The gloves are off. Nicholas Pinnock has confirmed that he is set to get back in the ring to reprise his role as Jay ‘The Sport’ Jackson in The Bush Theatre’s knockout boxing drama, The Royale.
The power-punching thriller, which tells the story of the first black heavyweight boxing champion of the world, will play at The Tabernacle, in Notting Hill, London, following a 2015 sell-out run (read Stage Review’s verdict bit.ly/1LNbSzS).
Pinnock, currently appearing in ITV’s eight-part drama, Marcella, plays Jay Jackson, the first African-American heavyweight champion of the world. The Royale, written by Marco Ramirez (Sons of Anarchy, Orange is the New Black), will again be directed by Madani Younis.
Jay ‘The Sport’ Jackson dreamt of being the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. But in 1905 and, in the racially segregated world of boxing, his chances were as good as knocked out.
Told in six rounds, and set in a boxing ring, The Royale is inspired by the often overlooked story of Jack Johnson, a boxer who – at the height of the Jim Crow era – became the most famous and the most notorious black man on Earth.
Through the sights and sounds of the early 20th century boxing circuit, The Royale examines society’s relationship with our present-day cultural heroes and the responsibilities that are thrust upon them when they find themselves outside of the ropes.
The Royale is loosely based on the real-life tale of Johnson, whose story is one of great talent and triumph, but also racism and injustice.
Despite Johnson being one of the greatest fighters who had ever lived, one newspaper wrote at the time of his first title fight: “If the black man wins, thousands and thousands of his ignorant brothers will misinterpret his victory as justifying claims to much more than mere physical equality with their white neighbors.”
The Royale will be staged at The Tabernacle as the Bush Theatre is undergoing a major redevelopment of its building. The venue, a former church, swinging sixties hang-out, community centre and, more recently, a training ground for young boxers, continues to host amateur boxing matches to this day.
Nicholas Pinnock is a British theatre, television and film actor who has recently appeared in programmes such as Marcella and Sky’s Fortitude. He has also appeared in Channel 4′s award-winning drama, Top Boy, he played Dr Evan Farleigh in ITV’s The Ice Cream Girls and starred in the sequel to Monsters, in Monsters: Dark Continent.
The Royale will run at The Tabernacle, Powis Square, W11 from November 3-26.
Watch the 2015 trailer from the origination Bush Theatre production: