Theatre Peckham’s reopening season showcases the voices and work of young Black artists in London
Following six months of closure, Theatre Peckham, celebrates its reopening with a multi-artform programme of socially distanced, in-person and digital events, taking place throughout October and into November. The line-up features theatre, new writing, spoken word, poetry, scratch nights, panel discussions, workshops, seminars and exhibitions. Curated by Associate Director malakaï sargeant alongside Artistic Director Suzann McLean, more than ten events, spread across five weeks, shine a light on the experiences of London’s Black community.
Theatre highlights include …cake a brand-new play by Women’s Prize for Playwriting 2020 finalist babirye bukilwa, and Scratch That, an evening featuring two pieces of new writing directed by Emily Aboud and Anthony Simpson Pike, performed to live audiences. cake is the second of a psychological thriller trilogy, which delves unapologetically into the heart of Eshe’s childhood, where power and duty battle in equal measure and asks if Black women are ever afforded youth and solace in a society that asks them constantly to perform.
cake is playing on 23 and 24 October at 7.30 pm. Ticket £12
A series of Young & Gifted Chats bring together Black artists, academics, educators and entrepreneurs to examine pressing themes for Black Londoners. The first panel chat centres around the Black British Business Boom during Covid-19 and is followed by Decolonising Education, chaired by writer, filmmaker, and former teacher Caleb Femi. These will be in-person panel events and also live-streamed.
The Black British Business Boom is on 9 October at 7.30pm £5
The discussion and Q&A will touch on Black Pound Day and its impact, creating a ‘Black economy’, Black people’s relationship with capitalism and the future of Black entrepreneurship.
Decolonising Education 16 October 7.30pm £5
A panel of Black people deconstruct what is on the syllabus and discuss whether and how Black people and their histories and culture should be included in the British schooling and higher education system.
The Lockdown Showcase by Poetic Unity, hosted by Ragz-cv 10 October at 7.30pm £3
For one night only, Brixton-based charity Poetic Unity bring together a line-up of spoken words artists. Poetic Unity use poetry as a tool to support young people and create positive change in their lives and in wider society. During the recent lockdown Theatre Peckham partnered with the charity to deliver digital programmes that encouraged young people to use poetry and spoken word as a vehicle to express their feelings. Over this period dozens of young people poured their emotions into heart-wrenching, honest and powerful spoken word pieces and refined their skills to become some of the next generation of emerging writers.
Five Pillars: Understanding Racism 21 October from 11am
Coinciding with Black History Month, Theatre Peckham announces the launch of a new branch of work using tools and techniques from the world of theatre and performing arts to deliver anti-racism coaching and training in the form of bespoke workshops for organisations in the cultural, public and private sector. Five Pillars: Understanding Racism is a taster event.
Exhibition highlights include the powerful and informative archival artwork Black British Figures which features Black Britons and their stories throughout the ages, by illustrator, editor and writer Varaidzo which runs until 4 November. This will be the first time these images have been on display outside the digital world.
Scratch That directed by Emily About and Anthony Simpson Pike on 4 November at 7pm from £10
A night championing new Black writing, showcases two new plays Highlife Romance and One Way Out by upcoming young writers Jacob Robert Mensah and Montel Douglas. Selected vignettes, will be performed, script-in-hand, and will give the writers an opportunity to test their work out in front of a live audience.
Commenting on the new season’s work, Artistic Director Suzann McLean said: “During the pandemic many theatres have been forced to close entirely but Theatre Peckham, despite seemingly insurmountable challenges, has been one of the few organisations to continue delivery. Being in lockdown has been tough on everyone’s mental health and the creative economy is well placed to provide respite. Our theatre is firmly rooted within its community and we are working hard to combat the fear that a high number of people from culturally diverse backgrounds will be forced to leave the industry, resulting in long-term loss and undoing the vital impact which we have made over the years. Showcasing the voices of young Black artists in London through this season will help reconnect us, bring hope, ignite imagination and inspire creativity.”
The Young, Gifted & Black season runs from October to 7 November
In Theatre Peckham, 221 Havil Street, SE5 7SD. Box Office: Tel: 0207 708 5401
For details of the full programme, please visit: www.theatrepeckham.co.uk