Rockets and Blue Lights

By Winsome Pinnock

Royal Exchange Theatre 2020, National Theatre 2021

Directed by Miranda Cromwell

Lighting by Jessica Hung Han Run and Amy Mae

Associate designer is Charlotte Henery

Photography by Birgit + Ralf Brinkhoff

Winsome’s powerful and poetic play retells British history through the prism of the slave trade. Weaving together different fictions in different periods, it’s a compelling drama tackling the ethics of representation, the meaning of freedom, the legacies of empire and the function of art.

'Inspirationally ambitious and all-encompassingly humane.'


‘an astonishingly beautiful and emotional coup de theatre.’

Whats on stage

‘Set designer Laura Hopkins is a quiet star of the show, expertly utilising water to extraordinary effect as it slowly seeps across the stage till it engulfs the floor entirely in the final heart-wrenching yet undeniably rousing scene.’

‘a passionate argument about the rights of representation, who owns history and culture and who tells it….underlined by Laura Hopkins’s beautiful costume and set design, the water seeping in but never overwhelming the action or discussion, always a sinister presence.'