Run It Back (Postponed)


26th March – 4th April 2020

After consulting with staff, producers, creatives and artists, and in light of the worsening coronavirus pandemic, Talawa Theatre Company has made the difficult decision to postpone scheduled performances of Run it Back and associated activities for the foreseeable future.

Run it Back was due to have opened the Talawa Studio to audiences from 26 March to 4 April 2020 but was postponed.

Read the full statement


Talawa Theatre Company's first production at the new Talawa Studio at Fairfield Halls is Run It Back

Conceived and directed by Coral Messam, created with Gail Babb, and devised by TYPT:18, Run It Back brings rave to theatre. 

Set in an explosive club night, Run It Back immerses the audience in Black British club culture with dance, physical theatre and a live set from DJ and turntablist Psykhomantus.

A disused warehouse.

A party rages.

Distorted bass pulses through the streets, calling the ravers in. Lost in the music and dripping with sweat, they surrender to the DJ’s game.

Bring your rags and flags for a night of theatre powered by grime, bashment and afrobeat.

  • The Upcoming (Selina Begum)

    ★★★★★ "Run It Back defines the rave culture scene ... realising the Black British experience without condescension … must-see immersive theatre"

  • Cast



    Francesca recently graduated from the University of Oxford with a degree in Music. Other training includes: National Youth Theatre, Theatre Royal Stratford East and Almeida Young Company.

    Her credits include: HEAR ME NOW (Theatre 503); RANDOM (Tristan Bates Theatre), PIPELINE (Mandala Theatre Company), DRINKING CONCRETE (Royal Court Theatre) and HOMEGROWN (National Youth Theatre).


    Ewa is a Nigerian London-based actress, director, facilitator and spoken word artist. She recently graduated from Rose Bruford.  Ewa’s most recent role was ‘Regi’ in How We Love at The Vaults Festival 2020.

    Recent credits include: ‘McMurphy’ in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Derek Anderson – English Theatre Frankfurt), ‘SISTER’ in Custody – UK Tour (Gbemisola Ikulemo).


    Douglas trained at Drama St Mary’s Twickenham & Identity Drama school.

    Theatre credits include Macbeth (Orange Three Theatre), Shebeen (Theatre Royal Stratford East/ Nottingham Playhouse).

    Theatre credits whilst training include Revolt.She Said. Revolt again. Drama St Mary’s), Macbeth (Drama St Mary’s), The Frontline (Drama St Mary’s), Ich Bin Faust (Courtyard Theatre), Me and My Friend (Courtyard Theatre) and Chatham Avenue (National Theatre Studio).

    Television credits include Ransom (CBS), Code 404 (Sky One).


    Wunmi is a writer-performer who is currently studying Theatre Practise at Central School of Speech and Drama. She has devised and performed work with Hackney Empire, Arcola Theatre and Tristan Bates Theatre.

    She was a member of The Royal Court Theatre’s Script Panel in 2018 and is currently on the 2020 Cohort of Channel 4’s 4Screenwriting programme.


    Hayley is an Actor and Writer. Her recent theatre credits include; Scar (Rose theatre), Girls (Pappy show, The Vaults, The North Wall and Nottingham Playhouse), Route (Hope theatre and Tristan Bates), Monologue Slam (Stratford East), The Kilburn Passion (Kiln theatre) Pigeon English (Bristol Old Vic and Edinburgh Fringe Festival).

    Hayley also regularly facilitates theatre making workshops for young people with organisations such as Purple Moon Drama, Generation Arts and Phakama Arts (Associate Artist).


    Tife Kusoro is Nigerian-British writer, actor and performer. As an actor, she has performed with Talawa’s TYPT:18 company, the National Youth Theatre, and BBC Radio Drama where she was a recipient of a runner-up prize for the 2019 Norman Beaton Fellowship.

    As a writer, her plays have been shortlisted for the Alfred Fagon Award, the Theatre503 playwriting award and BBC Drama Script room.

    She has been supported by the Bush Theatre Emerging Writers’ programme (2019-20), Talawa Firsts (2019) and the North Wall Theatre’s Catalyst playwriting programme (2019). She is recently the recipient of the Lynne Gagliano Writers’ Award at the Royal Court Theatre.


    Azara is a multi-disciplinary artist who likes to express her views through live art and film using poetry, breakdancing and theatre. Azara was recently touring the UK with the Roundhouse hit, Hive City Legacy. Her next appearance after Run it Back, will be her solo show Just Another Day and Night at The Place in April.


    Theatre Credits include: STILL BARRED (Dkflnitinitiative); CH<NES (Last Laugh Theatre) Screen Credits include: Modie Dog in TOP BOY (Netflix Original); Tashan in NIGHT BUS (Wilder Films); Spiv in BAKED BEANS (LaPaz Films); Nero in 2 BAGS (Red Stream Media); B.O Investigator in MANDEM ON THE WALL


    Luke is an artist from London England and trained at RADA. Credits includes: FRAGMENTS OF A COMPLICATED MIND, Theatre 503; Tybalt/ Friar, ROMEO AND JULIET, Red Rose and Chain Theatre; Malvolio /Sir Andrew, TWELFTH NIGHT, Southwark Playhouse.

    Pre-training credits include SCOTTSBORRO boys West end. Luke is happy and excited to progress into the industry and make his contributions to the Arts and in the community.

