Official website for Mark C. Hewitt & Blank Productions

Crosspath Theatre

Written by John Agard
Directed by Mark C. Hewitt

Leann O’Kasi as Elizabeth
& Christopher Paddon as Ralegh

Music performed by
Pam Hewitt (voice) and Konrad Adamczewski (guitar)

Photo gallery »

Cast photos © Josh Pulman, 2013

“Since history and half-truths make good bedfellows
a little white lie won’t hurt.”

Puff is a satirical imagining of the tobacco-fuelled flirtations of Elizabeth I and Sir Walter Ralegh. Written in rhymed couplets and cheerfully postmodern, the play is set in a period of enchantment with the wonders of the New World, and particularly tobacco, the Queen herself having been introduced to the puffing habit by Ralegh. But there is a growing awareness of a black presence in England, as shown by the famous edict to the Lord Mayor of London from the Queen herself, stating that there were 'too many Blackamoores in the realm.'

It is perhaps fitting that Guyanese poet John Agard (recipient of the Queen's Gold Medal for poetry 2012) should have turned his subversive wit to this iconic period of British history, whilst subversively engaging with issues of contemporary relevance such as identity and diversity. Indeed, Ralegh himself was ridiculed at court for his broad Devon accent.

The play was successfully previewed - with live Elizabethan music - at the All Saints Centre, Lewes, in December, 2013, followed by two dates in the Elizabethan Room at the National Portrait Gallery. This was followed by a successful Summer tour in June/July 2014 aimed at testing out how well the production could adapt to a range of unusual venues.

Further dates planned for 2015.

Read the review from Portsmouth Festivities »
Full photo documentation of the 2014 summer tour by Nivine Keating »

See the YouTube trailer »

Performances to date

2014 ~ Summer Tour
29 June: The Square Tower, Portsmouth Festivities
30 June: Vicar’s Hall, Chichester Cathedral

1 July: Wish Tower, Eastbourne seafront
2 July: Ostrich Hotel, Robertsbridge
3 July: Hastings Museum & Art Gallery
4 July: Hailsham Pavilion
5 July: All Saints Centre, Lewes
9 July: Library, Covent Garden, London

2013 ~ Previews

14/15 December: All Saints Centre, Lewes
19/20 December: National Portrait Gallery, London


puff-programme cover