Theatre highlights this April include The Secret Life of Bees by Lynn Nottage …

If you want to watch performances with real historical context then check out Mojisola Adebayo’s Family Tree, Giles Terera’s The Meaning Of Zong and Richard III directed by and starring Adjoa Andoh.

The Secret Life of Bees by Lynn Nottage

A captivating new musical about a group of women ignited by rebellion and longing for acceptance.

1964, South Carolina. Rosaleen is fighting for her right to vote, and Lily is escaping her violent father. When these unlikely pair flee their small town, they seek salvation at a remote honey bee farm run by the remarkable Boatwright sisters. But will their past catch up with them?

Written by playwright Lynn Nottage, composer Duncan Sheik and lyricist Susan Birkenhead, The Secret Life of Bees is directed by Whitney White (What to Send Up When It Goes Down) and based on the best-selling novel by Sue Monk Kidd. The Secret Life of Bees is presented in association with Sonia Friedman Productions, Lauren Shuler Donner, Marianne Mills and Robert Cohen.

The Secret Life of Bees runs at the Almeida Theatre from 8th April – 27th May 2023

Book tickets and find out more here.

Family Tree at Brixton House written by Mojisola Adebayo

Actors Touring Company and Belgrade Theatre Coventry in association with Brixton House present.

Family Tree is a beautifully poetic drama about race, health, the environment, and the incredible legacy of one of the most influential Black women of modern times. Fearlessly honest, hilarious, and ultimately transformative, this award-winning play is both a remembrance and a celebration.

Henrietta Lacks is one of most remarkable people in medical history. Her cells form the basis of the most important medical research and breakthroughs happening today, from cancer to HIV to COVID.

Denied her place in history, now is the time for Henrietta’s incredible legacy to undergo a transformation … to blossom and grow into something new and wonderful.

Family Tree plays at Brixton House from 12 April-23 April 2023

Book tickets and find out more here.

Giles Terera’s The Meaning of Zong

Two hundred years ago, Olaudah Equiano read the harrowing reports of a massacre aboard the slave ship Zong, where 133 Africans were thrown overboard. Joining forces with anti-slavery campaigner Granville Sharp to publicly condemn these actions, he helped set in motion events which led to the abolition movement in the UK.

But Olaudah’s mission goes beyond the courtroom. Having bought his own freedom, he now faces a personal battle to rediscover his past and accept his true self.

Based on real-life historical events, this highly acclaimed play is performed by an ensemble cast including writer and Olivier Award-winner Giles Terera (Hamilton) and co-directed by Tom Morris (Touching the Void, War Horse).

The Meaning Of Zong runs at the Barbican Theatre on Thursday 20th and Friday 21st April

Book tickets and find out more here.

Richard III directed by Adjoa Andoh

What happens when a person who has been punched down upon all their life, finally punches back?

This follows a long line of celebrated actors returning to the city in some of Shakespeare’s most iconic titles, including Pete Postlethwaite (King Lear), Kim Cattrall (Anthony and Cleopatra), David Morrissey (Macbeth) and Jonathan Pryce (The Merchant of Venice).

Richard III plays at the Rose Theatre from 26th April 2023 – 13th May 2023

Book tickets and find out more here.

August in England with Lenny Henry

You never allow me tell my story. I been trying to tell it someone and nobody listenin

Charming, flawed, and with the gift of the gab, we all know a man like August Henderson. Between his three kids, devoted wife-to-be, and part-ownership of a fruit and veg shop, he is proud of the life he has built since landing in his beloved West Bromwich.

So, when faced with deportation to a country he has no memory of, he isn’t prepared to go quietly. Listen up, he is ready to tell his own story.

Written and performed by Lenny Henry in his playwriting debut. Co-directed by the Bush Artistic Director, Lynette Linton (Sweat, House of Ife), and Associate Artistic Director, Daniel Bailey (Red Pitch, The High Table).

August in England runs at Bush Theatre from 28th April – 10th June

Book tickets and find out more here.

