17th April - Running time TBC
Andrea Levy’s epic, Orange Prize-winning novel bursts to new life on the Olivier stage. A company of 40 tells a story which journeys from Jamaica to Britain, through the Second World War to 1948 – the year the HMT Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury.
Adapted for the stage by Helen Edmundson, Small Island follows three intricately connected stories. Hortense yearns for a new life away from rural Jamaica, Gilbert dreams of becoming a lawyer, and Queenie longs to escape her Lincolnshire roots. Hope and humanity meet stubborn reality as the play traces the tangled history of Jamaica and the UK.
Price: £15 - £55
26th April - 17th Aug
Reintroducing a pioneering artist whose practice focused on representations of black womanhood, Maxine Walker: Untitled is a poignant exploration of identity by a young artist at the height of her career - using photography to interrogate the intricacies of skin, blackness and being. Active between 1985 - 1997, this is Maxine Walker’s first solo exhibition in more than twenty-two years.
In her seminal series of self portraits Untitled (1997), Walker draws our attention to the features of her face in closely-cropped black and white photographs. The sequence of ten portraits share a charged visual journey as she seemingly peels away layers of her surface skin, conjuring a narrative that is more sinister than playful, intimating that her blackness cannot - and must not - be stripped away. Magnifying the delicacy of her skin, we are invited to consider complex notions of beauty, masquerade, and vulnerability.
26th April - 17th Aug
Working at the forefront of genderqueer visual politics for more than three decades, photographer Lola Flash’s work challenges stereotypes and gender, sexual, and racial preconceptions.
Her art and activism are profoundly connected, fuelling a life-long commitment to visibility and preserving the legacy of LGBTQIA+ and communities of colour worldwide.
At the core of this exhibition is Flash’s series [sur]passing. Emphasising varying shades of skin tone, these larger-than-life portraits feature a spectrum of global diasporic figures posed against urban skylines - probing the impact of pigmentation on black identity and consciousness.
1st May - 13th July
"I don't say he's a great man…but he's a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid. He's not to be allowed to fall in his grave like an old dog. Attention, attention must finally be paid to such a person."
Following her recent award-winning success for Company and Angels in America, Marianne Elliott co-directs with Miranda Cromwell, (Associate Director on Company and Angels in America), bringing a unique vision to one of the greatest plays of the twentieth century, seen through the eyes of an African American family.
Price: £10 - £40
23rd May - 13th July
“A fire-escape landing’s a poor excuse for a porch.”
Austerity turns up the pressure on the people of St Louis, for none more so than its African American community.
Crowded amongst the tenements, Amanda Wingfield demands that her two children will lead a better life.
Femi Elufowoju jr. directs a radical new interpretation of Tennessee Williams’ shattering play.
Price: £10 - £26
29th May - 22nd June
“What people you know can party through all of the earth’s elements?”
Carnival is here. The streets of Notting Hill are alive with history, and amongst the pulsating soca, dazzling colour, and endless sequins and feathers, Jade and Nadine are fighting for space in a world they thought was theirs.
A timely reflection on the Black British experience and sexual politics of Carnival, J’Ouvertis a piercing, hilarious and fearless story of two best friends, battling to preserve tradition in a society where women’s bodies are frequently under threat.
A rhythmic, vibrant testimony to womanhood and freedom, J’Ouvert marks the debut play of Yasmin Joseph, one of Theatre503’s 503Five Writers In Residence. It is also the directorial debut of actor Rebekah Murrell (Nine Night, National Theatre, Trafalgar Studios), with the two combining forces with producer Tobi Kyeremateng to create an exciting new theatre company to bring this story to life.
Price: £10 - £18
1st June - 29th June
Part theatre, part dance and part visual art installation, Okwui Okpokwasili’sBronx Gothic delves into her memories of growing up in the Bronx, before emerging into a breathtaking exploration of girlhood.
Created in collaboration with Peter Born, in this UK premiere, Bronx Gothic draws on inspiration from West African griot storytelling and the epistolary style of the Victorian novel to ask what it means to be brown in a world that values whiteness.
Price: £15 - £25
27th June 2019
Pieta has a secret.
Ten years ago, Pieta was kidnapped by a man calling himself The Blindfolder who said he wouldn’t kill her if she kept her eyes closed for 48 hours. She never told anyone what happened to her, vowing to move on with her life. But when The Blindfolder starts hunting down his past victims, Pieta realises she may finally be forced to tell her deepest secret to stay alive . . .
Jody has a secret.
Fifteen years ago, policewoman Jody made a terrible mistake that resulted in a serial killer known as The Blindfolder escaping justice. When Jody discovers journalist Pieta survived an attack by him, she realises she may finally have found a way to catch him. But that would mean endangering at least two innocent people . . .
They kept quiet to protect themselves.
Will telling all save or sacrifice each other?
