innovative professional lighting design.

Chuma Emembolu trained at the Royal Shakespeare Company and has been a leading designer for innovative lighting for over two decades. Chuma in an associate tutor at RADA and in recent years he has been a guest lecturer for institutions including Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts.

Theatre includes: Semele (Blackheath Hall); Around The World In 80 Days (Theatre by the Lake/Hull Truck Theatre); Comedy of Errors (more or less) (Shakespeare North Playhouse/Stephen Joseph Theatre); Ruth and Six of Calais (Royal Academy of Music); Sir John in Love (Opera Holland Park); The Shoemaker (Wales Millennium Centre); Owners (Jermyn Street Theatre); For Black Boys Who Considered Suicide When The Hue Got To Heavy (New Diorama Theatre); Icarus (Tobacco Factory Theatres); Great Expectations (Playground Theatre); Dwarves (White Bear Theatre); Aspern Papers, L’enfant (Royal Academy of Music); Here’s What She Said To Me (Belgrade Theatre/York Royal Theatre); Man of Mode (The Mack); The Night Woman (The Other Palace); Love, Poison Passion and Purification (Susie Sainsbury Theatre); Maggie and Ted (Garrick Theatre); Tales from Ovid (Swan Theatre); Don Juan (Hoxton Hall); Bouncers and Shakers (Gulbenkian Theatre/Marlowe Theatre); Tainted The Musical (VAULT Festival).

Lander Martinez Garcia

Stage Manager and Board Operator

Lander is an LCM BA Acting and Theatre Making graduate; where he studied devised theatre, writing, and directing. He has continued to broaden his skillset working as a Stage Manager and LX operator on theatre productions, including: Generation Games (White Bear); Shutters: A Lesbian Rock Opera (The Omnibus); The Mitfords (The Playground); What I Really Think of my Husband (Golden Goose), From Dzikòw to Willesden Green (The Tabard).

David Hunt

Stage Manager/ Production (The Mitfords and The Good Dad)

Many years of AmDram and a BA in Drama led David into a career as a club promoter and DJ, before taking a job in IT and a long-term role as patron of the arts. Following a sting supporting various productions at EdFringe he has returned very happily to the world of backstage theatre. He is very good at moving things around stages and hanging out with actors.

John Rayment

Artwork Design 

John’s mainly an actor, but recent years have seen a growing sideline in graphic design, mainly for theatre performances - John’s been responsible for posters, flyers and programmes for several plays in recent months, including no less than five at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe - “The Mitfords” being one of them.

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