Black Joy Season

Talawa presents Black Joy season, a year of celebrating Black stories


  • Chanté Joseph

    Where society has told Black people to “be quiet”, or that we’re “too loud”, revelling in joy is an act of resistance.

  • Talawa, the UK’s outstanding Black theatre company, has announced Black Joy 2024, a season of theatre and workshops celebrating Black stories and artists. The Black Joy season is a partnership between Talawa, Olivier Award-winning J Clare Productions and Chuchu Ngawu Productions to create local and national opportunities for Black artists. The season will feature an exciting large scale musical production, Play On!, a new touring Studio Commission, and Seed Commissions to support Black artists around the country and more.


  • Play On! is at the centre of Talawa’s Black Joy season, epitomising the ethos of this exciting programme of work. This joyous retelling of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night vividly brings to life the 1940s New York jazz scene, set to a timeless, toe-tapping Duke Ellington soundtrack. This exciting jazz musical is conceived by Sheldon Epps, with a book by Cheryl L. West. In the Cotton Club, New York City, a young songwriter arrives ready to make her name – but disguising herself as a man will give her a better shot in a male-dominated music world. As she meets club owner The Duke and sensational singer Lady Liv, Vy is swept up in a syncopated symphony of melodies, mistaken identities and romance.

    More about Play On! here

  • The Play On! partners are committed to supporting Black artists to create theatre across the country. As part of the tour, each of the producing partners and Talawa will participate in the Seed Commission Programme – each partner commissioning an emerging African Caribbean diaspora artist and supporting them in creating new work. The programme will include scratch performances and networking events throughout the year. The Black Joy season includes a new studio production, co-commissioned by Talawa Theatre Company and Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse Theatres, supporting a Liverpudlian artist of African-Caribbean descent to create new work, focusing on Liverpool’s musical history. The show will tour to community spaces around the country, before heading to Talawa HQ in Croydon

  • Michael Buffong, Artistic Director and Joint CEO, Talawa Theatre Company

    We are incredibly proud to finally realise our vision of bringing this artistically ambitious body of work to theatres across the length and breadth of the UK. As a Black theatre company, now more than ever, we are determined to spotlight and celebrate great Black British talent, on and off stage, and ensure that Black talent and creativity are at the heart of building cohesion in our country. We hope this season will bring Joy wherever it goes…

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