5th June - 22nd June
When a young black man, Brian, dies in police custody, it sends shock waves across the community. Reeling from his death, Brian’s family struggle to make sense of their loss, whilst pursuing a lengthy court battle to find justice. Inspired by creator Urban Wolf’s own experiences with the police, this stark and timely new play explores how young black men are slipping through the cracks in society.
Price: £10 - £16
Battersea Arts Centre
10th June - 22nd June
From the creator of the West End Sell-out Black Is The Color Of My Voice comes a new story about the 20th Century African American experience. Against a powerful soundtrack of original music and traditional gospel and blues, two women, 42 years apart, become involved in the struggle for civil rights.
One, a notorious Black Panther, Assata Shakur; the other, Ambrosia, a present-day university student enrolling as the 2014 Ferguson riots begin. Both challenge the American justice system, become criminalized through political activism, and ultimately are faced with the same choice: stay and fight, or flee?
Price: £10 - £12.50
12th June - 8th September
Featuring stills and moving image, Kaleidoscope showcases the works of ten photographers born or based in Britain, many with family origins abroad including Hong Kong, India, Jamaica and Russia, and explores what it means and how it feels to live as an immigrant, or a descendent of immigrants, in Britain today. Co-curated by writer, Ekow Eshun and Creative Director, Darrell Vydelingum the exhibition forms a celebration of immigration in everyday life.
Reflecting the multiplicity of voices that together form modern Britain, the exhibition takes individual and often intensely personal experiences to encourage a wider appreciation of the nation’s multiculturalism. The significance of immigrant communities forms a key focus, particularly how they influence the country’s identity, challenged now more than ever.
12th June - 15th September
Beginning with the radical Black film maker Horace Ové and his dynamic circle of Windrush generation creative peers and extending to today’s brilliant young Black talent globally, a group of around 100 interdisciplinary artists will showcase work together for the first time, exploring Black experience and influence, from the post-war era to the present day.
In this multi-sensory experience, historic works and new commissions will sit alongside items from personal archives, much of which has never been seen by the public before, tracing more than half a century of collective history. Curator Zak Ové – whose father Horace was the creator of the first feature film by a Black British director – has invited each artist to exhibit for becoming a true groundbreaker of their generation and their genre.
Price: £9:50 - £12.50
12th June - 20th July
I go half way round the world and back thinking I’d made some sort of discovery and come back to find the same damn lies, the same white lies, the same black lies.
Alvin and Errol can’t picture much of a future for themselves. They’re young, Black and living in England in the 1980s, with an entire country and political system set against them. Instead they focus firmly on their past – the sunny Caribbean and heroic father they left behind when their mother brought them to England twenty years ago.
But when Alvin returns home from his grandfather’s funeral a new version of their past emerges and the two brothers are caught in a desperate struggle to unearth the truth about their existence.
Price: £15 - £20
22nd June - 26th June
To mark Windrush Day, sound guides have curated site-specific sound tours of the British Library building. Explore individuals’ memories of the Caribbean and migration to the UK through the powerful voices and testimonies in the Library’s oral history collections.
These tours were curated as part of the Unlocking Our Sound Heritage project, which aims to preserve and provide access to the nation’s rare and unique sound recordings. The British Library is home to the nation’s Sound Archive, an extraordinary collection of over 6.5 million recordings. Tours are led by Shani Page Muir, Ayomide Oluyemi and Korantema Anyimadu.
The historian uncovers the hidden stories behind the Windrush scandal at an exclusive screening of his new BBC documentary, followed by a talk.
In The Unwanted: The Secret Windrush Files, David Olusoga gives a platform to powerful and personal testimony from men and women of the Windrush generation, who arrived in Britain as children between 1948 and 1972, and exposes secret government files that reveal a scandal 70 years in the making.
Following the screening, Olusoga joins us on stage to delve into the history behind the scandal, as well as the research and discoveries that led to the making of his revelatory documentary.
Price: £15 - £20
25th June - 14th July
O, beware, my lord, of jealousy
It is the green-ey’d monster, which doth mock the meat it feeds on…
Shakespeare’s gripping tragedy is remixed by Intermission Theatre Company, breathing fresh life into the stories of Othello, Iago and Desdemona in this new production directed by Darren Raymond (Shakespeare’s Globe: Shakespeare In The Abbey, The Shakespeare Walks).
London 2019. Championship boxer Othello has chosen Michael Cassio to be his corner man. Rejected, Iago is riven with jealousy and deceit. Desdemona is in the center of their conflict which may (or may not) lead to a calamitous end.
In an explosive mashup of language, Othello’s story is staged in a modern day London boxing ring, urgently reinventing Shakespeare’s warnings of manipulation, division and revenge.
Price: £10 - £16
27th June - 13th July
She is a strong, independent, black woman. She has a roof over her head. She has food in her fridge. She lives a good life. She’s also a little bit sad, a lot of the time. She doesn’t understand why.
