The Etienne Sisters

etienne sisters

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

Baila Brazil


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

East End Boys, West End Girls

spora stories

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

Africa Utopia line-up announced

africa utopia

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

The Last Ship

articleimage - The Last Ship

Book: The Last Ship
Author: Jan Lowe Shinebourne
Publisher: Peepal Tree Press
Price: £8.99

Review by Ronke Lawal

The Last Ship is a poignant novel which spans three generations of a Chinese family who settle in Guyana after arriving on one of the last ships from China to the Caribbean.

Read more…

Culture under scrutiny

articleimage - cultural appropriation

Photo credit: Henna Decoration by Sarah/Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia

Groomsmen in turbans, women in saris, the happy gay couple in sherwanis. The stage was set for a vibrant, colourful civil partnership that looked straight out of a Bollywood movie. However, those featured in the photograph don’t appear to come from the culture the clothes represent.

Read more…

London’s newest theatre launches summer season

Hackney Showroom

Hackney Showroom is a new community arts venue which introduces four experimental shows as part of their summer season. Offering their space to emerging new production companies Fit to Burst, pluck, Ste & Dav and Boom Shakalala, each piece of theatre attempts to blur the boundaries and challenge the form of performance.

Date: Monday 6 – Friday 31 July 2015
Price: £10 – £12
Venue: Hackney Showroom, Amhurst Terrace, London E8 2BT

Clap Hands by Pluck Productions trailerView here


Modern War Poetry event


Discover the international war poets of today as they describe their different experiences of conflict, including Syrian-Kurdish poet Golan Haji and Adnan al-Sayegh from Iraq.

The talk will be chaired by BBC broadcaster Harriett Gilbert and is presented in partnership with Poetry International. Modern War Poetry is part of a series of events from the Southbank Centre’s Poetry International Festival,  featuring music, readings and innovative live performances. View the full programme of events here.

Date: Saturday 25 July 2015
Time: 12pm – 1.15pm
Price: £15 for Poetry in Conflict talks pass
Venue: Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX

Love’s Persuasion

articleimage - Love's Persuasion

Book: Love’s Persuasion
Author: Ola Awonubi
Publisher: Ankara Press
Price: £4.00 (ebook)

Review by Catrina Walters

Love’s persuasion is a romantic novel based in Lagos, Nigeria. It tells the story of Ada Okafor, a young woman working as a receptionist at City Finance and studying to become an accountant in an attempt to succeed in her career.

Read more…

Finding Myself: Essays on Race, Politics and Culture

articleimage - Finding Myself

Book: Finding Myself: Essays on Race, Politics and Culture
Author: Clem Seecharan
Publisher: Peepal Tree Press
Price: £19.99

Review by Reshma Ruia

This collection of essays by Clem Seecharan, emeritus professor of History at London Metropolitan University, provides a unique insight into Indo-Caribbean history with particular reference to British Guyana.

Read more…

And Sometimes I Wonder About You

articleimage - Walter Mosley And Somtimes

Book: And Sometimes I Wonder About You
Author: Walter Mosley
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Price: £20.00 (hardback)

Review by Angela Howell

Leonid McGill, Walter Mosley’s hardcore New York City detective, returns for the fifth time in And Sometimes I Wonder about You. Like a modern day Shaft, McGill is a charmer with women, not afraid to get his hands dirty and solves his cases.

Read more…