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How Nigeria Became

29 Oct

A Unicorn production


Written and directed by Gbolahan Obisesan

9 October –  9 November 2014
Unicorn Theatre , 147 Tooley Street, London SE1 2HZ

An exceptional play with great acting, humour throughout, wonderful characters and a unique insight into how Nigerian became a country. This production is perfect for half-term. Highly recommended for children over the age of eight, and also for adults who want great theatre entertainment.

How Nigeria Became_Unicorn TheatreThe play is set in 1914, one hundred years ago exactly, and Nigeria is about to be formed. Herbert and his feisty troupe of female actors are preparing to stage a story for the British Governor and his wife.

The story of the Spear of Shango is about a brave young woman who must use her strength and agility to save her father’s kingdom. But there’s a problem, the story doesn’t quite fit with the governor’s vision of a united country…

This lively and vivid comedy offers an original insight into Nigeria’s beginnings in 1914 and commemorates the centenary of Nigeria.

How Nigeria Became is written and directed by the award-winning Gbolahan Obisesan whose directing credits include most recently We Are Proud to Present (Bush Theatre), Pigeon English (Bristol Old Vic/Edinburgh) and Feast (Young Vic). His play Mad About the Boy played at the Unicorn following being awarded a Fringe First for Best Play at the Edinburgh Festival in 2011. Gbolahan also won the Jerwood Directors Award at the Young Vic in 2009 with his acclaimed production Sus.

The cast are Rita Balogun, Tunji Falani, Stephanie Levi-John, Rebecca Omogbehin and Christian Roe.

Set and Costumes designed by Rajha Shakiry
Lighting design by Azusa Ono and sound by Donato Wharton
Movement direction by Diane Alison-Mitchell

For ages 8+
Duration: Approx 1 hr 15 mins


Box Office: 020 7645 0560
Twitter: @unicorn_theatre

Under 21s £10
Concessions £13
Adults £16
School groups of 10+ one teacher free for every 10 pupils
Disabled customers May bring 1 free for carer

10% OFF when you book for two shows.
15% OFF when you book for three shows.
Cannot be booked with a family ticket; must be booked together; cannot be used in conjunction with another offer; excludes previews; subject to availability.
20% OFF when you buy 4 tickets.
(must include at least one Under 21 ticket and one adult ticket, no concessions)




British-Nigerian hit comedy opens in cinemas 10th October!

3 Oct

Gone Too Far!

dir. Destiny Ekaragha

Critically acclaimed comedy opens in cinemas nationwide on 10th October 2014!

Gone Too Far poster

Gone Too Far! tells a quintessentially British-Nigerian story. A must-see, receiving high praise by cinema-goers and the industry.

Named Best New British Comedy at the LOCO London Comedy Film Festival 2014 and dir. Destiny Ekaragha was nominated for Best Newcomer at the BFI London Film Festival in 2013. It was also named Best Independent Film at the influential Screen Nation Awards 2014.

Based on the Olivier Award-winning stage play by Bola Agbaje, first performed at The Royal Court, the warm, sparky Gone Too Far! is the feature debut of director Destiny Ekaragha and follows two estranged teenage brothers over the course of a single day as they meet for the first time, and struggle to accept each other for who they are.

GTF_Destiny_and_Bola_Production_shotWhen London teenager Yemi’s big brother Iku comes to live with him from Nigeria, his terrible fashion sense, broad Yoruba accent and misplaced confidence with the opposite sex threaten to destroy Yemi’s already limited street cred.

But when they’re forced to spend the day together on their Peckham estate, Yemi is forced to confront local bullies, the girl of his dreams and his own African heritage, and eventually together they learn the values of family and self-respect.

“Low-key, low-budget, high-intelligence, this is precisely the kind of film London ought to be producing.” **** Tom Huddleston, Time Out

Gone Too Far film clip imageThe film features an exciting and up and coming cast, including Malachi Kirby (Offender, My Brother The Devil) and Nigerian actor O.C. Ukeje, currently appearing in Half of a Yellow Sun alongside Chiwetel Ejiofor. Also starring are Shanika Warren-Markland (Adulthood,; Tosin Cole (Second Coming, Hollyoaks); Adelayo Adedayo (Some Girls); Golda John and comedian and presenter Eddie Kadi.

Check out the photos from the amazing film premiere!

Gone too far (27)Gone Too Far PremiereGone too far (24)

You think you know Fela, you have no idea!

10 Sep


dir. by Academy Award Winner Alex Gibney 

Out now in cinemas across the UK

Out of Africa review by Agnes Kuye


Finding Fela Dogwoof Documentary 6Finding Fela is a must see documentary depicting Fela Kuti’s life brilliantly narrated by family, friends, business associates and all who loved him. From Fela’s youth days growing up in church to performing with his band Koola Lobitos, Africa & 70 and then Egypt 80. Featuring fantastic unseen footage and visuals of  Fela on his spiritual and political music journey  through life .

Fela Kuti is an important part of Nigeria’s history often relentless and unafraid of his oppressors. A true man of the people, the more he was chastised the more powerful his music became. From the portrayal of the legendary  AFRO beat musician  it is easy to see he was 30/40 years ahead of his time.

Throughout the documentary I felt I was on an emotional roller coaster  often comical, immensely  sad at times, angry but mostly empowered and  proud .

There are some great narrations from Seun, Yeni & Femi kuti, Ghariokwu  Lemi, Rick Stein, Tony Allen, Dele Sosimi, Sandra Izsadore and many  more.

Finding Fela Dogwoof Documentary 7AFRO beat is protest music, we all know this but Finding Fela gives you true meaning  to when, where and why  these iconic songs were birthed.

I am a die hard Fela fan and I was amazed at this in-depth,  powerful  and profound film.

