Brixton’s new theatre will open its doors to the public on Thursday 24 February. It plans to become a “vital cultural beacon”.
Brixton House on Coldharbour Lane will present two international shows and a taster programme of activities until Saturday 5 March when the venue will open all areas including its café, bar and studios for hire.
The programme includes theatre, cabaret, comedy, dance, and film.
The theatre says it will promote five core values: “celebratory, collaborative, nurturing, radical and welcoming”.
The first season under artistic director Gbolahan Obisesan will include Mugabe, My Dad and Me by Tonderai Munyevu before it goes on a national tour.
The UK premieres of works by Ntando Cele, Trân Tran, and Alan Alpenfelt, as part of Pro Helvetia’s Swiss Selection Live, will also be part of Brixton House’s opening programme.
Hussina Raja’s Station is an interactive live-performance installation set in a traditional South Asian living room, combining film, music and performances that celebrate diasporic histories, heritage and culture.
The Body Remembers created and performed by Heather Agyepong and produced by Fuel, is an exploration of how trauma lives in the body, particularly for Black British women across different generations.
Housemates, is a two-week festival of works from new artists.
A Brixton House production, presented with HighTide in association with the Mercury Theatre Colchester, Kabul Goes Pop; Music television Afghanistan is a debut by actor/writer, Waleed Akhtar and is inspired by a true story of Afghanistan’s first youth music TV programme.
It explores the devastating effects of two young presenters taking on the political landscape while trying to build a new Afghanistan.
Rounding up the spring programme, Compagnie Babel’s, Fathers, created by Elise Chatauret and Thomas Pondevie and written using interviews, asks what roles and influence fathers have today.
The theatre will also present a season for families and young people including Butterflies presented by Tangled Feet and Half Moon; Aidy the Awesome by Gramophones Theatre company; Sound Symphony by with Oily Cart and Independent Arts Projects; Kid X by MHZ in association with Feral Presents; Rush: a Joyous Jamaican Journey by The Rush Theatre Company; and Black Voices: Celebrating Aretha Franklin.
Brixton House houses two studio theatres with reconfigurable performance spaces, several rehearsal rooms and multi-use meeting rooms, as well as a cafe and bar.
Gbolahan Obisesan said: “Brixton House will be a vital cultural beacon in Brixton and a home of creativity and expression for everyone.
“We want to attract, support, and inspire new artistic experiences that will develop our community solidarity and passion for social change in society.
“With this opening season, we focus on our family ties, because ours is a home where we acknowledge we are all connected and bound by our love of art and artists, propelled by our spirit of togetherness, whilst giving space to showcasing our creative bond and appreciation of human experiences.”
Inspired by the restored Nuclear Dawn mural on the side of Carlton Mansions by Brian Barnes MBE and Dale McCrea between 1981 and 1982. Brixton House has commissioned South London artist and illustrator Damilola Odusote to create a contemporary mural that speaks to and for a new generation of creatives finding beauty and stimulation all around us.
It is indicative of the energy of Brixton and the imaginative possibilities Brixton House hope to cultivate when people interact within the building.
Mugabe, My Dad & Me
24 February – 5 March; 29 March – 1 April
Written and performed by Tonderai Munyevu
Mugabe, My Dad & Me charts the rise and fall of one of the most controversial politicians of the 20th century through the personal story of Tonderai’s family and his relationship with his father. Interspersing storytelling, live music from a Gwenyambira (a female mbira player) and some of Mugabe’s most unapologetic speeches, this high-voltage one-man show is a blistering exploration of familial love, identity and what it means to return ‘home’.
17 – 31 March 2022
Station is an interactive live-performance installation set in a traditional South Asian living room, combining film, music and performances celebrating diasporic histories, heritage and culture.
Artist Hussina Raja shares a body of work focusing on migration and belonging, told through aural testimonies and a visual archive offering a retrospective on migrant experiences since the early 1950s to date.
