Tangle | African & Caribbean Theatre

International Theatre for Local People
Tangle is South West England’s African Caribbean Theatre Company. We celebrate the work of artists of African, Caribbean and more than 50 other heritages.

Towards The Sun, 2016-17

by Patricia Cumper MBE, Paula B Stanic, Louisa Adjoa Parker and Chino Odimba

Towards The Sun was a collection of four aspirational poems, newly commissioned from four of the UK’s leading female writers, based around four themes. In a difficult and changing world, Towards The Sun aimed to inspire people with the idea that they can still make a difference.

Towards The Sun explores dreams, change, hope and love, and their wider meaning. Written by Patricia Cumper MBE, Paula B Stanic, Louisa Adjoa Parker and Chino Odimba and presented in Tangle’s distinctive township theatre style, Towards The Sun was directed by Anna Coombs with A-capella song composed and arranged by Allyson Devenish.

Performed by Tangle Company 2016, our resident ensemble of African – Caribbean actor-singers, Towards The Sun premiered at Yinka Shonibare’s Guest Projects on Friday 28 November 2016 as part of our annual Tangle Café night before touring South West England between November 2016 and January 2017.

To engage with Towards The Sun click on the ‘media’ tab below for links to the discovery pack.

Towards The Sun was accompanied by its own FREE Discovery Pack containing interviews, extracts from the commissioned works, ideas for further exploration, a background on Tangle and its unique aesthetic and much more.

Click here to download the Towards The Sun Discovery Pack or email administrator@tangleinternational.com to request a printed copy.


Notes for Towards The Sun users

Check out the special icons on each page to get the most from the Pack.

For Teachers – the pack contains signposts to lesson plans, curriculum linked activities and links with Arts Award.

For Group Leaders – check out the activity pages for drama, writing, music and movement exercises to try with your own group.

For Individuals – there are guides to help write your own poem or simply discover more about Tangle Company, our influences and inspirations.

Written by Patricia Cumper MBEPaula B StanicLouisa Adjoa Parker and Chino Odimba

Directed by Anna Coombs

Musical Director and Arrangement: Allyson Devenish

Cast - Tangle Company 2016


Short Artist Biographies

Paula B Stanic - Writer

Paula grew up in East London. Work includes “What’s Lost” (2008 Alfred Fagon Award), “Pancras Boys Club” a promenade piece for 12 ex-offenders, co-written with Ben Musgrave & David Watson (Only Connect Theatre), “6 Minutes” Everything Must Go (Soho Theatre). “Monday” (Red Ladder) short-listed for the 2009 John Whiting award. Paula has written short plays for Soho, The Bush, Islington Community Theatre and Tangle Theatre Company. She was the 2010 Adrienne Benham writer-on-attachment at Theatre Centre. Her play for them “Under a Foreign Sky” ran at The Unicorn & toured schools & venues. She was one of the writers on “Blair’s Children” (Cockpit Theatre 2013) one of Soho Theatre’s 6 writers in residence 2012-13 and writer on attachment at The National Theatre Studio. She is currently working on pieces for Tangle & Blazon Theatre company and is one of Eclipse Theatre Company’s Revolution Mix writers. She is also working on ideas for screen with Actorshop & Pampaset Productions.

Patricia Cumper - Writer

Patricia Cumper is an award-winning playwright, producer, director, arts administrator and cultural leader who is a passionate advocate for the arts, particularly the BAME arts sector. She is also an experienced and articulate critic and commentator.

Her first play, The Rapist (1978), ran for six months, won an award and established her as one of Jamaica’s leading contemporary playwrights. Her first work to appear in Britain was The Fallen Angel and the Devil’s Concubine at the Almeida Theatre in 1989. She has written plays for both the stage and radio and more than sixty episodes of Westway, the BBC World Service radio soap as well as short stories and a novel, One Bright Child, in 1998. Patricia has won awards for her work in radio drama with the BBC, for both original series and adaptations of the work of among others Andrea Levy, Alice Walker, Zora Neale Hurston and Toni Morrison.

In 2002 her first play commissioned in the UK, The Key Game, was staged at the Riverside in London and was included in Time Out’s Critics Choice. Sweet Yam Kisses, was produced at the Ovalhouse Theatre in 2005. Chigger Foot Boys (2014) was commissioned by the Ovalhouse Theatre with the theme of ‘The Other 1914’. An anthology of three of her works, Inner Yardie: Three Plays, was published in 2013. It includes The Rapist, The Key Game and Benny’s Song, a reworking of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet told with Benny – Shakespeare’s Benvolio – at its heart.

