"...gorgeous theatre from a truly diverse company" Sir Lenny Henry CBE
tiata fahodzi want to play our part in generating a richer, more multiple mainstream theatre culture by championing stories that illuminate the mixed, multiple experience of what it is to be of African heritage in Britain today so that – in our contemporary, changing society – the African diaspora experience provides a lens for us all to see our lives. tiata fahodzi (tee-ah-ta fa-hoon-zi) – a theatre company for Britain today and the Britain of tomorrow.
Founded in 1997, our journey mirrors that of the British Africans we seek to serve; from early productions telling stories of emigration and diaspora (tickets and ties) to, under second artistic director Lucian Msamati, reflecting on the relationship Britain and British-Africans have with Africa (Olivier Award-winning Bola Agbaje's belong).
In 2014, Natalie Ibu became tiata fahodzi's third Artistic Director and with her came a question: what does it mean to be of African heritage but of mixed experience? In 2014 and beyond, we continue to reflect the changing and developing diaspora with a particular interest in the dual and the in-between, in those who straddle worlds, cultures, languages, classes, heritages, races and struggles. It’s in this – the messy, nuanced and complicated identity politics – that tiata fahodzi sits, acknowledging that our audiences are more complex and contrasting than ever. Our work starts with the contemporary British African experience but reaches beyond to ask us all, what does it mean to live here, today?
From 2014-2019, we celebrated characters defined not by their diversity, but by their humanity: in Natalie Ibu's i know all the secrets in my world we went on a journey of sound and movement, through grief, to meditate on the intimacies of black masculinity and black fatherhood. In Charlene James' bricks and pieces – a thoughtful portrait about family and fresh starts – we met characters struggling to survive as well as being black, not because they are black. In it, we were a gay – but not fully out – teacher grieving a partner, a young woman launching a startup and a new single life, a lad exploring Christianity and chatting up girls, an architect into hip-hop and geeking out over Lego; we are all of that and so much more. In Arinzé Kene's good dog we met the people and places that make you who you are and, in Nathan Bryon's mixed brain we asked if you live in the middle, does anywhere feel like home?
Natalie Ibu and team at tiata fahodzi reflect on the impact of having Anastasia Osei-Kuffour with them for two years.