Talawa Theatre Company is to take up residence within the redeveloped Fairfield Halls in Croydon, giving the UK’s primary Black theatre company a 200 seat studio and offices. This will be the first time since 1995 that Talawa’s headquarters will feature an on-site performance space. The new spaces, opening to the public on 16 September 2019, will operate as a central hub for Black artists, develop a community outreach programme, and allow the company to create, develop and premiere new work.
Fairfield Halls – South London’s largest Arts Centre – will reopen after a multi-million-pound redevelopment to transform it into a state-of-the-art venue in the heart of the Croydon community. Originally opened in 1962 as an arts and entertainment space, Fairfield Halls closed in July 2016 for the redevelopment.
Besides providing a space for Talawa’s artist development programme MAKE, the new residency will create opportunities to train young Black artists in technical and creative theatre disciplines, suited to Croydon’s status as the London borough with the largest youth population, working in partnership with organisations in the borough and nationally.
In addition to premiering and developing new work, Talawa Theatre Company will use the studio as a space to research & develop new ideas, and create a programme of activities, debates and events aimed at Croydon’s diverse community.
Talawa Theatre Company is currently based in Rich Mix, in Shoreditch, having previously based their headquarters for 10 years near Old Street. From 1991-1995, Talawa based their offices at the Cochrane Theatre.
Programming plans for the studio will be announced in Autumn 2019.
Michael Buffong, Artistic Director of Talawa Theatre Company, said: “For Talawa, this building provides a home for Black artists, enabling them to make outstanding work which will truly diversify and shape the cultural life of the whole country.”