From 1999 Cumper worked for the UK’s largest black-led theatre company, Talawa, as a writer, script reader, tutor and assistant director. She became artistic director of Talawa in 2006, producing ground-breaking work with partners including the West Yorkshire Playhouse, The Victoria and Albert Museum and English Touring Theatre. After overseeing their twenty-fifth anniversary season, stepped down in 2012

Chino Odimba - Writer

Currently, Chino is under commission for the National Theatre’s Connections programme. She is also one of the winners of the 2016 Channel 4 Playwright Scheme (formerly the Pearson), working on attachment with Talawa Theatre Company, and she is part of the Revolution Mix project with Eclipse Theatre Company, writing a play for the Bristol Old Vic.

Her script SCOTCH BONNET has been greenlit by the BBC for THE BREAK, a series of short films. Chino’s 30 minute play AMONGST THE REEDS, commissioned by Clean Break, opened at The Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh as part of the Edinburgh Festival 2016, followed by a run at The Yard Theatre, London in September 2016. Her play WILD IS DE WIND was shortlisted for the 2015 Bruntwood Prize, and she was a member of NW6, an invited group of writers working on a seed commission with the Tricycle Theatre over the course of a year.

Chino is also currently Writer on Attachment at Clean Break Theatre, London where she wrote a 10 minute monologue as part of a series of monologues with Laura Lomas, Deborah Bruce, Theresa Ikoko and Ursula Rani Sarma. JOANNE was produced for the Latitude Festival and Soho Theatre, performed by Tanya Moodie.

Chino’s previous work includes THE BIRD WOMAN OF LEWISHAM, a short play produced as part of the Story Project 2015 and performed at the Arcola Theatre, and HIS NAME IS ISHMAEL, a play commissioned when she was a writer on attachment at the Bristol Old Vic. She was also commissioned to write a script for the BBC iPlayer Shorts series.

Chino has previously been shortlisted for the Alfred Fagon Award and the Adrienne Benham Award, and she has collaborated on a variety of workshops, showcases and festivals.

Louisa Adjoa-Parker - Writer

Louisa is a writer of poetry, fiction and black history. She is of Ghanaian and English heritage, and has lived in South West England for over 30 years. She began writing to explore her feelings of difference. Her first poetry collection, Salt-seat and Tears, was published by Cinnamon Press in 2007 and was critically acclaimed by the likes of Selima Hill.

Louisa's poetry and fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies, journals and online publications including Wasafiri; Envoi; Coffee-House Poetry; Ouroboros; Ink Sweat and Tears; Sometimes (Cinnamon Press); Consequences; Toasted Cheese; The Pygmy Giant; PennyShorts; Fresh Ink: New Light (Oxford Waters); Out of Bounds (Bloodaxe); The Forward Book of Poetry; Kissing Frankenstein and Other Stories and Closure (Peepal Tree Press). She has been highly commended by the Forward Prize and short-listed by the Bridport Prize and the HISSAC Flash Fiction Competion.

Lousia has written several exhibitions and books exploring the presence of black and minority ethnic people in Dorset, including Dorset’s Hidden Histories; All Different, All Dorset; 1944 We Were Here: African American GIs in Dorset; and The World of East Dorset.

Lousis has performed her work extensively across the South West and beyond, and have delivered many creative writing workshops in a range of settings, including at schools, colleges, prisons and universities.

Anna Coombs - Director

Anna Coombs 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 Workshop Negative, 2016. 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.

Allyson Devenish - Musical Director

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.


Weds 09 Nov 2016 - Thurs 10 Nov 2016
Schools in Swindon with Prime Theatre
Fri 11 Nov 2016
Take Art - ‘Getting the Ball Rolling’ conference – Diversity in the Arts
Weds 11 Jan 2017 - Thurs 12 Jan 2017
Somerset with Take Art
Fri 13 Jan 2017
The David Hall, Somerset. Book Here >
Mon 16 Jan 2017 - Weds 18 Jan 2017
Schools in Devon with Beaford Arts


'͞Tangle were amazing.  The delivery of their performance poetry was second to none and their singing just beautiful!  With no props, staging or gimmicks the children were engaged, enthralled and entertained from start to finish.' Bob Buckley, Headteacher

'The acting was spectacular – it really set some memories in my mind.' Finley

'It was a very different performance to our normal theatres, actors and singing groups.  It was a great show to watch and listen to.' Katie 



'Beautiful, inspiring, hopeful and life changing.  Great poems, songs and performance.' Shelia Miles

'At first I was very struck by it’s relevance today.  Then I realised that the beauty of the piece was that it will have relevance at any time.  The poetry is beautiful.  It also reminded me of my relationship with my mother.  All of which gave me hope.'  Nyree Bryan 

'Just incredible.' Boutie Zizien



'1st time I have experienced Tangle – have heard about them for a long time.  Spine tingling!  I want tickets and feel I have to bring as many people as possible.' Ruth, Yeovil 

'Inspiring – technically accomplished.The kind of images and messages needed right now –interesting blend of musical forms across the centuries.'  Sharon, Langport 

'Beautiful and very talented – in the art of doing everything without props, lighting or other support.  Charismatic and necessary.' John, Somerset