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Ovalhouse and The Art Machine present

Created by Urban Wolf and written by Tom Wainwright

Another young black man dies in police custody.

Apparently no-one is to blame.

  • Wheelchair Access
  • 28 March – 8 April, Tues-Sat 7.45pm (no performances Sunday or Monday) Preview Tues 28 March

Running time: 80 minutes

Venue: Downstairs

“There was a bit of scuffle, and I’m sorry to say, he passed away.”

You didn’t pass anywhere.
Your throat was constricted,
your face held down
hands cuffed behind your back
bones breaking in your neck
eyes rolling up in your head
You didn’t pass away, you didn’t die, you weren’t killed
You were murdered.

When a young black man, Brian, dies in police custody, it sends shock waves across the community. Reeling from his death, Brian’s family struggle to make sense of their loss, whilst pursuing a lengthy court battle to find justice.

Inspired by creator Urban Wolf's own experiences with the police, this stark and timely new play explores how young black men are slipping through the cracks in society. How do you fight for justice in a system where nobody is on your side?


READ INews interview with Urbain Hayo 


Suitable for ages 14+ 



Friday 31 March
Post-show Q&A with the cast and creative team, including special guest Marcia Rigg, whose brother died in police custody.

Tuesday April 4
Free post-show event hosted by the fabulous gal-dem!


Join us to discuss Custody after the show on Thurs 6 April​!
A relaxed and informal gathering over a glass of wine, *DISCUSS gives our audience the opportunity to lead the conversation. Find out more here.


  • Tue 28 Mar, 7:45pm
  • Wed 29 Mar, 7:45pm
  • Thu 30 Mar, 7:45pm
  • Fri 31 Mar, 7:45pm
  • Sat 1 Apr, 7:45pm
  • Tue 4 Apr, 7:45pm
  • Wed 5 Apr, 7:45pm
  • Thu 6 Apr, 7:45pm
  • Fri 7 Apr, 7:45pm
  • Sat 8 Apr, 7:45pm


BROTHER: Urban Wolf

MOTHER: Karlina Grace-Paseda

LOVER: Sacharissa Claxton

SISTER: Kiké Brimah

TEAM DIRECTOR: Gbemisola Ikumelo

CREATOR: Urbain Hayo (stage name Urban Wolf)

WRITER: Tom Wainwright

PRODUCER: Hannah Tookey

PRODUCER: Thomas Kell

DESIGNER: Phil Newman



COMPOSER: Dan Bilbrough AKA Sekrit

DRAMATURG: John Gordon





FILMMAKER: Shabazz Graham 



FAITH DRAMA PRODUCTIONS is a not-for- profit arts based organisation that works mainly within Newham and Surrounding East London areas. FAITH is primarily made up of young professional artistes and previous members who are keen to provide training, work experience and support for people from different backgrounds. 

The young people that we work with may be aspiring artists, people who face challenges or disadvantages such as poverty and youngsters keen to meet, help and work with new people whilst having fun. Our artistic pieces are aimed at urban communities and often address issues that affect such communities. These issues can be gun/knife crime, drug abuse, poverty and the affect of gang culture in the community.



BROTHER: Urban Wolf Urbain is the Artistic director of The Art Machine. He has primarily worked as an actor in the theatre but has now ventured into writing, producing and fine art. His work focuses on telling stories that challenge and change society. Custody is Urbain's first play that has been produced. MOTHER: Karlina Grace-Paseda Karlina’s theatre credits include: Death and the Kings Horseman and Welcome to Thebes both at The National Theatre; SARAI a one-woman show at the Arcola Theatre; the title role in Queen Poku at the New Diorama Theatre; Shyanne in the two-hander Trailer/trash; the dual roles of Lincoln/Gloria in Red Snapper at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry; Baptista in Taming of the Shrew at the Arts Theatre West End, Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Blenheim Palace; and The Asphalt Kiss also at The New Diorama Theatre. Other credits include Macbeth; Bacchaefull and The Good Person of Setzuan. Karlina trained at The Oxford School of Drama. 

LOVER: Sacharissa Claxton Sacharissa is an actor/writer/producer born and raised in Ipswich, Suffolk now living in London. She trained at Identity school of Acting, after receiving a 1st class BA Hons degree in Modern Drama Studies at Brunel University. Her credits include; The workplace (BBC), Hound (Feature), All of Me (Short), Rive (Short) & Out of order (Musical). Sacharissa currently features in TV adverts for Johnson & Johnson and Vodafone. 

