Theatre can often seem like a medium for the older wealthier white middle class. It’s unsurprising when theatre usually represents and reflects their stories over others, making it alienating experience for everyone else. But here’s a list of shows to watch out for in 2018 that centre the voices of people of colour, not only through the casting, but also in writing and direction. Good theatre can be inclusive, and seeing it doesn’t have to break the bank.
The Brothers Size – photo by Marc Brenner
The Brother’s Size – Young Vic Theatre
Known for their diverse plays, the Young Vic brings us The Brother’s Size from the writer of the award-winning drama Moonlight. The play follows two African-American brothers who come together through Yoruba and song. You can buy tickets for as cheap as £10 here.
Hamilton – image via WestEndTheatre.com
Hamilton – Victoria Palace Theatre
After starting out as spoken word piece at a poetry jam in the White House to a sell-out run on Broadway and now the West End, Lin-Manuel Miranda brings us Hamilton. It’s the story of the founding fathers of America and more importantly a story of immigration all through the medium of hip hop. Expect fresh new young talent in the West End run, with this being some actors first professional debut. You may have to sell all your earthly possessions to see this but it’s worth it. Alternately, try entering their £10 ticket lottery here.
Black Men Walking – image via Culturewhisper.com
Black Men Walking – Royal Court
The Eclipse Theatre Company and Royal Exchange Theatre co-production follows three black men on their monthly walk. This time the men walk and talk through black British history. Find out more about the play here.
For A Black Girl – image via VAULT
For A Black Girl – Vault Festival
For A Black Girl is a semi-autobiographical reaction to racism and sexism in the UK told by two actors with almost 60 characters. Expect to see “one man’s story of going bra-less” and “a comprehensive guide of what NOT to do during Never Have I Ever”. For A Black Girl is part of the theatre festival, Vault where you catch a plethora of new work. Tickets are £11.50 and can be purchased here.
Barber Shop Chronicles – image via National Theatre
Barber Shop Chronicles – National Theatre / Fuel Theatre
After a two-time sell-out run in the Dorfman Theatre, the hugely successful Barber Shop Chronicles will be embarking on a world tour stopping off in Australia and New Zealand. Based loosely on Inua Ellam’s essay in The Good Immigrant, the sell-out run proves that we desperately need to hear the stories of black people in some of London’s bigger theatres. Although the British run has ended now, keep your eyes peeled for international dates.
When The Lights Go Out – image via Ovalhouse
When The Lights Go Out – Ovalhouse
Written and directed by Makalla McPherson, When The Light Goes Out, is about a first generation immigrant and his son. Wallace yearns to return to his home in Jamaica but he’s having trouble persuading his son, Nathan to join him. You can get early bird tickets for as cheap as £5 here.
The Great Wave – image via The National Theatre
The Great Wave – The National Theatre
The Great Wave is the new epic from Francis Turnley set in Japan and North Korea. It follows the story of sisters Hanako and Reiko, one of which survives a storm and the other who gets lost at sea. You can find tickets here, and if you’re under the age of 25 make sure to sign up to the National Theatre’s Entry Pass, which gives you access to £7.50 tickets.
JOY – image via Vault Festival
JOY – Vault Festival
JOY is set in the aftermath of an S&M party whilst the protagonist Joy tries to piece together her night. The play stars Dina Gordon who is the writer and co-founder of the theatre company, all good artists are dead. Tickets are £9.50 and can be bought here.
Nine Night – image via The National Theatre
Nine Night – The National Theatre
Based on the traditional nine nights of grieving that many Caribbean communities observe, comes a new play by Natasha Gordon. After Gloria’s death, her children and grandchildren struggle with the nine-day long wake. Although tickets have currently sold out, more tickets are being released in January and can be found here. And if you miss out on tickets, the National release £20 tickets on Fridays.
Timbuktu – image via Stratford East
Timbuktu – Stratford East
A part of Gerry’s STRONGER THAN FEAR FESTIVAL, Timbuktu takes on important topics of black masculinity, manhood and the economic inequality facing black men. It’s through the eyes of four black men after a murder on a council estate. You can by £12 tickets for the show here.
So Many Reasons – image via CP Theatre
So Many Reasons – Camden People’s Theatre
Told through the lens of a first generation British-Ghanian woman, So Many Reasons tells the story of the influence mothers have on our perspective of the world. The play is a part of Calm Down Dear, which is a three week long festival of feminist performances. Find out more about the festival and buy your tickets here.