King Hedley II

King Hedley II

★★★★★ ‘Mesmerising and menacing’ The Upcoming

★★★★ 'Atmospheric... builds with the thunder and fury of the most savage Greek tragedy.' Time Out

★★★★ 'Superb cast… Fall’s vigorous yet sensitive interpretation achieves a gritty kind of grandeur'  Evening Standard

★★★★ 'An electric surge of rage... staggering'  The Stage

★★★★ 'As electric as anything in the theatre of the last 100 years.' The Observer

★★★★ 'Pulses with humanity. Fall's staging is full of beautifully detailed performances.' Financial Times

★★★★ 'Beautifully executed... brilliant monologues that hit you in the gut.' The Times 

★★★★ 'A superb revival... authentic... transfixing.' The Telegraph

1980s Pittsburgh, a city in decay. Against the backdrop of Reagan’s America, King, an ex-con, is trying to rebuild his life and start a family.

He’s got hopes and dreams of opening a video store and building a new life. If only he can get ten thousand dollars together, if only he can catch a break. In his dusty backyard he plots and plans with his friend Mister, but is this all a pipe dream?

Featuring Lenny Henry as smooth-talking hustler Elmore, August Wilson’s touching and angry King Hedley II is a quest for redemption for one man and a whole community.


An Evening of Spoken Word - Sun 09 Jun, 6-9pm - MEZA EAST - FREE
Some of the rawest and freshest talent will perform works inspired by the themes of KING HEDLEY II.

Pre-show Panel Event - Wed 12 Jun, 6-7pm - auditorium - FREE (ticketed)
Guardian journalist Gary Younge hosts a special panel interrograte the themes and messages of KING HEDLEY II. Panel: Rotimi Akinsete (Black Man on the Couch), Jacqueline Gomes-Neves (Political Activist and Lambeth Youth Mayor) and Cephas Williams (56 Black Men).

Booking enquiries: Our online booking system doesn’t allow customers to leave isolated seats. We do this in order to to prevent gaps in the auditorium. Please call our Box Office team on 020 8534 0310 if you need any help.

For some shows the boxes might have a slightly restricted view, please do not hesitate to speak to our Box Office team before booking if you would like further information.

Our ticket prices increase as the theatre fills. We always recommend booking early to secure the best seats at the best price.

Access & Events

Price: From £10
Act 1 - 1 hour 40 mins
Act 2 - 1 hour 30 mins
Latecomers will not be admitted - no re-admittance
Age Guidance: 14+ (see Trigger Warnings)
This production contains haze, loud noises and flashing lights.
 Available for under 26s
Click here for details about companion/carer tickets.

Access performances: 
BSL Performance - Thu 06 Jun, 7.30pm (Jacqui Beckford)
Captioned Performance - Fri 07 Jun, 7.30pm (Suzanne Walker)
Audio Described Performance - Sat 08 Jun, 2.00pm (Alison Clarke and Ruth James)

Special Events (FREE):
Spoken Word Evening - Sun 09 Jun, 6-9pm (in the bar)
Pre-show panel discussion - Wed 12 Jun, 6-7pm (ticketed)

Cast and Creative Team

Writer August Wilson
Director Nadia Fall
Set and Costume Design Peter McKintosh
Lighting Design Howard Harrison
Sound Designer Christopher Shutt
Movement Director Shelley Maxwell
Fight Directors Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown of Rc-Annie Ltd
Dialect Coach Claudette Williams
Singing Coach Nia Lynn
Assistant Director Mina Barber
Casting Director Lisa Makin 

Dexter Flanders Mister
Lenny Henry Elmore
Martina Laird Ruby
Aaron Pierre King Hedley
Cherrelle Skeete Tonya
Leo Wringer Stool Pigeon

Dexter Flanders plays Mister. Dexter trained at RADA. His theatre credits include Queen Margaret (Royal Exchange Theatre); A Streetcar Named Desire (ETT); King Lear (National Theatre); Clybourne Park, Scuttlers, A Bitter Herb and Loveplay (RADA). His Television and film credits include Not Going Out, Home Alone 2 and Kat & The Band.


Lenny Henry plays Elmore. Lenny has been a comedian since the age of 16. He has risen from being a cult star on children’s television to becoming one of Britain’s best-known comedians, as well as a writer, philanthropist and award-winning actor. In recent years he has starred in The Comedy of Errors at the National Theatre, Fences at the Duchess Theatre, and in 2017 he made his Donmar Warehouse debut in The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui. He has also been a Trustee of the National Theatre since February 2016. His television credits include BroadchurchThe Syndicate and the biographic Danny and The Human Zoo. Henry’s Production Company, Douglas Road, has achieved success in partnership with Burning Bright on the recently acclaimed The Commonwealth Kid documentary. As a co-founder of Comic Relief, in 2018 he was delighted to announce that the British Public had donated over £1billion to Comic Relief over the last 30 years. He is a strong advocate for diversity, taking his work on the subject to Cannes in order to deliver the Keynote speech launching the idea of offering tax breaks for diversity, as well as talks given in Rome to the global TV and film insider audience. Henry was chosen by Baroness Doreen Lawrence to interview three beneficiaries of the Stephen Lawrence trust at his memorial in 2018.


