Queens of Sheba • Theatre

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Queens of Sheba Award-winning five star play by Jessica L. Hagan

Presented by Nouveau Riché and Omnibus Theatre

Battersea Arts Centre

18th – 23 Nov, 7.30pm, Press night 18th Nov

bac.org.uk/queens_of_sheba

National 10 venue tour until 29 November 2019

They ask me where I am from! I say I am a mix. Of both racism and sexism – they lay equally on my skin. Passed down unknowingly by my next of kin.”

Misogynoir [mi-soj-uh-nwar], noun. 1.  the specific prejudice directed towards black women where race and gender both influence the bias.

What does it mean to be told to put chemicals in your hair at 5 years old, to straighten out the curls because the way it grows naturally isn’t right? Why does the black beauty market thrive in its skin bleaching department? Why are big lips sultry on Kylie Jenner but ‘nigger lips’ on Ugandan model Aamito Stacie Lagum?

queens of sheba

Queens of Sheba is based on a real incident at the DSTRKT Nightclub in London’s West End, when four women were turned away for ‘being too dark’ in 2015(www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/oct/01/dstrkt-nightclub-denies-ban-dark-overweight-women-west-end-london).

Queens of Sheba draws attention to misogynoir, identifies it and begins to figure some way forward. It departs from the traditional methods of Western storytelling and uses elements of spoken word, physical theatre, dance and music from the African diaspora. The play confronts the status quo, tackles the truth and speaks it. Stripped back, the words take centre stage.

Queens of Sheba is an award-winning five star play by Jessica L. Hagan and adapted for the stage by Nouveau Riché artistic director and co-founder Ryan Calais Cameron. This new co -production with Omnibus Theatre will be touring across the UK visiting 10 venues, supported by Arts Council England. Queens of Sheba was first performed in March 2018 to a sold-out standing ovation at Camden People’s Theatre. The play also won the Untapped Award 2018 and went on to win the coveted Edinburgh Stage Award 2018.

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Press Night date: London 18th Nov, 7.30pm Battersea Arts Centre.

Creative Team

Written by: Jessica L. Hagan

Director: Jessica Kaliisa

Adaptor for Stage: Ryan Calais Cameron

Full cast: TosinAlabi, Kokoma (Koko) Kwaku, Eshe Asante and Elisha Robin

Nouveau Riché and Omnibus Theatre

NATIONAL TOUR LISTINGS

Venues and dates

Harlow Playhouse Theatre, 26th Sept, 8pm

Box Office: 01279 431945/ www.harlowplayhouse.co.uk

HOME Manchester, 1st – 5th Oct, 7pm (Fri and Sat 9pm)

As part of Orbit Festival

Box Office: 0161 200 1500/ www.homemcr.org

Nonsuch Studios, Nottingham, 10th – 12th Oct, see website for times.

Box Office: 01227 787787 / www.wearenonsuch.com

Derby Theatre, Derby, 26th Oct, 8pm

Box Office: 01332 593939/ www.derbytheatre.co.uk

Theatre Deli, Sheffield, 29th – 31st Oct, 7.45pm

Box Office: 0114 278 6500/www.theatredeli.co.uk

Tobacco Factory Theatre, Bristol, 6th – 9th Nov, 8pm

Box Office: 0117 902 0344/www.tobaccofactorytheatres.com

Warwick Arts Centre, Warwick, 13th – 16th Nov, see website for times.

Box Office: 024 7652 4524/ www.warwickartscentre.co.uk

Battersea Arts Centre, London, 18th – 23 Nov, 7.30pm

Box Office: 020 7223 2223/ www.bac.org.uk

Lakeside Theatre, Colchester, 28th Nov, 7.30pm

Box Office: 01223 352932 /www.lakesidetheatre.org.uk

The Curve, Slough, 29th Nov, 7.30pm. Box Office: 01753 875533/ www.thecurveslough.com

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The Cast 

Eshe Asante

Theatre credits include: End The Silence (Ovalhouse), Asylum (Bristol Theatre), My Brother Jamal (Omnibus Theatre). Television credits include: Humans (Channel 4). Film credits include: Shortcomings, LoveBytes, The Great Spoon Escape.

Tosin Alabi

Tosin is a writer, director and actor.

Tosin wrote and directed a sold-out show, Four Paintings about the foster care system. She is currently writing a new play and looks forward to what her love for acting will bring. Acting credits include: How Blood Go (Roundhouse), The Wright Brothers (The Albany), Foxes (Rada Festival), SPIN (Web series), The Fiddler (Unicorn Theatre), Life on The Stairs (Crescent Theatre.)

