Award-winning play’s city date

AN award-winning play is heading for Derby’s Guildhall Theatre and can be seen there from March 18 to April 9.

The Mountaintop, written by Katori Hall, tells the tale of the last few days in the life of one of the seminal figures of American 20th century history – Martin Luther King. The work won the 2010 award for Best New Play at the highly-prestigious Olivier Theatre Awards.

It is April 3, 1968. Martin Luther King has just made his memorable ‘From the Mountaintop’ address at Mason Temple, a speech filled with passion, power and foreboding.

In Room 306 of the now infamous Lorraine Motel in Memphis, a mysterious young maid brings him a cup of coffee. She is beautiful, like an angel in disguise.

It’s her first day on the job but, as King discovers, she doesn’t work for the motel, and her commute to work has been entirely unconventional.

In less than 24 hours, his life will be cut short at the age of just 39 by an assassin’s bullet. This is Katori Hall’s take on the final few hours of this tragically shortened life.

The 29-year-old American playwright’s mother grew up just a block away from the Lorraine Motel and here she interweaves fact and fiction, comedy and pathos, to create a gripping account of the American Civil Rights movement.

Starring in the role of Martin Luther King is Ariyon Bakare, whose theatre credits include appearances in Julius Caesar and Anthony and Cleopatra at the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Merchant Of Venice at Sheffield’s Crucible theatre, plus TV credits including Doctors, A Touch of Frost, Spooks and Lynda La Plante’s Supply and Demand.

In the role of Camae, the mysterious maid is Ayesha Antoine, who won the 2010 TMA Theatre Award for best supporting performance for her appearance in My Wonderful Day at Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre. The director of the play will be Tom Attenborough, grandson of theatre and film legend Sir Richard Attenborough.

The Mountaintop brings with it a reputation as being must-see theatre so open your mind, believe the hype and embark on a night at the theatre that could change your life.

The Mountaintop was developed at the Lark Play Development Center, New York City and premiered in June 2009.

Tickets to see it performed at Derby’s Guildhall Theatre cost £8-£21 and are available by calling the box office on 01332 255800.