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The Fishermen - 2018 Tour

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by David Keyworth (subscribe)
I’m a freelance journalist and published poet, based in Manchester. My debut poetry pamphlet is available at
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HOME is giving Manchester theatre-goers a preview of this summer's Edinburgh Festival Fringe, or at least one play that will be performed at the city's Assembly George Square Studios.

The Fishermen is based on a novel by Chigozie Obioma. It was shortlisted for the prestigious Man Booker Prize, in 2015. The novel has been adapted for the stage by Gbolahan Obisesan.

The story focuses on two brothers who fish in a forbidden river, under the foreboding clouds of the 'prophecy of a madman.' They will also face a storm of anger from their father - if he finds out that his sons have ignored his warnings.

The novel is set in 1993, at the time of Nigeria's presidential election - which was later annulled by General Ibrahim Babangida.

Alice Walker (author of The Color Purple) commenting on Chigozie Obioma's novel, on her website (December 18, 2016) said: "I read the story as a parable about life in a "dwindling country" as the author expresses it, where the attempt of the people to limp after a British/European mode of life has left them psychically, morally, even physically stranded."

She added: "The writing is so crisp, the story so unusual, that I couldn't put the book down even though it disturbed me. "

The Fishermen, HOME Manchester, theatre, George Square Studios, Edinburgh, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018, New Perspectives theatre company
Valentine Olukoga and Michael Ajao,© Photography by Robert Day,

Ben will be played by Michael Ajao and his brother, Obembe, by Valentine Olukoga, (Brandon in the ITV 2015 series- Unforgotten)

Director Jack McNamara said he was delighted to be premiering this adaptation of Chigozie Obioma's novel on stage. He added: "Gbolahan Obisesan's adaptation takes this intense family saga and boils it down to an extraordinary encounter between two brothers."

The Fishermen is at HOME from 19th to 28th July. It will then sail north to the Assembly George Square Studios - Studio Two, Edinburgh from 2nd to 27th of August. It then navigates south to Derby Theatre; Key Theatre – Peterborough; The North Wall Arts Centre, Oxford. The tour concludes at Artrix Arts Centre, Bromsgrove, on 2nd October.
More information at

The play will also drop anchor in London - at Arcola (Dalston, East London), between 17th and 22nd September.

HOME Manchester, theatre, George Square Studios, Edinburgh, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018, New Perspectives theatre company, Gbolahan Obisesan, The Fishermen
Author Chigozie Obioma at the 2016 Texas Book Festival By Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 4.0,

The staging of The Fishermen is the work of Nottingham-based theatre company - New Perspectives. The setting of The Fishermen in a small Nigerian town, ties in with the company's focus on "ideas that resonate with rural communities, whilst exploring new forms of rural theatre through active research."

New Perspectives was born in 1972 when five drama graduates gave up teaching jobs and set up a Theatre in Education (TIE) programme. Their first production was in 1973. It focused on David Oluwale, a homeless Nigerian man killed in British police custody in the 1960s. It used evidence from the trial and police records to tell Oluwale's story.

Chigozie Obioma's second novel, An Orchestra of Minorities, will be published in January 2019.

The Fishermen, HOME Manchester, theatre, George Square Studios, Edinburgh,
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Why? New Stage Adaptation of Acclaimed Novel
Phone: 0161 200 1500
Where: Manchester - HOME; George Square Studios, Edinburgh; Derby Theatre; Peterborough - Key Theatre; Oxford - North Wall Arts Centre, Bromsgrove - Artrix
Cost: HOME - from £10; Edinburgh £11.50
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