Dominic Cooke, director of Bob Marley musical Get Up, Stand Up, steps down to give job to black director Clint Dyer

British-Jamaican theatre maker will now lead musical, due to open in the West End next spring

Isobel Lewis
Wednesday 22 July 2020 11:57
Culture Secretary: Theatre performances without social distancing some way off

A white theatre director has stepped down from his role on the Bob Marley musical to give the job to a black director.

Dominic Cooke, who is best known for his work on Follies and the Olivier Award-winning Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, had been brought on to direct Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Story ahead of its scheduled opening in London’s West End in spring 2021.

However, on Wednesday (22 July), Cooke announced that he was standing aside from the project so that Clint Dyer, who has written and directed plays including Death of England and Sylvia Plath, could take over instead.

“In recent weeks the conversation about race has changed in theatre, as it has across society,” Cooke said. “With that in mind, and after much reflection, I have decided to step aside from my role to make way for Clint Dyer to lead the project.

“Clint is a brilliant theatre-maker and an inspiring leader. I can’t wait to see what he brings to this powerful story… The world needs Bob Marley’s transformative message now more than ever.”

Thanking Cooke for his “respect, dignity and heart”, Dyer said: “I am incredibly honoured to be offered the opportunity to take on the role of director. As a British-Jamaican I have been a Marleyite since I could hear, so understand the great honour this actually is.”

Get Up, Stand Up! will run at the Lyric Theatre and stars Girl from the North Country actor Arinzé Kene as Marley himself.

The show features many of the reggae musician’s biggest hits, including “No Woman No Cry”, “Exodus” and “Three Little Birds”.

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