On Tiata Fahodzi by Archie Graham (Chair – Tiata Fahodzi)

29 Jul

Tiata Fahodzi’s proudly declared mission is to produce African theatre for an all-inclusive British audience. From its earliest days the company has resisted being shunted off exclusively into the margins of niche programming. Whether deploying guerilla tactics or brazenly walking in through the front door, the company has fought to bring its unique aesthetic to the widest possible audience. Often this involves planting ourselves in a ‘mainstream’ venue and allowing our work and our wonderful, enthusiastic followers to refresh the venue’s artistic and audience profiles.

Last year Tiata Fahodzi achieved a small miracle at the Almeida Theatre in Islington (London). Over the week of its festival of new African plays and music – Tiata Delights 08 – over 70% of the audience was new to the Almeida. Such was the success that Tiata Fahodzi was invited back by the theatre’s management team and we return for three performances ONLY of Michael Bhim’s new Zimbabwean thriller, The Golden Hour (29-31 July, 7.30pm) and a Concert of African Music (1 August, 8pm) headlined by the thrilling Ugandan big band the Ganda Boys.

What’s impressive about the Tiata FahodziAlmeida Theatre partnership is that it is allowing experiment and investment in new work. Michael’s The Golden Hour was only commissioned last year and will reach the stage as one of our popular ‘performance readings’. After only a few days of rehearsals the cast and creative team will buzz with the excitement and enthusiasm of fresh discovery and creativity. Tiata Fahodzi is well reputed for its Nigerian plays but it’s not always realised that the company aims to serve all of the continent of Africa.

We are hoping to reach new audiences and unveil new possibilities through The Golden Hour which examines the dangers and struggles Zimbabweans can face as they try to adjust to life in the UK. The piece unsettles us with the timeless question: do you ever truly belong where you’re in the minority? Michael’s writing is a compelling mix of sparkling dialogue and thoughtful poignancy.

The Concert on Saturday 1 August widens the geographic reach as we embrace Uganda, Sierra Leone (teenage harmonica virtuoso Leon Maddy) as well as Nigeria (Ayo-Dele Edwards singing with the guitar of Femi Temowo and fusion rap vocalist BREIS with talking drummer Richard Olatunde Baker). Above all, the concert will reveal a cohort of rising stars set to shake the music world. It’s the main launch event for the Ganda Boys and their 16 piece ensemble. Ayo-Dele is introducing a new sound and Leon Maddy and BREIS are emerging artists on the brink of mass fame.

More than 20 artists on stage, a two-hour extravaganza, all woven together by Tiata Fahodzi’s Artistic Director Femi Elufowoju, jr and all for less than £20.

 http://www.almeida.co.uk/tiatafahodzitemp.aspx

http://www.almeida.co.uk/tiataconcerttemp.aspx

http://www.tiatafahodzi.com

golden hour 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Archie Graham for Out of Africa.

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