Director Dominic Cooke has stepped away from helming a Bob Marley musical, with the baton passing to Clint Dyer.
Cooke said he had made the decision upon “much reflection”, in light of the fact “the conversation about race has changed in theatre, as it has across society”.
The show, announced last year, has a book by Lee Hall, and is planned to open in 2021. Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Story will star Arinzé Kene as Marley.
Cooke said: “I have had an inspiring three years working on the development of Get Up, Stand Up!. Lee Hall has crafted a groundbreaking script that, combined with Bob Marley’s magical music and message of hope, have made this a thrilling project to be part of. Arinzé Kene is born to play Bob and will be revelatory in the role.”
He added: “In recent weeks the conversation about race has changed in theatre, as it has across society. With that in mind, and after much reflection, I have decided to step aside from my role to make way for Clint Dyer to lead the project. Clint is a brilliant theatremaker and an inspiring leader. I can’t wait to see what he brings to this powerful story.”
It is produced by Playful Productions and Stage Play.
The producers said they respected Cooke’s decision entirely and added: “Clint is a hugely talented and inspiring director, and we are certain that he will help us bring Lee Hall’s extraordinary script and Bob’s legendary music to life in the most thrilling way.”
Dyer described Cooke as “a man of great integrity, sensitivity and of course immense talent”.
“So, in many regards it is of no surprise that while having actually earned his stripes, as it were, he would still show such respect, dignity and heart. I have great admiration for his decision, and I am incredibly honoured to be offered the opportunity to take on the role of director,” he added.
Dyer, a British-Jamaican, said he had been “a Marleyite” since he could hear.
“I hope we can take forward the amazing work that Lee and Dominic have done so far and bring this story to life in a conscious, uplifting and joyous way. Bob has been an inspiration to millions and right now we need his unifying voice and ideas, to guide and inspire us towards redemption and true hope for the future,” he said.
Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Story will go on sale this autumn and will open at London’s Lyric Theatre next spring.