Small Island Tickets
Small Island: What to expect - 1
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Small Island Tickets

The epic-yet-intimate Windrush-era novel comes to stunning life on the vast Olivier stage.
Small Island: What to expect - 1
Small Island: What to expect - 2
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Small Island: What to expect - 3
Small Island Tickets

About Small Island

After Small Island took over the National Theatre in 2019, Helen Edmundson’s epic adaptation heads back to London. Small Island tickets are available on London Theatre now.

The Small Island play is based on Andrea Levy’s 2004 novel of the same name. Small Island dramatises the lives of those who associated with the Jamaican diaspora in 1940s Britain, through World War Two and beyond. 1948 marked an important year in the history of British Jamaican individuals too — HMT Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury in 1948. As the play explores the beginnings of the Windrush generation, audiences discover more about the tangled histories of Jamaica and the UK.

During the Small Island play, audiences meet Hortense, a prim woman who dreams of becoming a teacher in England, but considers everything with a rose-tinted, English gaze. She's married to Gilbert who holds a laid back approach to living in Europe, but feels pressured by his wife to behave in a certain way.

This husband and wife meet Queenie and Bernard, who have a similar dynamic. Queenie Bligh is named after Queen Victoria and "Blighty", an archaic term to describe soldiers' wounds during World War Two. Meanwhile her husband, Bernard, behaves in ways which would be considered racist. The three-hour play documents their lives and thoughts in an intricate fashion, illuminating the impact of living as a Jamaican in 1940s Britain.

When Andrea Levy created Small Island, she didn't intend to focus so heavily on war. In a Caribbean Beat article, Levy said: "When I started Small Island I didn’t intend to write about the war... I realised that 1948 was so very close to the war that nothing made sense without it... Caribbean people got left out of the telling of that story, so I am attempting to put them back into it. But I am not telling it from only a Jamaican point of view. I want to tell stories from the black and white experience. It is a shared history."

Rufus Norris directs Small Island, which returns to the Olivier Theatre in spring 2022.

Tickets to Small Island are available now. Book your Small Island tickets on London Theatre today.

Run time

3 hours 5 mins including a 20 min interval

Start date

15th March, 2022

End date

30th April, 2022



Recommended 12+

Small Island: What to expect - 1
Small Island: What to expect - 2
Small Island: What to expect - 3
Small Island: What to expect - 4

32 Reviews



997 Reviews | 1055 Followers
Absorbing, Great staging, Great writing, Great acting, Epic

See it if great production. Very well told from various perspectives. Absorbing and thought-provoking.

Don’t see it if It's almost 3hr 30 min long.



1023 Reviews | 952 Followers
Masterful, Great writing, Great acting, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if beautifully done adaptation of the novel. Moving and compelling. Great acting and staging.

Don’t see it if you don't care about long shows.



14 Reviews | 0 Followers
Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great staging, Great acting, Funny

See it if You enjoy watching a plethora of talent, from the acting, the costumes, the set design. Such a fluid, memorable and important story.

Don’t see it if You are not interested in black history told in a compelling, intelligent and absorbing way.

Born Yesterday

Born Yesterday

21 Reviews | 3 Followers
Profound, Intelligent, Great staging, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You’re interested in the history of the U.K, and the goldrush. If you appreciate great acting and storytelling you will love this too.

Don’t see it if If you’re not a fan of play, this is a long one at a little over 3 hours.

View all reviews

Small Island cast and creative team

By: adapted by Helen Edmundson, based on the novel by Andrea Levy
Songs by: Benjamin Kwasi Burrell
Director: Rufus Norris
Cast list: Leonie Elliott, Mirren Mack, Martin Hutson, Leemore Marrett Jr., Elliot Barnes-Worrell, Chereen Buckley, Cavan Clarke, Adam Ewan, David Fielder, Amy Forrest, Andrew Frame, Stephanie Jacob, Sandra James-Young, CJ Johnson, Rebecca Lee, Rachel Lumberg, Alicia McKenzie, Daniel Norford, Tom Page, David Webber, Marcel White, Flo Wilson, Asad-Shareef Muhammad, Theo-Oliver Townsend, Nasri Thompson, Ta’lia Harvey, Hosanna-Reine Grimwade and Renee Hart
Design: Katrina Lindsay
Lighting: Paul Anderson
Costume: Katrina Lindsay
Choreography: Coral Messam
Sound: Ian Dickinson for Autograph


National Theatre, South Bank, London, United Kingdom, SE1 9PX


Location: National
Railway station: Waterloo
Bus numbers: (Waterloo Road) 1, 4, 26, 59, 68, 76, 139, 168, 171, 172, 176, 188, 243, 341, 521, RV1, X68
Night bus numbers: (Waterloo Road) 139, 176, 188, 243, 341, N1, N68, N76, N171, N343
Car park: National Theatre, Upper Ground (1min)
Directions from tube: (10mins) Follow signs for exits to the South Bank. This should lead you to an underground pedestrian passage called ‘Sutton Walk’ that emerges at the South Bank. Turn right and walk along the river Thames until you see the National Theatre.

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