Samuel Coleridge-Taylor is one of this country’s great classical composers and conductors. His cantata trilogy The Song of Hiawatha is considered the best adaptation of Longfellow’s epic poem, and he had a celebrated career in the UK and abroad. Despite this, he died in 1912 at the age of 37, exhausted and in poverty. This was the end result of a lifetime spent resisting white supremacy that oppressed him for his Blackness.
This is not a conventional play. Part artist manifesto, part PowerPoint presentation, this incredibly creative show explores the life and work of artist Chris Dobrowlski. The setting for this show couldn’t be more perfect. Nestled between model train tracks and vintage toys, Chris’ performance takes place inside Brighton’s Toy Museum (which, funnily enough, is also below Brighton’s train station).
Mustafa Algiyadi’s stand-up comedy show is a breath of fresh air. He knows better than to try to convince his audience that the stereotypes they hold about Arabs are wrong. So instead, he does the unexpected, turning the show around, making his listeners the victims of his jokes.
This stand-up comedy double-act features Jamie Lerner and Mariah Girouard, two Americans living in Barcelona. The act starts with Mariah, who tells us about her disastrous dating experiences, her crack-ridden town in the US, and how cats and women have more in common that we may think. Her delivery is confident, balancing dark jokes with silly remarks in natural way.
Homelessness might not seem like a stage-friendly topic. With the announcement of new laws that might further criminalise rough sleeping, it could seem risky to explore such a complex topic on stage. However, The Streets of London, produced and performed by Amy Wakeman, perfectly balances humour, statistics and verbatim theatre to open the audience’s mind to a topic that is too easily ignored.
I Was Kinda the Bad Guy is Jaz Johnson’s debut play. This coming-of-age story explores the relationship between Diane (Jaz Johnson) and Nadine (Noah Fence), two friends that have developed a relationship of extreme closeness, becoming “one soul in two different bodies”. Diane’s mum recently abandoned her and she is dealing with the repercussion of this loss, which has made her distrustful of everyone, with the exception of Nadine.
Written by Louis Cavalier and directed by Noah Mccredie, this a new play that presents the nuances of alcoholism recovery through dialogue. The play starts with Daniel (Louis Cavalier), who reluctantly joins a rehabilitation centre. In the room next door, Alice (Ava Dodsworth) hears his rambles and eventually decides to engage with him, starting a daily interaction that fluctuates between tension and empathy.
Unseen Unheard, a show seeking to improve the representation of Black women with breast cancer, is a co-production between Black Women Rising and Peckham Theatre. The production emerged from the real stories of black women’s struggles after a cancer diagnosis and the myriad problems that the system affords them, based on their race. From the belief that black women don’t feel pain – “they see us as superhuman and subhuman at the same time” – to the absence of prosthetics of an appropriate skin tone, point to health inequities that the statistics sadly bear out. Black women are 28% more likely to die from a triple-negative breast cancer diagnosis than white women with the same diagnosis.
This is an innovative play that presents the true history of Henrietta Lacks, a Black woman whose cancer cells were used to create the first immortalised human cell line. It opens with a rhythmic, spoken-word monologue delivered by Henrietta (Aminita Francis). We soon learn that her DNA, nicknamed by herself as “Did Not Ask”, was non-consensually taken from her body in 1951. It has since served as the key basis for medical research, including the development of HIV vaccines, investigation of cancer cells and more recently, the COVID vaccine.