Initial Casting Announced for U.K. Premiere of Jocelyn Bioh's School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play | Playbill

International News Initial Casting Announced for U.K. Premiere of Jocelyn Bioh's School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play

Monique Touko will direct the summer engagement at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre.

Jocelyn Bioh

Jocelyn Bioh's Lucille Lortel- and Drama Desk Award-winning School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play will make its U.K. premiere June 8 at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre.

Monique Touko will direct the production, which will officially open June 14 and continue through July 15.

The company will be led by Heather Agyepong (The Power) as Ama, Bola Akeju (Ted Lasso) as Mercy, Deborah Alli (Undercover) as Eloise, Francesca Amewudah-Rivers (Bad Education) as Gifty, Jadesola Odunjo (You) as Nana, and Tara Tijani (Death in Paradise) as Paulina with additional casting to be announced.

Set in 1986 in Ghana’s prestigious Aburi Girls Boarding School, School Girls follows Paulina, the reigning queen bee who has her sights set on the Miss Universe pageant. But the arrival of Ericka, a new student with undeniable talent and beauty, captures the attention of the pageant recruiter—and Paulina’s hive-minded friends.

Playwright Bioh says, “School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play is a love letter to young Black girls. I wanted to highlight all that is beautiful and special about us and our place in this world. This play celebrates our humor, joy, heartbreaks, and the deep journey I went on to owning my beauty. I never imagined that I would have an opportunity to share this play with an audience outside of New York City, so I am beyond thrilled to make my U.K. playwriting debut at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre. This is such a dream come true; and that I get to work with such an incredible director, cast, and design team is the cherry on top of the most delicious theatrical cake!”

Director Touko adds, “I visited Aburi School for Girls, the school that inspired Jocelyn, on a trip to Ghana at the beginning of the year, and I was reminded of how important the story of and representation in School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play is. The play is a comedy with universal appeal and explores the vulnerable, tender moments of teenagehood. These nuanced and jubilant portrayals of Black women aren’t seen on stage or screen enough. We have a stellar cast and creative team bringing this message to London, and I’m so excited to work with the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre for the show’s U.K. premiere.”

MCC Theater first produced School Girls in 2017, followed by a return engagement in 2018.

The upcoming production will also have set design by Paul Wills, costume design by Kinnetia Isidore, wigs, hair, and make-up design by Cynthia De La Rosa, lighting design by Matt Haskins, sound design by Tony Gayle, movement by Aline David, and casting by Julia Horan.

This production is produced in association with Mark Gordon Pictures and Francesca Moody Productions

Look back at the return Off-Broadway engagement of School Girls below.

Production Photos: School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play Returns Off-Broadway

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