Talawa tours Arthur Miller’s All My Sons

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Talawa Theatre Company will be touring its hugely successful production of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons, starring Ray Shell and Dona Croll. Talawa’s artistic director Michael Buffong will direct the classic tale set in 1947, about Joe and Kate Keller, an all American couple living with the ghosts of WWII. A self made businessman, Joe is a partner in a machine shop building fighter planes parts. Joe and Kate’s happiness is clouded by their son missing in action, presumed dead by all except his mother. The production will set out on a UK tour in February 2015 to commemorate 100 years since Miller’s birth.

Website: www.talawa.com

Photo credit: Don Warrington as Joe Keller and Dona Croll as Kate Keller in All My Sons by Arthur Miller. Photo by Jonathan Keenan


Search for a verse winners celebrated

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The winners of the Search for a verse competition, a collaboration between Words of Colour Productions and Color blind Cards, were presented with their winning verses in specially designed cards at the Grand Connaught Rooms, London.

Isatu Bundu, Galina Makohon and Natreema Asafu-Adjaye (who sadly couldn’t attend), were presented with their greeting cards featuring their winning verses the profits from which will be donated to the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust (ACLT) to support the charity’s ongoing fundraising efforts.

“As long term friends of the ACLT, we remain in awe of the contribution the charity continue to make to the black, mixed-race and Asian community,” said Color blind Cards founder Jessica Huie MBE. “The strength, inspiration and vehicle for change that is the ACLT, represents the very essence of the Color blind Cards ethos, and we hope that the contribution of these three winning Search for a verse cards, will form just the beginning of a meaningful partnership.”

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Isatu Bundu (left) and Galina Makohon (right) with Joy Francis, holding their winning cards

Galina Makohon said: “I was surprised and delighted to be one of the winners of the Search for a verse writing competition for Color blind Cards and Words of Colour Productions. My winning verse was for a Valentine’s Day card and, ironically, the first competition I ever won, at the grand old age of five, was for designing a Valentine’s Day card. On that occasion I won a doll. Sadly, the number of Valentine’s cards I receive has decreased over the years.

“I felt very proud to see my verse printed in the Valentine’s Day card – and honoured that Jessica’s son is one of the models for the picture on the front. The icing on the cake was to learn that the profits from the sale of the cards are being donated to the African Caribbean Leukemia Trust.”

Isatu Bundu, who won with a verse for the Congratulations on your Wedding card, added: “Holding the card and reading my verse inside gave me proud, happy feelings, and it was great to share this with my mum. Knowing that proceeds from the sale of the card will be donated to the ACLT makes it even better. The whole experience has been encouraging and a good boost to keep on writing.”

Natreema Asafu-Adjaye’s winning verse is featured in the Mother on your Birthday card.

The three winning designs (pictured above) can be found at www.colorblindcards.com.

Color blind Cards is giving Words of Colour Productions’ readers an exclusive 15 per cent off orders over £20 until 5 December 2014, including the winning cards, new Christmas card range and 2015 calendar. To redeem the offer simply enter WOC at checkout at www.colorblindcards.com.

To read all three of the winning verses, see below.

To read all three of the winning verses, see below.

Valentine’s Day
Roses are red, violets are blue,
You’re allergic to flowers and difficult to woo.
Can’t buy you perfume – it causes a rash,
A weekend in Paris is far too much cash.
Can’t buy you chocolates – you’re on a strict diet,
If I buy you undies I predict a riot.
I’ve racked my brains and the best I can do
Is to give you my love over dinner for two.
Date?

©Copyright Galina Makohon 2014

Congratulations on your Wedding
Wrapped with the radiance of affection,
Swathed by the strength of faith,
Continue to understand, cherish, support and adore each other.
Grow in faith and love.
Keep your bond armoured.
May God guide, protect and bless you always.
Lots of love

©Copyright Isatu Bundu 2014

Mother on your Birthday
Of all the words I could choose,
There aren’t quite enough to say.
How much you are appreciated,
How you inspire me in many ways.
In the strength you encompass,
and the wisdom that you hold.
Your timeless elegance and beauty,
and compassion to others that you show.
To a wonderful woman,
Enjoy your special day.
You deserve so many blessings,
Much love to you on your happy birthday.

©Copyright Natreema Asafu-Adjaye 2014


Tiata Fahodzi appoints new artistic director

Tiata Fahodzi new AD Natalie Ibu

Natalie Ibu has been appointed the new artistic director of Tiata Fahodzi, replacing Lucian Msamati. Ibu, who takes up the role in December 2014, joins the company as it starts its residency at Watford Palace Theatre, giving it a creative home for the first time in its 17 year history.