Following her 5-star solo show, WHITE, Koko Brown brings you the second instalment of the Colour Trilogy, GREY. A candid show exploring depression and black women’s mental health.
Blending spoken word and vocal looping, GREY is fully British Sign Language integrated and contains sensitive content.
Price: £10 - £16
New Diorama Theatre
Inspired by the first man in America to plead Insanity as his defence.
Writer Camilla Whitehill (Where Do Little Birds Go?) and Strictly Arts examine the unspoken link between mental health and systemic racism.
Throughout time and across waters, from William Freeman to Sarah Reed, six true stories are threaded together and told through physical theatre, spoken word, gospel singing, shadow puppetry and more.
New Diorama Theatre
What would happen if most self-identifying women across the world grew to be nine foot tall?
Cara and Nate are a hard-working young couple looking to start a family. They’re bumbling through the daunting world of pregnancy tests, maternity clothes and flat-pack cot-building, all the while trying to come to grips with having to create an actual human person. That is, until suddenly, inexplicably, a vast proportion of all the women in the world start to grow.
By Lauren Wilkinson
4th July 2019
'My most important secret - and this is how I met my sons' father - is that I was once a spy.'
It's 1986, the heart of the Cold War, and Marie Mitchell is an intelligence officer with the FBI. She's brilliant and talented, but she's also a black woman working in an all-white boys' club, and her career has stalled with routine paperwork - until she's recruited to a shadowy task force aimed at undermining Thomas Sankara, the charismatic, revolutionary president of Burkina Faso, whose Communist ideology has made him a target for American intervention.
In the year that follows, Marie will observe Thomas, seduce him, and ultimately, have a hand in the coup that will bring him down. But doing so will change everything she believes about what it means to be a spy, a lover, and a good American.
Inspired by true events - Thomas Sankara is known as 'Africa's Che Guevara', but his story is not widely known across the world - this novel is sweeping historical fiction with an enthralling espionage thriller at its core, and introduces a powerful new literary voice.
Royal Court Theatre
4th July 2019 - 27th July 2019
“112 Million People. That’s how many people follow her on Instagram – and counting…. As if she’s like a prophet. Or a material messiah or something…”
Holed up in her bedroom Cleo’s ignored 22 calls from Kara and has cut off contact with the rest of the world. It doesn’t mean that she’s been silent though – she’s got a lot to say. On the internet, actions don’t always speak louder than words…
“It’s like she’s mimicking us for bants and p and no one bats a fucking eyelid.”
Price: £12 - £18
Celebrating Black women’s writing in a landmark anthology
25 years after Margaret Busby’s Daughters of Africa anthology, a new companion volume brings together the work of over 200 writers from across the globe – Antigua to Zimbabwe, Angola to the USA – to celebrate a unifying heritage, illustrate an uplifting sense of sisterhood and showcase the remarkable range of creativity from the African diaspora.
Margaret Busby is joined by Ayòbámi Adébáyò, Nadifa Mohamed, Namwali Serpell and Bernardine Evaristo to celebrate the global sweep, diversity and extraordinary literary achievements of Black women writers.
Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ is the author of Stay With Me, which was named a Notable Book of the Year by The New York Times and a Best Book of the Year by The Guardian, The Economist, and others.
Ghanaian born Margaret Busby co-founded Allison & Busby, publishing C L R James, Buchi Emecheta, Nuruddin Farah amongst many others, and became Director of Earthscan. She judges literary awards, including the Caine, Baileys and Commonwealth prizes, and others.
Nadifa Mohamed was born in Hargeisa (now in the Republic of Somaliland) in 1981 and moved as a child to England in 1986. Her first novel, Black Mamba Boy, based on her father's memories of his travels in the 1930s, was published in 2010.
Namwali Serpell is a Zambian writer who teaches at the University of California, Berkeley. Her first published story, Muzungu, was selected for The Best American Short Stories 2009 and shortlisted for the 2010 Caine Prize for African writing.
Bernardine Evaristo is the award-winning author of eight books and numerous other published and produced works that span the genres of novels, poetry, verse fiction, short fiction, essays, literary criticism, and radio and theatre drama. She is Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University London.
Price: £10 - £15
A double-bill of mythic Igbo traditions including a staged reading and a conversation with Chigozie Obioma
Man Booker shortlisted novelist Chigozie Obioma discusses his writing, Igbo mythology and stories of the everyday. In a conversation with readings from The Fishermen and An Orchestra of Minorities, we explore blurred lines between myth and reality, thoughts on fatherhood and reworking ancient Greek classics with Igbo cosmology. The evening opens with evocative staged reading of The Fishermen, adapted by Gbolahan Obisesan.
