The Royale

by Marco Ramirez
UK Premiere

‘Not to be missed.’
The Times

Following the success of Cush Jumbo’s Josephine and I the Bush Theatre once again brings to life the contemporary legacy of an American cultural icon.

Jay ‘The Sport’ Jackson dreams of being the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. But it’s 1905 and, in the racially segregated world of boxing, his chances are as good as knocked out.

When a boxing promoter hatches a plan for the ‘Fight of the Century’, The Sport might land a place in the ring with the reigning white heavyweight champion, but at what cost? It’s not just a retired champ he’s facing, it’s ‘The Great White Hope’.  In daring to realise his dream, is Jay responsible for putting African American lives in the danger zone?

Told in six rounds and set in a boxing ring, The Royale is inspired by the often overlooked story of Jack Johnson, a boxer who – at the height of the Jim Crow era – became the most famous and the most notorious black man on Earth.

“Ain’t about bein’ no Heavyweight Champion of the White World.
It’s about bein’ Champion, period.”

Marco Ramirez is an award-winning American playwright who is currently a writer on staff for FX’s most successful running television series, Sons of Anarchy, and has also written on Da Vinci’s Demons and Netflix’s hit show, Orange is the New Black.

This UK premiere is directed by Bush Theatre Artistic Director Madani Younis and stars Nicholas Pinnock (Fortitude, Sky Atlantic) as Jay ‘The Sport’ Jackson, alongside Frances Ashman and Clint Dyer (both stars of Perseverance Drive, Bush Theatre), Gershwyn Eustache Jnr (Home, Royal National Theatre) and Ewan Stewart (Jumpy, Royal Court).

Supported by MA Dramatic Writing at Drama Centre London at Central Saint Martins.
Local Hero Project supported by Hammersmith United Charities.
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"Madani Younis directs a gripping, atmospheric and resonant piece of theatre."
The Stage
"This illuminating show is not to be missed."
The Times
"Punch-the-air exhilarating."
"Pinnock delivers a brooding and kinetic performance at the heart of Madani Younis’s constantly stylish production."
Evening Standard
"A real knockout of a show."
"Stunningly choreographed and musically percussive with an outstanding cast and design team."
The Times
"Go six rounds at the Bush Theatre and witness Nicholas Pinnock’s thrilling performance in Madani Younis’ hypnotic triumph."
Official London Theatre

Photo & video



Franc Ashman
Franc Ashman returns to the Bush Theatre to play Nina in The Royale following her barn-storming performance in the same role in our 2015 production. She has also previously appeared at the Bush in Perseverance Drive. Franc boasts an impressive list of theatre credits having performed extensively for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Out of Joint under the direction of Max Stafford-Clark and the National Theatre. Recent screen credits include Wagstaffe, Tennison, DCI Banks and Apple Tree Yard. She played Molly in the latest series of Peep Show for Channel 4.
Gershwyn Eustache Jnr
Previous theatre credits include The Comedy of Errors (Globe), Home (National Theatre)nut (National Theatre), Macbeth – Staging It (Globe) and Romeo and Juliet (UK Tour). TV credits include C4 drama series Run and New Worlds. Film credits include Starred Up and Second Coming.
Ewan Stewart
Recent theatre credits include: Dunsinane (RSC), Beautiful Burnout (National Theatre of Scotland / Frantic Assembly), Much Ado about Nothing (Globe Theatre), Jumpy (Royal Court), Let The Right One In (National Theatre of Scotland / Royal Court), and In Time O’ Strife (National Theatre of Scotland). TV credits include: The Professionals, Only fools and Horses, The Bill, Rebus, Taggart, River City, The Escape Artist, The Interceptor. Films credits include: Titanic, Rob Roy, The Big Brass Ring, Valhalla Rising, Flight to Berlin, Stella Does Tricks.
Nicholas Pinnock
Nicholas Pinnock is a British theatre, television and film actor that has appeared in programmes such as the Channel 4′s award-winning drama, Top Boy. Most recently he was seen in the role of Dr Evan Farleigh in ITV’s The Ice Cream Girls. Later this month will see Nicholas star in one of the lead roles in Sky’s upcoming show Fortitude, alongside Stanley Tucci, Sofie Grabol, Christopher Eccleston and Michael Gambon and February will see Nicholas star in the sequel to Monsters, in Monsters: Dark Continent.
Clint Dyer
Theatre credits include:  The New Order (writer/ performer, The Big Idea, Royal Court), Perseverance Drive (Bush Theatre), Sus (The Young Vic & Tour, Stratford East), Big White Fog (Almeida Theatre), A Carpet, A Pony & A Monkey (Bush Theatre), Sunday Lunch (Royal Court Readings), International Writers Festival (Royal Court Theatre) Black Dove (Old Red Lion), Babycakes (Traverse Theatre/ Drill Hall), Extracts – Romeo & Juliet (Globe Theatre), It’s A Big Shame (Theatre Royal & Stratford East), Taking Liberties (Hackney Empire), Safe In Our Hands (Belgrade Theatre & Coventry), Heaven & Earth: 1 & 11 (Battersea Arts Centre), Hanging the President (Traverse Theatre & Battersea Arts Centre), Unda’mi Nose (Umoja), Only a Complaint (Old Red Lion), No More Sitting on the Old School Bench (Queen’s Hornchurch), Citizen Kane (Theatre Royal Stratford East), Minors on Minors (Theatre Royal Stratford East). Television includes: Hope Springs, Fallout, Trial & Retribution XII, Dalziel and Pascoe, The Bill, Holby City, Inspector Lynley, The Commander, ‘Orrible, Lock Stock, Home and Away, Skank, Douglas, Staying Alive, The Bill, Thief Takers, Independent Man, Prime Suspect, Pie in the Sky, Eastenders, The Bill, The Upper Hand, Flip. Film includes: Mine (forthcoming, starring opposite Armie Hammer), Montana, Arthur Christmas, Unknown, Sus (Winner - Screen Nation Award for Best Actor; Winner – Liege Film Festical Award for Best Actor; Winner – Texas Black Film Festival – Best Actor), Ahora, Mr Bean’s Vacation, Love Me Still, Portrait of London, La Piste (The Trial), Sahara, Out on a Limb, Cherps, Mr Inbetween, Ice Cool Reception, Soul Patrol, The Low Down, London Feels, Tube Tales: The Servant, 24 Hours in London, Everybody Loves Sunshina (AKA Busted), It’s Different For Girls, Shopping.


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