Updated: Feb 19
My first theatre show that I ever watched was in July 2008 (Wicked). Before then I thought that theatre was for middle class white people. I remember a friend at work saying I had ‘swapped Wiley for West Side Story’ (I hadn’t, I still love Grime). 11 years and 300+ shows later you could safely say that I know longer felt that theatre wasn’t for me. Helping to continue to change this perception of theatre is one of the reasons I started Lovers of Black Theatre in February 2017.
To be clear, I’m not a pioneer in that regard. Afridiziak, ran by Sophia Jackson has been around since 2008 promoting black theatre and it is where the inspiration to start my group came from. What makes Lovers of Black Theatre different is that our emphasis is on theatre as a social event. We extensively promote black theatre through our social media channels but our number one focus is to go and watch theatre as a group. We pick shows (from big productions in the West End to shows above pubs), watch them and then have a post-show discussion (sometimes heated, always respectful) which invariably will veer off to completely unrelated current affairs.
Everybody is welcome. There are no upper age limits or racial barriers but a clear and unwavering understanding that the plays we watch will always have a black focus. In almost 3 years we have watched 85 shows and will hit the milestone of 100 shows sometime this year as well as starting a podcast. 2020 will be an exciting year.
There are so many good black shows being made and I’d love to welcome lots of new faces for some theatre and gist.
Founder, Lovers of Black Theatre
Chinedu Onyali is a Qualified Accountant, Liverpool fan, boxing and theatre fanatic from South London
Facebook: Lovers of Black Theatre
Meetup: Lovers of Black Theatre
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