Zadie Smith to write new play for London Borough of Culture

Zadie Smith will write a band new play for the Kiln Theatre in London. The play is part of Sadiq Khan’s wider London Borough of Culture project.

Smith’s The Wife of Willesden will reimagine Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Wife of Bath’s Tale. Written some 630 years after the original, it will “raise important questions about the place of women in society.” Artistic director of the Kiln Theatre, Indhu Rubasingham, will direct.

This is in fact the second major work that Smith has brought to the Northwest London Theatre. Her breakthrough novel White Teeth was adapted for the stage and premiered at the venue in 2018, also directed by Rubasingham.

London Borough of Culture has also announced Footholds: NW Stories – a trilogy of short plays by Moira Buffini, Suhayla El-Bushra and Roy Williams; Mapping Brent, a storytelling and outreach initiative; and The Agency, a talent development project created by Contact Theatre, (Manchester), and Battersea Arts Centre (London).

This marks the first ever round of the London Borough of Culture project. Launched in 2017, so far GBP1.35m (€1.57m) has been invested in two boroughs: Waltham Forest and Brent.