Noughts & Crosses

A stage adaptation of Malorie Blackman's best selling novel, the world of the Crosses and the noughts is reminiscent of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. It's a modern-day tale of star-crossed lovers, race and violence.

Noughts & Crosses is a story that challenges our perceptions of race, power and truth. Dominic Cooke adapted our version of the story, which ran at the Civic Hall in Stratford-upon-Avon in winter 2007 and toured the UK in 2008.

© RSC – Image Licensing

The story of Noughts & Crosses

We follow the love story of Sephy and Callum, two young people kept apart by bigotry, terrorism and injustice. Sephy is a Prime Minister's daughter from the powerful Crosses who falls for rebel Callum, son of a dangerous nought agitator. Their desire to be together threatens family loyalties and sparks a growing political crisis.

Find out more about the story and this production in our Noughts & Crosses information pack.

If you are a teacher working on either the book or the play of Noughts & Crosses there are rehearsal insights and activities for you to try with your students in our Noughts & Crosses activity pack.

The RSC production

In Malorie Blackman's novel the different skin colour can of course be kept from the reader, but on stage it's immediately obvious. Dominic Cooke, who adapted the novel for the stage, tried several ideas to create a 'reveal' moment on stage but abandoned these early once in rehearsal.

Dominic remarked that the world of Noughts & Crosses echoes many different settings: "There's the America of the 1950s, South Africa under apartheid, and in the handling of the Liberation Militia, the IRA of the 1970s and Eighties. It's remarkable how the story also speaks to people who have been divided on other than racial grounds."

The ensemble included Ony Uhiara as Sephy and Richard Madden as Callum.

About Dominic Cooke

Director Dominic Cooke is a former RSC Associate Director and currently Artistic Director of the Royal Court Theatre, London. His most recent production for the RSC was his adaptation of Arabian Nights in winter 2009/10. Before that, he directed Macbeth, As You Like It, The Crucible (which won two Olivier Awards), and Pericles and The Winter's Tale which formed part of our Complete Works Festival in 2006.

About Malorie Blackman

Malorie Blackman is a best-selling author of books for children and young adults and has been Children's Laureate since 2013. As well as the Noughts & Crosses series, her novels include Hacker, A.N.T.I.D.O.T.E. and Thief!, which won the 1996 Young Telegraph/Fully Booked Award, as well as Pig-Heart Boy, shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal and adapted for a Bafta award-winning TV series.

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