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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Jean Binta Breeze supports Time to Change campaign

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Internationally acclaimed spoken word artist and poet Jean Binta Breeze is supporting a new social marketing mental health campaign targeting people from African and Caribbean communities. From 10 October to 23 November 2014, Time to Change, England’s biggest mental health anti stigma campaign run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, will use the campaign to exploring the theme ‘forget the label…just listen’. Binta Breeze has been appointed as a Time to Change media champion through the support of cultural organisation renaissance one.

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Interview with Walter Mosley

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Walter Mosley is one of the world’s most admired writers, and certainly one of the most respected African American scribes. Of mixed race heritage – a Jewish mother and African American father – this only child was surrounded by storytelling while growing up (from his Russian relatives on his mother’s side to tales of the Deep South on his father’s).

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