Sachin Joab’s performance in ‘Disgraced’ shows that Australia needs to foreground its actors of colour

by Suzy Wrong  Sydney Theatre Company’s production of Ayad Akhtar’s Disgraced drops bombs at regular intervals to unnerve, to disarm and, most of all, to confront. It is a response to the undeniable horrors around us that involves no sugar-coating, and no rose-tinted glasses. We can all agree that everything is not quite coming up… Read More

Still Barred: Reflections on a Black woman’s trauma and mental health

by Guilaine Kinouani  ‘Each episode of depression I have experienced, I have experienced because of the struggles I have faced in my life as a Black woman’. Those were the words spoken by a fellow panellist who went on to share her personal testimony of distress, as part of the discussion which followed the reading… Read More

Defying Baghdad’s violence, volunteers are re-opening the city’s historic theatre

by Nazli Tarzi  This article first appeared in Niqash and has been republished here with their permission. In Baghdad’s Salihiya neighbourhood, a group of volunteers are staging a different kind of protest. They have cleaned up a deserted theatre and started performances there again. Rows of empty seats coated in dust are the first thing… Read More

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom: An African-American Crucible

by Shane Thomas  Last month, Queen Latifah won a SAG Award for her performance as blues legend Bessie Smith in Bessie. The biopic also featured Mo’Nique, who played Ma Rainey – Bessie’s one-time mentor and ‘Mother of the Blues’. The iconic Rainey is now being portrayed on the stage in the revival of the August… Read More

‘The harmonious interweaving of different languages – an everyday reality for us third culture kids’

by Christina Fonthes  THE CROWS PLUCKED YOUR SINEWS is a one woman play “about Somalis in Britain and Britain in Somalia”. The piece – written and directed by Hassan Mahamdallie with the assistance of Jamil Dhillon – explores colonialism and empire, politics, and ‘culture and tradition’ through the eyes of young British-Somali – Suuban –… Read More

Race, Casting and Story

by Dan Whisker The comedian Athena Kugblenu recently delivered a comedic routine addressing the implausibility of Idris Elba’s black James Bond (black James Bond is inevitably in the long, slow passport queue at Moscow airport; local law enforcement agencies the world over vigorously object to a heavily armed black man in their jurisdictions). Of course,… Read More

‘Dark & Lovely’ not only explores black womanhood, it puts it centre stage

by Stephanie Phillips  “Hair is just hair.” Leeds-based artist Selina Thompson opened the London leg of her new interactive performance piece Dark & Lovely with this stark revelation. Dark & Lovely examines what it means to be a Black British woman and how the politics of hair have a part to play in our identity.… Read More

Review: Educating Rita

by Sabo Kpade Lenny Henry’s rebirth as a stage and screen actor is as surprising as it is admirable. By taking on Othello and Troy Maxson in Fences, roles that have been played by powerhouse actors he hasn’t chosen the easy route. In these productions, he played against his strengths as a stand up comic.… Read More

Interview with Lucian Msamati, the first Black Iago at the Royal Shakespeare Company

by Sabo Kpade One thing that tends to never change in past iterations of Othello are the central roles: Othello, the Black or “blackened” flawed general, and Iago, the scheming and racist subordinate. These characters have always been left intact, for their different races and ranks contribute to the strongest charge around which the entire… Read More