Kokoma (Koko) Kwaku

Koko made her debut Queens of Sheba 2018 – Winner of The Stage Award (Vaults Festival/ New Diorama/Underbelly/Camden People’s Theatre). She is reprising her role in the Queens of Sheba national tour. a

Elisha Robin

Currently based in London but hailing from Bristol, Elisha’s first form of acting training was the AMDA, New York Conservatory where she gained an essential foundation for the craft. Upon returning to the UK she has found her way to the Stage (Fish Eye, Twelfth Night), the Screen (PRPL) & is currently developing a TV Pilot. Outside of acting you can find her on the turntables as DJ Mona Lisha.

About Jessica L. Hagan

A playwright born and raised in Marylebone, London and of Ghanaian origin. Originally a spoken word artist, Jessica uses poetry and performance to tackle real life issues in a powerful, provocative way. Her work predominantly focuses on conversations surrounding the black woman’s experience, identity and belonging as a British-Ghanaian and her journey to finding faith. Earlier this year, Jessica was awarded funding through the British Council and Art Council England’s Artists International Development Fund to travel to Ghana and develop new work. She is now based in both London and Accra and continues to write and develop poetic pieces in both cities. Queens of Sheba is her first stage play.

About Jessica Kaliisa

Director, actress, and First Class Honours Journalism graduate. During her time at university, Jessica focused her dissertation on investigating how the The West systematically ‘Others’ Africa and its descendants and the effect this has had on society today, including misogynoir. Jessica’s intention was to create art from the truth her of work and honour the stories of the black women whose voices wanted to be heard. Believing there was a place on the stage for this story and a need for it to be told, Jessica presented her work to Nouveau Riché and Queens of Sheba was conceived. Acting credits include: Call The Midwife (BBC), Cutting It (Royal Court Theatre), Murder in Successville (BBC), Doctors (BBC).

About Nouveau Riché

Nouveau Riché is an exciting, diverse, multi-award winning, creative movement, co-founded by Ryan Calais Cameron and Shavani Cameron, and includes a team of professional artists and producers. Their objective is to discover, nurture and produce unique stories from all walks of life, with a keen scope on work that is both educational and entertaining. Their work covers the mediums of Film, Theatre, Documentary& Visual Art. Developed on Starting Blocks at Camden People’s Theatre, following sell out runs at Edinburgh Fringe and New Diorama, Nouveau Riché, winners of The Untapped Award 2018 and an Edinburgh Stage Award.

About Ryan Calais Cameron

Adaptor for Stage of Queens of Sheba, Ryan is an award-winning writer, alumnus of the Royal Court Writers Programme 2017 and the Soho Young Company 2016/17. Ryan is also the recipient of the 2018 OffWestEnd Adopt a Playwright Award for his playRhapsody that ran at the Arcola Theatre in early 2018. Works include: Timbuktu (Theatre Royal Stratford East), Terra Nova (Arcola Theatre), Void (Royal Court Theatre) Typical (Soho Theatre) (Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019)

About Omnibus Theatre

Omnibus Theatre is co-producing the Queens of Sheba tour with its associate artists Nouveau Riché. Omnibus Theatre is a multi-award-winning independent theatre in Clapham, South London. Finalist in the Fringe Theatre of the Year 2019 The Stage Awards, recipient of the Peter Brook/Royal Court Theatre Support Award 2016 and Offie winner 2018. The heart of our ambitious programme, inspired by our building’s literary heritage, lies in both classics re-imagined and contemporary storytelling. We provide a platform for new writing and interdisciplinary work, aiming to give voice to the underrepresented and challenge perceptions. We believe in affordable tickets and theatre for all. Since opening in 2013 notable in-house productions include Woyzeck (2013), Macbeth (2014), Colour (2015), Mule (2016), Spring Offensive (2017) and ZeraffaGiraffa (2017). Omnibus Theatre is led by Artistic Director Marie McCarthy. Patrons include Dame Judi Dench, Sir Michael Gambon, Matthew Warchus, Sir Richard Eyre and Maggi Hambling. We are a registered charity and receive no core funding. @OmnibusTheatre

 
Battersea Arts Centre is a public space where people come together to be creative, see a show, explore the local heritage, play or relax. The organisation’s mission is to inspire people, to take creative risks, to shape the future. Battersea Arts Centre encourages people to test and develop new ideas with members of the public – a process called Scratch. Scratch is used by artists to make theatre, by young people to develop entrepreneurial ideas and as a helpful process for anyone who wants to get creative. The area of South West London and the old town hall in which Battersea Arts Centre is based, are rich in heritage. Since April 2016, the organisation has been custodian of the Wandsworth Collection, using creativity to explore the past and imagine the future.

Scratch has been adopted as far afield as Sydney and New York and shows and projects developed by people at Battersea Arts Centre travel across the UK and the world. The organisation has successfully sparked new approaches to creativity across the globe.