By Constance Drugeot
We have gathered for you an extensive list of resources for anti-racism in British Theatre, from articles to read, plays to discover, videos to watch as well as black artists, creators and companies to know and follow.
I suggest you also follow @WhatsOnStage for ways to act and donate in support of Black Lives Matter. They compiled great articles, videos and tools to educate ourselves.
- Black British theatre: 1950–1979: This article from the British Library brings to light the birth of Black British Theatre in the 1950s and introduces several of the most important black playwrights of the period, including Errol John and Wole Soyinka.
- Black British Theatre: Where are we now?: This article from ‘A Younger Theatre’ reflects on the changes in British theatre to be more diverse and how far there is still to go.
- Better, bolder, further to go: the decade in black British theatre: The Guardian highlights the voices of Black actors, writers, stage managers, producers and artistic directors about the changes on and off-stage in the industry.
- ‘We’re here!’ The black playwrights storming the West End: Another article from the Guardian celebrating Black playwrights Arinzé Kene and Natasha Gordon about the changes in the West End.
- Eclipse Report: Developing strategies to combat racism in theatre: The 2001 Eclipse conference follows a discussion on cultural diversity and the roles and responsibilities of regional theatres.
- ear for eye by debbie tucker green: Debbie Tucker Green’s play is available for free to read until September 2020. The play showcases how patience is running out when it comes to change for Black British and African American communities.
- How to avoid tokenism: Tarik Elmoutawakil from Marlborough Theatre discusses how arts organisations and programmers can improve inclusion without resorting to tick-box diversity and tokenism.
- Drama school racism: Students call out top schools and reveal stories of abuse: The Stage shares the stories of Black students from the UK’s top drama schools about the racism they faced while studying.
- An Open Letter from Mark Dakin: Royal Opera House’s Technical Director, Mark Dakin, condemns the silence of his organisation in an open letter: “Your silence is deafening”.
- Thought of the week: ‘O this learning, what a thing it is’: Shakespeare’s Globe has compiled a list of books, articles and podcasts with a particular focus on race within the playwright’s works.
- Drama Online Black Theatre Collection: A catalogue of plays written by black playwrights put together by Drama Online (accessible through Raven).
- Anti-racist Shakespeare: Professor Farah Karim-Cooper examines the racial meanings behind the language of light/dark and white/black used in Shakespeare’s England.
- Black Lives Matter: four plays that resonate amid the protests: Roy Williams, Rachel De-lahay, Justin Audibert and Charlene James select four plays that speak to our current situation in the world.
- Bush Theatre’ series “The Protest” in response to the killing of George Floyd: The Bush Theatre launched a series of short online works, collectively titled The Protest in response to the death of George Floyd. Members of the Bush Theatre used their voices together “in a myriad of ways that mirror the diversity within the Black community…”
- Watch West End stars perform in the #StandByMeChallenge: WhatsOnStage put together a collection of videos by West End performers singing ‘Stand By Me’ by Ben E. King, quoting Rosa Parks and calling for solidarity during a time when the mistreatment of Black communities has prompted mass rallies and protests across the world.
- National Theatre: National Theatre streams a set of shows for free on their youtube channel every Thursday. Plays like Small Island will be then available.
- Black Plays Archive: BPA: National Theatre offers a catalogue of the first professional productions of African, Caribbean and black British plays produced in Britain.
- Dear Mister Shakespeare: inspired by Shakespeare’s Othello: Discover this original piece by Phoebe Boswell which questions William Shakespeare about the racial tensions in Othello and explore how these anxieties resonate today. (Available through Digital Theatre Plus).
- Sounds – Raising the Bar: 100 Years of Black British Theatre and Screen: Lenny Henry presents a series of programmes tracing a century of black British theatre and screen.
- Julius Caesar – Illuminations: Directed by Gregory Doran and featuring an entirely black British cast, this adaptation relocates Shakespeare’s tale of power and corruption to post-independence Africa. Available on Digital Theatre Plus.
- Hamlet – Tara Arts: This was the first all-black cast production of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy in the UK. Q&A with the director follows the screening. Available on Digital Theatre Plus.
- Othello – Royal Shakespeare Company: Iqbal Khan’s adaptation of Othello was the first RSC production to cast a black actor as Iago, offering a new view on the racist themes within the play. Available on Digital Theatre Plus.
- Black Lives Matter: organisations and theatre companies to donate to and support: WhatsOnStage put together a list of organisations and companies to follow and support.