Station includes works by poet/writer Zia Ahmed and a soundscape by musician Sarathy Korwar.
Accompanying the installation will be a range of curated events including live-music, artist talks and tours.
Supported by Genesis Kickstarter Award Fund, Film Hub North – New Directions Fund and Arts Council England Award.
24 – 26 February
Tangled Feet and Half Moon
A tale of friendship and adventures for young children
“I’ve got that funny feeling again… it’s a good thing, right?”
Three friends embark on an adventure to chase their butterflies away. They cross new seas to uncharted lands, on a journey filled with discovery. The only trouble is they are all worried about it!
Butterflies is an uplifting tale of friendship, courage and facing your fears, told using innovative staging, breathtaking physicality, touching humour and an original musical score.
This new version of the show, which toured to acclaim in 2018, features an updated storyline exploring how Covid has affected the anxiety levels and resilience of children.
It is a co-production between theatre ensemble Tangled Feet and Half Moon, the UK’s leading small-scale theatre company creating work for young people.
Swiss Selection – Live
8 – 12 March
Swiss Selection Live is an programme of work from three of Switzerland’s most dynamic artists supported by Pro Helvetia.
Proudly presenting the UK premier of works by Ntando Cele, Trân Tran, & Alan Alpenfelt, this showcase platforms some Switzerland’s most urgent and innovative artists in London.
Here & Now
Trân Tran and Cie Toast
10 – 12 MARCH 2022
Why do we come together in the theatre? To laugh? To be moved? To discover a story? Or, more trivially, to get value for money? In Here & Now Trân Tran, re-examines the pact between audience and performer, asking what ingredients you want in your show.
Trân Tran tries to fulfil the stated expectation of their audience, through this witty interactive show of possibilities, it’s never the same show twice.
Binaural Views of Switzerland
8 – 12 March
An audio-visual exploration into the impact of human activity on the Swiss landscape since 1863, when the pioneering British photographer William England made his grand tour of Switzerland, creating stunning stereoscopic photographs of over 150 locations.
Over a two-month journey, artist Alan Alpenfelt has re-discovered 30 of these locations, documenting the changes in their aspects and atmospheres, re-presenting them in his exhibition, using binaural sound recording and 3D photography.
His work highlights the stark contrasts between past and present by immersing the visitor in the sights and sounds of each environment, then and now.
Awareness of the effects of mass tourism, modern transport, climate change and industrial development dominates the exhibition, asking questions as to how resilience and conservation can somehow still be achieved.
10 – 12 MARCH 2022
Ntando Cele and Manaka Empowerment Productions
In this stand up Ntando Cele turns the tables on racism, as her alter egos Bianca White and Vera Black dissect prejudices and stereotypes.
Through comedy, music and film Black Off confronts an audience with their own perceptions.
Ntando Cele was born in South Africa and is based in Bern, Switzerland. Her work overturns the borders between physical theatre, video installation, concert and performance.
She combines music, text and video to recreate her own identity on the stage.
The Body Remembers
16 – 26 March 2022 (no performances 20, 21, 22nd)
Created and performed by Heather Agyepong
The body is an archive. It remembers everything – even the things that the head forgets.
Heather Agyepong’s powerful new solo performance The Body Remembers explores how trauma lives in the body, particularly for Black British women across different generations.
Through a relationship between the audience and artist, it creates a collective cathartic experience.
Created and performed by multidisciplinary artist and actor Heather Agyepong, The Body Remembers features interviews of Black British women in trauma recovery.
The performance is inspired by the therapeutic practice of Authentic Movement with Agyepong as The Mover and the audience as The Witness.
Featuring dynamic projections and an immersive soundscape which help the audience to re-discover the power of self-reflection as the start of recovery and healing.
Co-created by Imogen Knight (movement) and Gail Babb (dramaturgy), The Body Remembers creates a space for the audience and artist to attend to themselves and each other.
