Soul by Roy Williams at the Hackney Empire

The Royal & Derngate Theatre in Northampton and the Hackney Empire will present Soul, a new play by Roy Williams about the family life of soul legend Marvin Gaye at the Hackney Empire in east London which runs from 15 June to 3 July 2016.

"On April Fool's Day 1984, hours before his 45th birthday, Marvin Gaye was shot dead by his father in the shared family home they called the 'Big House'. What happened there has since been shrouded in mystery. Revealing the events that took place during Marvin Gaye's haunting final days and exploring his extraordinary life, Soul is a parable about an American family crushed by fame - a searing portrait of the dark side of the American dream."

The play with music has been written in close collaboration with members of Marvin Gaye's family and features original music recorded by Gaye's close musical collaborator Gordon Banks.

The cast will feature Adjoa Andoh, Leo Wringer, Petra Letang, Mimi Ndiweni, Nathan Ives -Moira, Keenan Munn-Francis and Abiona Omonua.

Directed by James Dacre, it features design by Jon Bausor, lighting design by Mark Howland and sound design by Fergus O'Hare. It features musical direction by Joseph Roberts and will also feature the Hackney Empire Community Choir for its London run.

The play was commissioned by Bob Blagden and Barbara Cole and was inspired by Jeanne Gay's memoir 'Bitter Sweet' as well as interviews with Jeanne and Zeola Gay amongst many others and further extensive research.

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