Talawa Sustained

Arts Council England have announced an award of £478,671 to a partnership between  Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Talawa Theatre Company. The award will boost the visibility and profile of established and emerging BAME talent.

  • The Arts Council England investment will enable Talawa and The REP to develop a dedicated three month West End season. Working in partnership with leading BAME artists including Don Warrington, Lenny Henry, Meera Syal, and Lucian Msamati plus commercial producers Ambassador Theatre Group and Bill Kenwright Ltd,  The REP and Talawa will create a unique season of large-scale work with a predominantly BAME focus that will be seen both in Birmingham and in London's West End.

    While the focus of the season will celebrate existing talent, it will also be supported and enhanced by an extensive programme of training and apprenticeships for emerging BAME artists and backstage staff and, in London, a festival of new play readings, work-in-progress, workshops and master-classes. 

    The artistic programming and planning of the season will be led by Talawa's Artistic Director, Michael Buffong with the Artistic Director at Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Roxana Silbert.   They will be supported and advised by a steering group including Don Warrington, Lenny Henry and Meera Syal.

  • Michael Buffong, Artistic Director, Talawa Theatre Company

    “... we see this ACE investment as a ground breaking opportunity for lasting change. We’re delighted to be partnering with Birmingham Rep, Ambassador Theatre Group and Bill Kenwright Ltd as we celebrate the best in Black British theatre by placing it centre stage nationally and in London's West End, providing a visible pathway for BAME practitioners to follow.”

  • A further bid led by Tiata Fahodzi in a consortium with Talawa Theatre Company, 20 Stories High, Regional Theatre Young Directors, Freedom Studios, and Independent Theatre Council also won a Sustained Theatre award of more than £400,000 to support the development of established and emerging BAME theatre makers and to increase their representation across the wider theatre sector.

  • Michael Buffong, Artistic Director, Talawa Theatre Company

    "Talawa is 30 this year, and in those 30 years we have realised the big question at hand is less about casting, it's about who decides what’s put on stage ... the gate-keepers and the decisions they make. With the Sustained Theatre award we’ll start to change the future leadership of the sector."

  • Talawa Theatre Company is the UK's primary Black-led theatre company. 

    Led by Artistic Director Michael Buffong, Talawa’s work is informed by the wealth and diversity of the Black British experience. 

    For 30 years Talawa has consistently created outstanding work by cultivating the best in emerging and established Black artists, investing in talent, developing audiences and inspiring dialogue with and within communities across the UK and internationally to enrich the cultural life of all.

    King Lear:The Film, a stage to screen version of the acclaimed Talawa Theatre Company and Royal Exchange co production in association with Birmingham Repertory Theatre will be broadcast by the BBC later in 2016.

    Click here to read the story of Talawa at 30

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