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Black Theatre Club launches to increase access and expand discussion among black people

Ken Nwosu in An Octoroon at the National Theatre, the first play discussed by Black Theatre Club. Image Helen Murray Ken Nwosu in An Octoroon at National Theatre, London – which was the first play discussed by Black Theatre Club. Photo: Helen Murray
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A new theatre initiative has been set up for black audiences, which aims to help widen access and increase discussion around plays exploring the black experience.

Called Black Theatre Club, it has been founded by director and writer Steven Kavuma, who founded the Diversity School Initiative to address under-representation in drama schools, along with writer and marketing intern Chante Joseph.

The club will hold post-show discussions for black people after productions at mainstream theatres – at plays discussing the black experience or those that feature black actors.

Kavuma has already held a post-show discussion on Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ An Octoroon at the National Theatre in July, before he launched Black Theatre Club. A programme of future post-show discussions is to be announced.

There are also plans for Black Theatre Club to platform new work and to hold networking and mentoring sessions, with further details to be revealed.

Kavuma said more than 130 people had already signed up to the initiative, which is free to join and open to all people of African, African-American and Caribbean heritage, including mixed-black heritage.

He told The Stage: “It’s a theatre club, like a book club, dedicated for black people.

“It’s a safe space environment where black people can freely talk about a play that is either about the black experience or is a classical play that has black bodies in it.

“We don’t have safe spaces where black people can freely talk about a play. Black people don’t feel comfortable being at theatres, because theatres are white spaces.”

He added: “Every theatre talks about developing diverse audiences – but we need to get to a place where we actually understand what that means.”

Kavuma said he will be seeking funding for the initiative as it grows.

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