From Lancaster to New York - new hotly tipped theatre show at The Dukes

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A compelling new drama exploring the interwoven lives of strangers around the world is coming to a Lancaster theatre before its New York debut.

Lines, recommended as one of the ‘Best Theatre Tickets To Book’ for 2024 by The Guardian, is at The Dukes theatre on March 20 and March 21.

Set in five prisons in Uganda, Palestine and Britain, it follows the parallel, post-colonial lives of ten seemingly disconnected prisoners over five decades. They include Arwa, a queer teacher in Kampala imprisoned for her sexuality. Waswa is a student in Tel Aviv when he meets an activist, ending up behind bars.

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All ten of the characters are played by actors/writers John Rwothomack, born in Uganda, and Palestinian Fidaa Zidan.

John Rwothomack and Fidaa Zidan in LinesJohn Rwothomack and Fidaa Zidan in Lines
John Rwothomack and Fidaa Zidan in Lines

John said: “We’re bringing two countries, Uganda and Palestine, which you wouldn’t think have many connections, together to realise they have so much in common. One of the biggest questions we had was if you took Britain out of the timeline of these two countries, what would they look like? I think that can only be explored through theatre.”

The show starts in Palestine in the 1970s, after the Entebbe raid rescue of a hijacked jet, and finishes there in 2019. It explores questions such as the meaning of land, the human need to belong, injustice and racism.

The show’s origins were also a case of life imitating art. It has been developed mainly online over four years across three continents, after a chance meeting between John, Fidaa and US producer Alex Aron.

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John said: “It’s all about exploring connections with other people, about how if people talk to a stranger they will find things in common. If we could do that and understand each other more, there might be a bit more compassion in the world.

Lines tells the story of prisoners around the worldLines tells the story of prisoners around the world
Lines tells the story of prisoners around the world

“There are some fun moments but ultimately we hope people will see something of themselves in the show, and ask what they would do in those same situations.”

Lines has been created by Roots Mbili Theatre, founded by John and also behind the acclaimed show Far Gone and work-in-progress Never Look Back.

It is a co-production with the American Remote Theatre Project and Sheffield Theatres, with creative input from Lebanese Junaid Sarieddeen and additional writing by Ugandan Asiimwe Deborah Kawe.

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Lines launched in Sheffield in February and will also touring in Derby, Scarborough and Harrogate before heading to New York’s La Mama Theatre in May.

To book tickets for Lines at The Dukes in Lancaster, with tickets priced £14, visit