MUSIC IS FOR REVOLUTION!!!  The long list of FELA’s music documented in the film can make any musician feel inadequate. Classical African music is my preferred terminology for Fela Kuti’s music as revealed  in the film.

Fela is our Hero and Legend, the greatest musician to come out of AFRICA.

You don’t have to be a Fela fan or even know Fela’s music to see this film. MUSIC  IS THE WEAPON

Fela Kuti – Reference Links


Fasten your shackles and be delighted and discomforted

20 Oct

The Colored Museum

Presented by Talawa Theatre Company

Runs until – 23 October 2011
Victoria and Albert Museum, Lecture Theatre
Written by George C. Wolfe
Directed by Don Warrington

Book Here: 020 7942 2211 /

This really is a must-see and a unique piece of art, the creativity and talent revealed in this play and cast are…unbelievable!!!

“The Colored Museum” is a seriously funny satire that allows you to take a look at black culture from a very different angle, starting right from the slave trade. This play invites you to be as critical about the past and the present, whilst having the time of your life.

The play begins with “A trip across the Atlantic” and the cabin crew lovingly reminding you to “put your shackles on”. Once the plane arrives at its ‘destination’ the audience is taken on a journey through black history and identity.

This play exposes the common stereotypes and issues within the black community – such as; weave vs. natural, homosexuality, black faith and many more.

Whilst the themes in this play shock, it has an immense healing effect.

The fearless humor of this play will definitely leave you smiling on your way home whilst reflecting on your own environment and condition.

Interview with the cast members

The play features a set of multitalented actors who make this play, which was originally written in 1986, very relevant to 2011. I was really fortunate to find out from some of the cast members what drew them to the play and what advice they would give to aspiring young actors.

Why did you want to be part of this play?

Gbemisola Ikumelo: When reading the script, I was attracted by it being very versatile and offering a lot of artistic opportunities to perform.

Ashley Campbell: I think, I was convinced by its power to educate the black community.

What were the challenges you faced when rehearsing for the play?

Gbemisola Ikumelo: I faced some internal challenges. For instance, I realised that I did not like my own natural hair while the other two embraced their natural hair. But again, this allowed me to embrace the healing offered in being able to deal with and overcome this.

Alana Maria: The challenge lies within staying true to yourselves in a world that overwhelms you with stereotypes and prejudices about how you ought to be. The director wants to see you performing and not another version; he wants to see your style.

Ashley Campbell: Yeah, it’s about being raw and a willingness to be yourself as you’re constantly giving your all. It took me awhile but I now dare to be crazy and just as the play says, we have to embrace madness.

What makes a good actor?

Akiya Henry: Always being flexible and wondering what connects you with the role. While some people think, ‘Oh you are just playing a character’, you often reveal a lot of yourself which makes the play authentic.

See FELA! on the Big Screen

19 Dec

National Theatre Live: FELA!

Thursday 13th January 2011
Cinema’s across the UK

If you haven’t been able to catch the mind blowing, award winning musical Fela! Don’t worry, you can see it at your local cinema.

For your nearest venue and to book tickets, check out

Black International 3 – Panel Discussion: “Doing Business in Africa”

10 Nov

International trading

For Creatives who want to go global

Date: Wednesday, 17th November 2010
Time: 6.30pm – 9.30pm

The Gramaphone, 60-62 Commercial Street, London, E1 6LT
Cost: £5 (tickets can also be purchased on the door, please contact us to reserve your place).

A not to be missed, high level panel discussion and networking session for creative businesses and individuals to find out, what it really takes to do business in Africa.


Tune into BBC London 94.9fm this Sunday (14th Nov) and hear our very own Yemisi on Dotun Adebayo’s show talking about our “Black International” event and on going global to avoid the economic downturn –

Hear from successful Black Creative Entrepreneurs, providing their personal accounts and advice on:

Winning contracts in Africa

Setting up a business in Africa

Selling products in markets across the continent

The current climate for the Creative Industries across Africa


Nana Ocran, International Editor. Credits include Wings (Arik Air’s in-flight magazine), Arise Magazine and Time Out Nigeria, Lagos, Abuja and London.

Imruh Bakari, CEO of Savannah Mediaworks based in the UK and Savannah Films a successful independent production company based in Tanzania. Formally Festival Director of the Zanzibar International Film Festival from 1999 – 2004.

This discussion will be followed by a drinks reception for you to network with other Creative businesses. Music is being provided by Afrogroov and Afropop Live.

For further information:
T: 0207 193 4577

This programme has been produced by Hatch Events with funding from the European Regional Development Fund and Arts Council England.

‘Estate Walls’ by Arinze Kene – Watch the interview on Afrobuzz!

29 Sep

OMO LONDON: A festival of Nigeria in playwriting

Estate Walls is the main play of the OMO LONDON festival.

Afrobuzz on Vox Africa – visited the actors, director and producer to find out more about the production. This link also features exciting audience reactions.
Afrobuzz Visits Estate Walls | Voxafrica, La télévision Pan-Africaine.

The festival also features readings of new plays by London based Nigerian writers. These plays include “Fixer” and “Pandora’s Box”

“FIXER”, by Lydia Adetunji
Monday 4th October, 6pm
A contemporary tale of the struggles of Nigerian oil and militants

“PANDORA’S BOX”, by Ade Solanke
Monday 11th October, 6pm
A British-Nigerian mother in turmoil as she decides on whether to leave her streetwise teenage son in Lagos or return him to the ‘battlefields’ of inner London.

Venue: Oval House Theatre, 52-54 Kennington Oval, London SE11 5SW
Booking and Info:

The OMO LONDON festival runs until 11th October 2010 and is being produced by Oval House Theatre.

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