SISTER: Kiké Brimah Kiké trained at ArtsEd and was most recently seen as Kayla in The Riot Act (Flatcap Films). Other TV/Film credits include Love Type D (Midnight Circus Films) and Doctors (BBC). Theatre credits include Star in Some Other Mother at The Traverse Theatre. 

TEAM DIRECTOR: Gbemisola Ikumelo Gbemisola is an award-winning actress and director and is the founder of FAITH Drama Productions. In 2011 Gbemisola won the John Fernald award for emerging directors and has since written and directed a number of projects for stage and film. Theatre credits include: Life on the Stairs which toured nationally over 3 years; ‘The Fiddler’, which ran successfully at the Unicorn Theatre; and Next Door, which premiered at The Cockpit Theatre. She also directed a short adaptation of The Rise and Shine of Comrade Fiasco, which was performed at the Royal National Theatre. 

CREATOR: Urbain Hayo (stage name Urban Wolf)
see above

WRITER: Tom Wainwright Tom was selected for the Royal Court theatre’s exclusive Young Writers Programme in 2010 and was invited back the same year for their autumn studio group. Tom is a writer and performer based in Bristol. Writing credits include Emo (ATC/Bristol Old Vic Young Company), Hansel and Gretel and 10W2 (Theatre Royal Bath), The Egg – (Urban Arts and Shakespeare Unplugged respectively), Run and Fallen (Bristol Old Vic Young Company) and Come to Where I’m From (Paines Plough). PRODUCER: Hannah Eugénie Tookey Hannah is a freelance theatre and film producer focussed on making work that tackles social and political issues. In 2016, she was awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship to travel to the USA and India to research how the arts can effectively combat and raise awareness about issues of social injustice. She is an alumni of The Clore Emerging Leaders course, Stage One, and Raindance. Theatre credits include: Dry Land (Jermyn Street Theatre, Damsel Productions); All The Little Lights (UK Tour, Fifth Word); Eggs (Vault Festival, Orphee Productions) and Astronauts of Hartlepool (Vault Festival, Tim Foley). Film credits include: Broken Meats (Robin Linde Productions); and the London Calling funded short Wargames (working title). PRODUCER: Thomas Kell Thomas Kell is a theatre producer and consultant. He began his career with Theatre Centre and served as the administrative director of Tiata Fahodzi for seven years. He is currently supporting a range of companies and projects including Pursued by Bear, the Elufowoju Jr Ensemble, Tangle and Faith Drama. Thomas is delighted to be helping to produce Custody. This is a play of urgency and importance, and deeply worthy of support from every sector of society. 

DESIGNER: Phil Newman Phil is a freelance Set & Costume Designer whose recent credits include: A Christmas Carol (Little Theatre by the Park, Chesham), Jungle Book & High School Musical (Elgiva Theatre, Chesham), Strange Land, Saint/Jeanne and Spring Awakening - The Musical (Chelsea Theatre, London), Cinderella, Carousel, Fame, Hairspray, Cabaret & Attempts On Her Life (Amersham & Wycombe College) and Rouge28 Theatre’s Japanese ghost story Kwaidan (UK tour) as well as Tayo Aluko’s multi-award-winning monodrama, Call Mr Robeson (touring the UK and Internationally since 2007). Phil is proud to be an Associate Artist with director Gbemisola Ikumelo’s Faith Drama Productions, for whom he has designed The Fiddler (Unicorn Theatre), Next Door (Cockpit Theatre) and film short The Judge, in addition to Voices in the Alleyway and Yes, I Still Exist (Spread Expression Dance) for Movement Director Cindy Claes. 

MOVEMENT DIRECTOR: Cindy Claes Cindy creates artistic earthquakes through her ground breaking Dancehall, Krumping and Hiphop theatre productions. Choreographer, performer and dance storyteller, she tackles social and political issues through dance and theatre, creating rippling emotional reactions amongst her audiences, from laughter to tears. Challenging conversations are put centre stage with the potential to create positive social change through the arts. Credits include: Prijs Roger Van de Voorde, Voices in the Alleyway, The Fiddler, Things aren't always black or white. Her unique international dance exchanges and leadership programs 1000 Pieces Puzzle, aim to raise awareness about social responsibility.. 

