Andrea Levy’s epic, Orange Prize-winning novel bursts to new life on the Olivier stage. A company of 40 tells a story which journeys from Jamaica to Britain, through the Second World War to 1948 – the year the HMT Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury.
Adapted for the stage by Helen Edmundson, Small Island follows three intricately connected stories. Hortense yearns for a new life away from rural Jamaica, Gilbert dreams of becoming a lawyer, and Queenie longs to escape her Lincolnshire roots. Hope and humanity meet stubborn reality as the play traces the tangled history of Jamaica and the UK.
National Theatre Live broadcast on Thu 27 June
Find your nearest cinema
Small Island ends on Saturday 10 August and the final peformances are now Sold Out.
Please note: This production contains strobe-like effects.
Also, as part of depicting the experience of Jamaican immigrants to Britain after the Second World War, at times characters in the play use language which is racially offensive; for more information please contact us via our Help centre.
Production supported by Areté Foundation / Betsy & Ed Cohen
The footage used from 'Terminus 1961' and 'West Indies Calling' is Crown copyright and is reproduced with the permission of The British Film Institute under delegated authority from The Keeper of Public Records.
All other archive footage courtesy of British Pathé.
Talks and events
Exhibition: Ronan Mckenzie photographs, 3 May to September
All Kinds of Limbo: A VR musical journey inspired by Small Island, until 12 September