- Black Ticket Project: Black Ticket Project is creating cultural access points for Black young people across England, by building relationships between artistic institutions and communities that are often racially and socio-economically marginalised. They offer free tickets to shows, talks and exhibitions, organise free training and development opportunities and help people access these opportunities by helping with travel and accommodation costs.
- Turn Up London: Club 11 London organized an exclusive concert at Cadogan Hall with performers of color from the West End to Broadway designed to raise money for 4 black charities: The OKRA Projet, The Black Curriculum, UK Black Pride and The Bail Project. You can still donate to these organizations. Turn Up will be back in 2021.
- Black British Theatre Awards: Awards to celebrate Black British performers and artists as well as their impact on an international level.
- Talawa Theatre Company: Talawa Theatre Company is Britain’s foremost Black-led theatre company. Talawa was created in direct response to the lack of creative opportunities for actors from minority ethnic backgrounds and the marginalisation of Black peoples from cultural processes prevalent at the time of the Company’s inception.
- Black Theatre Live: Black Theatre Live is a useful resource for representing BAME companies, artists and tours all across the UK.
- Eclipse Theatre: Eclipse Theatre is the leading Black-led touring company in the UK, at the forefront of delivering diverse programming in theatre, film and radio.
- Tangle Theatre Company: Tangle is a touring theatre company championing African Caribbean artistic excellence.
- Black Lives Matter UK: @ukblm
- Lovers of Black Theatre: @luvblktheatre
- Black Theatre Club: @blcktheatreclub
- Black Ticket Project: @BTProject_
- Blacktress UK: @blacktress_uk
- Critics of Colour: @CriticsOfColour
- Alfred Fagon Award: @AlfredFagonAwrd
Black Theatre Companies:
- Talawa Theatre Co: @TalawaTheatreCo
- Black British Theatre Awards: @thebbtas
- Black Theatre Live: @BlackTLive
- Eclipse Theatre: @eclipsetcl
- Tangle Theatre Company: @tangletheatre
- Cambridge-based Bread Theatre and Film Company: @bread_film
- Arun Blair-Mangat: @arunblair
- Noel Clarke: @noelclarke
- Marisha Wallace: @marishawallace
- Nicole Raquel Dennis: @NicoleRaquel_D
- Kelly Agbowu: @kellyagbowu
- Billy Nevers: @NeversBilly
- Ashford Campbell: @CampbellAshford
- Gabriel Mokake: @gabrielmokake
- Tosh Wanogho-Maud: @TOSHEE
- Nathaniel Morrison: @NateMorrison012
- Aisha Jawando: @aisha_jawando
- Rodney Vubya: @RodneyVubya
- Idriss Kargbo: @idrissk
- Alex Thomas-Smith: @AlexThomasSmith
- Courtney Stapleton: @CourtneyJStapes
- Natalie Kassanga: @NatalieKassanga
- Ciara Harris: @ciaraalyse
- Melanie La Barrie: @melabarrie
- Marcus Collins: @MarcuscollinsUK
- Jeannette Bayardelle: @JBayardelle
- Alexandra Grey: @1alexandragrey
- Cameron Bernard Jones: @CBJarts
- Claudia Kariuki:@Claudia_Kariuki
- Alexia Khadime: @alexiakhadime
- Sandra Marvin: @sandramarvinuk
- Cedric Neal: @iamcedricneal
- Trevor Dion Nicholas: @astonishingtrev
- Jay Perry: @MrJayPerry
- Sharon Rose: @SharonRoseLive
- Jordan Shaw: @jordanshawuk
- Danielle Steers: @DanielleSteers
- Obioma Ugoala: @ObiomaUgoala
- Layton Williams: @LaytonWilliams
- Saffron Coomber: @CoomberSaffron
- Adelle Leonce: @AdelleLeonce
- Clare Perkins: @ClarePerkinsBBC
- Kwame Kwei-Armah: @kwamekweiarmah
- Roy Williams: @royboywilliams
- Arinze Kene: @arinzeingwekene
- Tobi Kyeremateng: @tobikyere
- Bridget Manimore: @bridgetminamore
- Sharla Smith: @Sharla1_Smith
- Shanaé Chisholm: @rihmariec
- Lynette Linton: @LynetteLinton
- Michael Buffong: @MichaelBuffong
- Winsome Pinnock: @winsome_pinnock
- Tiata Fahodzi: @tiatafahodzi
- Bola Agbaje: @bolaagbaje