For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Hue Gets Too Heavy, Royal Court

by Romy Foster

Frank Ocean fills the air, and audience members tap their feet and nod their heads in time. I jokingly ask my mum if she recognises the song as I recall how I wailed and begged about 10 years ago for her to download his album onto her iPod. Indulging in Frank Ocean’s music is like a Black right of passage. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t adore his range, and if you don’t – you’re lying.

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…cake, Theatre Peckham

By Diana Miranda

Theatre Peckham’s Artistic Director Suzann McLean hits the target as she notes that …cake is a bold new play which honours intersectionality. Written by babirye bukilwa and directed by malakaï sargeant, this two-hander drama pulls away from the myth of neatly defined tropes regarding gender identities, roots, class and relationships, and sets out to explore the complexities of stepping out of a familial cocoon that shifts from warm to flaming.

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Shedding a Skin, Soho Theatre

photo by Helen Murray

by Laura Kressly

Whilst feeling uncertain and lost may well be something everyone goes through at least at one point in their life, thats no consolation in the moment. Everyone else seems to have purpose, direction and a place, and the sense of not having that can be debilitating. That’s certainly the case for Myah.

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Baaba’s Footsteps, VAULT Festival

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By Keagan Fransch

Baaba’s Footsteps begins with a striking first image: Takako, a 16-year old woman embarking on a life-changing journey in Japan, 1920. She stands upright and wide-eyed; determined, stoic, hopeful, and perhaps a little naive, Takako gazes into the middle distance, willing her new life as a picture bride into existence with a desperate intensity. It is this image that Yu, Takako’s great-granddaughter, frantically chases a hundred years later. Yu works as a television director in Tokyo, talented and busy and upwardly mobile. However, when she is suddenly fired for having an affair with a married co-worker (who is then promoted to the position she was up for), she is forced to take stock of her life, and decides to retrace her great-grandmother’s footsteps to America to hopefully regain a sense of meaning and control.

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Lòng Mẹ, VAULT Festival

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By Keagan Fransch

For many of us, the struggle to understand our mothers and the choices they’ve made is a lifelong adventure, often unearthing more questions than answers. Lòng M (a Vietnamese phrase meaning Mother’s soul/heart/love) interrogates this struggle through two very different, very personal stories told through the lens of the most questioning of all children – the child of immigrants.

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Wigs Snatched Perceptions Destroyed, VAULT Festival

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by Amber Pathak

Ever wanted to be famous? Now you can! For the small price of your dignity, you can attend Erinn Dhesi’s “How To Be An Influencer Whilst Alienating People” workshop. The hour-long lecture covers career options, how to boost engagement and, like, a super- important message about identity.

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I Don’t Know What to Do, VAULT Festival

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by Isabel Becker

New artistic company Creative Destruction bring forward a pertinent interrogation of the hypocrisies behind the climate crisis movement in their entertaining and moving play. Despite the laziness of the production’s title, which sounds like a draft idea that never quite made it to review (the play is still a work in progress), Zoe Lafferty’s autobiographical story of the 2019 climate protests certainly takes ownership of the theatre as a powerful vehicle for social change.

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The Murder of Kuchuk Hanem, VAULT Festival

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by Isabel Becker

For newly formed theatre company Afkar, their debut play is a strong and creative response to Edward Said’s concept of Orientalism in modern-day Britain, but not something extraordinarily fresh or unique. Drawing from duplicate Orientalist accounts by Western men of Kuchuk Hanem – a famous dancer in Egypt in the mid-nineteenth century and subsequent symbol of the male Orientalist gaze – the play draws interesting parallels between Victorian depictions of Middle Eastern women and the lived experience of these women today.

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