Tuesday, 28 October 2014


Kwame Kwei-Armah is a long standing supporter of Talawa and the work we do. He commented on Talawa's Unzipped 08, a showcase of readings by some of the UK’s emerging BAME playwrights, "... the most encouraging thing for me was hearing many young writers articulating ideas that really chimed. No longer the old idea: 'I'm a writer, not a Black writer.' Instead, many ... are proud to write from their cultural 'lens', not seeing Black as something you needed to drop in order to succeed or not be ghettoised. Indeed, many saw their cultural specificity as an avenue to absolute universality." 
Kwame Kwei-Armah on Unzipped 08 

Now, Center Stage Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah, is working on a world premiere musical based on the life and music of Bob Marley. Here's a piece from the Guardian where Kwame talks about the musical.

After a failed attempt on his life, Marley left Jamaica 1976 for London, where he spent nearly two years in self-imposed exile. 'Marley', a world-premiere musical, chronicles the events surrounding this earth-shaking moment ... 


Theater: Baltimore CenterStage
Artistic Director: Kwame Kwei-Armah
Director: Kwame Kwei-Armah
Book: Kwame Kwei-Armah
Music: Bob Marley
Music Director: Kenny J. Seymour
Casting Director: McCorkle Casting, Ltd.
Agreement: LORT B
Rehearsals:March 24, 2015
Opening:May 13, 2015
Close: June 14, 2015
New York City Workshop: December 8-11, 2014

SEEKING (All roles are paid):

BOB MARLEY 30s. Charismatic leader of the Wailers. Icon of the common sufferer. Jamaican, intelligent, wanderer, deeply spiritual understanding of the world. He is an enigma – a deep sense of responsibility and love for the people and an equal sense of independence. He belongs to no one and everyone. Must sing.

DON TAYLOR 30s / 40s. Jamaican - Bob’s manager. Worldly, has the ability to seamlessly code switch between his rude boy Jamaican / British executive and American nomenclature. He has the business at the forefront and can be frustrated by the whims of his artist. 

RITA MARLEY 30s Jamaican. Bob’s wife, a member of the I Threes and mother of the modern Rasta movement. She is Bob’s consciousness and conscience. She is earth. She is beautiful, solid, rooted, dark skinned, a nurturer. Rita pushes Bob to remember his responsibility in this world to family and the sufferer. She loves him but also releases him to the world. Must sing. 

NEVILLE GARRICK 30s Jamaican / Rasta. Bob’s right hand, photographer and art director He is smart, funny, and most importantly loyal. When all else is failing, Neville is there to help guide the ship and to gently remind Bob of importance of the band. 

MARCIA 20s / 30s, Jamaican. One of the members of the I Threes. She is a Rasta, with backbone. Believes in the music and the movement, but not willing to risk her life unnecessarily. Pushes the difficult conversations on behalf of the band, and moves from a place of love and self-preservation. Must sing. 

JUDY 20s 30s, Jamaican / Rasta. One of the members of the I Threes. A dreamer, deeply loyal. Must sing. 

MICHAEL MANLEY 50s. Jamaican. Prime Minister of Jamaica. Leader of the People’s National Party. Thin, sprite, deeply charismatic man. Affluent, educated, politically adroit, occasionally ruthless. His has the unique ability to be both deeply sincere and yet feed his self-interests. 

CINDY BREAKSPEARE/AS CAST 20s 30s Fair skinned Jamaican. Reigning Miss World, a beacon of European Beauty in a Jamaican woman, intelligent, sexy. She knows that her beauty is a currency, but just underneath is a dynamic, warm, intellect that makes her irresistible. She understands and matches the passion, dreams, and goals of Bob’s heart. 

DIANE/AS CAST 30s. Jamaican/ Rasta. Bob’s Lawyer. Brilliant, funny, loyal. She has Bob’s best interest at heart, a woman with a backbone successful in a man’s world.

CHRIS BLACKWELL/AS CAST 40s. White Jamaican Born / British Record Executive. He is understands instinctively what and who Bob can be in the music industry and gently pushes him towards open markets. He is clever, passionate. 

FAMILY MAN/AS CAST 30s / 40s. Jamaican / Rasta. A band member. Stays with Bob through the exile. 

SKILL COLE/AS CAST 30s / 40s. Jamaican / Rasta. Professional footballer. Bob’s best friend and another iconic Jamaican figure. Deeply spiritual, he immigrates to Ethiopia to be closer to the motherland. He is Bob’s confidant in his most vulnerable moments. 

CLAUDIE MASSOP/AS CAST 30s – 50s. Jamaican. Charming, dangerous, lead enforcer for Seaga and the JLP. He is a friend to Bob in as much as a political Don can be a friend. He cares for the music and his people to the extent that it does not cause him or his employer any inconvenience. 

TEK LIFE/AS CAST 30s – 50s. Jamaican. Muscle man, second in command in the JLP’s enforcer guard. His buttons are pushed easily, a trigger hair temper, sense of humor and is a stone cold killer. 

TONY WELSH/AS CAST 30s – 50s. Jamaican. Rational, dangerous, intimidating, lead enforcer for Manley and the JNP. 

