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.

Tangle Café 2018 – “How I Got Here”

Group Shot - Tangle Café 2018

This year’s Tangle Café took place on Wednesday 5th September at Yinka Shonibare’s Guest Spaces. It’s theme was “How I Got Here” and the evening featured networking opportunities, open mic performances and music from singer-songwriter Geo. Our Company Manager Alexander Mushore was on hand to capture what happened throughout the night…



The Café began at 7pm with our fantastic team of helpers setting up beforehand. Ben Newell and myself on the door. Taoana Tsiki on the bar assisted by Andrew Gichigi and Gabriel Akuwudike. Paula Morison and Imogen Wright in the kitchen preparing the food ordered courtesy of Rainbow Bakery. We had France Lions in her own space carving soap sculptures. An open marketplace for artists to distribute and market their work. Anna Coombs and Deborah Baddoo MBE multi-rolling. There were feedback walls painted by the artist Keone, encouraging reflection throughout the night with the questions: “What has inspired you?” “What has challenged you?” “What could Tangle do next?”



Guests were welcomed by our excellent MC’s Tonderai Munyevu and Justin Chinyere who explained the course of the evening. Each keynote speaker and open mic performer would have 3 minutes and to wrap off the evening a performance of a selection of songs by our headlining act, GEO. During the evening, guests would have access to a free drink and patties and cake from Rainbow Bakery!



Our keynote speakers took to the floor wherever they were standing amongst the audience. All our speakers have made a big impact in the arts industry, we asked them to reflect on, ‘How I got there’.


1) Cleveland Watkiss MBE –  Cleveland is an acclaimed vocalist, actor, and composer. Winner of a London Jazz Award for Best Vocalist, and won the Best Vocalist in the Guardian Jazz Awards in three consecutive years. For his services to music Cleveland was appointed in 2018 New Year Honours. His keynote expresses the importance of reflection but also appreciating what you have. Leaving us with a pearl of wisdom, ‘You’ll only get what you want in life when you want what you have.’

2) Prema Mehta – Prema is a freelance lighting designer and has designed the lighting for over one hundred drama and dance productions/installations across the UK. Prema highlights how it’s important to recognise the many different roles that go into making a show a success. In particular the many creative roles backstage that set up the atmosphere in a show. Working 14 years as a lighting designer, she discusses some of the challenges as a freelancer, continued development throughout your career, and having a love for what you do to keep you going.

3) Deborah Baddoo MBE – Deborah, our Executive Director, explains how she got to where she is today – a highly respected figure in the dance world with an MBE for services to British dance. She discussed the start of State of Emergency which she co-founded with Steve Marshall and how she contributed to the development of black dance and choreography nationally and internationally. For instance, she established the UK’s first National archive for black dance.  Deborah says when Anna Coombs (Artistic Director of Tangle) asked to her speak at this event, her initial thought was, ‘I’d rather dance’.  True to her word, she then told the Tangle Cafe audience ‘I’d like to dance you my journey’ and proceeded to do a captivating improvised dance representing her life thus far.

4) Maria Oshodi – Maria introduced herself and her journey to being the Artistic Director and CEO of her own Extant Theatre Company, the UK’s only professional performing arts company of visually impaired people. She is also a freelance writer, consultant and director. When reflecting on what keeps her going in what is a very hard industry, she says she, ‘Finds and keeps things that keep her imagination alive.’

5) Jude Akuwudike – One of our Trustee’s talked to us about how he got to where he is. As an actor who has trained at RADA, Jude has performed at some of the best theatres in the UK. He has an extensive career across stage and screen and is a Trustee of Tangle. In his keynote, he talked about his experience moving to the UK as a young boy and how this shaped him into the man he is today. He shared his approach to acting and how this has developed through his career. He asserts the importance of testing yourself, ‘You keep testing yourself, you have never arrived.’




1. Nemz Fola

Nemz is a rapper, he performed his song ‘Freedom’ from his album ‘Due Season’ .
Twitter: @NemzFola  / See more content here.

2. Eugene Macki

Eugene Macki is an artist and presented some performance art, a series of words and actions.
Twitter: @EugeneMacki / www.eugenemacki.com

3. Jennifer Lim and Daniel York

Jennifer and Daniel talked about their upcoming new production at the Arcola called Forgotten 遗忘, the little-known story of the 140,000 Chinese Labour Corps during WW1.

4. Ravy

Ravy is a rapper, singer, songwriter and performed her song ‘Broman’
Twitter: @Ravylution / soundcloud.com/user-498594229

5. Mark Thompson

Mark is an actor and a poet he performed his poem ‘Cultural Chameleon’
Twitter: @CCP_MrT  / www.theccpress.co.uk

6. Joshua Liburd

Joshua is an actor and singer and performed his original song ‘Ooo’
Twitter: @JoshLiburd

7. Lateisha Davine Lovelace-Hanson

Lateisha is an artist who spoke to us about a series of workshops she is leading addressing ‘explore and engage with this question: ‘How Do We Live Now?’



GEO and her band fresh from touring and performing in New York! She performs a selection of songs from her brand new album Aura (including Body, Aries and Forty Nights). A true Urban Folk treat!
For previews and more details visit – www.geomusic.org/



Anna Coombs, Artistic Director at Tangle closes the evening with a rousing call and response in Shona and thanks everyone that made the evening a success. The team and guests socialise over drink, patties and cake till the end of the evening.