Our Story

Talawa was founded in 1986 by Yvonne Brewster, Carmen Munroe, Mona Hammond and Inigo Espejel, in response to the lack of creative opportunities for Black actors and the marginalisation of Black peoples from cultural processes.

Today, Talawa is the primary Black theatre company in the UK, with more than 50 award-winning touring productions from African classics to Oscar Wilde behind it. In total the company has produced more than 80 productions.

Our name, Talawa, comes from a Jamaican patois term and means gutsy and strong 

  • Jamaican Creole

    "me lickle but me Talawa"

  • Helena, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act 3, Scene 2

    "And though she be but little, she is fierce"

  • Talawa Theatre Company has performed work by writers like C.L.R. James, Derek Walcott, Michael Abbensetts, Wole Soyinka, Patricia Cumper, Mustapha Matura, Roy Williams, Kwami Kwei-Armah, Jackie Kay, Trish Cooke, Malorie Blackman, David Judge, Michael Bhim, Arinze Kene, Theresa Ikoko, Natasha Marshall, Ryan Calais Cameron, babirye bukilwa, Eno Mfon, Somalia Seaton, Chinonyerem Odimba and Nicôle Lecky.

    A number of Britain's finest actors, many of whom have sustained successful careers in film, radio, theatre and television, have worked with Talawa including Norman Beaton, Carmen Munroe, Mona Hammond, Doña Croll, Danny John-Jules, Cathy Tyson, Don Warrington, Sharon D Clarke, Nonso Anozie, Natasha Marshall, and Michaela Coel.

    Talawa writers, directors and personnel now work in all areas of British theatre. 

    These achievements demonstrate the Company's continually growing status, influence and contribution to contemporary British theatre and the cultural life of the UK.

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