A Fifth Word and New Perspectives co-production present

We Need New Names

by NoViolet Bulawayo, in a new adaptation by Mufaro Makubika

Fri 12 - Sat 13 May, 2023 Archive
Based on the novel by the first Black African woman and Zimbabwean to be Booker Prize-shortlisted, this defiant coming-of-age story is full of exuberance, humour and humanity.

Paradise. Home of 10-year-old Darling and her friends: four children on the edge of innocence.  A playground overflowing with mischief and games where they imagine countries a luxurious life away from theirs in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe. But when Darling moves to Michigan, the western world she encounters as a teenager is far from the American utopia of her dreams…

An unflinching and powerful story that will stay in your mind and your heart.

The novel We Need New Names was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, the Guardian First Book Award and the Barnes & Noble Discover Award, and won a Betty Trask Award, Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, Hurston-Wright Legacy Award, the Etisalat Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for First Fiction.

It is now adapted for the stage for the first time.


Don’t miss out! – Fifth Word Theatre and New Perspectives will be hosting a short post show Q&A after the show on Friday 12 May with casts and creatives.



Main House


Time: 2:30pm & 7:30pm
Performance duration: 1 hour 50 mins (Exc Interval)
Age guidance: 14+
Advisories: Content warning: the material explored in We Need New Names tackles challenging emotions and sensitive subject matter including references to racial discrimination, violence, child sexual assault, death by suicide and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.


Lukwesa Mwamba

Munashe Chirisa

Anashe Danai

Princess Khumalo

Tatenda Mademombe

Kalungi Ssebandeke


Novel by

NoViolet Bulawayo

Written by

Mufaro Makubika

Directed by

Monique Touko


Ingrid Hu

Lighting Designer

Adam King

Sound Designer

Ed Lewis

Movement Director

Ricardo Da Silva

Stage Manager

Alyssa Watts

Production Manager

Alison Willcox