Tangle’s 2016 Art Commission by Adébayo Bolaji
Our 2016 art commission by multidisciplinary artist Adébayo Bolaji addressing human observation, race, the psychological and anthropological. >
A township theatre piece, I Have A Dream consisted of two new poetic works reflecting the themes of 2013’s Discovery Project, Dream Nation.
The first piece was a multi-authored collection of ten commissioned Shakespearean-style contemporary sonnets. Written by Inua Ellams, Chino Odimba, Pauline Walker, Tawona Sithole, Alia Bano, Paula B Stanic, Christopher Rodriguez, Rex Obano, Andrew Whaley and Louisa Adjoa Parker; each were inspired by Martin Luther King’s iconic speech.
For more information about I Have A Dream please email email@example.com.
Director is Anna Coombs. She has worked in London's West End, at Dublin's Abbey Theatre, with Peter Cheeseman at The New Vic, Stoke on Trent, at The Marlowe Theatre Canterbury and at The Oxford Playhouse. At Hall for Cornwall, Truro, she developed its producing, education and new writing programmes and directed Marlowe’s The Jew Of Malta with Joseph Mydell as Barabas – the first black actor to play a Marlowe protagonist in the UK. At HfC she produced RESPONSES (2007) ten original new plays in response to the English Renaissance, bricks & mortar (2008) with 40 African and European artists and Beach Combing (2009), 3 new plays at London’s Theatre503, and directed a number of new plays including BLOOD and Glass Heart by Victoria Field, Highfliers by Henry Darke and the first UK revival of Never Say Rabbit In A Boat by her friend and long time collaborator, the Cornishman Nick Darke, who died in 2005. This production was her tribute to Nick.
In May 2010 Anna took up an attachment at The National Theatre Studio, followed by a spell as resident director at NITRO. In 2011 she returned to The NT to direct Koa Odour Antony’s play Makmende Vies for President, in English, Sheng and Swahili, for The National Theatre African Playwriting Project. She has directed all of Tangle’s productions, most recently The Crossing (2012). She is a freelance casting director, specialising in African - Caribbean casting, a Research Associate in African Theatre at SOAS, University of London, and a Panellist for Yinka Shonibare MBE (RA)’s Guest Projects Africa.
We asked Anna to reflect on Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have A Dream’, the inspiration behind DREAM NATION. She says: '...it is interesting that the US Government were positioned to endorse the speech and that it was internationally broadcast. Somebody at The BBC in London had the foresight to capture Dr King's vision for change and this meant much to black people in the UK at the time. The speech marks the start of a period when bare faced oppression moved towards a small degree of support from the governing majority to the racial minority. My vision for change is that this often tokenistic and short term commitment to 'inclusion of blacks' should grow, through creativity, to a situation of genuine, interested enquiry about our post-racial nation in the UK. I would like this to lead to an ecology of genuine collaboration, advocacy and the championing of excellence, regardless of racial heritage.'
Musical Director is Allyson Devenish. As a native of Ottawa, Canada, Allyson began her musical career at the Conservatoire de Musique du Quebec followed by a B.Mus from Oberlin College (Ohio, USA), and at The Royal Academy of Music in London. She’s worked in live and recorded performance settings across Europe, Canada, the United States, and the Caribbean as well as in the UK.
Her credits as Musical Director include Looking At The Sun (BAC), Kismet (Arcola Theatre) and assisting on Porgy and Bess (Lisbon). She is currently an Artistic Associate and Music Director with Nitro and is the creative and directive force behind Nitrovox; an a cappella choir whose mandate is to commission and perform new works by black composers with a view to telling stories of the black experience. Allyson is the creator of syncopation, a chamber ensemble with the aim of researching and performing unknown, undiscovered and unheard music by black composers.
We asked Allyson to reflect on Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have A Dream’, the inspiration behind DREAM NATION. She says: ‘…reading the speech today, I’m taken by its continued relevance. There is sense of empowerment that applies itself to very different strata today. Fifty years ago, King asked for justice and equality to be made reality. While, in 2013, we are still pursuing this reality with regards to race, I wonder if today’s MLK would include “I have a dream my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, their religion, their sexual orientation, or their economic status, but by the content of their character”. There is still a long road ahead. But “we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.”
Patricia Cumper MBE, Inua Ellams, Chino Odimba, Pauline Walker, Tawona Sithole, Alia Bano, Paula B Stanic, Christopher Rodriguez, Rex Obano, Andrew Whaley and Louisa Adjoa Parker.
Directed by Anna Coombs.
Musical Director: Allyson Devenish.
Cast - Tangle Company 2013:
Segun Akingbola, Adebayo Bolaji, Sabina Cameron, Chipo Chung, Msimisi Affolderbach Dlamini, Tunji Falana, Sasha Frost, Shereena Glean, Karlina Grace, Akiya Henry, Beth Ita, Takunda Kramer, Sibusiso Mamba, Tonderai Munyevu, Michael Offei, Law Thompson, Trevor A. Toussaint and Stephanie Yamson.
Mbira and Trainee: John Pfumojena.
|‘I HAVE A DREAM’ TOUR SCHEDULE - 2014-15|
|21st November||Yinka Shonibare's Guest Projects|
|3rd February||Proteus Theatre|
|26th February||Tiverton High School|
|4th April||Wellington Arts Centre|
|30th April||Salisbury Arts Centre|