tiata fahodzi, the UK’s leading British African heritage theatre company has launched an exciting new season called ‘Year of the Artist’ in celebration of its 25th anniversary.
Founded in September 1997 by playwright and director Femi Elufowoju Jr and now under the direction of its fourth Artistic Director, playwright and director, Chinonyerem Odimba, who was appointed last April, tiata fahodzi’s milestone year marks the beginning of a new chapter in the theatre company’s journey.
The theatre company has hinted at a major new production in a key venue in the UK for 2023. The small but mighty theatre company has certainly made its mark in its 25-year history. tiata fahodzi, which means ‘theatre of the emancipated’ has produced 31 shows, toured to 75 venues across the UK and commissioned work from more than 23 artists including Bola Agbaje and Roy Williams.
Looking forward, their plans for ‘Year of the Artist’ will see a raft of new creative initiatives, appointments and productions designed to support and invest in the future of Black British artists.
Some of the exciting 25th Anniversary highlights in the ‘Year of the Artist’ include:
A new patron
Olivette Otele, the UK’s first Black female History Professor, world-renowned expert on colonial and postcolonial history and listed in 100 Great Black Britons is unveiled as a new Patron.
This is a new annual initiative that will fund the work of six British African heritage artists and creative associates for one year. The first cohort include Artist Associates director Monique Touko, sound designer/composer Esther Kehinde Ajayi and poet/playwright Yomi Sode. Each of the Artist Associates will be working with the company to develop new ideas and forms of making work that will feed into future programming. The Creative Associates are dramaturg Zodwa Nyoni, climate change expert and BBC’s Springwatch presenter Gillian Burke and playwright Oladipo Agboluaje. In addition, Robert Awosusi is appointed as tiata fahodzi’s Developing Talent Producer in a brand-new role.
Talking About A Revolution
Written by Diana Atouna, babirye bukilwa and Malaika Kegode, Talking About A Revolution is a new triple bill of plays. These new commissions will be staged together in October at Watford’s Pump House Theatre and at Bristol Old Vic.
This focuses on tiata fahodzi’s commitment to younger and emerging theatre makers. An annual initiative, 2022’s project kicks off in August with Laugh It Off, a digital initiative designed to nurture the next generation of comedy writing talent. In partnership with Theatre Centre.
This represents a one-off birthday gift to six artists based in Watford and the South East. The winning pairs, matched by tiata fahodzi from differing creative disciplines, will receive a commission to push the boundaries of what theatre is and will present their work to their local communities.
25th Birthday Gala
A celebration that will feature the premiere of Talking About a Revolution that will be held at Watford’s Pump House Theatre on 5 October.
Commenting about tiata fahodzi’s ‘Year of The Artist’ programme, Artistic Director Chinonyerem Odimba is keen to highlight the importance of creating a powerful legacy for British artists of African heritage of the future. She said: “2022 is all about how we nurture, grow, support, and showcase their work. And given what artists have been through, particularly freelancers, in the last couple of years, it feels important that we shine a light on, and campaign for them at every stage of their careers. We want to become a home for artists; a safe place to meet us and their practice. Artists are audiences, artists are activists, artists are collaborators, artists are at the heart of what we do!”
tiata fahodzi founder Femi Elufowoju Jr adds: “I am incredibly indebted to everyone who has contributed to its [tiata fahodzi’s] strength and growth across a quarter of a century. I am also immeasurably proud of what the company has achieved in this period and eagerly anticipate the bright and beautiful future the new team under Chinonyerem Odimba will be curating for our local, national and international audience.”
Visit the tiata fahodzi website