A festival of new work to celebrate the stories that independent artists and freelancers have created over the past two years. Brixton House hand over the keys to its housemates for two weeks to play and reimagine the theatre as a world of their own.
21 – 24 April
Saturn Returns is a “choreopoem” that explores the psychospiritual clashes produced in black people by the weight of history.
Big Girl Words
21 – 23 April
Ama, a young writer-performer, is trying to win a performance slot in a new theatre programme for marginalised voices.
She shows the producers snapshots of her character ideas for solo shows. Here we meet Miya – a nosey little girl who is always in the wrong place at the wrong time; broken-hearted Josephina, who finds a surprising new love interest; and Gabrielle, the oversharing North Londoner.
While showcasing her ideas, Ama is faced with a dilemma infused with micro-aggressions and family obligations.
Should she follow her moral compass or compromise to achieve her dreams?
Things I Can Laugh About Now
By Shakira Newton
Piece of Cake Theatre Company
26 – 29 April 2022
Girl is a British, working class, queer and mixed-race woman in her twenties.
Though she is youthful in years, her complex life experiences, also known as trauma, have led to her having an old soul. But having an old soul doesn’t always equal emotional maturity.
Comrades In The Dark
Brixton House and Caitlin Barnett Company
26 – 29 APRIL
An “exhilarating and visceral” portrayal of one man’s attempt to maintain his identity told through poetry, dance and Irish music.
By Carly Fernandez
City Lighthouse Theatre Company
26 – 29 April
Concha is a semi-autobiographical show that explores the queer experience and all of the glorious and messy things that comes with it.
I Miss Amy Winehouse
3 – 4 May
Suchandrika Chakrabarti would like you to join her in missing Amy Winehouse. – a show about nostalgia, the death of print media and partying hard.
For The Love Of A Primary Care Giver
3 – 5 MAY
Rosemary is about to make a speech at her mother’s wedding.
She’s not quite sure how to hit the right note as the relationship between Rosemary and her mother has been less than rosy.
As latent thoughts and feelings bubble up to the surface the audience realises that, maybe, the apple hasn’t fallen very far from the tree at all.
A one-woman show that tackles the emotions and motivations that shape a toxic relationship between mother and daughter.
3 – 6 May
Summer holidays in South London … Corey dreams of nothing but hanging around with his friends while ordering as much Morley’s as possible.
A raw and nostalgic coming-of-age story about growing up in South London.
Directed by Almeida Theatre Resident Director T D Moyo, Corey Bovell’s fast-paced, witty play tells a story about gentrification and the impact it is having on the lives of its youths.
Kabul Goes Pop: Music Television Afghanistan
11 – 29 MAY
By Waleed Akhtar
A Brixton House production, presented with HighTide in association with the Mercury Theatre Colchester
Inspired by a true story of Afghanistan’s first youth music TV programme, Kabul Goes Pop: Music Television Afghanistan, explores the devastating effects as two young friends take on the political landscape while trying to build a new Afghanistan.
Kabul Goes Pop brings us into a world post the US invasion that is complex, contradictory, and shocking – all to a soundtrack of early noughties pop.
Patricia Gets Ready (For a date with the man who used to hit her)
By Martha Watson
17 – 22 MAY 2022
Patricia has spent a year crafting a kick-ass speech while recovering from an abusive relationship.
But when she bumps into her ex on the street, and accidentally agrees to dinner with him that night, she has some big decisions to make: what to wear? What to say? And whether or not to go?
Join Patricia as she gets ready for the date; tells stories of her past, how it has affected her present, and looks honestly at her future
Elise Chatauret and Thomas Pondevie
5 – 17 July
How do we exist as fathers today? From doting fathers to pater familias, the Babel company investigates.
Created and written using interviews, Fathers opens the doors of French households from diverse immigrant background.
Two actors take on the stories collected and paint a series of portraits, weaving new discourses. Little by little, a question emerges: how can we imagine fatherhood outside of patriarchy?