During 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 over 23 artists including Bola Agbaje and Roy Williams. The theatre company will also be staging a major new production, slated for 2023 at a key venue in the UK, to be announced later this year.
Artistic Director Chinonyerem Odimba comments that tiata fahodzi’s ‘Year of The Artist’ programme is not only about celebrating its powerful legacy but also about creating fresh opportunities for British artists of African heritage of the future.
“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!”
Chinonyerem Odimba, Artistic Director tiata fahodzi
“I congratulate the company on its anniversary. I am incredibly indebted to everyone who has contributed to its 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. This I hope will include continuing to interrogate how the rich cultural heritage stories from the continent and people of Africa remains hugely imperative to 21st century British theatre."
Femi Elufowoju Jr, playwright and founder of tiata fahodzi
“I want us all to celebrate tiata fahodzi's trajectory and powerful creative productions. The company has created paths for young artists to thrive in an industry where British African talents remain mostly unsupported and theatre companies’ projects underfunded. I am honoured and delighted to be one of their patrons”.
Olivette Otele, New Patron
tiata fahodzi’s 25th anniversary programme further cements the organisation’s commitment to the South East and its new home in the iconic Watford Colosseum by launching a series of community commissions and artist call-outs: tf MATCH/PLAY focuses on bringing art to Watford and developing joyful collaboration between different artists from British African heritage or a Global majority background; Black Earth: Resistance, Anti-Racism and the Environment in partnership with Watershed Climate Researchers, is an artist-led project that engages communities in Watford and Bristol in the climate crisis and is funded by Watford Borough Council and the National Lottery Fund. In addition, Museum Lates launches at the Watford Museum is a series of six play readings of work by Black British writers that will introduce local audiences to the Black British canon and beyond.
Kicking off its commitment to developing young talent, tiata fahodzi, launches its summer youth project, tf Summers a new annual initiative, which this year shines a light on comedy. Laugh it Off will be searching for the new generation of Black British and British-African heritage comedy writers. Aimed to encourage young voices to take up comedy writing and grow in their confidence, 16 to 21 years old can submit short videos of themselves performing a comedy sketch or joke. The final four will be showcased online and will have mentoring sessions and workshops with tiata fahodzi, in partnership with Theatre Centre.
The Birthday Gala night will premiere Talking About A Revolution, a triple bill of short plays by Diana Atouna, babirye bukilwa and Malaika Kegode. Presented together these new commissions will explore what revolution looks like in 2022 following three years of turbulence, trauma and terrorism on a global scale. The plays will also be staged for several nights at Bristol Old Vic Theatre studio from 19th Oct 2022.