Winner 2021-22

Benedict Lombe

Play: Lava



 Benedict Lombe

Synopsis: When a woman receives an unexpected letter from the British Passport Office, she is forced to confront an old mystery: why does her South African passport not carry her first name? Playful and lyrical, moving from Mobutu's Congo to post-Apartheid South Africa, Ireland and England, this is a story about unravelling the patterns of chaos across history - questioning nationhood, narratives, and the process of naming the unnameable.


Cast Breakdown: One Black woman plays all roles.




Agent: Kat Buckle at Curtis Brown


Other: Twitter @benelombe


Play Service: Nick Hern Books:


Bio: Benedict Lombe is a Kinshasa-born British Congolese writer and theatre-maker based in London. She is interested in wholly reclaiming diasporic stories; without compromise, without apology, and doing it with flair, humour and heart.

Lava is her debut play. It received its world premiere on the main stage of London’s Bush Theatre in 2021 to critical acclaim, in a production starring Ronkẹ Adékoluẹjo and directed by Anthony Simpson-Pike. She has won a Black British Theatre Award and was nominated for the Alfred Fagon Award for Best New Play of the Year. She is on attachment with the National Theatre Studio, has been selected to join BBC Drama Room, and is working on new theatre commissions. She has also previously completed attachments with the Bush Theatre and Theatre503. She is currently working with production companies to develop original film and TV projects.


Lava at the Bush Theatre. Photos by Helen Murray.