Nigerian British playwright, screenwriter, and poet; Chinonyerem Odimba is the new Artistic Director and Chief Executive of tiata fahodzi, the UK’s leading British-African contemporary theatre company.
Founded in 1997, tiata fahodzi champions stories that illuminate the mixed, multiple experience of what it is to be of African heritage in multicultural Britain today, providing a lens to view the African diasporic experience.
Noted previous work includes seeds by Melanie Pennant, a five-star production of good dog by Arinzé Kene and the Olivier-nominated production iya ile (the first wife) by Oladipo Agboluaje.
The appointment of Chinonyerem Odimba comes as the company prepares for its 25th anniversary in 2022. With Odimba, tiata fahodzi will continue in their mission to tell contemporary stories in modern and innovative ways, celebrating characters defined not by their diversity, but by their humanity.
“I feel utterly joyous to lead a company that has been so fearless and bold since its conception in 1997 and take on this role honouring the good work that has come before.”
Odimba brings a wealth of experience to her new role. A playwright, screenwriter, and poet; she is also a Writer-in- Residence at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Her work has been shortlisted for several awards including the Adrienne Benham and Alfred Fagon awards as well as the Bruntwood Playwriting Award.
Odimba won the 2018 Sonia Friedman Award (Channel 4 Playwright Bursary) for How to Walk on the Moon and was a finalist for the inaugural Women Playwriting Prize 2020 for Paradise Street.
Odimba has numerous theatre and TV credits. She is currently working on commissions for Young Vic, RSC, and Paines Plough. As a director, Odimba has worked for Bristol Old Vic, Theatre503 and Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. She will be co-directing her new musical play Black Love for Paines Plough, as well as an audio drama for Live Theatre/BBC Radio 4 in March 2021.
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Speaking about her new appointment, Chinonyerem Odimba told Melan Magazine: “This is without a shadow of a doubt one of the most exciting things to happen in my career! tiata fahodzi is a company I have long admired for all the things it stands for – a home for British African heritage stories, developing and supporting artists, and a passion for the most exciting stories that theatre can tell. I feel utterly joyous to lead a company that has been so fearless and bold since its conception in 1997 and take on this role honouring the good work that has come before.”
“There are some very wonderful plans afoot as we head into our 25th birthday celebrations in 2022, and for now, we hope to launch a series of opportunities for artists and freelance theatre workers to come together. tiata fahodzi is looking forwards to a future that will see it growing and telling the multitude of stories that can both provoke and delight audiences in equal measure.”
Visit the tiata fahodzi website.