Talawa Firsts Reactions

From 12 - 30 June 2017, our studio near Old Street was buzzing with activity and artistry as Talawa Firsts got into full swing.   It was by any measure an extraordinary run, showcasing work of rare power and intelligence.   

There were so many standouts.   

Here, artists and audiences share their reactions:

  • Ann Akin, Artistic Director, Harts Theatre Company

    "Talawa Firsts was a truly special experience for me. I really valued having the space during Studio Firsts, where I was given permission and space to explore and ‘play’ in my own way … to work in a way that was completely tailored to me and how I create … to be part of the festival was dreamy! It was an unforgettable experience for which I am very grateful."

  • Sylvia Arthur

    "Working with Talawa and being part of Talawa Firsts was one of the most rewarding creative experiences I've had. The team at Talawa, in particular, Jane Fallowfield, went above and beyond expectations and were selfless in their commitment to helping me develop as an artist. They invested time, energy, and belief in my work and, in so doing, they gave me much needed confidence to perform. I learnt so much from my time working with Talawa, and look forward to using the knowledge and skills I've acquired to develop as a theatre maker."

  • Shannelle 'Tali' Fergus

    “Talawa Firsts gave me the gift of time and space. I felt challenged in the most delicate way ... ways to approach my work without being forced ... to share what I’d made without feeling it needed to be in any way finished – I felt supported in a way that galvanised my creativity. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to showcase my work ... to be acknowledged as a theatre maker … given such wonderful, thoughtful feedback for the first draft of the work was unexpected … a real boost … as I expanded on my ideas. Thank you...”

  • babirye bukilwa

    “Working at Talawa breathed light back into my lungs. This light; constantly strangled by societies boxes of what a dark skinned first generation British born Ugandan queer creative should be, has been the inner child that never quite graduated . Having the space to be myself unapologetically … has made me … continue translating the worlds in my head to living breathing spaces that are real, beautiful, valid … Without the support from everybody at Talawa I wouldn't have written and directed my very first play.”

  • Christian Graham

    “… working with Talawa has been an amazing way for me to engage with and discover new BAME theatre-makers. I have also been able to get some amazing notes that gave my script the extra clarity it needed … it's been wonderful to be given some studio time to get the work up on its feet. One of the most important things for a writer is to have actors really chew on the text and play around with it. And Talawa gave me the chance to do just that with 'Be Born'.”

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