Our journey mirrors that of the British Africans we seek to serve. From early productions telling stories of emigration and diaspora (tickets and ties) to, under second artistic director lucian msamati, reflecting on the relationship Britain and British-Africans have with Africa (belong). In 2014 natalie ibu became our third artistic director and with her came a question: what does it mean to be of African heritage but of mixed experience? In 2015 and beyond, we continue to reflect the changing and developing diaspora with a particular interest in the dual and the in-between, in those who straddle worlds, cultures, languages, classes, heritages, races and struggles.
our vision the mixed experience
In the 2011 census, people who identified as Black African were the majority group (53%) in Britain’s black community and ‘Black Other’ had increased by almost three-fold showing that those questions are becoming increasingly difficult to answer. It’s in this – the messy, the complex and the complicated identity politics – that tiata fahodzi sits, acknowledging that our audiences are more complex and contrasting than ever.
Our vision sees us embrace the multiple in all ways - narrative, form, experience, identity, scale - in order to continue to boldly interrogate what it means to be a British African today. Our stories are no longer niche but – as Britain is changing – are moving into the mainstream. Our work starts with the contemporary British African experience but reaches beyond to ask us all, what does it mean to be a contemporary Briton, now.
the abcs of tiata fahodzi We will produce world-class theatre that is as fearless in the how as it is in the what. It will be:
- accessible theatre that speaks to – and of - contemporary Britain with wide appeal, crossing boundaries of race, gender, age and wealth. We aim to tour widely and engage audiences at all stages of the process online and offline. We aspire to be diverse in our art, artists and audience. We are particularly committed to artists of African heritage and are galvanized to playing our part in diversifying the theatrical landscape both on stage and off - in the art and the administration.
- bold in form and in content. We seek to challenge the presumptions and reveal the African experience to British audiences in ways that are unusual and unexpected. We want to be formally adventurous as well as rigorous in our storytelling. Our programming largely focuses on new work – the untold, unseen, unheard and unfamiliar – and is, usually, developed from our own commissioning.
- collaborative working is more than an enabler, it’s an enhancer. For us, it’s a conscious choice and we will fully embrace opportunities for partnership working - in all the small and big ways - building capacity and extending our reach.
tiata fahodzi is a resident company at Watford Palace Theatre - a 21st century producing theatre, making new work across the art forms of theatre, dance, outdoor arts and digital, and developing audiences, artists and communities through exciting opportunities to participate.
patrons Danny Sapani, Hugh Quarshie, Jenny Jules, Jocelyn Jee Esien, Lenny Henry CBE