Heartstopper's Joe Locke and Will Gao to star in new play The Trials

Running 12-27 August 2022 at The Donmar Warehouse


Words: Emily Maskell; pictures: Attitude

Heartstopper's Joe Locke and Will Gao have been cast in new play The Trials, written by Dawn King and directed by Natalie Abrahami.

The dystopian courtroom drama, set in the near future, will run from 12-27 August 2022 at The Donmar Warehouse.

Locke, 18, and Gao, 19, will play protagonist Charlie and best friend Tao respectively. They pair make up part of a teenage jury holding their elders to account for their contributions to the climate crisis.

“Dawn King’s explosive new play about the climate crisis demands we consider the generation most affected,” Michael Longhurst, the Donmar’s Artistic Director, said in a statement.

Over 50 £10 tickets per performance will be available to audiences under 30, with a special YOUNG+FREE performance for audiences aged 16-25 to be held on 17 August.

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Some 1,372 young people were part of the casting process of The Trials which involved intensive development workshops.

The Trials is a production focused on minimising the impact on the environment and there is the aim to create theatre in which every element can be recycled or reused for use in future productions.

Gao has previously appeared on stage in A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Glyndebourne Opera and Simon Callow’s Shakespeare 400 at the Royal Festival Hall.

Locke, meanwhile, participated in the 2020 National Theatre Connections as well as productions at the Gaiety Theatre and with the Kensington Art Centre's youth group.

Alongside Locke and Gao, The Trials also stars Elise Alexandre, Francis Dourado, Jowana El-Daouk, Pelumi Ibiloye, Honor Kneafsey, Rue Millwood, Charlie Reid, Meréana Tomlinson, Taya Tower and Jairaj Varsani.