Young, Gifted and Black at Theatre Peckham

This October, Theatre Peckham, will be launching its 4th edition of Young, Gifted & Black.

Established by CEO/Artistic Director Suzann McLean in 2019, this edition has been curated by Associate Director Phillippe Cato, and celebrates people from the African diaspora through a variety of artforms.

Ten events across five weeks, including theatre, spoken word, dance and comedy, explore themes such as identity, friendship, loss, self-discovery and Black womanhood.

Highlights include two dramas by playwright, director and performer Tatenda Shamiso. His sold out solo show No ID, a highlight of Peckham Fringe, returns for a three night run on the main stage. It’s a tender autobiographical play about a black transgender migrant arriving in the UK while Housewarming, its sequel, incorporates a cast of five characters and is staged as a more physical form of theatre.

Edi De Melo’s Mulatto Boy is a funny, bold, one man odyssey which questions what it is to be Black and British. Staged in the round, audiences will be up close to the action in this multi-rolling performance rooted in West African theatrical practices and Angolan music and traditions. 

Ellipsis, by Tambo Silavwe, delves into the seldom explored and sensitive subject of child loss. Tapping into the powerful emotions of strength and resilience, the show takes takes audiences on a journey reflecting the joys and lows of maternity.

Two events showcase experimental performance across the artforms. Underground Barz, a hyper local scratch night collective present Our Love. Our Life. Our Family and invite 10 artists across three nights to respond to a theme and share ideas, while Culture Drip offers emerging creatives from comics to musicians and spoken word artists, a stage for one night, encouraging them to follow their passions and hone their skills in front of a live audience. 

Friendships take centre stage in both Innocent Means Not Guilty and One Way Out. The former, a comedy drama written by India Wilson explores Black female friendships studying in higher education and what that means while the latter is a touching and inspiring story of identity, brotherhood and belonging. This powerful drama is written and directed by Montel Douglas and returns after its successful scratch performance in 2021.   

In The Key Of Love rounds off Young, Gifted & Black with a stunning visual performance across two nights by artist and singer Kaia Laurielle. This show pushes the boundaries of storytelling, combining multi-disciplinary artforms such as audio, visual and live performance with R&B and Soul inspired songs, to explore themes about home, belonging, displacement and self-love. 


Tatenda Naomi Matsvai’s Dark Matter, combines quantum physics and Zimbabwean cultural cosmology in a playfully musical Afrofuturist grieving ritual.

Young, Gifted & Black also includes a series of conversations and concerts with special artists and friends of Theatre Peckham. 

Associate Director and YG&B curator Phillippe Cato comments: “This year’s season is about championing and supporting artists in the presentation of new work, expanding upon existing work, and developing their creative practice. My hope is that audiences and the industry engage with the experiences that these artists share in each of their shows, on both a personal and wider societal level. The talent is here, and we’re doing the work that needs to be done – now it’s time for them to be given further recognition, amplification and celebration.”

Suzann Maclean photo by John Yabrifa

Artistic Director Suzann McLean adds: “Our Young, Gifted & Black season is now a perennial favourite, firmly embedded in our programme, showcasing the ‘voices’ of countless young Black artists across multiple artforms. It provides a valuable, accessible platform, a safe space to respond, reinvent, experiment and feel empowered. As we head into our fifth season, I hope audiences who see this year’s curated events will feel truly uplifted and inspired by the dynamism of these young artists”

Programme Details

No ID written and performed by Tatenda Shamiso 3 – 5 October, 7.30pm

Dark Matter written by Tatenda Naomi Matsvai 7 – 9 October, 7.30pm

Ellipsis written by Tambo Silavwe 10 – 12 October, 7.30pm

Innocent Means Not Guilty written by India Wilson 14 – 6 October, 7.30pm

Mulatto Boy written by Edi De Melo 17 -19 October 7.30pm

Housewarming written by Tadenda Shamiso 21 – 23 October, 7.30

Underground Barz presents Our Love. Our life. Our Family  24 – 26 October, 7.30pm

Culture Drip curated by Adeolu Banjo 27 October, 7pm

One Way Out written by Montel Douglas 28 – 30 October, 7pm, 4pm on Sunday

In the Key of Love performed By Kaia 1 – 2 November, 7.30pm 


Young, Gifted & Black runs from 3 October to 2 November in Theatre Peckham, 221 Havil Street, SE5 7SB. 

Box Office: Tel: 020 7708 5401

For details of the full programme, please visit: