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Talawa Theatre Company to open the Talawa Studio at Fairfield Halls with Run It Back

RUN IT BACK-Talawa Theatre Company-Cast from the 2019 production-Image by Sanaa Abstrakt.
RUN IT BACK-Talawa Theatre Company-Cast from the 2019 production-Image by Sanaa Abstrakt.jpg

Talawa Theatre Company will be opening the Talawa Studio at Fairfield Halls with a revival of their sell-out show Run It Back. Conceived and directed by Coral Messam, created with Gail Babb, and devised by TYPT:18, Run It Back brings rave to theatre, exploring how Black British music liberates, connects and divides while fighting to stay alive in the face of disappearing spaces and changing legislation.

Set in an explosive club night, Run It Back immerses the audience in Black British club culture with dance, physical theatre and a live set from DJ and turntablist Psykhomantus.

A disused warehouse. A party rages. Distorted bass pulses through the streets, calling the ravers in. Lost in the music and dripping with sweat, they surrender to the DJ’s game. Bring your rags and flags for a night of theatre powered by grime, bashment and afrobeat.

Talawa Theatre Company’s Artistic Director, Michael Buffong, said: “For 34 years Talawa Theatre Company has been an essential platform for Black creative talent creating fresh, innovative and unapologetic work. Run it Back is an example of just such a story – vital and dynamic, telling the story of Black British culture in the here and now. Talawa’s new home is providing space for new stories that will fill the next chapter of Black British theatre history for audiences everywhere.

TYPT alumni include Michaela Coel (E4’s Chewing Gum and The Aliens, Channel 4’s Top Boy and Home, National Theatre), Nonso Anozie (HBO’s Game of Thrones, CBS’ Zoo and Disney’s Cinderella), Shanika Warren-Markland (Noel Clarke’s Adulthood, Brotherhood and 4321 and BFI’s Gone Too Far!), Sandra Thompson-Quartey (Artistic Director High Rise Avenue Theatre Company and Talent Agency), Femi Oguns MBE (Director of The Identity Drama School), Natasha Marshall (Talawa Theatre Company, Soho Theatre and Channel 4’s Half Breed).

Originally created by TYPT 2018, Run It Back’s performance coincides with the relaunch of TYPT as an intensive programme for young Black theatre makers over an extended period. Previously run as a summer school culminating in a devised production at the end of one month, TYPT will now run from April – December each year, enabling a larger cohort to take part in on and off stage roles to devise a new production.

TYPT applications from aspiring Black artists and theatre makers aged 18 – 25 will open at the end of January. The new nine-month TYPT schedule will enable artists to learn from established performers and directors as well as from leaders in off stage fields such as writing, stage management, lighting, sound and set and costume design.

Participants in the relaunched TYPT will be supported to build peer networks and deepen their engagement with the theatre industry, giving them the platform to create bold new work which grows the diverse audiences of the future.

Having taken up residence in September 2019 within the redeveloped Fairfield Halls in Croydon, Run It Back celebrates the opening of Talawa Studio, Talawa’s first on-site R&D and performance space since 1995. As well as allowing the company to develop and premiere new work, the space operates as a central hub for Black artists.

As a development of its community outreach programme, Talawa Theatre Company is pleased to announce its participation in C3: a three-year Croydon Youth Arts training programme. As a delivery partner, Talawa Theatre Company will support young people and partner organisations to deliver life-changing opportunities for young people in Croydon.

Talawa Theatre Company is the most successful Black theatre company in the UK. They have established a track record of producing work which shines a spotlight on Black artists, creating theatre for diverse audiences across the country. Mounting more than 80 productions over their 34-year history, their current production, Run It Back, opens the Talawa Studio at Fairfield Halls. Later in 2020, Talawa are co-producing Archie Maddocks’ debut play A Place for We with Park Theatre. The Tide was a 2019 collaboration with Breakin’ Convention, Greenwich & Docklands International Festival and Talawa’s first exclusively outdoor production. Also in 2019 Talawa’s co-production of Superhoe by Nicole Lecky played at the Royal Court. Other recent productions have included collaborations with Soho Theatre for Natasha Marshall’s Half Breed; Royal Exchange Theatre for Guys & Dolls, King Lear (in association with Birmingham Repertory Theatre) and All My Sons (Royal Exchange Theatre, UK tour); Girls by Theresa Ikoko (co-production with Soho Theatre, HighTide).

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