Breakin’ Convention 2023

Breakin’ Convention Festival celebrates 20 years of hip-hop innovation and excellence at Sadler’s Wells in April 2023

Stellar anniversary line-up includes Ghetto Funk Collective, b-boy Samuka, La Diva aux Pieds Nus, Far From The Norm, Justin de Jager and Boy Blue.

Hosted and curated by UK hip-hop theatre legend and Breakin’ Convention Artistic Director Jonzi D, Breakin’ Convention 2023 showcases the best of hip-hop with local talents, top poppers, lockers, b-boys and b-girls, and a wide range of exciting international acts.

The foyer undergoes a total makeover, with performances from live DJs, bespoke graffiti and freestyle sessions, in an ultimate celebration of hip-hop culture.

Joining the list of groundbreaking acts in the 2023 celebrations is Boy Blue, east London’s leading street dance company and the multi-award-winning brainchild of composer Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante MBE and choreographer Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy MBE.

Breakin’ Convention 2023 runs at Sadler’s Wells Theatre from 28th Apr – 1st May 2023

Book tickets and find out more here.

Big Aunty by Corey Campbell

Big Aunty’s dead. Her funeral’s back in Jamaica, where she returned some years ago. The children she brought up together long ago, but have lost touch and gone their separate ways, are now forced to come together again, all these years later.

Big Aunty was the matriarch – a Mum to some, a ‘second’ Mum to others. She took in waifs and strays from reckless parents when they had nowhere else to go, and she gave them a home. But now she’s gone and there’s a Big Aunty-shaped hole in everyone’s world.

Now they’ll need to confront, not just each other, but their difficult pasts, and uncertain futures.

Can they finally lay their differences to rest along with Big Aunty?

Devised and directed by the Belgrade’s Creative Director, Corey Campbell (Fighting Irish, SeaView, Freeman).

Big Aunty runs at Belgrade Theatre from 24th April – 6th May 2023

Book tickets and find out more here.

Retrograde by Ryan Calais Cameron
20 April – 27 May 2023

‘Mr Parks, this isn’t just a movie, it’s a whole movement. Whether you like it or not is irrelevant.’

The Golden Age of Hollywood. Behind closed doors, aspiring actor Sidney Poitier is offered a lucrative contract that could make him a superstar. But what is he willing to sacrifice?

The play explores identity, resilience, and integrity as it examines a true event in 1950’s Hollywood and the reality of a Black actor’s journey to stardom.

Retrograde plays at the Kiln Theatre from 20th April – 27th May 2023

Book tickets and find out more here.

We Need New Names by Mufaro Makubika

Paradise. Home of 10-year-old Darling and her friends: four children on the edge of innocence. A playground overflowing with mischief and games where they imagine countries a luxurious life away from theirs in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.

But when Darling moves to Michigan, the western world she encounters as a teenager is far from the American utopia of her dreams…

Based on the novel by NoViolet Bulawayo, the first Black African woman and first Zimbabwean to be Booker Prize-shortlisted, this defiant coming-of-age story is full of exuberance, humour and humanity.

Photograph © C.W. Griffin. Design © Suzanne Dean

We Need New Names plays at Brixton House from 28th April – 6th May

Book tickets and find out more here.

Unseen Unheard: The untold breast cancer stories of Black Women in the UK by Naomi Denny

The play is based on the stories of six women from Black Women Rising (BWR), a pioneering cancer support project founded by The Leanne Pero Foundation, that seeks to address the inequalities faced by Black women undergoing cancer treatment. Set in real time on a normal evening the six women gather to unravel their shared experiences of the abnormality that Black women experience through their diagnosis. As one would expect, the women invite us into their world with an honest and candid insight that combines honesty and humour. There is a real-world objective to staging this play. None more important than changing habits that will lead to saving lives. Directed by Simon Frederick and Suzann McLean.

Each performance will host a post-show panel discussion, which will be facilitated by award-winning community champion Leanne Pero, founder and CEO of Black Women Rising.

Unseen Unheard runs at Theatre Peckham from 27th April – 4th May 2023

Book tickets and find out more here.


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