Shedding a Skin, written and performed by Amanda Wilkin, will premiere at Soho Theatre in London after winning the 2020 Verity Bargate Award
Soho Theatre is to reopen its building with the premiere of Amanda Wilkin’s new play, Shedding a Skin, the 2020 winner of the highly regarded Verity Bargate Award.
Described as a story for our times, it is a play about finding kindness in unexpected places, moments of connection, intergenerational friendship and joy.
After moving work online during the pandemic, Shedding a Skin will be the first new play staged at Soho Theatre in front of live audiences since March last year. It runs in the main house from 17 June to 17 July.
Wilkin, who will also perform her solo play, said she wanted to create a universal story that was “intrinsically hopeful” and “speaks to people no matter what gender, colour or age”.
She added: “I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what I’d want to see when I go back to the theatre and I want belly laughs and to feel invigorated.”
It is directed by Elayce Ismail, who also directed Theresa Ikoko’s acclaimed sold-out play, Girls, at Soho Theatre in 2016.
Ismail said: “It’s rare to find a story that has weight and depth but is ultimately very joyful and positive. The friendship at the heart of Shedding A Skin is so beautiful and poignant. It’s the unsung moments that happen between people in real spaces that are the fabric of our lives and they can be just as informative and important as the big wider world stuff.”
Shedding a Skin won the 2020 Verity Bargate Award out of a record number of 1,493 entries, with judges including Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Lolita Chakrabati, Russell T Davies, Laura Wade and Stephen Garrett of sponsor Character 7, the production company behind The Undoing and The Night Manager.
Waller-Bridge described Wilkin’s drama as “profound, modern, funny, stark and hopeful”, adding: “I was not prepared to be kidnapped by a play and a voice so completely.”
Chakrabati, whose most recent work includes Hymn, described Shedding a Skin as “beautifully written, contemporary, poetic and delicate. The world she creates in the play is familiar and surprising all at once. She’s definitely a talent to watch.”
Davies, writer of TV dramas such as It’s a Sin and Queer As Folk, said: “It’s heartfelt, it’s mysterious, it says a lot about the world, it’s really, really brilliant.”
The creative team also includes set and costume designer Rosanna Vize, lighting designer Jess Bernberg, projection designer Nina Dunn, sound designer and composer Richard Hammarton, assistant director Nimmo Ismail and producer Ameena Hamid.
Wilkin is an actor and jazz and blues singer-songwriter as well as a playwright. Her first play And I Dreamt I Was Drowning was developed as part of the Talawa Firsts Festival 2018 and she has since written and performed short pieces at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse: The Little Sob as part of Dark Night of the Soul, and Bessie Coleman as part of Notes to the Forgotten She-Wolves.
As an actor, she has appeared at the Globe in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Emilia and then in the latter’s transfer to the West End. Other credits include White Teeth at Kiln Theatre and The Grinning Man at Trafalgar Studios as well as work on TV and film.