Staging Memoir

Wednesday 10th August

Do you identify as Black or Brown LGBTQ+ Do you have a story to tell about your life that you would like to share? Are there questions you would like to explore or answer through storytelling? The workshops are for those who consider themselves theatre-makers or who are considering making work for the theatre. You are any combination of writer/performer/actor/dancer/digital artist or filmmaker and identify as Black or Brown and LGBTQ+.


The lives and experiences of Black LGBTQ+ people are not often centred in mainstream storytelling. We are mostly cast as the best friend or as a dramatic device that depicts us as problematic to others or having problems with our sexuality. Our stories are often policed by institutions that are led by cis white hierarchies and filtered through a lens to suit the culture of their organisation or the dominant straight culture. How can we develop stories that speak to our now in a way that isn’t tick boxing or policed by the heteronormative paradigm? How do we dare to imagine?

This is a playful course designed to open up the imagination and release creativity. It is not an acting, playwriting-writing or life-writing course but will engage in the use of these mediums. The course is designed to encourage participants to feel able to express their ideas no matter how radical, traditional, non-traditional or anarchic in a safe environment. It is a course that will encourage you to develop your confidence and artistic bravery. The focus is on using your lived experience to shape and frame ideas that can be shared through performance, mixed-media, and the written word. By mixed-media we mean the use of social media platforms, the use of digital audio and video and presentation through the body in a live space.

You can be a beginner with a vague idea or a more experienced storyteller with a developing idea or anything in between. You will need to be prepared to be open about discussing personal details from your life journey. The course is designed to inspire you to take further steps in developing you craft and will be responsive to the needs of those who participate.

Course Structure:

Week 1: Beginnings / Introductions / Introduction to the aims and objective of the course / Discussion: Who am I? How do I identify and why? / Discussion: What is theatre? Why do I want to make theatre? / What is memoir? / Exercise: Tell me a story

Week 2 : Writing it Down / What is The monologue? / What is The Essay film? / Exercise: Telling my story Part 1

Week 3: All About the Body / The body as memoir / Exercise: Getting to know your body / Exercise: The body and story telling / . Exercise: Telling my story Part II

Week 4: Telling My Story / Exercise Sharing my story 1 / Exercise Sharing my story 2 / Discussion / Final thoughts

Texts used during the course amongst others will include: Burgerz by Travis Alabanza; Jeep by Topher Campbell; Mohammed Ali and Me by Mojisola Adebayo

Visual work referenced amongst others from: Rotimi Fani Kayode; Zinzi Minott; Ajamu X; Jay Bernard; Zanele Muholi

When is it? Wednesdays: August 10 / 17 / 24 / 31 6.30pm – 9.30 pm

Where is it? BW Studios, 100 Grays Inn Rd, WC1X 8AL (1st floor of Bryden Wood Offices)

Cost: £120.00 (bursary places available)

About Topher

Afro-Queer Artist Topher Campbell’s 20+ year output spans broadcasting, theatre, performance, writing, experimental film and site-specific work. His focus has been on sexuality, masculinity, race, human rights, memoir and climate change. Alumni of the Regional Theatre Young Directors Scheme In 2005 he was awarded the Jerwood Directors Award and was nominated for the 2011 what’s On Stage Theatre Event of the Year Award. In 2017 he was Longlisted for the inaugural Spread the Word Life Writing Prize for his forthcoming memoir Battyman. In 2000 he co-founded rukus! Federation a Black Queer arts collective with photographer Ajamu X. This culminated in the internationally recognised rukus! Archive currently held in the London Metropolitan Archives. The rukus! Archive won the 2008 Landmark Archive Award. His films have appeared in festivals worldwide including his first film The Homecoming a meditation on art masculinity and sexuality, featuring commentary by Stuart Hall, which was also part of Isaac Julien’s film course at NYU. Between 2008 – 2015 he was Artistic Director and CEO of the Red Room Film and Theatre Company where he built The Jellyfish Theatre, the UK’S first fully functioning recycle theatre. Topher’s film FETISH, a collaboration with 2014 Mercury Music Prize Winners is shot on the streets of New York. It was premiered at the Barbican Centre, London, Official Selection for the 2018 Aesthetica Short Film Festival and 2018 Scottish Queer International Film Festival. It was also a featured presentation at OOPS Festival Copenhagen and The British School in Rome in Rome, Italy. Topher is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Patron of Switchboard and in 2017 was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Sussex, Brighton, England. His latest film Moments That Shaped Queer Black Britain for B.E.T. is currently streaming on My 5.

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