STEVIE WONDER/AS CAST 20s / 30s Musical genius. Must sing, Should be able to deliver believable American, British, and Jamaican accent. 

DON LETTS/AS CAST 20s Jamaican, loving life in the Great Britain. He is a wildly different from the other Rasta’s in his forward youthful energy and embracing of punk culture. Warm, funny, connected to the pulse of contemporary music scene. 

ENSEMBLE 20s – 40s M/ F Jamaican / Rasta actors. Must be able to switch seamlessly between British & Jamaican dialects.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Shanika Warren-Markland in Gone too Far!

Gone Too Far! follows two estranged teenage brothers, Yemi and Ikudayisi, over the course of a single day as they meet for the first time and struggle to accept each other for who they are.

The film stars Shanika Warren-Markland, a TYPT participant (Krunch 2011), as Armani.  

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Casting Call

KATE RHODES JAMES CASTING is currently looking for the following: 
  • 16-18 year old male actor
  • MUST be of Indian origin and ideally able to do an Indian accent
  • Can be based anywhere in the UK, experience not necessary

Meet Talawa's Literary Associate

What does a Literary Associate do?
At Talawa, the Literary Associate is a new role, brought in to oversee some exciting new projects.  Talawa has always been a 'go to' company for new writers. We want that spirit to continue, we want to produce more new plays in the future, and ultimately we want to make British theatre more diverse by establishing talented new Black British writers and theatre-makers.  

To help us achieve this, we are partnering with the Bush, Soho and the BBC writersroom and starting a brand new scheme called the Talawa Writers' Programme, commissioning three new writers to write a new play and take part in a year-long programme of activities.  

We're going to make Talawa Firsts an even stronger showcase of new Black British talent.  We're going to read and give feedback on every script that is sent in to us.  So please send me your scripts, invite me along to see your work if you are an emerging artist, and keep an eye on our website for any opportunities that come up!

In your view, what makes a good script? I always think that with a good script you can tell the writer has taken a risk in writing it.  They’ve put them self on the line, reached for something that’s really important to them and risked feeling silly or exposed or having it all fall apart!

When considering a script what are the top 3 areas you like to see covered?
My top 3 things I would look for in a script are…

1 Having something to write about – something that is important to you that you want to interrogate in the play
2 A distinctive voice, that conjures up that particular writer’s world and would transport an audience there
3 Bravery (see above)

How can Talawa Theatre Company help writers develop their work? We are going to use the script reading service as a way of finding talented new writers to work with.  Our readers will give some feedback to each writer.  We will develop a writer we are interested in in a number of ways – from inviting you in for a chat, to putting you up for a slot in the next Talawa Firsts season of play readings, to considering you for next year’s Talawa Writers’ Programme

Looking ahead, how do you see what Talawa Theatre Company is doing in this area developing? In a year’s time, we will have three new plays from the Talawa Writers’ Programme writers, which will be ready for us and our partners to try to put on.  We will also have three brand new writers just starting out on next year’s programme.  

It will be great to see what happens over the course of this year and make the second year of the Talawa Writers' Programme bigger and better.  I would like to feel that in the future we have linked up the script reading service, the Talawa Writers’ Programme, Talawa Firsts and Hot Spots, so that we are not just discovering new talent but also developing new talent and feeding it into Talawa’s main programme of productions to create something sustainable and supportive. 

Monday, 20 October 2014

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Icarus in Love

Theatre West is looking for actor musicians for the World Premiere of Icarus in Love by Edson Burton at The Bike Shed Theatre, Exeter.

Icarus in Love is a tale of love and jazz told against the backdrop of Soho in the swinging 60s. Reg and Henri are living the dream. Resident musicians in the smoky enclave of a Soho jazz club, they enjoy a glamour and verve that others envy. Life is a party but this party comes at a price…

Gay men at a time when homosexuality is a criminal offence; interracial lovers in a racist society; jazz warriors in the time of the flop-haired Beatles: they are existing on the fringes of society that shouts free love but can’t always deliver.

Theatre West are looking for three male actors who could also form a jazz trio (must be able to play an instrument). Characters include:

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

AFROVIBES Festival 2014

Marking 20 Years of Democracy in South Africa - Touring the UK 13 October to 8 November

The biennial festival that celebrates the performing and visual arts of South Africa, returns for a third entertaining and highly thought-provoking season from October 13th to November 8th 2014 at 17 venues across the UK.

Leading South African Playwright Mike Van Graan is giving a q&a about contemporary theatre in South Africa and his own work, at Talawa's Studio onThursday 16th October at 6pm as part of the Afrovibes Festival.   To reserve a place, please email us.

Mike Van Graan is the leading social realist political playwright in South Africa. He is Associate writer with Artscape in Cape Town.   His work is stunningly perceptive about life in post apartheid South Africa and Afrovibes is touring his production RAINBOW SCARS. (17th/18th October Stratford Circus) Alongside this, readings of two of his other plays will be presented: BROTHERS IN BLOOD and ELUSIVE SPRING.   Find out more.