Up North

By Jonny Wright

A new North/South Hip Hop musical exploring black identity and the music industry.
In Association with Little Mighty and in a Co-Production with Harrogate Theatre

Maya Productions have been working with talented writer and hip hop artist Jonny Wright/AKA XYM on his latest play Up North. This fresh, funny and pertinent play explores friendship, the North/South divide, and black identity against the backdrop of the Capital’s challenging music industry.

A potent hip-hop journey through friendship, the North/South divide and black identity in an increasingly divided nation.

Yorkshire rapper XYM faces the sudden death of his father, who always wanted a career as a musician. He decides he will make it where his dad never did. On the night of the Brexit vote, he brings together his crew, Yorkie and Kofi. He convinces them to quit their day jobs and move to London to follow their dreams.

But their differing political views are already causing tension. And when a record label offers them the chance of a lifetime, their friendship is tested to its limits.

Written by playwright, actor and hip-hop artist Jonny Wright (Talawa, Film 4), the show smashes together an urgent theatricality with rap and spoken word to tell a powerful story of contemporary Britain.

“Up north, where we always complaining.

Up north, cos we always skint.

Up north, so I’m always raining.

Up north, up north, up north…”

Following a workshop week at Soho Theatre and a great showcase at BEAM 2016 we are now looking forward to taking the play to a full production.

If you are interested in finding out more about the play and/or being partner or co-producer in the next stages please contact Suzanne at info@mayaproductions.co.uk.

Download the  Up North Tour Pack

Some feedback received included:

“Booms with passion and energy … it’s not a voice I’ve really heard before, and certainly not one that frequents London stages. And it’s 100% true to its voice.”

Nina Steiger, Associate Director Soho Theatre


“We have so few musical theatre projects that are exploring these sort of contemporary music territories, this project has potential to speak to a wide audience, many of whom may feel alienated from so much theatre.”

James Hadley, Arts Council England


“I am over 60, and a complete ‘Hip Hop virgin’ … I came out feeling totally surprised that I enjoyed the production so much! The story about identity and friendship is gritty and sentimental without being mawkish!”

Scratch performance audience member


“I felt it had a universal message of staying true to who you are, so it’s not just for Hip Hop fans”

Scratch performance audience member

For the title song please click here.

For the Up North Facebook page click here.

For more information on Jonny and his work see The Team.

Thank you very much to all our Kickstarter Supporters

Cath Wright, Jim Wright, Carole Andrews, Helen Jeffers, Paul Kelly, Daniel Fleary, Tom Wroe, Alison Naomi Porter, Waleed Akhtar, Noah Castro, Kaz Sahota, Usman Majid, Veronica Napper, Chris Watts, Phillipa Edge, Anna Page, Nick Wright, Jennifer McGinn, Mark Weinman, Martin Guttridge-Hewitt, Russell Simpson, Paul Kidd Hewitt, Kolarele Sonaike, Kerry Pieri, Steve OO, Anthony Murombe-Chivero, Emma Kedge, Randy Steiner, Tobias Wissel, Abi Welch, Steve Buckley, Uzo Ibechukwu, Kwame Gyamfi, Fiona Whitelaw, Markus Schon, Shani Gray, Odette Thornton, Viv Thornton, Alex Krauchi, Kristian Dooley, Mandy Fenton, Andrew Boateng, Renu Arora, Sukh Sahota, Andrew Price, Ben Syder,Vanessa Brooks, Hannah Chalmers, Line Harstad, Aidan Davis, Taz Daniels, Mark Waters, Ryan James, Catherine Leedham, Leah Hamilton, Amiel Walia, Simon Dennis, Katy Salter, Jonathan Slater, Jonathan Maycock, Liz Hill, Dominic Lush, Chilee, Daniel Fleary, Hannah Merriman, Ian Wormleighton aka Wormy aka Ripsaw, Rachel Woodley, Theresa Lawler, Albie Jo Carter, Grace Brook, Karen Brown, Navjot Mangat, Rebecca Twydell, Alex Marsh, Sue Summers, Nicola Welsh, Lynette Linton, Emma Fleary, James Leighton, Joseph Hinds, Pete Smyth, Richard Gorman, Veronica Di Marino, Christoper Preston, Robin Browne, Mrs J Gorman, Jon Corbi, Justin Summers, Lex Slater, Derek Brown,100 Black Men.

Photos by Ed Sunman.