What Shadows - Birmingham Rep
Dates & Times
There are currently no events listed for this show.

“I was a storm. I was also a man entirely alone in a storm. There were forces beyond my control and I was one of them."

1968. Midlands MP Enoch Powell has something to say. Something he feels needs to be said. Something that could divide Britain forever.

1992. Oxford academic and daughter of a Caribbean immigrant, Rose Cruickshank wants answers. Enoch's controversial words about immigration shattered her childhood. Now she wants to know what led him to say them. Will a meeting with the man himself allow her to find the inner peace she desperately craves?

Following their acclaimed partnership on A Life Of GalileoRoxana Silbert directs Ian McDiarmid (the Star Wars films) as one of the most provocative figures in British politics.

Enoch Powell's 'Rivers of Blood' speech, famously delivered in Birmingham, is the post-war's most polarising political speech. Chris Hannan's powerful new play is a searing look at how a politically divided country moves forward in the wake of a crisis.

Post-Show Discussion

The post-show discussion takes place after the evening performance on Wednesday 2 November.

On Politics And Theatre

Find out how contemporary theatre seeks to engage politically with the world around it, in this unique and engaging lecture with Joe Kelleher on Friday 4 November at 3.30pm - tickets just £5. Find out more.

Audio Description



Financial Times

The REP ... is to be applauded for opening the floodgates to serious debate

The Telegraph

It is a rare piece of art which can provoke, challenge and entertain on such a fantastic level, but What Shadows succeeded in every respect

Whats On

Simultaneously thoughtful, thought-provoking and difficult to watch

The Reviews Hub

Ian McDiarmid gives a standout performance as Powell

The Times

Wonderfully acted … a play and a man that will make you think

Behind The Arras

The theatre comes from seeing Powell made flesh. McDiarmid goes beyond impersonation to interpretation


McDiarmid’s performance is total … What Shadows is not just a character study though, it’s also a play of debate

The Stage

A quite brilliant play which raises the issue of British identity superbly

Express & Star

Hannan has a sheer verve which few writers, living or dead, can touch

Sunday Times

Company & Creatives


Saeed / Bobby Hussein / Sergeant Shergar / Patient
Sofia Nicol / Pamela Powell
Clem Jones
Enoch Powell
Rose Cruickshank / Joyce Cruickshank
Sultan / Doctor Sharma
Grace Hughes / Marjorie Jones
Ticket Information

Tickets from £10 (Subject to availability. Group, family, disabled and school rates available via our box office).

Fees and Charges

When purchasing tickets to be delivered to you, a £1.00 postage charge will be added to your order.

Online bookings are exempt from our transaction fees (3% credit cards, 50p debit cards).

Preview Club

£5 tickets are available for 14-30 year olds for performances from 21-22 October. Click here for more information.



Further Information
Running Time: 2 hours 45 minutes, including an interval
(Act 1 – 1 hour 25 minutes, 20 minute interval, Act 2 – 1 hour)

Accessible Performances
BSL Interpreted Performance Monday 7 November, 7.45pm Interpreted by Mary Connell
Captioned Performance Wednesday 9 November, 7.45pm
Audio Described Performance Thursday 10 November, 7.45pm
Audience Extras
Don’t Miss…
Politics & Theatre Symposium, Friday 4 November, 3.30pm – 5.30pm
Tickets £5
Registered Office: Broad Street, Birmingham B1 2EP. Company No. 00295910
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