by Jez Butterworth

directed by Kathleen Duborg

A United Players of Vancouver production

at Jericho Arts Centre

June 7 - 30, 2019






Spotlight Article by Sabrina Furminger


Jerusalem introduces audiences to one of the most audacious characters of the new Millennium: Johnny “Rooster” Byron.

Johnny Byron is a scoundrel, a charmer, and a storyteller of great renown. He’s been banned from every pub in Wiltshire for drunk and disorderly behaviour. He’s scruffy and he’s whip-smart and he couldn’t care less what anyone thinks about his trailer, his drug-fuelled parties, and the teenagers who buzz around him, hanging onto his every word.

He’s Johnny “Rooster” Byron, after all, the latest in a long line of gypsies who’ve roamed England for generations. He’s not about to change his ways – certainly not for the residents of the new nearby housing development who turn up their noses at Rooster and his loud and untidy lifestyle.

But Johnny’s squatting on land he doesn’t own, and his well-to-do neighbours want him gone. They’ve gone to the local council, and a notice of eviction has been served – but Johnny isn’t about to move, especially not on St. George’s Day, when there’s fun to be had, stories to be told, and battles to be fought with brains and brawn and bawdiness.

Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem is, at its heart, a play about Englishness and tradition –and about how one fiercely independent man takes both and twists them into his own. Jerusalem has wowed crowds across the globe since its West End debut in 2009, and it will finally have its Vancouver premiere this June when it caps off United Players of Vancouver’s 2018-2019 season.

Although the action in Jerusalem revolves around Rooster, it is very much an ensemble piece, according to Kathleen Duborg, director of United Players’ production.

“Writing my director’s notes was almost impossible because it’s not a play that is clearly defined by themes, nor is it clearly defined by characters,” says Duborg. “We talk a lot about Rooster, but it’s got 14 characters, and Rooster is a catalyst for all of these other characters. The fact that we have an 80 year old and a 6 year old on stage, and the scope, and the story, and the changing direction of alliances – it’s an incredible experience.”

According to Duborg, Jerusalem is an outlier among theatrical works in the way that it examines the connections between generations. Normally, “we look at people in groups, not in a cross-generational way, and that’s unfortunate, and something is lost in that,” says Duborg. 

As Rooster, Adam Henderson – who has directed an abundance of plays for United Players – is “incredible,” says Duborg. “He’s astounded me in what he brings, and with his risk and his daring. It’s been a really delightful collaboration and a delightful investigation of this beautiful character.” The character of Rooster is “Shakespearean, he’s poetic, he’s dirty, he’s a redneck, he’s a drug dealer – he’s all of these things, and we can’t put our finger on it, and that’s truly a great character,” says Duborg.

The cast has been working with a dialect coach to ensure that their Wiltshire accents are authentic and believable. Despite the play’s inherent Englishness, Duborg says that “the conversation around land use, and about rural land that’s being developed, is very, very much a part of the conversation that we have here in Vancouver.”

Although Jerusalem is dense with big themes, it’s also fast-paced and wildly entertaining. “When we’re in rehearsal, I never have a moment of, ‘Oh, I’ve seen this,’” adds Duborg. “I just can’t believe what’s coming and how exciting every scene is.”

Note: This play contains coarse language and mature themes. Audience discretion is advised.   


United Players’ production of Jerusalem features Adam Henderson as Johnny “Rooster” Byron, with Martha Ansfield-Scrase, Robyn Bradley, Ash Dexter, Dayna Hoffmann, Marc LeBlanc, Mary Littlejohn, Isla McGlashan Green, Erin Morgan, Richard Meen, Joshua Osborne, John Prowse, Jack Rigg, Mo Saeed, Juan Somma, Dan Swain, and Thomas Taplin.

The production team includes Kathleen Duborg (Director), Andree Karas (Artistic Director), Richard Meen (Choreographer), Linda Begg (Producer), Michael Methot (Technical Director), Todd Parker (Set Designer), Vanka Salim (Lighting Designer), Harika Xu (Lighting Designer), Julie White (Costume Designer), Matthias Falvai (Audio Designer), Juan Somma (Properties), and Andy Sandberg (Stage Manager).


Kathleen Duborg’s recent directing projects include Bard of the Bronx, The Seagull, Komagata Maru, Mrs. Singh and Me (Pick of the Fringe) and the plays Iceland (Jessie nomination for Best Director), Greenland, Faroe Islands & Ostrich (premiere). As director and collaborator on Small Stages Canada (MagNorth-Ottawa) and Indian Acts (Talking Stick-Vancouver), she furthered her investigations into physical behaviour and embodiment between actors, dancers, text, design elements, and audiences. Kathleen is an award-winning actor working in theatre, film, television, voice-over, and new play development throughout the country. She teaches acting and is co-artistic director of Dirt Road Theatre. She directed The Beaux Stratagem for United Players.


Jez Butterworth was born in London in 1969. His plays include Mojo (1995), The Night Heron (2002), The Winterling (2006), Parlour Song (2008), Jerusalem (2009), The River (2012), and The Ferryman (2017). His plays have won two Olivier Awards, three Evening Standard Awards, Four Writer's Guild Awards, and Three Critics Circle Awards. In 2007, Butterworth was given the E.M. Forster Award by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His screenwriting credits include Fair Game, Get on Up (2014), Edge of Tomorrow (2014), Black Mass (2015), and Spectre (2015).

-With files from


At the Jericho Arts Centre - 1675 Discovery (near Jericho Beach)

June 7 - 30, 2019

Thursday through Sunday, at 8 pm
(2pm only on June 16, 23, 30)

$14 Preview: June 6
Talkback: June 13

Matinees: June 16, 23, 30 at 2pm
(no evening performances on those dates)

Single Tickets: $22 - $28

Jericho Arts Centre

1675 Discovery Street, Vancouver, B.C. V6R 4K5

TICKETS:Online or call 604 224 8007, ext. 2

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