From 30 September to 6 November, Theatre Peckham presents its third season celebrating the voices and work of young Black artists in London.
The line-up champions a mix of experimental live theatre (focusing on new writing), film, poetry and discussion. Curated by Associate Director malakaï sargeant alongside Artistic Director Suzann McLean, this year’s programme of events, interrogates the themes of migration and belonging and brings together work from the brightest talent from London’s Black community.
Theatre highlights include new writing in the form of ‘OJÀ’ (The Market) by John Akinde which launches the season. Directed by Monaé Robinson and produced by Poetic Impact, ‘OJÁ’ explores unemployment, illegal immigration, and deprivation. Peppered with Afrobeat rhythms, this powerful story uncovers the impact of the black market on communities and the need to survive by any means necessary.
‘Voices of Black Folk: In Unexpected Places’ by playwright and historian Khareem Jamal, is an insightful and energetic retake of history, amplifying voices that have too often been overlooked, by reimagining iconic Black heroes throughout history meeting here and now. It is the latest instalment in Africology Productions’ Voices of Black Folk series, dedicated to shining a light on the forgotten rich history of Black voices across the UK and Europe.
Queer Nigerians Regi and Babs put their friendship to the test by planning to marry to fool the authorities in Annette Brook‘s insightful queer drama ‘how we love’. Gay investigative journalist Babatunde ‘Babs’ Okonkwo visits his lesbian best friend Regina ‘Regi’ Abengowe in Lewisham. With mounting pressures back in Nigeria, where homosexuality is illegal, and escalating dangers for their partners, Babs and Regi hatch a plan to get married with the help of Regi’s 89-year-old German Jewish neighbour and the ‘Mr & Mrs’ Board Game. They hope this ‘cover’ will stop the threatening rumours and allow Babs to expose the inhumane treatment of LGBTQIA+ people in Nigeria, especially in the north where being gay is punishable by death.
Poetry takes front and centre stage with international poet, acclaimed ‘Barber Shop Chronicles’ playwright and author Inua Ellams bringing, for one night only, his ‘Search Party’ to Peckham. Take part in a chaotic audience-led poetry show. Pick a word, any word. Prompted by audience suggestions, Inua Ellams will search through his extensive archive of work to perform a reactive and spontaneous selection. Each show is unique and special.
‘Pen-Ting:South’, a poetry and open mic night promises Hip Hop, politics and speaking truth to power. Poetic Unity (a Brixton-based charity) presents The Poetry Foyer, the first of their new monthly spoken word events, with some of the UK’s best young Black poets gracing the stage.
‘Response to …cake’ babirye bukilwa’s debut play’, ‘….cake’, is a raw and honest portrayal of family, roots and belonging, which received critical acclaim during its recent run as a fully staged production at Theatre Peckham. This timely, thought-provoking, and sensitive response piece by Theatre Peckham’s Repertory Company is a must for anyone who saw the hit show two months ago.
Obsidian Film Night. Stage and screen actor Simon Manyonda and artist Monaè Robinson present a film night like no other. It features the films by Black artists Blacula (1972) and Coffy (1973) with live response pieces from artists working with literature and performance. More than just a screening, this is an analysis of how the Hollywood era of entertainment has shaped the roles Black people play in entertainment and how this feeds into our social sphere.
Theatre Peckham’s Associate Director and YG&B curator malakaï sargeant said: “The third year of our Young, Gifted & Black season spotlights moments of movement. Platforming artists from all walks of life who are sharing distinct, nuanced stories reflecting on where we’ve come from, how we’ve migrated, what this means for us now and how this informs our Black future.”
Artistic Director Suzann McLean adds: “When I first launched the Young, Gifted and Black season at Theatre Peckham back in 2019 my hope was that it would grow as a festival which celebrates and honours the Black experience in the UK and all of the intersectionalities within. I am so proud that 3 years in, Theatre Peckham continues to embody a culture of possibilities, a space where voices are heard.”
‘OJÀ‘ by John Akinde
30 September – 2 October, 7.30pm, £15, £12 & £10 concessions
‘Voices of Black Folk: in Unexpected Places’ written and directed by Khareem Jamal
8 – 9 October 7.30pm £15, £12, £10 Concessions
Obsidian Film Night curated by Simon Manyonda and Monae Robinson
16 October 6 – 10pm £10, £8, Concessions
‘Search Party’ with Inua Ellams
26 October 7.30pm £5
27 October, 7.30pm, £10, £8 Concessions
‘how we love’ by Annette Brook
28 – 30 October 7.30pm £15, £12, Concessions
‘Response to …..cake’ directed by Toby Clarke
2 -3 November, 7.30pm, £10, £8 Concessions
Young, Gifted & Black season runs from 30 September to 6 November
Venue: Theatre Peckham, 221 Havil Street, SE5 7SB 020 7708 5401
For details of the full programme, please visit: www.theatrepeckham.co.uk