Virtual Screening – Margins to Mainstream: The Story of Black Theatre in Britain

19 May 2021

Margins to Mainstream: The Story of Black Theatre in Britain is a documentary film produced by the Octavia Foundation and Nu Century Arts, Birmingham with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The groundbreaking film explores the history and heritage of Black theatre in Britain, examines the different interpretations of ‘Black British Theatre’ as a label and genre and catalogues the incredible contribution of black actors, producers and playwrights to the UK theatre tradition. Featuring previously unseen footage of seminal plays, fascinating interviews with theatre heavyweights, ‘Margins to Mainstream’ tells the story of a dynamic art.

Historians, playwrights, producers and actors that contributed and appear in the film include writer and playwright Courttia Newland, actor Javone Prince, actor, playwright and broadcaster Kwame Kwei-Armah and Pat Cumper, Director of the Talawa Arts Centre. The film was shot at locations including Theatre Royal East, London Southbank Centre, Royal Court Theatre, Old Vic and The Tabernacle.

From Ira Aldridge playing Othello in Covent Garden in the 1830s, to Bashy playing Markus the Sadist in a ‘rap opera’ in 2010; the richness of this story is in its diversity. The film looks at the forgotten treasures and the landmark performances in the huge canon of work that exists. The film is pioneering in its subject and approach, highlighting the battles and the triumphs of Black British Theatre, on its journey from the margins, into the mainstream.

Watch the trailer here

Would you consider yourself or know someone who might consider themself a ‘non theatregoer’? Not been to the theatre in 18 months pre covid? This is an invitation to participate in a focus group for a study (Reading Uni PhD researcher with kind support from the National Theatre) which explores leisure participation behaviour of black people, living in London who, match the characteristics of typical West End theatregoers. Participants will be:

1. Black

2. Residents of London and

3. Financially disposed to attending West End theatre or if living with a partner or spouse, jointly funding leisure activities, where their joint income is sufficient to allow them to attend West End theatre on an occasional basis.

Participants receive £25 for involvement in the 1.5 hour long online focus group

If you match the above profile and are interested in being involved, please click the following link to complete the anonymous ‘Participant Background Information’ form

More Online Events Listings MORE