  • Creatives

    Director - CORAL MESSAM

    Coral works extensively in theatre and has most recently work in TV and film primarily as a movement director and intimacy co-ordinator.

    Run It Back is her first production, and one that she has conceptualised and directed. 

    Coral began her career as a performer. Credits include: Game of Thrones, London Road, Lion King and dancer for Kylie Minogue; Everyman, Death and the Kings Horseman at the National Theatre; Lightening Child at Shakespeare's Globe; Feast at the Young Vic; Faustus at the Royal Exchange and performed with DV8 Physical Theatre for two years.

    Theatre credits in movement direction: The Whip, Fantastic Follies at Royal Shakespeare Company; Small Island, Ma Rainey, Amen Corner at the National Theatre; The Convert at the Young Vic; Macbeth, Winters Tale, Bartholomew's Fair at Shakespeare’s Globe; Private Lives, King Lear, As you Like it, Dolls House at The Royal Exchange; Ruined at the Almeida Theatre; Wolf in Snakeskin Shoes at Kiln Theatre; The Bob Marley musical One Love at the Birmingham Rep as choreographer; Gods Property for Talawa Theatre Company; Crowning Glory at Theatre Royal Stratford.

    T.V and film credits: Small Axe, Steve McQueen for BBC and Amazon. January 22nd by Michaela Coel for the BBC; Cursed for Netflix; Britannia, Jez and Tom Butterworth, season 2 and 3; Stadium show celebration of the 40th anniversary of the United Emirates in Abu Dhabi.

    Intimacy Coordinator credits: Bone, short film by Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor; First Fuck music promo film for Jason Osborne; most recently and currently working on Britannia season 3.

    Creative Producer/Dramaturg - GAIL BABB

    Assistant Director - ESME ALLMAN

    Esme Allman is an emerging theatre-maker, director, facilitator and poet from South London. She directed at ArtsEd on the exciting new course World Stories where first-year students devised work based on cultural heritage stories from their backgrounds. She fulfilled a week-long artistic scratch residency at Theatre Deli in January 2020 developing her piece CLUB, a play exploring queer black women within club culture through music, dance and poetry. She was selected to join the Tamasha Director’s Programme in February 2020. 

    Her assisting credits include Run It Back performing at Fairfield Halls, March 2020, dir. Coral Messam, Teleportation by Ronke Adekoluejo performed at The Bunker, dir. Steven Kavuma in August 2019, Talawa's Young People’s Theatre (TYPT:18) performed at Hackney Showroom, dir. Coral Messam. Esme is also a part of Barbican Young Poets and Roundhouse Poetry Collective.





    Psykhomantus bridges the gap and connects the dots between Hip Hop and other progressive music genres as well as showcasing the whole spectrum of Turntablism. Inspired by DJ Cash Money, DJ Jazzy Jeff, DJ Spinna and DJ Spinbad, his love of music shines through two turntables and a mixer.

    Known for Playing Past (Soul, Funk), Present (Hip Hop, Soulful House) and Future (Broken Beat, Nu Jazz, Electronica) in his set in clubs and festivals, the formar UK DMC Champion has also been working as a musical director in theatre since 2003, including Kwesi Johnson’s Hip Hop theatre hit show ‘A Hiphopstory’ and Jonzi D’s "Open Art Surgery’ and ‘Freesyle Funk Forum’ by Breakin’ Convention.

    DJ Psykhomantus is something of an anomaly when it comes to his mixes in music of multiple fields and takes his listeners on a musical journey.

    Sound Designer - TONY GAYLE 

    Sound Design:Shoe Lady, Poet In da Corner (Royal Court ); Beautiful – The Carole King Musical; Jersey Boys, Salad Days, American Idiot (UK tour); Songs For Nobodies (& West End), Floyd Collins (Wilton’s Music Hall); The Wild Party (The Other Palace); Lazarus (King’s Cross); West Side Story (Bishopsgate Institute); Godspell (West End). Awards include: British Black Theatre Recognition Award.


    Esi is a voice coach and singer. She trained at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, achieving an MA in Voice Studies.

    As a singer she has worked with a number of superstar artists including Tom Jones (Chanel 4 - The White Room), Luther Vandross (An evening of Songs - Royal Albert Hall), Jessye Norman (Duke Ellington’s Sacred Songs - Barbican Theatre), Mariah Carey (LIVE 8 - Hyde Park), Michael Ball (Andrew Lloyd Webber 50###sup/sup### birthday celebrations - Royal Albert Hall) andMichael Bolton (Wembley Arena). In addition Esi played the role of Rafiki in Disney’s The Legend of the Lion King at Disneyland Paris for two years, going on to Cirque du Soleil’s big top international tour of Totem for ten years. She occasionally turns up as “Diva Aretha” with the Ultimate Divas experience in venues around the UK.

    As a voice coach Esi’s work has included coaching at East 15 Acting School, individual coaching with an actor in Robert Lepage’s Seven Streams of the River Ota (currently at the National Theatre) and most recently, accent and dialect coaching for Temi Wilkey’s The High Table (currently at Bush Theatre).

    Esi is passionate about giving the best in performance while paying attention to vocal health.

    Producer - ALISON HOLDER

  • This production of Run It Back revives the sell-out show from TYPT:18, originally produced by Talawa Theatre Company working with some of today's most exciting emerging Black theatre makers. This production was postponed in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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