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Part of the Playground's Gail Louw Season


13 - 24 MAR
Preview: 13 Mar | 7.30 PM
Tuesday – Saturday | 7.30 PM
Sunday | 4 PM

Written by Gail Louw 

Directed by Christian Holder 

Peter Tate as Cyril Mann and Natalie Ava Nasr as Renske

Lighting Design by Petr Vocka 

Sound Design by Eloise Sheffield 

Video Mapping by Helena Hipolito

RENSKE  I'm going to tell the world about you, Mr Mann.
CYRIL (smiles) What you gonna say?

Why was a pretty Dutch-Indonesian girl, just turned 20, swept off her feet by a dirt-poor, maverick artist, Cyril Mann (1911-1980), more than twice her age?

He scratched a living, teaching part time, which exhausted him but was his only financial lifeline: “Teaching youngsters like you, to become artists and failures like me is depressing. It stops me painting,” he groaned.

She was astounded by the beauty of his pictures. “They’re not just lovely, but important historical records of London’s war damage,” she raved. He lapped it up! “But why paint so small?’ she asked. “I can’t

afford to paint larger,’ he barked at her, annoyed. “Paint’s expensive.”

It dawned on her how much better he could paint, if only he quit teaching. She knew she was meant to help him. She would be his muse, model and money earner, she promised. “You’re my Last-Chance

Saloon,” he wept. He handed in his notice, burning his boats just two months after meeting Renske.

Within days she had moved in, sharing his single bed in Bevin Court. Mayhem and condemnation ensued, not least from Renske’s parents. “You’re living on a volcano,” her horrified mother warned.

Gail Louw’s play, based on Renske’s memoir, The Girl in the Green Jumper, paints a riveting picture of Renske and Cyril’s roller-coaster life and relationship, played out against the 1960s – which never ‘swung’ for them – and turbulent ‘70s.


"Peter Tate...marvellous, brilliant, enthralling" . British Theatre Guide for Picasso: Le Monstre Sacre

Peter Tate, previously seen as Picasso in Picasso: Le Monstre Sacre, takes the challenging role of struggling, bipolar middle-aged artist Cyril Mann.

“Cyril Mann was his own worst enemy,” Tate explains. “He never compromised, nor painted anything just to sell. Many aspects of his persona, his despair and doubts resonate with me as an actor. This is a great play. I’ll give it my all.”

"The Girl in a Green Jumper - My Life with the Artist Cyril Mann"

by Renske Mann

Introduction by Mark Hudson

The book will be available to purchase during the whole season as well as other plays and books by Gail Louw.



PIANO NOBILE GALLERY is mounting an exhibition of self portraits by Cyril Mann, spanning half a century, from 1937 onwards.

MARCH 11-22, 2024


129 Portland Road,  London W11 4LW

For more information and open hours see Piano Nobile


Duration: 90 mins 

Interval: 15min

Content Warnings:

Strong language, scenes of sexual nature with nudity

Recommended for 18+

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 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 £18
Senior 60+ | Student | Unemployed | Access for All £15

14 - 24 MAR
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 produced 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.


Director | Choreographer

Christian Holder has been in theatre since his childhood in London. He was directed by Orson Welles at the age of five, and he acted in repertory theatre in Bromley and Wimbledon whilst a student at the Corona Academy Stage School. He enjoyed a successful thirteen-year career as a leading dancer with The Joffrey Ballet in New York from 1966-79. He has choreographed for The Joffrey Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre, and designed stage wardrobe for Tina Turner and Ann Reinking.

In New York in 2008 he conceived, wrote and directed a play with music, Verse of Fortune, based on the life and work of French Symbolist poet, Charles Baudelaire, and in 2021 he wrote and directed the play, Ida Rubinstein: The Final Act, which was presented at The Playground Theatre in Latimer Road, London. In 2022 he directed Peter Efthymiou’s play, One Man, first on stage at The Playground Theatre, then subsequently as a short film.


Christian launched a career as a solo cabaret vocalist in 2015, and he has won accolades in both London and New York for his autobiographical musical shows. 

PETER TATE as Cyril Man

British actor Peter Tate was trained at Weber Douglas in London, and with Stella Adler in New York, where he began his career. Credits there included The Bacchae on Broadway directed by Michael Cacoyannis and Richard III with The American Shakespeare Company.

Returning to London he played a leading role opposite Alan Bates in Yonadab by Peter Shaffer, directed by Peter Hall at The National Theatre. He was Invited by the Actor's Studio NYC to play the co-lead, Prince Felix Yusopov, opposite Peter Stomare, then Bergman's leading actor, in Rasputnin.

More recent highlights include playing Macbeth in Poland with the acclaimed Polish director Henry Baronowski, Tabloid Caligula at the Arcola and 59E59th st, American Justice at The Arts (West End) and Babylone at The Belgrade Coventry.

At The Playground Theatre he recently played Shylock in A Merchant of Venice directed by Bill Alexander, Paradise Circus by James Purdy and directed by Anthony Biggs and the opening production Picasso by Terry D'Alfonso and directed by Michael Hunt. Picasso was adtapet into solo performance and presented under the name Picasso: Le Monstre Sacre at the Playground Theatre in 2023 and run the all season at Ed Festival 2023. His own play One Man premiered last spring as part of the Love and Destruction evening and has just recently competed filming.

Tate has won numerous awards for his stage version of Odd Man Out in Jerusalem, St Petersburg and Wroclaw to name a few. The Film adaptation of Odd Man Out has garnered Tate numerous best actor awards at International film festivals.


Natalie Ava Nasr is a Saudi born Danish/Lebanese actor and filmmaker. She moved to London shortly after receiving her B.A. in acting in Los Angeles, where she trained under Beth Henley - author of Pulitzer Prize winning play Crimes of the Heart as well as worked alongside Tony Award winning actor Paul Sand in his production Save The Pier!. Since moving to London, she's worked on several projects in the theatre, film, and television world from The Tower Theatre's production Consent, The Round Table Company's new pilot for TV Tripped, Sony's Horizon Forbidden West, and HBO's sci-fi/comedy Avenue 5 (starring Hugh Laurie, Zach Woods, & Josh Gad). 

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