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.


Everything Matters is a research project working in consultation with arts organisations across the South West to explore creative attitudes to African and Caribbean theatre.

During 2012 we interviewed arts organisations and artistic leaders from Cornwall to Wiltshire, asking them six big questions about the attitudes to African and Caribbean art,  and theatre making … in their organisation and local community.

This pioneering project has uncovered many interesting possibilities about the blocks and problems in engaging with each other fully and freely, particularly in rural locations.

In 2013 the research programme will roll out to four new rural communities across the UK, resulting in a further 20 interviews.

To read the Executive Summary of the Everything Matters project report from this study, click here.

For more information and to access the full PDF report contact artistic@tangleinternational.com

To read the Executive Summary of the Everything Matters project report from this study, click here.

We took part in Everything Matters; in its wake we keenly appreciate the need to continue momentum and work together to find new, practical arts opportunities to develop multi-racial work in Wiltshire. The opportunity to work in a collaborative and strategic way with Tangle to open up opportunities previously unavailable here in Wiltshire is excellentMark Powell, Associate Director, Salisbury Playhouse.

Everything Matters sets out a way forward for the region which places high quality contemporary BAME work at its centre. Tangle has enabled important first steps for communities in our area and we look forward to engaging further, offering support and expertise to help make projects a successMark Wallace, Director, Beaford Arts.

Everything Matters is an important signpost towards the development of multi-racial theatre in rural areas. We value the opportunity for ourselves and colleagues in other organisations to work together strategically with Tangle, a company that’s becoming an important resource to South West England. Its mission to grow appreciation of multi-racial theatre at a time when the racial demographic of the area is changing fast, is valuable and necessaryMary Swan, Artistic Director, Proteus Theatre and Creation Space.


Some of the many other observations and questions arising from EVERYTHING MATTERS:

-        Much media coverage of ‘race’ is urban driven. Often coverage is to do with ‘youth’ and to do with unrest of some kind. Why?

-        How can we encourage black artists to think in a slightly broader way? Who is the audience they want to play to? Where are they prepared to go?

-        How can we meet each other half way; as artists and humans we have all kinds of things in common and things to say to each other!

-        Is understanding each other an issue? White people get confused about what they can and cannot say. What are the terms?

-        Programming work that majors on black people who can sing and dance is both a cliché and a racist prejudice

-        Should culturally diverse work market the artistic interpretation more fully, rather than the race/culture of the artists?

-        How do people ‘earn’ their status as professional artists? What are the development processes that lie beneath?

-        How can we build up ‘hubs’ which encourage a cross section of artists and makers to interact more widely?

-        Black theatre as a term, needs to have a clear distinction; is it more often ‘western’ theatre made by black practitioners?

-        Cultural difference itself is often a selling point – how can we make audiences see beyond this?

-        The danger is that people put the culture before the work. It’s not about colour or race but about skills, quality and dynamics.

-        How can we develop more productively as humans and communities with common needs and concerns?

-        How can we overcome a level of fear and uncertainty on both sides?

-        The problem is that schools expect and want traditionalism and it’s hard to see how this agenda can be opened out

-        Are we putting on cultural activities that are aimed at a ‘white’ audience. Or do they appeal to their indigenous communities?

-        Is it easy to marginalise the product by focussing on its genre? It is more important to ask ‘Is it a good story? Does it change lives? Do you walk away thinking ‘wow’?’




Contributing organisations include

World Jungle in Gloucestershire

Theatre Writing South West, City Chameleon and Theatre Bristol in Avon

Salisbury Playhouse and Creative Ecology Wiltshire

The Brewhouse Theatre & Arts Centre and Take Art in Somerset

Beaford Arts, Wide Awake Devon and The Bike Shed Theatre, Exeter

Cube Theatre, KEAP, The Works and Hall for Cornwall in Cornwall.

EVERYTHING MATTERS interviews were conducted by Anna Coombs, Oludamilare Emmanuel, Denver Isaac Kudakwashe Mangwiro and Pascale Kasirabo.

Special thanks to Giles Croft (Nottingham Playhouse), Tanuja Amarasuriya (Theatre Bristol), Mark Helyar (Take Art), Ruth Kapadia and Adam Gent (Arts Council England) for their support in developing this project in its initial stages.

To read the Executive Summary of the Everything Matters project report from this study, click here.

For more information and to access the full PDF report contact artistic@tangleinternational.com