Interview with Amit Sharma

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Amit Sharma has been Graeae’s associate director since 2011, but he first made contact with the 35 year old theatre company when he was 19 years old and attended its Missing Piece training programme for actors back in 2000.

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Interview with Stefan Adegbola

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Stefan Adegbola as Associate Pastor in the Christians (left). Photo credit for image (right): Heloise Faure

Stefan Adegbola’s first acting break has all the hallmarks of the fantasy start, which happens to so few actors. In 2013 he landed his first role in Michael Grandage’s Midsummer Night’s Dream when he hadn’t yet graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. After that head-turning beginning, he has continued to make great strides in the theatre, appearing in some of the classics, such as The Merchant of Venice and Othello.

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Interview with Mabel Aghadiuno

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Mabel Aghadiuno has loved writing since primary school. Born in Scotland of Nigerian parents, she ended up being a GP. Her passion for writing was revitalised four years ago when she tried her hand at fiction after producing a published work of non-fiction.

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Interview with Hazel Tsoi-Wiles

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Playwright and former Londonist editor Hazel Tsoi-Wiles has always wanted to write. So much so that at 16 years old, she secured a place on the Royal Court Young Writers programme and participated in many of its theatre writing initiatives, ending with the Unheard Voices programme for East Asian writers in 2011.

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Courttia Newland and The Almasi League

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In March 2014, award-winning novelist Courttia Newland launched The Almasi League Writers’ Programme with the Newham New Deal Partnership. Over 12 months, Newland mentored 10 emerging London writers from African, Asian, Caribbean and Oceanic backgrounds through group workshops and one to one tutorials, with access to established writers and editors such as Ella Allfrey and Linton Kwesi Johnson. Since the programme’s end, some of the writers have captured the attention of editors and playwrights with one already nominated for various national writing prizes

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Write your own future

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Talking future change: Sathnam Sanghera, Dreda Say Mitchell and John Athanasiou.

Spread the Word and Words of Colour Productions presents Writing the Future

Saturday 12 September 2015
10.30am-5pm @ Waterstones Picadilly

Tickets: from £10 – £15 (concessions available) – ONLY A FEW TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE FOR THE MORNING SESSION, SO BOOK NOW

The experience of BAME writers in attracting a literary agent, getting their work published and being widely promoted isn’t a widely positive one. As highlighted by the recent Spread the Word commissioned report ‘Writing the Future’, publishers’ attitude towards diversity is putting them at risk of becoming “culturally irrelevant”.

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‪Diverse author day‬ on Twitter

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Rosie Canning, creative director at Greenacre Writers, and award winning author Alex Wheatle, are the people behind a new hashtag #diverseauthorday which will launch on Thursday 24 September 2015.

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The Etienne Sisters

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After the huge success of the critically acclaimed Klook’s Last Stand (The Park Theatre), writing duo Chè Walker and Anoushka Lucas, bring the premiere of their new play to Theatre Royal Stratford East.

The all-female cast features London talent with MOBO award winner Allyson Ava-Brown, Jennifer Saayeng (Ghost the Musical, Hairspray) and Nina Toussaint-White (EastEnders, Switch). The trio are joined by award-winning jazz pianist Nikki Yeoh, renowned for her work with Courtney Pine and The Roots.

Set to a contemporary soulful jazz soundtrack, The Etienne Sisters explores what it means to be part of a family today. Families have their cracks, secrets and baggage, with the Etienne’s being no exception. Should families stick together through thick and thin? Should they always be there for each other in time of need? What happens when the family rock is taken away from you?

The Etienne Sisters reflects Theatre Royal Stratford East’s continued commitment to break new ground with musicals that bring contemporary and urban music into the mainstream of British Theatre.

Date: Thursday 10 September – Saturday 3 October 2015
Venue: Theatre Royal Stratford East, Gerry Raffles Square, London E15 1BN
Price: £7 – £22.50
Website: stratfordeast.com


Baila Brazil

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Baila Brazil is a musical journey into the heart and soul of the African and urban roots of acclaimed dance company Balé de Rua, which premiered at Sydney Opera House in January 2015. Inspired by North American street dance, capoeira and samba, the company’s energetic, yet elegant style is born from the everyday lives of many of the company who grew up in the favelas of Uberlândia in Brazil.

Comprising of 14 dancer-percussionists, one singer and a live band of keyboard, bass and guitar, the show explores the rich cultural heritage of the Brazilian people.

Balé de Rua was originally developed as an art project in the poor neighbourhoods of Uberlândia. Since being discovered at the Biennale de la Danse of Lyon in 2002, the company have performed at leading venues across the world, bringing their exuberance and energy to more than 500,000 people in 13 different countries. The thrilling mix of Baila Brazil’s original music and passionate dance forms part of the Southbank Centre’s summer-long Festival of Love, find out more here.

Date: Wednesday 5 to Saturday 15 August 2015
Venues: Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX
Price: £15 – £38
Website: southbankcentre.co.uk


East End Boys, West End Girls

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Spora Stories announce its latest production, East End Boys, West End Girls, which tours across four venues this summer. Following the highly acclaimed and sell-out shows of Pandora’s Box last year, writer and director Ade Solanke returns with a vibrant story about adolescence, friendships and unfamiliar territories.

In conjunction with the play, Spora Stories will also hold free workshops for young people interested in drama, offering a chance to devise and perform their own response to the play in a special pre-show event. The workshops are suitable for ages 11 years and upwards.

Date: Tuesday 28 July to Saturday 15 August 2015
Venues: Arcola Theatre, CLF Arts Café, Saatchi Gallery, Bernie Grant Arts Centre
Price: £10 – £17
Website: www.sporastories.com


Africa Utopia line-up announced

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Africa Utopia – a four day festival dedicated to celebrating arts and culture from modern Africa and the African diaspora – returns to the Southbank Centre for its third year. Bringing together creatives across music, dance, literature, fashion and visual arts, the line up includes legendary afro beat musician Tony Allen and star guests Toumani and Sidiki Diabate.

Date: Thursday 10 to Sunday 13 September 2015
Veune: Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX
Price: £10, £8 (concs)
Website: Book here