Chigozie Obioma was born in 1986 in Akure, Nigeria, and currently lives in the United States. He is an assistant professor of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His debut novel, The Fishermen, is winner of the inaugural FT/Oppenheimer Award for Fiction, the NAACP Image Awards for Debut Literary Work, and the Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction (Los Angeles Times Book Prizes); and was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize 2015, as well as for several other prizes in the US and UK. Obioma was named one of Foreign Policy's 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2015.
The Fisherman by Chigozie Obioma
Adapted for the stage by Gbolahan Obisesan
Based on the Man Booker Prize shortlisted novel by one of Africa’s major new voices, New Perspectives presents a staged reading Chigozie Obioma’s powerful allegory of brotherhood, vengeance and fate in a new adaptation by Fringe First-winning playwright Gbolahan Obisesan.
Tickets include both the play and in conversation.
Price: £15 - £20
What are you when you are always the other? A show about identity, blending spoken-word with live vocal looping. Join Koko as she considers the concept of mixed-race privilege, tries to connect clashing cultures and explores what it means to be mixed in contemporary Britain.
Price: £10 - £16
18th July 2019 - 7th September 2019
A man is a two-face, a worrisome thing who’ll leave you to sing, the blues in the night.
The Olivier and Tony Award nominated musical sees its first major London revival in 30 years. Directed by Susie McKenna and starring Olivier Award winners Sharon D. Clarke (Caroline or Change, Ghost, Amen Corner) and Clive Rowe (Guys and Dolls, Carousel), Blues in the Night is a scorching compilation of 26 hot and torchy blues numbers that frame the lives and loves of four residents of a downtown hotel. Featuring soul-filled songs by blues and jazz icons Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington, Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen and many more, this will be a sizzling night to remember.
18th July - 24th August
Newsroom, political platform, local hotspot, confession box, preacher-pulpit and football stadium. For generations, African men have gathered in barber shops to discuss the world. These are places where the banter can be barbed and the truth is always telling.
Directed by Olivier award-winning director Bijan Sheibani and designed by Rae Smith (War Horse), Barber Shop Chronicles is a heart-warming, hilarious and insightful new play that leaps from a barber shop in Peckham to Johannesburg, Harare, Kampala, Lagos and Accra over the course of a single day.
Price: £15 - £59.50
29th July - 24th August
Tree takes you on a thrilling journey in search of the soul and spirit of contemporary South Africa. Created by Idris Elba, whose album Mi Mandelaprovides the soundtrack, and Kwame Kwei-Armah, this major world-premiere production, performed in the round, is also directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah.
Music, dance and film combine with an exciting cast to explore the past, present and future of this country at a crossroads – all through the eyes of one young man on a journey of healing.
Price: £10 - £40
8th August 2019
Crossfire is the long-awaited new novel in legendary author Malorie Blackman's ground-breaking Noughts & Crossesseries - perfect for fans of The Handmaid's Tale and The Power.
Thirty-four years have passed since Sephy Hadley - a Cross - first met Callum McGregor - a nought. Their love was forbidden, powerful - and deadly.
Life is seemingly very different now for noughts and Crosses - including for Sephy and Callum's families. But old wounds from the past are hard to heal, and when you're playing a game as dangerous as they are, it won't be long before someone gets caught in the crossfire.
9th August - 31st August
Once On This Island is a captivating calypso-flavoured re-telling of the Little Mermaid fairy tale. The story begins on a Caribbean island where villagers comfort a little girl with the legend of the romance of the peasant orphan Ti Moune, and a rich city boy whom she saves from death. The Island Gods have different plans for her story, but Ti Moune is destined to love too much for the human heart to bear.
Price: £16 - £27.50
3rd September - 12th October
In a small Nigerian town Ben, Obembe and their two older brothers slip away to fish at a forbidden river. Unnoticed and carefree they continue until the prophecy of a madman changes the course of their lives forever.
Based on the Man Booker Prize shortlisted novel by one of Africa's major new voices, New Perspectives’ critically acclaimed award-winning production of Chigozie Obioma’s powerful allegory of brotherhood, vengeance and fate adapted by Gbolahan Obisesan arrives in the West End for the first time.
Price: £20 - £30
21st September - TBC
1950. Apartheid South Africa.
St George's Park Tea Room, Port Elizabeth, 1950. On a long rainy afternoon, employees Sam and Willie practice their steps for the finals of the ballroom dancing championship.
Hally arrives from school to hide out in his parents’ tea room. These two men have been unlikely best friends to Hally his whole life. But it is apartheid era South Africa: he’s Master Harold, and they are the boys.
Price: £15 - £88
28th November 2019 - 18th January 2020
Following a ground-breaking, sell-out run in New York, Jackie Sibblies Drury’sFairview is an interrogation of our subtly destructive preconceptions. This radical examination of power is directed by Young Vic’s Genesis Fellow / Associate Director, Nadia Latif.