Martina Laird plays Ruby. Martina returns to Theatre Royal Stratford East following Shebeen in 2018. Her other credits include Shebeen (Nottingham Playhouse/Theatre Royal Stratford East); Shakespeare Trilogy (Donmar Warehouse); Moon on a Rainbow Shawl (National Theatre/Talawa Theatre Company); The White Devil, Troilus and Cressida and Three Hours After Marriage (The Royal Shakespeare Company); Who Cares (Royal Court Theatre); The Five Wives Of Maurice Pinder (National Theatre); All the Little Things We Crushed and Liquid Gold (The Almeida); Breath Boom (The Royal Court) and Othello (Donmar Warehouse). Her television credits include EastEnders, Blitz, Casualty, The Bay, Epiphany, Jericho, The Dumping Ground, London’s Burning, Shameless, The Bill and Peak Practice.


Aaron Pierre plays King Hedley. Aaron is a graduate from LAMDA and made his theatre debut in Othello as Cassio opposite André Holland and Mark Rylance at The Globe in 2018. His television credits include Krypton, The A Word, Prime Suspect 1973 and Britannia.


Cherrelle Skeete plays Tonya. Her theatre credits include A Small Place (Gate Theatre); Fun Home (Young Vic)The Seagull and Jack and Beanstalk (Lyric Hammersmith); Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Palace Theatre)Three Days in the Country and The Amen Corner (National Theatre); Wind in the Willows (Royal and Derngate); And I and Silence (Finborough Theatre); The Lion King (Lyceum Theatre) and Joey Boy (The MAC). Her Television credits include Silent Witness, Doctors, Danny and the Human Zoo, The Five, Ordinary Lies and Call the Midwife.


Leo Wringer plays Stool Pigeon. His recent theatre credits include The Fantastic Follies of Mrs Rich, King Lear and Romeo and Juliet (RSC); Our Lady of Kibeho, Soul (Royal & Derngate/Hackney Empire); As you like it, Anthony and Cleopatra (National Theatre); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Noel Coward Theatre); Father Comes Home From The Wars, Search and Destroy (Royal Court); Julius Caesar, Taming of the Shrew, Titus Andronicus and Othello (Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory); Perseverance Drive (Bush Theatre); The Comedy of Errors (RSC Tour/Young Vic); Othello (Nottingham Playhouse); Twelfth Night, More Grimm Tales, As I Lay Dying and Blackta (Young Vic); Othello, Charlie Lavender (Southwark Playhouse); Two Horsemen (Bush Theatre, Time Out Award); Hamlet (Young Vic/Japan); The Winter’s Tale (Complicité, International & UK Tour); Divine Right (Birmingham Rep); The Odyssey (Gate Theatre); My Children! My Africa! (Salisbury Playhouse) and Medea (Abbey Theatre/Queens). His film credits include The Kitchen Toto, The Changeling, Night Hawks and television credits Urban Myths – The Trial of Joan Collins, Heirs of the Night, Black Earth Rising, The Moonstone, Gangsta Granny, Law and Order, Silent Witness, Mad Men and Specialists, Escape from Kampala, Canterbury Tales, Rough Crossings, Judge John Deed, Casualty and Rebus.


August Wilson (1945–2005) was an American playwright. He won a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award for his play Fences and earned a second Pulitzer Prize for The Piano Lesson. His other notable works include Seven Guitars, Gem of the Ocean, Jitney and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.

Nadia Fall trained at Goldsmiths College (MA Directing) and on the NT Studio's Directors programme. Nadia directed The Village as her first show as Artistic Director of Theatre Royal Stratford East. Her directing credits include The SuicideOur Country’s GoodDaraChewing Gum DreamsHomeHymnThe Doctor's Dilemma (National Theatre), HirDisgraced (Bush Theatre), R and D (Hampstead Theatre), Way Upstream (Chichester Festival Theatre), Hobson's Choice (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), How Was It For You? (Unicorn Theatre), Sticks & Stones (Polka Theatre), The Maids (Lyric Hammersmith), Miss Julie (Croydon Warehouse Theatre) and Wild Turkey (Site Specific). As Associate Director, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Gielgud Theatre), CollaboratorsThe Habit of Art (National Theatre); and as Staff Director, Rocket to the MoonReally Old, Like Forty FivePhèdre and Much Ado About Nothing (National Theatre). Fall has directed at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the Unicorn Theatre and led participation initiatives with partners such as the Young Vic, Clean Break, Soho Theatre and the Royal Court. She is also an acting coach, supporting professional actors for film and stage.








Watch the video

you May Also Like...

  • Red Riding Hood

    Sat 27 Nov - Fri 31 Dec 2021

    On Stage

    Stratford panto is back! We cannot wait to bring you another jaw-dropping extravaganza this holiday season. With something for everyone, our pantomim...

     Various Times

  • After The End

    Fri 25 Feb - Sat 26 Mar 2022

    On Stage

    Tickets are now on sale A city under attack from a nuclear blast. As the dust settles, Louise wakes to find herself in a fallout shelter with Mark, t...

     Various Times

  • Oliver Twist (Online)

    Mon 25 Oct - Sun 21 Nov 2021

    Drama, On Stage

    ★★★★★ "an unmissable, extraordinary production" WhatsOnStage ★★★★★ "fluid and seamless" Yorkshire Post ★★★★ "this buccaneering production is a visual...

Cookies on our website

Stratford has updated its cookie policy. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. This includes cookies from third party social media websites. Such third party cookies may track your use on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time.