White Feather Boxer - York Theatre Royal



White Feather Boxer6 CREDIT Mark Collicott.jpg

Boxing is not about destruction: it’s about respect.

After a hugely successful preview UK tour last year in honour of the centenary of the 1916 “Conscription” laws, Take the Space now bring their beautifully original, vibrant new play White Feather Boxer to York Theatre Royal Studio on Saturday 25 November at 7.45pm.

What does it take to be better than the best?  To stand up for what you believe?

It’s April 1967. In a shabby Bethnal Green boxing gym, elderly trainer Jimmy hears the news that heavyweight boxing champion of the world, Muhammad Ali, has defied the US Military by refusing to fight in Vietnam. 

It’s a story Jimmy knows all too well.  As a Quaker Boxer he himself made a choice during WW1, when conscription sent pacifists to prison or the firing squad;  when he, at the peak of his boxing career and physical prowess, refused to fight for King and Country despite the terrifying consequences.

Jimmy still can’t face his demons from the past and now there’s a new one from the present - Jo, a Polish immigrant who lives on the local estate. Just turned 16, Jo’s strong, talented, impulsive, angry and, given the chance, potentially a brilliant boxer – but she’s a girl.  Jimmy is 70 now. Has he the strength, or even the patience, to coach this wild young teenager and teach her discipline and respect?

Following previous success with Sam & IHanging HookeDolce Via and Stella, Take the Space now present this inspirational new play about pugilism and pacifism.  Chris Barnes plays Jimmy alongside Julia Masli in the role of Jo.

Writer and director Siobhán Nicholas explains: “I wanted to explore – and honour – the psyche of the boxer and also capture the culture of the ring; I had a hunch that focusing on a retired boxer who has a very personal association with conscientious objection could allow me to come close to defining the qualities of bravery and duty.”

Chris Barnes (Jimmy) has appeared in the films Much Ado About Nothing, FrankensteinThe Grotesque and Amazing Grace.  Numerous TV appearances include lead roles in Hornblower and The Ebbtide.  Most recently he featured in Endeavour, The Musketeers and New Tricks.  His theatre work has taken him all over the world and in this country includes seasons at the Young Vic, the National Theatre, the Old Vic, The West End and the Donmar Warehouse.

Julia Masli (Jo) trained at Ecole Philippe Gaulier for two years, performing in clown, vaudeville and bouffon shows directed by Philippe Gaulier.  On graduating she created a solo show called Radiator which was performed at Tristan Bates Theatre and toured to Sardinia as part of Rooted Moon Festival.

Siobhán Nicholas (Writer and Director). This is Siobhan’s fifth play for Take the Space.  Hanging Hooke was shortlisted for the Meyer Whitworth Prize and STELLA was nominated for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award. 


Take the Space presents
White Feather Boxer
York Theatre Royal Studio
Sat 25 Nov, 7.45pm
Tickets £14.
Box office 01904 623568. Online yorktheatreroyal.co.uk

Arts & EntertainmentEditor