Devotedly hopelessly

News of a new production at Birmingham Rep.

One of the newest voices in theatre, Kate Tempest, premieres her latest play Hopelessly Devoted at the newly refurbished Birmingham Repertory Theatre from September 19 to October 5 before embarking on a tour.

A parent knows devotion. A football fan, an athlete, a scientist, a priest. You feel it. No matter how hopeless it seems. If it’s in you it means you have to do right by it. The only time it’s hopeless is when you give up on it.

Chess is in prison. Facing a lengthy sentence, her cell mate, Serena, becomes her soul mate. But when Serena is given parole, Chess faces total isolation. Hope comes in the form of a music producer, Silver, looking for a reason to love music again. She finds a powerful voice in Chess. But to harness her talent, Chess must first face her past.

With an epic soundscape, Kate’s explosive new work is a lyrical firecracker that tells the tale of two people adapting as a love is broken and how music becomes the redemptive power. Kate Tempest is a poet and spoken word artist. Following her smash-hit playwriting debut Wasted in 2012 Kate has been described as “one of the most exciting young writers working in Britain today.” (The Huffington Post) and as “one of a new generation who are bridging the divide between poetry and theatre” (The Guardian). Earlier this year, 26-year-old Kate became the first person under 40 to win the Ted Hughes Award for innovation in poetry, winning the accolade for her work Brand New Ancients – an hour-long story set to an orchestral backing.

When Kate started writing in her mid-teens she would push herself to perform anywhere – at grime and hip-hop nights and on the night bus home. Tempest recently performed to female inmates in Holloway prison, an experience that inspired Hopelessly Devoted as she explains: “I wanted to connect with these women. And I felt this familiar fire that I used to feel when I was rapping – this eagerness and this sense of the importance of telling and being heard.”

Kate has written poetry for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Barnado’s, Channel 4 and the BBC. She has worked with Amnesty International to create a schools pack helping secondary school children write their own protest songs, and was invited to write and perform a new poem for Aung San Suu Kyi when she recieved the Ambassador of Conscience award in Dublin.

Hopelessly Devoted plays at the DOOR, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Centenary Square, Broad Street, Birmingham from 19th September–5th October. Tickets are £10-12 from