It’s Grandma’s birthday and the Frasier family have gathered to celebrate. Beverly just wants everything to run smoothly, but Tyrone has missed his flight, Keisha is freaking out about college and Grandma has locked herself in the bathroom.
Price: £10 - £40
Royal Court Theatre
30th Jan 2020 - 22nd Feb 2020
In a strict Mormon household somewhere in the seam between East London and Essex, a girl is given Dizzee Rascal’s ground-breaking grime album Boy in da Corner by her best friend SS Vyper.
Precisely 57 minutes and 21 seconds later, her life begins to change – from feeling muted by dyslexia to spitting the power of her words; from being conflicted about her sexuality to finding the freedom to explore; from feeling alone to being given the greatest gift by her closest friend.
Step into a technicolour world where music, dance and spoken word collide, and discover how grime allowed Debris Stevenson to redefine herself.
Price: £12 - £35
Royal Court Theatre
16th Jul 2020 - 15th Aug 2020
“I wanna step on somethin for once. See what it feel like. Must feel good.”
When a letter arrives from the mother they thought was dead, twins Racine and Anaia travel from the Dirty South to the California desert and a yellow house with teal shutters.
They are on a mission to avenge her past and ready to take down anyone who stands in their way.
“We ain’t killers”
“How you figure that? … Iss in the blood.”
Price: £12 - £49
16th June - 17th June
Join co-creators Tyrone-Lee Davis and Kieran Shekoni, as they bring to you a story of friendship, laughter and love.
Imani is on a journey to find a date for her sister’s wedding, though she’s not been interested in meeting anyone since her last relationship ended. However with only 3 weeks till the wedding the pressure from friends and family is on! Enter 3 brothers with very different characteristics: money, looks and personality, which one will win her over!
To see if love prevails, come and watch this must see production that has something for everyone and will surely leave everyone going home smiling!
Joy Gregory uses Maxine Walker’s exhibition at Autograph as a starting point to highlight and celebrate the black women who were a driving force in independent UK photography throughout the 1980s and 90s.
Artists including, Zarina Bhimji, Sutupa Biswas, Maria Luiza Carvalho, Mona Hatoum, Mumtaz Karimji, Roshini Kempadoo, Jenny McKenzie, Ingrid Pollard, Menika van der Poorten, Maud Sulter, Mitra Tabrizian, Maxine Walker, Val Wilmer are just a few of the many women who were active.
In this talk, Gregory will reflect on the cultural landscape of the time and the publications, organisations, exhibitions, events and other work produced. Much of the material relating to this history is unarchived and may be lost. Systemic archiving before the internet was an unaffordable luxury for many, and the domain of established museums and institutions – where often these artists were under-represented.
Price: £4 - £5
Camden People’s Theatre
7th June - 8th June
Kind of Woman is a new one-woman play about Ama, a young Swedish-born Ghanaian woman who has moved to London for University with her best friend.
On a night out, Ama meets her future boyfriend. What ensues is the fantasy turning into a nightmare. Ama goes from feeling adored and loved, to feeling like she is walking on eggshells. After the relationship, Ama begins to reflect on a version of a real Ghanaian ritual that her mother did for her when she was young and begins to wonder what kind of woman she is, and who she wants to be.
We go on a journey with her as she tries to navigate the effects of the relationship, realising that she alone can define who she is. The play is inspired by true events and is an exploration of love, self-love, emotional abuse and intergenerational Black female relationships.
5th June - 8th June
This world premiere by award-winning playwright Roy Williams charts the life of Michelle, who struggles to rebuild her life after a brutal encounter. Moving through several decades, this is a resonant story that exposes some harsh realities. The Fear is about police violence, inequality and why black lives matter.
Price: £12 - £15
Join us for a half-day conference with leading artists, academics and curators as they discuss the vital elements of Frank Bowling’s work. Three special panel discussions will assess Bowling’s remarkable six-decade career, and his relationship with Guyana, London and New York. Speakers will also consider Bowling's influences, his innovative use of paint, and the impact of his work on other artists.
Price: £12 - £18
Drawing from her experiences as a first generation immigrant, Thembe’s poems transport the reader from seas to living rooms that form portals into sensory stories about family, loved ones and the self. She explores how she has navigated her sense of belonging from a childhood in South Africa, and then growing up in the UK. There is a vulnerability in her writing that is both brave and beautiful.
Thembe will read from her work, followed by a Q & A and book signing.
This event is presented by Apples and Snakes and Tate Enterprises.
Bernie Grant Arts Centre
29th May - 1st June
Funeral Flowers follows the story of Angelique, a 17-year-old whose dreams of being a florist are a refuge from a complicated adolescence.
With her mum in prison, Angelique faces bullying, abuse and growing up in the care system. A visceral, captivating solo production written and performed by Fringe First and Filipia Bragança award winner Emma Dennis-Edwards
Price: £10 - £14
From multi award winning playwright Emma Dennis-Edwards, comes this politically charged dystopian play about hope, idealism and humanity.