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Mother Goose returns to Hackney Empire

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Hackney Empire’s award-winning Mother Goose, starring Clive Rowe, returns to Hackney Empire with an all star cast. Acclaimed director Susie McKenna plays evil sorceress Vanity alongside Sharon D Clarke’s good enchantress Charity and Kat B as Billy Goose.

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Fashion Africa

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Book: Fashion Africa: A visual overview of contemporary African fashion (2nd edition)
Author: Jacqueline Shaw
Publisher: Jacaranda Books
Price: £29.99

Review by Joy Francis

Back in 2011, fashion designer and budding eco-entrepreneur Jacqueline Shaw self published the encyclopedic Fashion Africa: A visual overview of contemporary African fashion.

Fast forward three years and the leading blogger on African fashion has relocated to Germany as a lead designer, landed a publisher and the tome has been updated and revamped with new foreword by Chris Spring, curator of African Collections at the British Museum.

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Interview with Marcus Gardley

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Marcus Gardley is a talented African American playwright and poet who is proving difficult to ignore. A few years into his career and he has garnered a number of prestigious awards, including the 2011 PEN/Laura Pels Award for Mid-Career Playwright, the Helen Merrill Award, a Kesselring Honor, the Gerbode Emerging Playwright Award, the National Alliance for Musical Theatre Award, the Eugene O’Neill Memorial Scholarship and the ASCAP Cole Porter Award.

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How Nigeria Became: A story, and a spear that didn’t work

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Creative differences: Rita Balogun (Innoncence), Rebecca Omogbehin (Chinedu) and Stephanie Levi-John (Esomo). Photo credit: Matt Hargraves

Play: How Nigeria Became: A story, and a spear that didn’t work
Theatre: Unicorn Theatre
Playwright: Gbolahan Obisesan
Director: Gbolahan Obisesan

Review by Joy Francis

Director and playwright Gbolahan Obisesan’s ability to imaginatively combine history, humour and Yoruba folklore has resulted in an uneven but engaging play about the creation of Nigeria 100 years ago.

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The Scottsboro Boys transfers to the West End

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The Scottsboro Boys, Kander and Ebb’s (Cabaret, Chicago) award-winning and final musical, has transferred to London’s West End for a strictly limited season following its highly acclaimed and sold-out season at the Young Vic. The recipient of the prestigious Critics’ Circle Award for Best Musical, the critically acclaimed production is directed and choreographed by five-time TONY Award winner Susan Stroman (The Producers and Bullets Over Broadway).The show has been nominated for 12 Tony Awards and six Olivier Awards, in addition to winning the Critics’ Circle Best Musical of 2013.

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The House That Will Not Stand

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Women on the edge: Michele Austin (La Veuve), Ronke Adekoluejo (Odette), Danusia Samal (Maude Lynn), Ayesha Antoine (Agnes) and Martina Laird (Beartrice). Photo credit: Mark Douet

Play: The House That Will Not Stand
Theatre: Tricycle Theatre
Playwright: Marcus Gardley
Director: Indhu Rubasingham

Review by Joy Francis

Set in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1836, The House That Will Not Stand by the African American playwright Marcus Gardley is tightly stitched with intrigue, mysticism, melodrama and racial politics.
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Warde Street

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Broken friendship: Omar Ibrahim (Ashfaq) and Shane Noone (Eddie) Photo credit: Chris Gardner for Rare Moustache

Play: Warde Street
Theatre: Park Theatre
Playwright: Damien Tracey
Director: Jenny Eastop

Review by Joy Francis

With newspaper headlines gripped by the international threat posed by ISIS, the Jihadist militant group in Iraq and Syria, Warde Street’s focus on the personal impact of 7/7 is both timely and uncomfortable.

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Interview with Bola Agbaje

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Words of Colour Productions has profiled the talented playwright Bola Agbaje‘s career since she won a well deserved Laurence Olivier Award for her debut play Gone Too Far! at the Royal Court Theatre in 2007. Numerous plays (such as Off the Endz, BELONG, Women, Power and Politics) and many awards later, Agbaje has turned her attention to film by putting Gone Too Far! on the big screen as a comedy. The film centres on the relationship between two estranged brothers (Londoner Yemi and Nigerian Iku) who are reconnected by their mother in Peckham. Their exploits and cultural differences as they struggle to bond are explored over one hilarious day.

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