UK Arts International, Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts and The Marlowe Canterbury in association with Theatre Royal Margate, Folkestone Quarterhouse and Looping the Loop


Hannah & Hanna In Dreamland

- a play about friendship, migration and karaoke


It’s summer 1999.


Margate’s beaches are packed with day-trippers…. and its hotels filled with Kosovan asylum seekers – including Hanna (Celia Meiras), a survivor of Europe’s most recent genocide. Hannah (Lisa Payne) is from Margate and bored with life in the rundown seaside town - hanging out with her boyfriend Bull and his racist mates. The only things the two sixteen year olds have in common are their names and their love of singing along to their favourite pop songs….


Sixteen years later, Hanna returns to Margate - this time in search of a Syrian girl she befriended in Kosovo and who may have succeeded in getting across the Channel. The Calais “Jungle” is close…. attempts by its residents to reach England fill the local media. Hanna hopes her young friend will be welcome in Margate, but although the town has changed, alongside the coffee bars and vintage shops, there is still an undercurrent of hostility towards the migrants and refugees who are so desperate to enter the UK.


Just as in 1999, Hanna’s arrival turned Hannah’s life upside down, so her return takes the friends on a journey which Hannah from Margate would not have thought possible.


Hannah and Hanna in Dreamland builds on John Retallack’s award winning earlier play, Hannah and Hanna, which has been performed extensively both nationally and internationally. 


After discussions with the audiences and extensive feedback, John revisited the script to bring together both plays to tell the story of the two young women over a period of fifteen years.


Tour Dates


The play will be touring the south east, showing at seven theatres over the Autumn:


Thursday 4th October – Saturday 6th October 2018 - Marlowe Studio, Canterbury

Thursday 11th October 2018 – The Woodville, Gravesend

Friday 12th October 2018 - Quarterhouse, Folkestone

Tuesday 16th October 2018 - New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth

Thursday 18th – Saturday 20th October 2018 - Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts

Tuesday 30th October – Tramshed, Woolwich

Saturday 3rd – Sunday 4th November 2018 - Theatre Royal, Margate

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About the team

UK Arts International, founded by Jan Ryan in 1992, has presented more than fifty productions in the UK and internationally, including the first tours of Hannah and Hanna. UK Arts focuses on work that is culturally diverse, attracts new audiences to theatre and deals with topics that are of contemporary relevance.

John Retallack is the author of twelve plays for young people and has adapted numerous texts for the stage and radio. He was the founding director of ATC Theatre, director of Oldham Coliseum, director of Oxford Stage Company, and the founding director of Company of Angels.  From 2010 - 2013, he was Associate Director at Bristol Old Vic where he directed Owen Sheers’ play Pink Mist. Prior to setting up the Oxford Playwriting Course, he was Tutor in Writing for Performance at Ruskin College in Oxford.


Celia Meiras played Hanna in the original production and is delighted to be returning to the role which she helped develop. Her other work includes Julius Caesar (BITE: London, Paris, Madrid, Luxenbourg); In Arabia We'd All Be Kings (Hampstead Theatre); Breaking the Silence (Nottingham Playhouse); An Oak Tree (Soho Theatre); Paradise (Salt Factory); Not the End of the World, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Bristol Old Vic); Nathan Barley (Channel 4); Captain Corelli's Mandolin (Radio 4).


Lisa Payne’s theatre credits include Theatre Nomad’s Uncle Vanya, La Pucelle and Twelfth Night. Her film credits include Ruby Blue with Bob Hoskins and Gypo with Rula Lenska. She is the in-house voice artist for SMART film and media and has worked as a presenter and actress for The Beat Project and TV Choice. She has appeared in a number of pantos at the Sarah Thorne Theatre in Broadstairs, including Aladdin, Babes in the Wood and Mother Goose – as well as having presented nights of bawdy music hall as Miss Maybe!

Hannah & Hanna reviews 


‘…couldn’t be more topical….. gets right to the heart of the tensions that arise in depressed communities when refugees arrive. It’s funny and sad….. with head butting toughness.’  The Guardian


‘Outstanding in all departments, vital in its social commentary.’ Scotland on Sunday


…it comes as a reminder that the fight against fascism and racism is fundamentally a good one to be in, liberating, life-changing, even fun.’  The Scotsman


…an enormously powerful, moving two-hander.’  The Metro

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