Margins to Mainstream: The Story of Black Theatre in Britain

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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.

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About blackhistorystudies

Black History Studies is a social enterprise company which operates in the interest of the community by offering courses and events in Adult Education. We aim to empower the African and Caribbean community and enable them to develop self knowledge and identity through Black History and Culture. Black History Studies aim to provide a wide range of courses and activities which will provide people with the opportunity to pursue their interest in Black History and Black Studies. We also aim to provide high quality courses and activities that can be accessed by all within the community. Our mission is to inform, inspire and empower people through Black History and Black Studies by educating the community to educate themselves thereby creating a self-sustaining learning circle. Black History Studies is dedicated to providing you with a high quality and professional service and can offer services such as: - Bespoke services for Secondary Schools - Black History and Black Studies Presentations - Black History Course for Families - 5 week short courses on Black History - Beginners and Advanced Black Studies Courses - Weekend courses on Black History and Black Studies - Museum Tours - Film Screenings - Black History Studies Presentations for hire
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