LIGHTING DESIGNER: John Castle John is a highly-skilled London based Lighting Designer with experience in Plays, Musicals, Touring and Repertory Productions, Dance, Education and Pantomime. As well as Lighting all sorts of projects John has lead the National Youth Theatre Technical Course, Lectured at Amersham Collage and runs his own company supplying technical support and innovation to the arts: JC Sound & Lighting Ltd. Westend credits include: Beginning To See The Light for Jaybird Productions; A Christmas Carol for Talkwood Productions; Chloe Can for The National Youth Theatre; You Can for The National Youth Theatre. 

COMPOSER: Dan Bilbrough AKA Sekrit Composer, drummer/percussionist Dan Bilbrough a.k.a 'Sekrit' has been composing music since the age of 15 and has a number of production credits most notably with Hip Hop acts such as Green Jade, Tor Cesay and Judah & Secret under his previous alias DJ Secret Weapon which have received national air play and credible reviews. As well as working on his own solo projects Sekrit has recently been creating soundtracks for short films, theatre productions which has included performing a live score at 2016s Shuffle Festival and also composing the recent trailer for 2017 BAFTA nominated film Mouth Of Hell. 

DRAMATURG: John Gordon John R Gordon is a multi-award-winning novelist, graphic artist, playwright and screenwriter of gay black lives, and has been nominated for a NAACP Image Award. He is a founder-member of Rikki Beadle-Blair's Team Angelica and runs their book imprint. With Rikki, for the past seven years, he has mentored diverse LGBT and BAME playwrights through their Angelic Tales new writers' scheme at Theatre Royal Stratford East and seen some of those writers go on to real success. He regularly mentors and dramaturgs up-and-coming playwrights, screenwriters and novelists. His most recent novel - his sixth - is ‘Souljah’. ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Eddie Howell Eddie has been working in theatre and film for the last 4 years and has been involved in all areas of theatre and film from directing and writing to making smashing cups of tea for actors. He graduated from the BA Directing course at Drama Centre London in 2015 and has since worked as a producers and director with companies like Theatre N16, He started Arts and Theatre company Prevalent Grit in January 2016 which has been involved in supporting emerging talent from all artistic back groups. In 2016 Eddie started working with Faith Drama Production on their 2016 season and was introduced to Custody then and has since continued to support the project until now. 

PRODUCTION MANAGER / SOUND DESIGN: Michael Francis Michael is an Australian freelance production and stage manager who has recently moved to London to enjoy the vibrant theatre industry here. A Bachelor Contemporary Music graduate, he has worked for many venues around Sydney as a stage manager, production manager and sound designer, enjoying bringing productions to life through the technical and staging aspects. Previous production and technical work has included Sydney Theatre Company, Australian Theatre for Young People and Sydney Dance Company among others. He enjoys working on all manner of productions however Custody has a particular appeal and effect due to contemporary and poignant nature of the play. Custody has been an enjoyable and engaging experience for the Australian, one which marks the start of his work in the United Kingdom. 

PRODUCTION ASSISTANT: Joy Kisuka Jo has a BA in Fashion Management and Marketing. As a result she understands and enjoys putting on a good show through a number of creative mediums. Passionate, curious, and expressive, Joy is determined to ensure the best results. 

ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER: Kaity Cornellier Kaity has been working in technical theatre for 5 years with an emphasis in stage management and lighting design. She is originally from Orange County, California where she gained experience in technical theatre, acting, and other art forms, and moved to London to continue her education in the arts and gain professional experience in the field. She is currently a student at the University of East London studying English Literature and Film, and hopes to go on to master in Filmmaking. 

FILMMAKER: Shabazz Graham Shabazz L. Graham is a visionary director and skilled editor with over 20 years experiences in the UK creative industry. He is the Head of Post Production at Salt TV, a leading advertising film production company, based in London's creative centre Soho. Shabazz works to evoke emotion in every production he is a part of. In 2016 he launched Emotive Narrative, a collaboration and consultation group which helps storytellers communicate their ideas better through understanding the power of human emotions.

Additional information

Custody is a theatre project led by The Art Machine and award-winning theatre company FAITH Drama Productions, with the support of the legendary Theatre Royal Stratford East. 

An Ovalhouse Co-Production.

Click an image to view a larger version.

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