Today we attended the premiere of ‘Margins to Mainstream: The Story of Black Theatre in Britain,’ a youth-led documentary film at the Royal Court Theatre in Sloane Square.
Margins to Mainstream: The story of Black Theatre in Britain is the latest documentary film produced by Nu Century Arts, Birmingham in partnership with the Octavia Foundation with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The groundbreaking film explores the history and heritage of Black theatre in Britain, examines the different interpretations of ‘Black British Theatre’ as a label and genre and catalogues the incredible contribution of black actors, producers and playwrights to the UK theatre tradition. Featuring previously unseen footage of seminal plays, fascinating interviews with theatre heavyweights, ‘Margins to Mainstream’ tells the story of a dynamic art.
Historians, playwrights, producers and actors that contributed and appear in the film include writer and playwright Courttia Newland, actor Javone Prince, actor, playwright and broadcaster Kwame Kwei-Armah and Pat Cumper, Director of the Talawa Arts Centre. The film was shot at locations including Theatre Royal East, London Southbank Centre, Royal Court Theatre, Old Vic and The Tabernacle.
From Ira Aldridge playing Othello in Covent Garden in the 1830s, to Bashy playing Markus the Sadist in a ‘rap opera’ in 2010; the richness of this story is in its diversity. The film looks at the forgotten treasures and the landmark performances in the huge canon of work that exists. The film is pioneering in its subject and approach, highlighting the battles and the triumphs of Black British Theatre, on its journey from the margins, into the mainstream.
The film was excellent and I truly enjoyed myself. It was good to see the young film makers after the screening during the questions and answer session. This film should be compulsory viewing for all young people. The discussion at the end was interested and reflected previous discussions that we have had regarding owning our own venues and theatres and not being dependent on funding to get projects off the ground. Black History Studies will be screening ‘Margins to Mainstream: The Story of Black Theatre in Britain’ on Wednesday 6th June 2012 at PCS Headquarters, Clapham Junction.