In the Land of Acirema, a paradise rarely known, Alex arrives with hopes of a new beginning with a progressive community in this idyllic world. Through this cautionary tale of morality we soon learn that all that glitters isn’t gold, but will Alex be able navigate Acirema or will it consume her?
24th May - 25th May
Look At Your Palm is a piece that explores identity struggles in a socially divided world. This is not a show of who is wrong or right but rather about perspectives and nuances, diving straight into why people fight for the things they believe in.
Price: £11.50 - £15
Theatre Royal Stratford East
Friday 17th May 2019 - Saturday 15th June 2019
1980s Pittsburgh, a city in decay. Against the backdrop of Reagan’s America, King, an ex-con, is trying to rebuild his life and start a family.
He’s got hopes and dreams of opening a video store and building a new life. If only he can get ten thousand dollars together, if only he can catch a break. In his dusty backyard he plots and plans with his friend Mister, but is this all a pipe dream?
Featuring Lenny Henry as smooth-talking hustler Elmore, August Wilson’s touching and angry King Hedley II is a quest for redemption for one man and a whole community.
Price: £10 - £32
Royal Court Theatre
14th May 2019 - 1st June 2019
A journey to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
In February 2016, two artists got on a cargo ship, and retraced one of the routes of the Transatlantic Slave Triangle – from the UK to Ghana to Jamaica, and back.
Their memories, their questions and their grief took them along the bottom of the Atlantic and through the figurative realm of an imaginary past.
It was a long journey backwards, in order to go forwards.
This show is what they brought back.
“We imagine that we are on a journey, that life is a journey, but we are home from the beginning. This is not an easy thing to accept.“
Part of artist Selina Thompson’s wider body of work looking at Black British identity, the award-winning salt. focuses on grief, home, afropressism, the Black Atlantic, the forgetting of the UK’s colonial history and the impact that has on the daily life of Caribbean communities in the UK today.
Price: £12 - £25
14th May - 1st June
“I see the way that butters-fat-lipped-troll-Patrice looks at him, now she’s the kinda lighty that finks she’s too nice.”
Evie is thirteen and lives in Neasden with her Mum. She wants to tell us about something… her crush on Lewis, trying to be a woman, friends, virginity, garage remixes, hello kitty underwear… an ‘Uncle’ lurking in the corner of her story.
She wants to make us laugh, she’s pretty good at it. She wants to tell us something, but she daren’t let it out.
Based on a true story, Yvette is a one-woman show with original music about a stolen childhood and growing up with a secret. Commissioned by Bernie Grant Arts Centre in Association with Hull 2017.
Price: From £10
With Death of a Salesman and Bronx Gothic exploring aspects of the American psyche on our stages this Summer, we are pleased to welcome US author and commentator, Damon Young, for an evening of lively discussion around the intersection of masculinity, blackness and feminism as part of YV:ID, a festival of digital and live events exploring identity.
This event follows the UK release of Damon’s book What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker, a funny and provocative chronicle of his efforts to survive while battling and making sense of the various neuroses his country has given him.
Royal Court Theatre
After the successful and moving reading of The Report, Lemn Sissay returns to the Royal Court with a special one off event reading excerpts from his new book, My Name is Why: A Memoir.
At the age of 17, after a childhood in a fostered family, followed by six years in care homes, Norman Greenwood was given his birth certificate. He learned that his real name was not Norman. It was Lemn Sissay. He was British and Ethiopian. And he learned that his mother had been pleading for his safe return to her since his birth.
Lemn Sissay’s memoir reflects on a childhood in care, self-expression and Britishness, and in doing so explores the institutional care system, race, family and the meaning of home.
Infused with all the lyricism and power you would expect from one of the nation’s best-loved poets, this moving, frank and timely event is the result of a life spent asking questions, and a celebration of the redemptive power of creativity.
The evening is a celebration of the publication of My Name is Why: A Memoir by Lemn Sissay.
Published by Canongate Books.
Price: £15 - £25
3rd May - 8th June
In a pub in South London ‘The Firm’ reunite for the first time in twelve years. Once, they were a notorious criminal gang. Today, they’re older, wiser and wistful - their lives changed beyond recognition.
But when an uninvited guest turns up to their reunion with an intriguing proposition and an explosive secret, they’re tempted to try their hands at one last job… Will they escape their pasts unscathed?
Roy Williams’ gripping play is a tale of growing up, lifelong loyalties and how, sometimes, it is possible to choose your own family. The Firm returns to Hampstead Downstairs following a sold out run in 2017.
Price: £10 - £12
2nd May 2019
Straightened. Stigmatised. 'Tamed'. Celebrated. Erased. Managed. Appropriated. Forever misunderstood. Black hair is never 'just hair'.
