Plays by Bola Agbaje


Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Election lost, speeches made and controversy stirred – Kayode’s hiding. He’s not even answering the door to the cleaner and Rita is not going to start getting out the Hoover in her designer heels. Escaping the political heat in London he flees to Nigeria – a British MP and a self-made man. Once there, he gets caught up in a whole new power game. Bola Agbaje’s satirical play questions our notion of home.

Belong was originally produced by the Royal Court and Tiata Fahodzi at the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs at the Royal Court in April 2012 before transferring to Theatre Local, Peckham.

Detaining Justice

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Detaining Justice is an interrogatory play about illegal immigration and race, in which the urgent issues are brought to life with humour and compassion.

Justice Ncube is locked in a cell, his asylum application pending. If he is deported back to Zimbabwe, he faces the violent retribution of the regime he resisted. His sister Grace is desperate to help, but after trying authorities, God, and even the bed of an immigration enforcement officer, she finds nothing but dead ends. All she can suggest is that he goes back home. Assigned to Justice’s case is Mr Cole, a celebrity prosecution lawyer who is ill at ease in his new job in the cramped office of the Immigration Advisory Centre, and haunted by his last big case. The system is impenetrable and obscure, and there’s no way out for Justice.

In the offices of the immigration authorities, inside the detention centres, and out in the world where illegal immigrants are working, Agbaje examines Britain’s tangled immigration system and the lives of those who slip through the cracks.

Detaining Justice was first performed as part of the ‘Not Black and White’ season at the Tricycle Theatre, London, in 2009.

Gone Too Far!

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Nigeria, England, America, Jamaica; are you proud of where you’re from? Dark skinned, light skinned, afro, weaves, who are your true brothers and sisters?

When two brothers from different continents go down the street to buy a pint of milk, they lift the lid on a disunited nation where everyone wants to be an individual but no one wants to stand out from the crowd.

Bola Agbaje’s comic, astute play about identity, history and culture depicts a world where respect is always demanded but rarely freely given.

Gone Too Far! premiered at the Royal Court Theatre as part of its Young Writers Festival on 2 February 2007.

Off the Endz

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

David, Kojo and Sharon grew up on a London estate. Now in their mid-20s, they’re eyeing another kind of life. But how do you choose the right path when temptation lies around every corner? If your emotional or financial debt is sky high, how do you buy your way out?

Bola Agbaje's smart, savvy second play for the Royal Court asks whether being out of the system might be just as good as being in it. Her characters struggle to ignore the pull of lawless gain and in their newly-respectable, adult lives, find it hard to move away from a background which both haunts them and entices them back. Agbaje's characteristically energetic, vibrant dialogue captures the dynamic rhythm of spoken language and she portrays an under-represented slice of society with skill and compassion.

Off the Endz premiered at the Royal Court Theatre, London, on 11 February 2010.

Picture of Bola Agbaje

Bola Agbaje is a playwright who graduated from the young writers programme at the Royal Court in 2007. Her first play Gone Too Far! was selected to be performed as part of the Young Writer Festival and was performed at the Royal Court Theatre (Upstairs) in February 2007. In 2008, the play won the Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliated Theatre. The play was revived in 2008 and returned for a run in the main Downstairs space at the Court, as well as at the Hackney Empire and Albany Theatre. Agbaje was also nominated for the Evening Standard Most Promising Playwright of the Year in 2008. Other plays include Off the Endz and Belong.