Artists From Theatre Peckham's YOUNG, GIFTED & BLACK Introduce Their Shows: Part Two

Artists chat about this year's YOUNG, GIFTED AND BLACK season at Theatre Peckham, a celebration of people from the African Diaspora.

By: Oct. 10, 2022
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Artists From Theatre Peckham's YOUNG, GIFTED & BLACK Introduce Their Shows: Part Two In anticipation of Theatre Peckham's Young, Gifted and Black season, BroadwayWorld got the low-down from some of its talent. Now the season is up and running, three more artists introduce their work. The season is curated by Associate Director Phillippe Cato, with ten shows exploring themes of identity, friendship, loss, self-discovery and black womanhood.

Housewarming's Tatenda Shamiso says 'it's such a pleasure to showcase the talents and generous spirits of our performers in this season. Young, Gifted and Black is an opportunity to truly play, which isn't always easy to find support for as marginalised creators'. Spoken word artist RVJ Wordplay (of Underground BarZ) concurs: 'I feel incredibly honoured to be a part of this season. Having my art recognised is a huge privilege and I appreciate initiatives like this, which recognise artists from various backgrounds'.

Tatenda, members of Underground BarZ, and Edi de Melo (Mulatto Boy) walk us through the origins of their performances.

Mulatto Boy by Edi De Melo

17 - 19 October, 7.30 PM

Tell us about the show!Artists From Theatre Peckham's YOUNG, GIFTED & BLACK Introduce Their Shows: Part Two

Huvi is mixed race, born and raised in Britain, and has supported the three lions his whole life but when his British citizenship application is rejected, he has no choice but to look to his mother's past to discover who he might be because, after all, if he's not British then who is he really? Mulatto Boy is a funny, bold, spoken-word-inspired one-man odyssey exploring the link between black mixed-race identity and British national identity and how the two reflect and affect each other.

A gut-wrenching ride rooted in West African theatrical practices and Angolan music and traditions, Mulatto Boy asks us, what is it to be Black and British?

The show is influenced by West African and Angolan performance: could you give us a sneak peek of what this involves?

People can expect to see audience interaction, movement, dancing and Angolan music. It will use Griot storytelling traditions and will be told in the round to embrace the way stories were shared in a lot of West African cultures. It will also use some rituals and traditions taken from Angolan Ovimbundu culture.

Has creating the show helped you to understand more about your own sense of identity regarding being black mixed-race and British?

It's helped me learn a lot more about my Angola heritage and the role it played in my upbringing. It's also helped me learn a lot more about the country my mother grew up in. If anything, it's helped me to understand why it's important to see ourselves reflected in the stories that we see and the narratives we learn.

Housewarming by Tatenda Shamiso

21 - 23 October, 7.30 PM

Tell us about the show!

Housewarming is an expressionistic, physically driven piece about home, belonging, and self within the diaspora. This show is an experiment: five performers embody one character in a discovery of self and exploration of space.

Artists From Theatre Peckham's YOUNG, GIFTED & BLACK Introduce Their Shows: Part Two Anashe goes on a journey to discover what it looks like to carve out space for yourself when that space isn't automatically given to you. Our main character invites the audience into their house in South London, reflecting on what it means to be unclaimed by culture, and then moves into an imaginary found home.

The story is told through movement, song and storytelling, harnessing each cast member's unique styles to give Anashe's character many shades and colours. As the show's playwright and director, I'm using this show as an opportunity to spend time with some of my beloved collaborators and make funny shapes with them. We might also form a mythical sovereign nation.

What are three words that describe some of the feelings that Housewarming evokes?

"Profoundly Healing Silliness".

The methods of storytelling we're using leave a lot to the imagination, but Anashe's words guide us through an introspective journey. As a character, they can be a bit "navel-gazey": a bit self-centred, and that's where the silliness emerges because we can't always take their lyrical ruminations seriously. We're filling that space with a sensorially fulfilling experience that awakens our own spiritual positionality in relation to home and the spaces we occupy.

What is it like to construct one character with five performers?

It's a delightful challenge! The purpose of splitting one character between five performers was to give Anashe separate bodies to mark different points in their evolution as a character. We all carry many different people within us, and the person at the surface can shift regularly in moments of great change and self-discovery. We're lucky to have a cohesive and collaborative ensemble, who work together as a unit whilst still giving their individuality space to breathe.

Our Love. Our Life. Our Family presented by Underground BarZ

24 - 26 October, 7.30 PM

Tell us about the show!

Honestly, it's a show like no other. It began on a spontaneous summer night in 2021 inside a living room. Chloe Carterr and Malik attended a poetry night and decided to let the evening continue at Malik's home. We brought back people we knew and complete strangers- we love living in spontaneity! The gathering turned into an intimate poetry night. It later transitioned into more poetry house parties, a poetry summer BBQ and even a poet's beach day in Margate. In the summer of 2022, this seamless blend of concert-level professionalism and living room intimacy manifested into what is now Underground BarZ, and each event has character, energy and talent.

Each show has been held at different locations ranging from collaborations with Stratford Westfield, BMT HUB, Fashion Meets Music Collective and more. Each location is warm and emotive, and the open-minded audience gives a warm space for people to be vulnerable while sharing their work, which only adds to the charm of the event.

How might performing industries ensure underground talents are showcased?

There are many ways to make sure this happens. One of our methods is to maximise visibility not only through physical shows but also through social media, too (see ours: @UndergroundBarz)! We show active support for performers daily, checking in with performers before and after a show, asking for feedback, and even sharing upcoming projects! Performers Archived Ade and Joshua Alexander did a performance of their joint upcoming EP "Southside Eulogy" as a surprise act for our audience at last month's show!

What will an audience member experience at a night with Underground BarZ?

Not just what they want to hear but what they need to hear. Underground BarZ events aren't just poetic; they are prophetic. Underground BarZ is an immaculate collection of intimate space, vulnerable performances, authentic vibes and delicious food.

Come open to meeting new people and appreciate what you hear.

Young Gifted and Black season at Theatre Peckham 3 October - 2 November


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