Art doesn’t have the privilege of looking on as everyone else struggles: London’s Bush Theatre re-opens with Black Lives, Black Words

by Zahra Dalilah When Madani Younis stepped into the role of Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre in 2012, he became the first person of colour to run a theatre building in London’s history. Under no illusions as to just how radically things were changing, Younis began laying the foundations for what in 2017 has… Read More

Caramel queen or white man’s whore: #HashtagLightie, the play exploring the realities of modern mixed-race lives

by Zahra Dalilah Women and men of mixed heritage, especially black/white, are often called upon in media to provide an inoffensive face of diversity, a fetishized vision of exotic beauty or simplistically characterised as inherently confused halves of one thing or the other. The play #HashtagLightie – which recently sold out the Arcola Theatre, London… Read More

Star Wars: Rogue One places Asian heroes at the core of its revolution

by Kelly Kanayama  Star Wars: Rogue One is a rare thing in mainstream media: a movie about revolution that actually tries to be revolutionary. Taking place right before the original Star Wars movie, Rogue One centres on a band of scrappy misfits who unite to save the galaxy from the evil Empire by stealing the blueprints for the Death… Read More

White Skin, Black Masks: On the “Decolonial Desire” of Vasco Araújo

by Efua Bea I walked into the opening of Vasco Araújo’s Decolonial Desire exhibition, his first UK solo show, at Autograph ABP last month with somewhat low expectations. I guess I’ve just become a little tired of white men getting lots of funding and lots of space to tell me about my Blackness, the history… Read More

Doctor Strange takes audiences on a spiritually insensitive journey of appropriation

by Sonya Lalli  When I went to see Doctor Strange, the question about whether Marvel Studios’ latest blockbuster would be a success seemed to have already been answered. I couldn’t resist the dazzling trailers and adverts, the glowing four- to five-star reviews, and of course the all-star cast. Sweets and popcorn in hand, I settled… Read More

Cashmere Hip Hop Straight from the Swet Shop

by Lamisse Hamouda  An American Hindu-Punjabi rapper from Queens drawls, “Insha’allah / masha’allah / No martial law / hai allah / yo yallah”. Never had I experienced such visceral sense of familiarity in listening to music until I was blasted with these lines from “T5”, the opening track off Swet Shop Boys’ debut album Cashmere.… Read More

The War on Terror in Clay

Exhibition Review: “Stuff Happens” – May Ayres by Hamja Ahsan  Theresa May gave her first obligatory Eid address as Prime Minister this month to Muslims living in Britain and worldwide. In the broadcast, she spoke of the “spirit of togetherness” and “the way people are brought together with those around the world through the strong… Read More

Human language, human emotions: interview with the RSC’s Natalie Simpson

“What will the future hold when someone who hasn’t been brought up ‘correctly’ takes over?” by Kelly Kanayama  This is Part 2 of a two-part interview series with actors from the Royal Shakespeare Company. (Part 1 with King Lear‘s Clarence Smith is here.) I spoke to Natalie Simpson, who recently played Ophelia in Hamlet and is currently playing Cordelia in… Read More

Sustaining yourself as an actor of colour: interview with the RSC’s Clarence Smith

“Playing any Shakespeare character when you are black…always challenges the idea of what is acceptable” by Kelly Kanayama  This two-part interview series came about after the Royal Shakespeare Company offered us the chance to speak with their actors about their work. I started out by chatting to Clarence Smith, a veteran of stage, film and TV who plays… Read More

Retelling indigenous histories through dance: interview with Jasmin Sheppard

by Suzy Wrong Three separate works are featured in Bangarra Dance Theatre’s new show, OUR: Land People Stories, each with a distinct flavour but unified by discipline, culture and history. Independently striking in style, they tell different stories of the Indigenous experience through the medium of dance at its most progressive and adventurous. The first… Read More