Plays by Dominic Cooke

Arabian Nights

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Dominic Cooke's Arabian Nights is an inventive retelling of the classic tales. It was first performed at the Young Vic, London, on 16 November 1998.

It is wedding night in the palace of King Shahrayar. By morning, the new Queen Shahrazad is to be put to death like all the young brides before her. But she has one gift that could save her – the gift of storytelling. With her mischievous imagination, the young Queen spins her dazzling array of tales and characters, bringing them to life before the king: Ali Baba, Es-Sindibad the Sailor, Princess Parizade, adventurers in strange and magical worlds populated by giant beasts, talking birds, devilish ghouls and crafty thieves.

The six stories from the original collections featured in this version are: The Story of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, The Story of the Little Beggar, The Story of Es-Sindibad the Sailor, How Abu Hassan Broke Wind, The Story of the Wife Who Wouldn’t Eat and The Story of the Envious Sisters. The framing story of Queen Shahrazad is retained throughout.

The Young Vic premiere was directed by Dominic Cooke. The play was revived, in a revised version, by the Royal Shakespeare Company at The Courtyard Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, on 5 December 2009, also directed by Dominic Cooke, designed by Georgia McGuinness and with music by Gary Yershon.

Noughts & Crosses  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Dominic Cook's adaptation of Malorie Blackman's series of novels for young adults (launched with Noughts & Crosses, published in 2001) is a love story set in a society divided by racial bigotry and a world rocked by terrorism. The play was first performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Civic Hall, Stratford-upon-Avon, on 29 November 2007.

The play's action takes place in an alternative 21st-century Britain, where the darker-skinned Crosses have an advantage over the underclass Noughts, who suffer from widespread discrimination. Sephy (a Cross) is the daughter of the Deputy Prime Minister, while Callum is the son of a Nought agitator. United by a shared sense of injustice as children, and separated by intolerance as they grow up, their desire to be together begins to eclipse all family loyalty, sparking a political crisis of catastrophic proportions.

The Royal Shakespeare Company production was directed by Dominic Cooke and designed by Kandis Cook. It was performed by Charles Abomeli, Davinia Anderson, Doreene Blackstock, Daniel Bowers, Michelle Butterly, Louise Callaghan, Christopher Daley, Tyrone Huggins, Tracy Ifeachor, Richard Madden (as Callum), Jo Martin, Phil McKee, Jenny Ogilvie, Clarence Smith, Ony Uhiara (as Sephy) and Freddy White.

Dominic Cooke is widely known as a director. He was Associate Director of the Royal Court from 1999-2002 before taking over as Artistic Director of the theatre from 2007-2013. He was also Associate Director of the RSC 2002-2006. He has won numerous awards throughout his career, including an Olivier Award for his 2006 revival of The Crucible.

He directed the original production of his adaptation of Arabian Nights for the Young Vic in 1998, which was followed by both national and international tours, winning a TMA Award in 2000. The adaptation was revived by the RSC in 2009. He also adapted and directed Malorie Blackman’s Noughts & Crosses for the RSC in 2007, which was followed by a national tour in 2008.

Film work includes directing Shakespeare’s Henry VI trilogy and Richard III for the second series of The Hollow Crown (BBC/HBO).