Following six months of closure, Theatre Peckham, South London’s flagship cultural venue and pioneering learning theatre, celebrates its reopening with Young Gifted & Black, a multi-artform programme of socially distanced, in-person and participatory digital events, taking place throughout October and into November.
The line-up features theatre, new writing, spoken word, poetry, scratch nights, panel discussions, workshops, seminars and exhibitions. Curated by Associate Director malakaï sargeant alongside Artistic Director Suzann McLean, more than ten events, spread across five weeks, shine a light on lived experiences of London’s Black community.
Theatre highlights include …cake a brand-new play by Women’s Prize for Playwriting 2020 finalist babirye bukilwa, and Scratch That, an evening featuring two pieces of new writing directed by Emily Aboud and Anthony Simpson Pike, performed to live audiences.
A series of Young & Gifted Chats bring together Black artists, academics, educators and entrepreneurs to examine pressing themes for Black Londoners and their allies. The first panel chat centres around the Black British Business Boom during Covid-19 and is followed by Decolonising Education, chaired by writer, filmmaker, former teacher and Peckham native Caleb Femi. These will be in-person panel events and also live-streamed.
Coinciding with Black History Month, Theatre Peckham announces the launch of a new branch of work – delivering anti-racism coaching and training in the form of bespoke workshops for organisations in the cultural, public and private sector. A taster event titled Five Pillars: Understanding Racism with Simone Watson will take place during the Young, Gifted & Black season.
Exhibition highlights include the powerful and informative archival artwork Black British Figures which features Black Britons and their stories throughout the ages, by influential illustrator, editor and writer Varaidzo. This will be the first time these images have been on display outside of the digital realm.
Commenting on the new season’s work, Artistic Director Suzann McLean said: “During the pandemic many theatres have been forced to close entirely but Theatre Peckham, despite seemingly insurmountable challenges, has been one of the few organisations to continue delivery. Being in lockdown has been tough on everyone’s mental health and the creative economy is well placed to provide respite. Our theatre is firmly rooted within its community and we are working hard to combat the fear that a high number of people from culturally diverse backgrounds will be forced to leave the industry, resulting in long-term loss and undoing the vital impact which we have made over the years. Showcasing the voices of young Black artists in London through this season will help reconnect us, bring hope, ignite imagination and inspire creativity.”
Theatre Peckham is an award-winning cultural venue for artistic excellence and social change founded in 1986. Through the power of theatre, they illuminate young voices, provide skills and opportunities, and platform excellent creatives by producing new writing and performance focusing on young, culturally diverse talent.