Family Tree - New Wolsey Theatre

Family Tree

Performed from Thu 8 — Sat 10 Jun

Actors Touring Company

Actors Touring Company

The image shows the face of a Black woman in her early 30s, surrounded by blue flecks and waves, which are the He-La cells of Henrietta Lacks. White text in the bottom left corner reads 'Actors Touring Company and Belgrade Theatre Coventry, in association with Brixton House present 'Family Tree' by Mojisola Adebayo.'

'Family Tree' is a beautifully poetic drama about race, health, the environment and the incredible legacy of one of the most influential Black women of modern times. Fearlessly honest, hilarious, and ultimately transformative, this award-winning play is both a remembrance and a celebration.

Henrietta Lacks is one of most remarkable people in medical history. Her cells form the basis of the most important medical research and breakthroughs happening today, from cancer to HIV to COVID.

But Henrietta never knew any of this. Her cells were taken without her or her family’s knowledge or permission.

Henrietta was a Black woman; she is not the only one whose body has been exploited by the medical establishment.

Denied her place in history, now is the time for Henrietta’s incredible legacy to undergo a transformation… to blossom and grow into something new and wonderful.

This brand-new nationwide touring production is brought to you by playwright Mojisola Adebayo (Alfred Fagon Award winner for 'Family Tree') and director Matthew Xia ('Blue/Orange,' 'The Wiz') with a cast that includes Michelle Asante as Henrietta.

Age guidance: 14+

Content and trigger warnings: contains discussion (but not depiction) of non-consensual medical experiments on Black women and children, strong language, discussion of medical procedures, racism (no racist slurs are used). This play discusses cancer.

Running time: 95 minutes, no interval.

'Family Tree' by Mojisola Adebayo.
Presented by Actors Touring Company and Belgrade Theatre Coventry, in association with Brixton House Theatre.
'Family Tree' was commissioned by ATC and Young Vic Theatre, and produced as a work-in-development by ATC and Greenwich and Docklands International Festival in August 2021.

Cast & Creatives

Mofetoluwa Akande — Ain/Anarcha/Oshun

Mofetoluwa Akande's headshot.

Training: The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School (winner of The Peter O’Toole Prize 2019).

Her previous theatre credits include A Christmas Carol (Bristol Old Vic) and Girls (Theatre Royal Plymouth). TV/Radio credits includeThe Nevers (HBO) and The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives (BBC Radio 3). Theatre whilst training: The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (Bristol Old Vic); We Want You To Watch (Wardrobe Theatre); Wonderboy (Bristol Old Vic, Weston Studio); Clybourne Park (Bristol Old Vic, Weston Studio).

Aminita Francis — Henrietta Lacks

Aminita Francis' headshot.

Theatre credits include:

Red Riding Hood (Liverpool Everyman), I Am Kevin and Babel (Wildworks), Frankenstein: How to Make a Monster (Battersea Art Centre), The Immersive Great Gatsby (Hartshorn-Hook Productions), Josephine (Theatre Royal Bath), Bugsy Malone (Lyric Hammersmith), Afroabelhas Brasil (British council/Tempo Festival), Chocolate Cake (Polka Theatre), Hive City Legacy (The Roundhouse/Hot Brown Honey), Six Wives and The New Morning (Theatre Royal Stratford East), Bite Your Tongue (Hackney Showroom/TALAWA), Blood Wedding, Romeo and Juliet and The Arsonists (The Courtyard Theatre/CTTC), Next Generation (Zoonation) and Cabin Fever (Theatre 503).

Television credits include:

Frankenstein: How to Make a Monster (BBC).

Alistair Hall — Smoking Man

Alistair Hall's headshot.

Alistair Hall is an actor and theatre maker from Chippenham. He graduated from RADA in 2019.

His debut solo show Declan received critical acclaim from The Guardian, Attitude magazine and more.

On screen, he recently co-starred with Patricia Hodge in Rose Pandemic.

Further theatre credits include The Winter's Tale (Shake Festival) and Safe (Norwich Theatre Royal)


Social Media: Both Instagram and Twitter

Keziah Joseph — Bibi/Betsey

Keziah Joseph's headshot.

Keziah Joseph is an award-winning actress who has worked extensively in theatre and radio with credits including Crush Hour the Musical (Universal/Audible), Faith Hope & Glory (BBC Radio 4), Dr Who (Big Finish) Octonauts: Above & Beyond (Netflix) and for stage: Olivier nominated Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear (National Theatre) The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Bridge) and Offie-winning Language of Kindness (UK Tour).

Social Media Handles: @itsthatsanekeziah

Aimée Powell — Lyn/Lucy

Aimée Powell's headshot.

Aimée is a Birmingham based actor. Her early performance experience was gained with her family’s circus - The Beechmen Circus - touring extensively throughout the UK. Since graduating from the Birmingham Theatre School she has worked as an actor on stage and screen. Aimée’s credits include - THEATRE: Nothello - Belgrade Theatre, Crongton Knights - Tour with Pilot Theatre and Belgrade Theatre, Freeman - National and international tour with Strictly Arts Theatre Company, Night Light - Tour with Mandala Theatre Company, Feed The Beast - Birmingham REP, Jump! We’ll Catch You - Birmingham REP. SCREEN: Seaview - Belgrade Digital Media and Strictly Arts, Sent To Cov - Sky Arts, Doctors - BBC. RADIO: This Little Relic - BBC Audio North, The Archers - BBC.


Instagram - @aimeepowell27

Twitter - @aimeepowell27

Mojisola Adebayo — Playwright

Mojisola Adebayo's headshot.

Diane Alison-Mitchell — Movement Director

Francesca Amewudah-Rivers — Composer & Sound Designer

James Boyer Smith — Stage Manager

Matilda James CDG — Tour Casting Advisor

Simon Kenny — Set & Costume Designer

Wabriya King — Production Dramatherapist

Maybelle Laye — Costume Supervisor

Matt Ledbury — Production Manager

Tom Lightbody — Lighting Associate

Simisola Majekodunmi — Lighting Designer

Clive Meldrum — Sound Associate

Eliott Sheppard — Deputy Stage Manager

Amelia Thornber — Associate Director

Matthew Xia — Director

Reviews of Family Tree

What the press say

★★★★★ 'Beautifully poetic… Adebayo’s deft writing and the layered, nuanced performances allowed us to take solace in community and to look forward to a better future.'


★★★★★ 'Possibly one of the most important untold stories in history!'

West End Best Friend

★★★★ 'a fiercely intelligent and moving piece of theatrical writing complemented by a superbly thought-through production.'

The Reviews Hub

What the public say

A fascinating, lyrically dense play that centres and celebrates Black womanhood while attending to the horrors of white supremacy, especially in relation to the medical establishment. However, if this sounds dry and academic, the experience of the play is anything but! It is anchored by super engaging performances and a brilliant set design. I'd encourage you to see it!


A thoroughly enjoyable play showcasing excellent, poetic and lyrical scenes from actors that captivated the audience as they weaved in and out of history, covering themes around racism, inequality, oppression through time, age and experience.

Marva Blake

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