In the Black Fantastic: Live

Saturday 30th July

Embark on a journey In the Black Fantastic combining music, live performances and striking visuals, inspired by the Hayward Gallery exhibition of the same name.


Curated by Ekow Eshun, In the Black Fantastic presents artworks which draw on elements of myth, speculative fiction, spiritual tradition, carnival and folklore, to build what Eshun has described as ‘new narratives of Black possibility’.

This specially commissioned multidisciplinary performance draws on key writers from the Sunjata to Amos Tutuola. It incorporates narratives as they mirror a journey from the African continent to the forced migrations of the diaspora, and the dreaming of possible futures as embodied by writers including Toni Morrison and Octavia E Butler.

Based on a text edited by Ellah P Wakatama, the performance fuses extracts from a wide range of writers in this fantastical tradition into a dramatic dialogue between sister and brother.

Discover how these pioneering authors have refracted racial injustices past and present into strange and futuristic worlds through stories with timeless urgency and resonance.

With live performances from actors (cast to be announced) and specially commissioned music from Space Afrika and visuals from Alistair Mackinnon, this unique event, in a staging by Jack McNamara and Tian Brown-Sampson, invites audiences on a journey In the Black Fantastic.

Ellah Wakatama, OBE, (Hon) FRSL, is Editor-at-Large for Canongate; chair of the AKO Caine Prize for African Writing; fellow at the Centre for New Writing, University of Manchester; and sits on the General Committee of the Royal Literary Fund. She has written for publications including The Guardian and The Spectator; is a contributor to the New Daughters of Africa anthology; and has edited books including Safe House, Adventures in Creative Non-fiction and Africa39.

Alistair Mackinnon is a London-based artist who has exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery and participated in a Late at Tate at Tate Britain. His practice involves an interdisciplinary journey through painterly digital art, biology and virtual spaces. These are enmeshed with his image-making practices which seek to bring an altered perception of technology, its uses and a potential counteraction to its exploitable aspects.

Manchester’s Space Afrika makes music from mosaics of dialogue, rhythm, texture and shadow, half-heard through a bus window on a rainy night. The 2021 album Honest Labour expands the project’s palette with classical strings, shimmering guitar and visionary vocal cameos.

More Lambeth Listings MORE

Lambeth Monday 15 - Saturday 27 July

Housemates Returns: Before I Go

Follow Ajani, a young boy who tragically dies and gets stuck in limbo and forced to undergo overcoming…

Lambeth Thursday 18 June - Sunday 8 September

Suzie Larke: Unseen

Logic-defying work by photographer Suzie Larke, who returns to our site with new images raising awareness and sparking…

Lambeth Wednesday 24 - Sunday 28 July

Afrique en Cirque

Roll up, roll up for an indescribable display of acrobatics, artistry and Afro-jazz rhythms in a joyous circus…

Lambeth Thursday 25 July

futuretense: Cherrie B + twst

Dive into a heady blend of hyperpop and electronic music in an edition of our twice-monthly free music…

Lambeth Saturday 3 August

Hidden Histories & Archives

Inspired by Tavares Strachan’s exhibition, a panel of writers, curators and artists, chaired by Lisa Anderson, discuss bringing…

Lambeth Friday 23 August

Kinetika Bloco Summer Showcase

Join us for a joyful, energetic spectacle of young people dancing and playing steel pans, brass, woodwind and…

Lambeth Thursday 12 Septenebr

Diane Abbott: A Woman Like Me

Diane Abbott, who made history as Britain’s first Black woman MP, talks to Afua Hirsch about her new…