Theatre Royal Stratford East and Actors Touring Company today announce lead cast and creatives for the UK premiere of Tambo & Bones by award-winning US playwrightDave Harris

Actors Touring Company (ATC) Artistic Director Matthew Xia directs Rhashan Stone (Tambo) and Daniel Ward (Bones) in this play about a comedy double-act, turned hip-hop superstars, who find themselves stuck in a minstrel show. The production runs at Stratford East from 22 June - 15 July.

Commenting on this co-production, Director Matthew Xia says: 

"I spent my formative years at Stratford East, its philosophy is in my DNA. I started in the Youth Theatre in 1993 and by the time I left in 2010, I was the Associate Director. Stratford East is where I first combined my love of theatre with my passion for hip-hop, making shows with ULTZ like DA BOYZ and Jean Genet’s THE BLACKS (REMIXED). It feels very full circle to return with ATC, the company I now lead, and this playful and provocative hip-hop infused satire as part of our Transformation Season”.  

Written by Dave Harris 

Directed by Matthew Xia 

Designed by Sadeysa Greenaway-Bailey & ULTZ

Lighting Design by Ciarán Cunningham

Hip-Hop Songs Composed by Excalibah

Sound Design & Additional Composition by Richard Hammarton

Movement Direction by Kloé Dean 

Video Design by Gino Ricardo Green

Casting Direction by Julia Horan

Assistant Direction by Danielle Kassarate

Fight Direction by Kevin McCurdy

Costume Supervision by Ysanne Tidd

Dramatherapist Wabriya King 

Stage Manager Marie-Angelique St. Hill

Deputy Stage Manager Phyllys Egharevba 

Assistant Stage Manager Anna Townley

Tambo and Bones are stuck in a minstrel show. It's hard to know what's real when you're stuck in a minstrel show. Their escape plan: get out, get rich, get even.

Join Tambo (Rhashan Stone) and Bones (Daniel Ward) on their journey from comedy double-act, to hip-hop superstars, to activists in an America at the epicentre of the global Black Lives Matter movement.

TAMBO & BONES laughs through our past, blows the roof off our present and imagines an explosive future for our world... and for theatre. 

‘A racially charged metatheatrical satire and "rags-to-riches hip-hop odyssey" by slam poet turned playwright Dave Harris.’ (Time Out New York, 30 best Off Broadway shows to see in Spring 2022)

As part of the run of TAMBO & BONES, Stratford East is hosting its first ever BLACK OUT performance on Wednesday 5 July at 7.30pm.

While this performance has been arranged for Black audience members specifically, no one is excluded from attending.


“A BLACK OUT night is the purposeful creation of an environment in which an all-Black-identifying audience can experience and discuss an event in the performing arts, film, and cultural spaces – free from the white gaze.”

Originated by Jeremy O. Harris for his play Slave Play, the very first BLACK OUT night took place on Broadway in 2019. The initiative was brought to London during the run of his show Daddy at the Almeida Theatre as he felt it was important for Black theatregoers to be able to experience sitting in a theatre space where the whole audience looks like them. 

Director Matthew Xia said:

"Over the last few years, a number of playwrights and directors in the US and the UK have created private and safe spaces for Black theatregoers to experience productions that explore complex, nuanced race-related issues. I felt that with a play like TAMBO & BONES which unpicks the complexity of Black performance in relation to the white gaze it was imperative that we created such a space."

Presented by Theatre Royal Stratford East and Actors Touring Company.

Tickets now on sale. For more information visit

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