By Kwame Owusu

Part of 37 Plays, a national playwriting project to create a series of 37 brand new plays that reflect the world we live in today.


Malachi’s been looking forward to a fresh start at uni for months. He’s settling in, he’s got a stack of books to read and he’s met someone new – Kojo, a musician with a megawatt smile, who’s basically perfect. But something doesn’t feel right. He keeps having the same nightmare – sinking, crushed by the weight of the ocean – and it’s getting worse… A beast grows in the water, hungry, relentless, hunting him but always just out of sight. As the boundaries between nightmare and reality fracture, Malachi must fight harder than ever to stay afloat.

Dreaming and Drowning is an intimate and visceral deep-dive into the boundless mind of a young Black queer man wrestling with anxiety. Dreaming and Drowning is being produced by WoLab, in association with the Bush Theatre.

Number 37 on multicolour background
Playwright age category: 18+


Pippa Hill, RSC New Work Team

"A powerful, vivid story about a young man seeking companionship in a new city."

About the playwright

Kwame Owusu is a director and writer. He was the Resident Assistant Director at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, 2021/2022 and is a Young Associate at the Gate Theatre. Work in theatre as a director includes: Dreaming and Drowning (Bush Theatre); The Bacchae (Lyric Hammersmith); Othello (ArtsEd); stoning mary (Arts University Bournemouth); The Wolf from the Door (John Thaw Studio); Rota (Antwerp Mansion); Pomona (Edinburgh Festival Fringe / King’s Arms, Manchester). Work as a Staff Director includes: Romeo and Julie (National / Sherman Theatre). Work as an assistant director includes: Lyonesse (Harold Pinter Theatre); Closer, Britannicus, Scandaltown, and Running With Lions (all Lyric Hammersmith); Bee (Old Vic); Utopolis (Manchester International Festival). Writing for audio includes The Factory (English Touring Theatre). Writing for theatre includes Dreaming and Drowning and HORIZON (Bush Theatre). He trained at the University of Manchester and Birkbeck, University of London.