This is Black at The Bunker

Friday 19 July 2019

Fringe - New writing - Performing arts

A festival of world premiere theatre shows by four, new, exciting Black writers, will explore identity, hate crime and family relationships with alternating double bills - at The Bunker from 5 to 25 August 2019.
This is Black at The Bunker

Photos by Korey Ryan & Xanthus Ingram-Peters

The Bunker's Autumn 2019 season kicks-off with a curated festival called This is Black, which premieres theatre productions from four new Black writers.

Exploring identity, family relationships and universal struggles, the festival will showcase...

All the Shit I Can't Say to My Dad by Abraham Adeyemi

Blue Beneath My Skin by Macadie Amoroso

PYNEAPPLE by Chantelle Alle and Melissa Saint, and

Teleportation by Ronke Adékoluejo.

This is Black aims to support, encourage and celebrate Black artists, and to create a supportive fringe festival experience that existing platforms do not always successfully provide.

Friday and Saturday nights will also include a DJ set until late from Ashleigh Simone who has DJ'd events such as Sony Music Entertainment's International Women's Day Event, Boxpark Croydon Ree-Up Presents and Syco's Annual Summer Party at the V&A museum.

The festival will also feature a visual art exhibition curated by Sophia Tassew, an art director and creative who has curated a number of sell-out exhibitions with brands such as ASOS and Converse.

The exhibit will run every Sunday, highlighting the work of artists Amaal Mohamed, Sharon Adebisi and Taja Boodie in response to the stimulus, 'What does it mean to be Black in the UK? Past, present and future'.

Running from 5 to 25 August 2019, the festival productions will play in double bills as follows:

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 7.30pm

All the Shit I Can't Say to My Dad and Blue Beneath My Skin

Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, 7.30pm

PYNEAPPLE and Teleportation

Abraham Adeyemi's All the Shit I Can't Say to My Dad is a musical exploration of unresolved conflicts within a strained parent relationship, from differences of faith to absent fatherhood.

Through music, the relationships are analysed and unspoken truths surface.

Director Jade Lewis (Superhoe, Royal Court and Brighton Festival, Assistant Director for Nine Night, National Theatre and Trafalgar Studios) will bring the production to life, with casting yet to be announced.

Macadie Amoroso will both write and star in her one-woman debut, Blue Beneath my Skin, directed by established actor Janet Etuk (TAO of Glass, Royal Exchange Theatre; Love, National Theatre, Birmingham Rep and UK Tour).

Using her own experiences and poetic prose to capture the mixed-race experience of identity and knowing your heritage, Macadie explores the universal struggles of humanity - we can all feel blue regardless of race, gender, or ethnicity.

A debut from the SPYCE collective, PYNEAPPLE by writers Chantelle Elle and Melissa Saint, is a vibrant and humorous new play grappling with the stereotypes surrounding young black women.

Set in a London hair salon, shampoo and social conditioning get the theatre treatment as a group of women come together with difference voices but same shared experiences.

Directed by Abigail Sewell (The Lost Ones, Ovalhouse; Assistant Director for Pah-La, Royal Court Theatre; Things of Dry Hours, Young Vic) the cast includes co-writer Melissa Saint, as well as Amba Rose Mendy, Elise Palmer, and Odera Ndujiuba.

Differing cultures collide in the debut play Teleportation by actress Ronke Adékoluejo (Doctor Who, BBC; The Mountaintop, Young Vic) when a carer meets her new disabled companion, exploring how two polar-opposites can share a single spirit, question their prejudices and discover themselves through one another.

This will be directed by festival curator, Steven Kavuma (BOYS, Dalston Eastern Curve Garden; Assistant Director for Still No Idea, Royal Court Theatre), starring actress Antonia Layiwola.

This is Black curator Steven Kavuma commented ...

"As a writer and director, I have always wanted to go and showcase my work at the Edinburgh Fringe but have felt mindful of participating as I am aware of the mental and physical baggage it involves to be a Black artist presenting work in Edinburgh and other fringe theatre spaces which are often occupied by white people.

I have heard stories from friends about their experiences from racial profiling, racist comments and white audiences unwilling to take flyers for their shows.

It feels as though there is only space, time, money and resources for a particular kind of person in this industry, who is always given the license to make "edgy", "radical" and "experimental" work.

When we do make work and take ownership of spaces, it is often branded by some critics as "aggressive", "too loud", "too violent" and "not challenging enough".

As an artist, this annoys me but as a Black person making work, it displaces me in this industry and in this country.

I believe that Blackness is not one dimensional; it is layered, complex, beautiful, ugly, angry, loud, and everything more that is unsaid and with all the plays in this festival, we aim to offer audiences a varied depiction of Black stories.

With the DJ sets and exhibition, I hope this will begin to deconstruct how none or not regular theatregoers interact and engage with theatre."


The Bunker

53A Southwark Street

London SE1 1RU


5 to 25 August 2019

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 7.30pm:

All the Shit I Can't Say to My Dad and Blue Beneath My Skin

Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, 7.30pm:

PYNEAPPLE and Teleportation


Tickets are various prices.

Ten £10 tickets are available at each performance for under 30s.

Book here

Show of the month ticket offer ...

Buy tickets for School of Rock at the Gillian Lynne Theatre