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British playwright and actress Zawe Ashton has joined the cast of HBO’s Salem Witch Trials pilot, The Devil You Know, from Orange is The New Black creator Jenji Kohan.

Described as a provocative period drama, The Devil You Know explores the circumstances around one of the most compelling chapters in American history — the infamous Salem Witch Trials in 17th century New England, where intolerance and repression set neighbor against neighbor and led a town to mass hysteria.

Zawe Ashton 2Ashton attended the Anna Scher Theatre School and studied at the Manchester Metropolitan University School of Theatre, where she gained a degree in acting. Her theatre credits include Rhinoceros, The Arsonists, Gone Too Far! (at the Royal Court), Othello and Frontline (at the Globe Theatre), All The Little Things We Crushed (at Almeida Theatre), This Wide Night (at Soho Theatre), The Cage (at Nuffield Theatre Company, Southampton) and Michael Frayn’s comedy Here at the Rose Theatre, Kingston. In June 2010 Ashton was awarded 2nd prize at the Ian Charleson Awards for her classical performance in Salome (at Headlog Theatre).

In 2006 she was Young Writer in Residence at the Contact Theatre in Manchester. Her first play, Harm’s Way, was shortlisted for the Verity Bargate Award in 2007, and premiered at the Lowry, Salford in 2008 as part of National Youth Theatre’s new writing season. Her other plays have included Skunk, performed by the National Youth Theatre, Soho Theatre and She from the Sea performed at The Lift. Ashton was co-writer of Suddenlossofdignity.com, Bush Futures Programme. One of her plays, For all Those Women who Thought they were Mad, was selected to be part of the Royal Court Playwriting Festival in 2009. Ashton contributed to the writing of The Children’s Monologues adapted from over 300 original stories by Tswana, Zulu and Sesotho children in South Africa and presented by Dramatic Need in 2010. She is currently under commission to the Bush Theatre and the Clean Break theatre company. (via Wikipedia)

We’re very excited for Zawe’s blossoming career, and can’t wait to see what she does next!

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