This book is about why black hair matters and how it can be viewed as a blueprint for decolonisation. Emma Dabiri takes us from pre-colonial Africa, through the Harlem Renaissance, Black Power and on to today's Natural Hair Movement, the Cultural Appropriation Wars and beyond. We look at everything from hair capitalists like Madam C.J. Walker in the early 1900s to the rise of Shea Moisture today, from women's solidarity and friendship to 'black people time', forgotten African scholars and the dubious provenance of Kim Kardashian's braids.
The scope of black hairstyling ranges from pop culture to cosmology, from prehistoric times to the (afro)futuristic. Uncovering sophisticated indigenous mathematical systems in black hairstyles, alongside styles that served as secret intelligence networks leading enslaved Africans to freedom, Don't Touch My Hair proves that far from being only hair, black hairstyling culture can be understood as an allegory for black oppression and, ultimately, liberation.
7th May 2019
Ever since she got pregnant freshman year, Emoni Santiago’s life has been about making the tough decisions—doing what has to be done for her daughter and her abuela. The one place she can let all that go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness.
Even though she dreams of working as a chef after she graduates, Emoni knows that it’s not worth her time to pursue the impossible. Yet despite the rules she thinks she has to play by, once Emoni starts cooking, her only choice is to let her talent break free.
26th April 2019 - 17th May 2019
For thousands of years, Gods enjoyed full dominion over the lives of men. As prayers dwindles, Gods felt their power cut
Modupe, cursed with extraordinary beauty, draws the unwanted attention of the Greek and Yoruba gods. Her son Demi, half Nigerian-mortal, half Olympian child, is bestowed with powers; one of them manifests in the game of basketball. When he unknowingly sparks Zeus’ wrath, Modupe tries to protect him from the capricious whims of the gods.
Inua Ellams (The Barber Shop Chronicles, National Theatre; An Evening With An Immigrant) writes this contemporary saga that weaves poetry with storytelling in a majestic, chaotic journey across mythologies that transports us from a tiny village in Southern Nigeria to the further reaches of our galaxy and beyond.
Price: £12.50 - £32.50
24th April - 27th April
Based on real live events, The Long Walk Back tells the epic story of an international sporting star’s catastrophic fall from grace. England cricketing all-rounder Chris Lewis enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame and fortune in the 1990s. Playing 85 Tests and One Day Internationals for England he seemed on the verge of greatness when he was named England’s International Cricketer of The Year in 1994. Within months of his cricketing career ending, however, his life lay in ruins when he was sentenced to 13 years in prison for smuggling cocaine into the UK.
Beginning with his arrest at Gatwick Airport in 2008 and an attempted suicide on his first night in custody, The Long Walk Back charts the extraordinary journey that took Lewis from the brink of despair to a profound moral awakening.
Theatre Royal Stratford East
Wed 24 April - Sat 04 May 2019
“Why love, if losing hurts so much?”
Sephy and Callum sit together on a beach. They are in love.
It is forbidden.
Sephy is a Cross and Callum is a Nought. Between Noughts and Crosses there are racial and social divides. A segregated society teeters on a volatile knife edge.
As violence breaks out, Sephy and Callum draw closer, but this is a romance that will lead them into terrible danger.
This gripping Romeo and Juliet story by acclaimed writer Malorie Blackman and adapted by Sabrina Mahfouz is a captivating drama of love, revolution and what it means to grow up in a divided world.
19th April - 1st June
Celebrating the legendary jazz musician Fats Waller and his energetic, exuberant and effervescent music, Ain’t Misbehavin’ steps back into the 1920’s and the raunchy nightclubs of Manhattan.
Join an extraordinary group of performers on a journey through a defining period of American musical history, the Harlem Renaissance – where musicians were free to experiment with new styles, and joints were jumpin’ with talented dancers, singers and instrumentalists jamming to a new beat known as swing.
Directed by Tyrone Huntley in his directorial debut, and choreographed by Oti Mabuse in her theatrical choreographing debut, this new production will mark the first London revival in almost 25 years. Tyrone is best known for his acclaimed performance as Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre (Evening Standard Theatre Award, Olivier Award nomination) and Oti as a professional dancer on BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing.
Price: £16 - £27.50
Royal Opera House
16th April - 4th May
The true story of a young refugee’s journey through Africa told through music, singing and dance, based on the book by Jonny Steinberg.
Eight-year-old Asad is a Somalian refugee whose mother was murdered in front of him. Now living in Ethiopia, he has a brilliant head for business and he goes in search of new opportunities abroad.
Award-winning South African theatre company Isango Ensemble has won widespread acclaim for its productions that re-imagine theatre classics in a South African setting, using artists drawn mainly from Cape Town townships.
Price: £7 - £35
The Other Side of Me is a double bill of entertaining, raw and emotionally driven dance which takes inspiration from true life events and tackles themes of incarceration, both of body and of mind.
