Theatre503 presents

Br’er Cotton

Written by Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm
Directed by Roy Alexander Weise
Book Now

£12 Conc. / £17 Adult Adv. / £18 On Door / ‘Pay What You Can’ Saturday Matinees

5 x £5 and 10 x £10 tickets available for each evening performance

When booking Adult Adv. tickets to any 7.30pm show (exc.Previews). Call for availability.


*These effects will be omitted from our Chilled (Relaxed) performances on 14th and 28th March, and the Parent & Baby Matinee on 21st March. See Tailored Performances below.

POLITE NOTICE: Patrons are kindly asked to vacate the auditorium during the interval.

Lynchburg, Virginia, on the former site of a cotton mill. 14 year old Ruffrino is struggling to make sense of his place in an impoverished world filled with seemingly random killings of young black men. As his anger towards reality grows, he moves further away from his family. Losing himself online, Ruffrino’s world sinks around him while he battles to wake up the zombies and prove by any means necessary that Black Lives Matter.

Br’er Cotton was shortlisted for both the Theatre503 Playwriting Award 2016 and the Relentless Award.



Black people make up 12% of the prison population, but only make up 3% of the UK – what are we going to do to change this? A discussion with purpose for a postive change.

Panellists: Temi Mwale (Founding Director of The 4Front Project), David Neita (Poet and Barrister for The Society of Black Lawyers), Hector Wesley (Black Activists Rising Against Cuts), Esther Baker (Artistic Director of Synergy) and Karl Smith (Synergy Studio assistant)


Tailored Performances

With a more relaxed view of Front of House etiquette, these performances are tailored to be sensitive to and celebrating of a diverse range of audiences. House lights are left on, our auditorium door is left open, and technical changes may be made where necessary to the production’s sound and lighting. Everyone is welcome.

21 Mar, 12:00: Parent & Baby (£10) 

A chance for mums and dads to break away from the newborn baby routine and do something grown-up; without the need to hire a babysitter!

28 Mar, 15:00: Chilled (‘Relaxed’) Matinee (£10) 

For anyone who finds it difficult to sit and enjoy live performance in a standard theatre environment. Please note that Theatre503 is currently accessible by stairs only. Please contact if you require further access information.

Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm

Tearrance is a playwright and artist. Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri he is currently a member of the Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program at Juilliard and a recent MFA Playwriting graduate. His play Hooded: Or Being Black for Dummies will receive its World Premiere at Mosaic Theatre in Washington, D.C. this year and will be followed by the World Premiere of his play Br’er Cotton at Kitchen Dog Theatre in Dallas, TX. He has been profiled as someone to watch (American Theatre Magazine, Variety) developed work with numerous US theatres (Mosaic Theatre, Signature Theatre, Theatre J, Theatre Alliance and more) and been nominated (and occasionally won) awards (Relentless Award, Rosa Parks Playwriting Award, Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award). It is the combination of visual art and the written word that motivates all his work.


Tuesday 20 March Tue 20 Mar 19:30 Sold Out
Wednesday 21 March Wed 21 Mar 12:00 Book Now
Wednesday 21 March Wed 21 Mar 19:30 Book Now
Thursday 22 March Thu 22 Mar 19:30 Sold Out
Friday 23 March Fri 23 Mar 19:30 Sold Out
Saturday 24 March Sat 24 Mar 15:00 Sold Out
Saturday 24 March Sat 24 Mar 19:30 Book Now
Tuesday 27 March Tue 27 Mar 19:30 Book Now
Wednesday 28 March Wed 28 Mar 15:00 Book Now
Wednesday 28 March Wed 28 Mar 19:30 Book Now
Thursday 29 March Thu 29 Mar 19:30 Book Now
Friday 30 March Fri 30 Mar 19:30 Book Now
Saturday 31 March Sat 31 Mar 15:00 Sold Out
Saturday 31 March Sat 31 Mar 19:30 Book Now
Artistic Team
Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm
Roy Alexander Weise
Jemima Robinson
Lighting Designer
Amy Mae
Sound and Original Music Designer
Harry Johnson
Video Designer
Louise Rhoades-Brown
Movement Director
Vicki Manderson
Production Manager
Ed Borgnis
Assistant Director
Jordan John
Costume Supervisor
Hanne Talbot
Jake Orr
Assistant Producer
Samara Thomas
Michael Ajao
Kiza Deen
Trevor A Toussaint
Police Officer
Alexander Campbell
Ellie Turner
A Younger Theatre
Posted on 17 March 2018

There’s a magical realist element to the play

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Exeunt Magazine
Posted on 15 March 2018

But for straight-up heart, ambition and brilliance Br’er Cotton can’t be faulted, and could seriously set a far bigger stage than Theatre503’s alight. Let’s hope that moment is nigh.

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★★★★ Evening Standard
Posted on 14 March 2018

Roy Alexander Weise’s visually bold staging relishes this ambitious play’s fiery dialogue, surging metaphors and questions about progress.

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★★★★ LondonTheatre1
Posted on 14 March 2018

Kiza Deen as Nadine gives one of those rare inspired performances that warms the heart and energises the sensibilities.

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★★★★ WhatsOnStage
Posted on 13 March 2018

an intricate consideration of the complexities of present-tense race

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★★★★ TheUpComing
Posted on 13 March 2018

The play is absolutely topical, and it has the strength to scream about the injustice going on

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★★★★ The Guardian
Posted on 13 March 2018

A militant teenager grapples with politics and older relatives in Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm’s profound, beautifully staged play

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★★★★★ SpyInTheStalls
Posted on 13 March 2018

This is an exceptional piece of work. Br’er Cotton is yet another jewel in 503’s crown, proving yet again that they are the true home of new writing.

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Audience Reviews
I felt the play was very thought provoking - so much so we sat in a pub after and had a 2 hour debate about racism, the justice system in the UK and US and equality. Great performances and brilliant writing. We left the theatre feeling the full tragedy of that chilling final scene.
Audience Member
Gripping throughout and dealing with deep subject matter, yet entertaining. I really enjoyed it.
Audience Member
Just great play with something to say and talented actors. Brilliant for a small theatre pub to have this quality
Audience Member
Beautifully written, impressively staged and incredibly performed
Audience Member
Fantastic, I rarely go to the theatre as its often not that great, this surpassed all my expectations and more. Totally amazing. I will be back and encourage people to see it.
Audience Member
I look forward to seeing this play transferred. Some amazing peaks in acting skill. Very important writing.
Audience Member
Complex histories, humanity and white hot anger combine in an excellent poetic domestic drama
Audience Member

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