“Do you think dreams are wasted on people like us?”

It’s a hot and humid summer in 1958 St Ann’s, Nottingham. Tempers are flaring and Teddy Boys are on the march.

Jamaican couple Pearl and George are helping Caribbean migrants to cut loose by hosting a forbidden party at their shebeen.

Pearl has dreams of opening a restaurant on the Wells Road. George, a retired boxer, has hung his dreams next to his gloves. A young interracial couple are falling in love and figuring out how to be together.

As tensions mount on a night filled with rum, calypso and dancing, and with the shebeen under threat from the police, everyone is forced to confront the uncomfortable truths their relationships are built upon.

Specially commissioned by Nottingham Playhouse, Shebeen invites you to a party you never knew existed. This world premiere by Nottingham writer, Mufaro Makubika, shines a light on the Windrush generation: a community under siege and the sacrifices they made for love.

Winner of the 2017 Alfred Fagon Award


We provide British Sign Language Interpretation, Captioning and Audio Description for this production.

Everyone is welcome to attend accessible performances, customers experience the full show including the accessible services.


“It is laird’s pearl who anchors the play, her excellent, steely performance saying so much about the strength that windrush-era black matriarchs had to show”
4 rating
The Guardian
“Full of tenderness and joy… Matthew Xia’s production is electrified with tension”
4 rating
The Times
“A blazingly original work of socially relevant theatrical art that resonates deeply with its audience”
4 rating
East Midlands Theatre
“What an atmosphere… The dialogue crackles”
Exeunt Magazine
“Martina Laird as Pearl and Karl Collins as George give beautifully rounded performances”
The Stage


Karl Collins
George Karl Collins
Martina Laird
Pearl Martina Laird
Earnest Rolan Bell
Mrs Clark Hazel Ellerby
Mary Chloe Harris
Sergeant Williams Karl Haynes
Constable Reed/Robert Dunne Adam Rojko Vega
Linford Theo Solomon
Gayle Danielle Walters


Writer Mufaro Makubika
Director Matthew Xia
Designer Grace Smart
Lighting Designer Ciarán Cunningham
Sound Designer/Composer Richard Hammarton
Movement Director Rachael Nanyonjo
Dramaturg Kirsty Patrick Ward
Fight Director Kev McCurdy
Dialect and Voice Coach Hazel Holder
Casting Director Sarah Bird CDG
Casting Director Sophie Parrott CDG