Last month I was privileged to work wth Talawa theatre company on a new Young Peoples Theatre production called “I am England” directed by Nazli Tabatabai-Khatambakhsh.
My role was to engage the `Young People (or YPs) with writing, with the narrative of a new young and black british government being elected when the country finds itself in complete in govenmental, economic and social crisis. Interestingly enough, the UK riots kicked off in the week leading up to my second session with them. It was a timely piece.
The process was incredible. On day one, many expressed an apprehension around their knowledge of politics, of even feeling like politics wasn’t something that was ‘for’ them, yet they were about to write a piece for performance solely about it. We needed to work fast and intensively. So with a series of strategically placed questions about what they knew to be happening in current affairs that very day, a few newspaper articles and writing exercises, the group were empowered, very vocal and ready to make this production fighting fit to tackle the themes of identity, belonging, power and change with a unique young, Black British experience. I was inspired myself at the energy with which they invested, how committed to finding themselves in the process.
Talawa’s YP theatre is making leaps and bounds in theatre for young voices. Adults, we need to listen up.