Press Release: Twist

15 August 2017

Thursday 16th August 2017

Dickens Reimagined in the Refugee Crisis:
New play Twist asks why is Oliver’s story still so familiar?

This autumn award-winning Theatre Centre tour schools and venues across the UK with Twist, a radical reimagining of a Charles Dickens classic set against the backdrop of the global refugee crisis. Following the journey of a young Syrian, playwright Chino Odimba weaves together a patchwork of compassion and criminality, transposing Dickens’ tempestuous characters into the contemporary landscape of London’s criminal underworld, where child traffickers continue to profit from the chaos of war and displacement.

In 2017, The Independent[1] reported that according to the Refugee Youth Service, 104 children referred to UK agencies as potential victims of human trafficking after making illegal crossings to the UK are currently missing. In the wake of so many similarly harrowing statistics, Theatre Centre’s Artistic Director Natalie Wilson decided it was time for her ambition to adapt ‘Oliver Twist’ to finally come to fruition.

Natalie Wilson said:
In a time when our government has suspended the Dubs amendment and Brexit negotiations turn increasingly turbulent, we have to ask young people what kind of world do they want to live in? By showing the plight of one boy’s struggle for sanctuary, we hope to reveal a story that is specific and humane so that young people can open their hearts and minds to the experiences of people from other places, and understand why so many of these people were forced to leave the places they call ‘home’. We want Twist to inspire young people to take action in order to create a more helpful, welcoming and decent future for us all.

Playwright Chino Odimba is winner of the Channel 4 Playwright Scheme and was finalist for The Bruntwood Prize. Written specifically for young audiences, Odimba’s retelling a classic challenges intolerance with urgency and compassion, asking how much progress have we really made from the Victorian London in which ‘Oliver Twist’ was first published almost 180 years ago?

Creating work with and for young people since 1953, Theatre Centre's recent commissions Rise Up by Lisa Evans and What The Thunder Said by Ed Harris won Best Play for Young Audiences at The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Awards 2017.

Twist will tour to over 40 schools and 9 venues between 14 September and 24 November 2017, including 6 performances Upstairs at London’s Soho Theatre.

Book here.

[1] More than 100 child refugees missing in UK after being smuggled from Calais, July 2017, The Independent


Emily Groves - Marketing and Development Officer
020 7729 3066


Theatre Centre presents Twist
Written by
Chino Odimba
Adapted from Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

Abdo:      Jordan Bamford                              
Nancy:     Rebecca Hamilton
Skinner:   Alister Hawke
Fabian:    Bhav Joshi
Lena:       Dilek Rose

Creative Team
Director:                                         Natalie Wilson
Designer:                                       Jemima Robinson
Lighting Designer:                          Douglas Kuhrt
Composer/Sound Designer:           Tayo Akinbode          
Sound Assistant:                             Tingying Dong
Voice Coach:                                  Jonathan Dawes
Movement Director:                         Natasha Harrison
Fight Director:                                  Claire Llewellyn
Production Manager:                        Frederic Beaufort
Company Stage Manager:               Suneeda Maruthiyil
Dramaturg:                                       Sarah Dickenson

Age Guidance: 13+

Duration: 60 mins, no interval

Images Images available to download here.

Show Copy
His home is dust. His friends are few. His hands are as rough as the seas he has crossed.

In a radical reimagining of Charles Dickens’ classic novel, we follow one refugee’s journey, buffeted between borders and bad company. Twist transforms Oliver’s struggle for sanctuary into a modern tale framed by the global crisis fast defining the 21st century.

Teeming with Dickens’ audacious characters, this production marks a bold collaboration for Theatre Centre, pioneers of new writing for young audiences.

Rising-star Chino Odimba has written for National Theatre and was shortlisted for the Bruntwood Prize. Theatre Centre’s first adaptation in over a decade, this retelling of a Victorian masterpiece will challenge intolerance with urgency and compassion.

Twist tours London, Taunton, Cardiff, Durham, Shoreham-by-Sea, Milton Keynes and Cambridge. Book now.

Praise for Chino Odimba and Theatre Centre

“A rivetingly fresh reinvention of a myth” - Medea by Chino Odimba, ★★★★ – The Times

“Theatre Centre defy clichés” - The Guardian

Twist Venues Tour Dates 2017
LONDON – Redbridge Drama Centre - 14 September, 4.30pm, & 8pm
LONDON – Greenwich Theatre – 18 September, 2pm & 7pm
TAUNTON – Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre - 27 September, 2.30pm
CARDIFF – Sherman Theatre – 29 September, 1pm & 7.30pm
LONDON – Soho Theatre – 2, 3 & 4 October, 4.30pm & 7.15pm
DURHAM – Gala Theatre, Take Off Festival - 18 October, 1pm & 7pm
SHOREHAM-BY-SEA – Ropetackle Arts Centre - 15 November, 7.30pm
MILTON KEYNES – Stantonbury Theatre – 17 November, 4.30pm & 7.30pm
CAMBRIDGE – Mumford Theatre – 21 November, 7.30pm

About Theatre Centre
Theatre Centre empowers young leadership and youth activism through powerful productions and learning opportunities, placing the concerns, dreams and realities of young people at the heart of all we do.

The longest established touring company in the UK, we bring high-quality artistic experiences to children across the country, many of whom have little or no access to the arts. The stories we tell hold a magnifying glass up to both contemporary issues, and those stories that go untold, with our recent productions dealing with sexual harassment in the classroom, the civil rights movement and gender identity.

Creating work with and for young people since 1953, Theatre Centre aims to cultivate advocacy and galvanise action from young audiences, moving them towards compassion, conversation and campaigns. Visit the website at

About Chino Odimba
Chino Odimba is under commission for the National Theatre’s Connections programme. She is also one of the winners of the Channel 4 Playwright Scheme (2016) and was a finalist for the Alfred Fagon Award (2014) and the Bruntwood Playwrights Award (2015). Her retelling of Medea recently played at the Bristol Old Vic to critical acclaim.

Twist UK Tour Dates
Twist tours nationally to schools and venues between 14 September  – 24 November 2017. Tickets here.

Redbridge Drama Centre, London
Thursday 14th September, 4.30pm & 8pm

Greenwich Theatre, London
Monday 18th September, 2pm & 7pm

Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre, Taunton
Wednesday 27th September, 2.30pm

Sherman Theatre, Cardiff
Friday 29th September, 1pm & 7.30pm

Soho Theatre, London
Monday 2nd, Tuesday 3rd, Wednesday 4th October, 4.30pm & 7.15pm

Gala Theatre: TakeOff Festival, Durham
Wednesday 18th October, 1pm & 7pm

Ropetackle Arts Centre, Shoreham-by-Sea
Wednesday 15th November, 7.30pm

Stantonbury Theatre, Milton Keynes
Friday 17th November, 4.30pm & 7.30pm

Mumford Theatre, Cambridge
Tuesday 21st November, 7.30pm