Jamal Gerald


CANCELLED — Royal Exchange Theatre will be in touch with ticket holders.

Presented by Royal Exchange Theatre, Contact + Word of Warning

In Brief

Who would you rather pray to? Beyoncé or white Jesus?
A daring + unapologetic examination of religion, pop culture + Black representation.

Venue + Booking Details

Dates: were Thursday 19, Friday 20 + Saturday 21 March 2020, 7.30pm
Venue: was The Studio at Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, M2 7DH
Tickets: were £13/11/7 — they’ll be refunded by the RET as soon as possible, please don’t call their box office.
Box Office tel: 0161 833 9833 (Royal Exchange Theatre)

Access Information

Age Advisory: 16+ (parental/guardian discretion).
Warnings: includes strong language, sexual references + full nudity; uses haze + flashing lights (not strobe); for specific content warnings please click here.
Duration: approximately 70 minutes (no interval).
Features: live spoken English + live music; candles + joss sticks are lit throughout the show.
Specific age + access info: please get in touch with us by emailing info@habmcr.org or call 0161 232 6086 during weekday office hours.


Jamal grew up Catholic in a Caribbean household — but would rather light a candle and worship celebrities than white saints.

Combining African diasporic ritual, live music + storytelling, Idol is a spiritual journey that asks what happens when you don’t see yourself represented.

Featuring a host of celebrity appearances.

Discover more from Idol’s reading list; you can also buy the playtext at Oberon Books.

Who is he?

Jamal Gerald is a Leeds-based artist whose work is conversational, socially conscious, a celebration of individuality, and focuses on identity + lived experiences — mostly making the type of work that he wants to see, with the aim of taking up space as a Black queer person; trying to make sure that each piece he creates is a different form to the one he made before.

Jamal has made work for poetry slams, films, parties, cafes + theatres in many different forms — such as a solo show where he shares autobiographical stories about being Black + gay; to having one-to-one conversations about privilege; to stripping down to his underwear in the city centre of Leeds in a short film; to an interactive performance where he puts words in people’s mouths…

Starting his career with the creative writing + performance group Leeds Young Authors, Jamal’s first solo show FADoubleGOT toured nationally in 2016 (including to Contact); he co-devised + performed in the critically-acclaimed Putting Words in Your Mouth (devised + directed by Scottee); and his work has been shown at SPILL, Leeds Playhouse, Battersea Arts Centre + the Barbican.

What people have said about his work

★★★★ He is funny, smart and deeply likeable and isn’t afraid to leave some questions unanswered.
 — LGBTQ Arts Review on Idol
This is performance at its greatest. We want more and then we want to know what more we can all do.
 — Culture Vulture on Idol
Idol is pain and joy so beautifully delivered. Speaks so clearly of the importance of representation.
 — Audience Response to Idol (at Transform19)
There’s a fresh, honest quality to Gerald’s performance. Jamal Gerald is, intensely, fiercely himself on stage.
 — Exeunt on FADoubleGOT at Contact


Lead Artist: Jamal Gerald | Musicians/Performers: Pariss Elektra + Azizi Cole | Dramaturge: Maddy Costa | Outside Eye: Rachael Young | Movement Director: Akeim Toussaint Buck | Stage + Lighting Design: Ben Pacey | Costume: Hannah Wilson | Ritual Consultant: Christella Litras | Stage Manager: Charlotte Woods | Production Manager: Helen Mugridge | Producer: Transform | Image: The Other Richard

A Jamal Gerald, Transform + Theatre in the Mill co-production.
Seed commissioned by hÅb, STUN + Contact for Works Ahead.
Supported by Leeds Inspired (part of Leeds City Council) and using public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Website + Social Media

jamalgerald.com | @JamiBoii

Performance Programme Spring 2020

Wed 12 Feb, 8pm. PWYD | The Lowry
Sex Education
Thu 27 Feb, 6pm-10pm. PWYD | NIAMOS
Emergency StopGap
Thu 19 — Sat 21 Mar, 7.30pm. £13/11/7 | Royal Exchange Theatre
Idol (Cancelled)
Wed 1 Apr, 8pm. PWYD | The Lowry
We Are Fucked (Cancelled)
Fri 1 May, 7pm. Free | Facebook, Twitter, YouTube
Oreo Variations (Rescheduled)
Fri 22 May, 9pm. Donations welcome | Online
Works Ahead 2020 (Adapted)
White Sun
(PWYD indicates you Pay What You Decide)