The evening features the acclaimed works Testimonies and A Night’s Game. Watch as the powerhouse that are the Alleyne sisters bring to light hidden stories of strife through powerful movement and dynamic athleticism.
Price: £13 - £17
Camden People’s Theatre
2nd April - 20th April
Michael, a young working-class black man from Hackney, seems to have a good life – a decent job, solid friends, he even volunteers as a football coach at his local youth football club on weekends. But as the days go by, it gets a little harder for Michael to get out of bed in the morning, a little harder for Michael to connect with his friends and a little harder for Michael to do his volunteering to the best of his ability.
There’s something going on, something he needs to address but keeps hidden.
As the pressure mounts and the challenges of Michael’s mental health deepen, we see how he grapples to keep control and the effects it has on his life when he doesn’t.
Fusing physical theatre, hip-hop dance and spoken word, this semi-autobiographical work by Lanre Malaolu is an explosive and unapologetic piece of dance theatre exploring the mental health crisis.
Price: £10 - £12
4th April 2019
'They say I must be put to death for what happened to Madame, and they want me to confess. But how can I confess what I don't believe I've done?'
1826, and all of London is in a frenzy. Crowds gather at the gates of the Old Bailey to watch as Frannie Langton, maid to Mr and Mrs Benham, goes on trial for their murder. The testimonies against her are damning - slave, whore, seductress. And they may be the truth. But they are not the whole truth.
For the first time Frannie must tell her story. It begins with a girl learning to read on a plantation in Jamaica, and it ends in a grand house in London, where a beautiful woman waits to be freed.
But through her fevered confessions, one burning question haunts Frannie Langton: could she have murdered the only person she ever loved?
De’Shawn Charles Winslow
6th April 2019
Azalea "Knot" Centre is determined to live life as she pleases. Let the people of West Mills say what they will; the neighbors' gossip won't keep Knot from what she loves best: cheap moonshine, nineteenth-century literature, and the company of men. And yet, Knot is starting to learn that her freedom comes at a high price. Alone in her one-room shack, ostracized from her relatives and cut off from her hometown, Knot turns to her neighbor, Otis Lee Loving, in search of some semblance of family and home.
Otis Lee is eager to help. A lifelong fixer, Otis Lee is determined to steer his friends and family away from decisions that will cause them heartache and ridicule. After his failed attempt as a teenager to help his older sister, Otis Lee discovers a possible path to redemption in the chaos Knot brings to his doorstep. But while he's busy trying to fix Knot's life, Otis Lee finds himself powerless to repair the many troubles within his own family, as the long-buried secrets of his troubled past begin to come to light.
Set in an African American community in rural North Carolina from 1941 to 1987, In West Mills is a magnificent, big-hearted small-town story about family, friendship, storytelling, and the redemptive power of love.
28th March 2019
Black Women Rising- The Untold Cancer Stories, is the UK’s first all-black female cancer portrait exhibition, aimed at getting more black female cancer patients connecting and talking about their cancer experiences- to aid their recovery process, spread some much-needed cancer awareness amongst their communities and educate some of the UK’s leading cancer care organisations about their needs.
The project itself will consist of photographic exhibition of 14 phenomenally brave Black Female Cancer Patients/survivors and their bodily scars left after the disease. There will also be a live panel talk with the ladies exhibited, addressing their individual experiences, fears and hopes for the future.
28th March - 30th March
Before she was grandma, she was mum; before that she was just herself. How can you love someone if you only start knowing them from when you were born?
Likkle Rum with Grandma is a journey over a generational bridge. This emotive piece of new writing by Croydon-based writer Jeremiah ‘SugarJ’ Brown mixes poetry, storytelling and a Jamaican grandmother’s voice to bring to the fore issues of loneliness, immigration, community, what distance does to family love and the waviness of Port.
Price: £8 - £10
Camden People’s Theatre
26th March - 28th March
We Owe You a Legacy is a deeply felt, lyrical exploration of the way colonialism has infiltrated the mother-daughter relationship in contemporary black diaspora communities.
Considering the mother as a figure in post-colonial discourse, Marion Burge and her team of collaborators interrogate the legacy of colonialism. The trauma, the consequence, the blood and the sacrifice.
We Owe You a Legacy is a guilt ridden journey through the colonial residue of the past and the hopeful expectancy of the future. It is a loving tribute to the powerful presence of the mother and a tense wrestling match with the responsibilities that are inherited by women of the African diaspora.
Price: £10 - £12
Presented by Scott-It Dramas, Decide boy is a short musical about two rival groups of teenagers who decide to have the ultimate showdown. Within each group there is a member who is uncertain about his decisions because they have great aspirations for their future. By chance these two rivals have a conversation, sharing their dreams. They hatch a plan that frustrates the showdown. Eventually their plan is thwarted and they are forced to make a decision. Another teenager has to do the same but for completely different reasons.