Walk in the Light Pt 2: Onto the Stage 1980 - 2000. In Discussion

Walk in the Light

Walk in the Light Pt 2: Onto the Stage 1980 - 2000. In Discussion

Writer Bonnie Greer, playwright Winsome Pinnock, actor Hugh Quarshie and director Paulette Randall join Burt Caesar to discuss their experiences of this period, followed by audience questions.

  • 1980-2000: as black playwrights and actors started taking more prominent places in the theatre, 1981 saw an all-black Measure for Measure at the National and The Playboy of the West Indies stormed into the Tricycle in 1983. Yvonne Brewster formed Talawa in 1986 and the colour-blind/colour-conscious casting debate heated up around Clive Rowe’s Mr Snow in Carousel. In 2000, David Oyleowo’s gentle Henry VI was the RSC’s first black Shakespearean king.

Bonnie Greer studied theatre in Chicago and New York; was playwright-in-residence at Soho (winning the Verity Bargate Award for Best Play), and at the Black Theatre Co-operative. Work includes Reflecting Skin (BBC); Marilyn and Ella (Stratford East, Apollo); Yes (ROH’s Linbury Studio); and the biography Langston Hughes: the Value of Contradiction.

Winsome Pinnock is Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Kingston University; she was playwright-in-residence at the NT, Royal Court and Tricycle. Plays include Leave Taking (Liverpool Playhouse); Talking in Tongues (Royal Court); Water (Tricycle); Taken (Soho).

Hugh Quarshie’s work includes Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (NT); Titus Andronicus, Henry IV, Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar (RSC); Othello (Oxford Playhouse); Small Island, Holby City on TV; and the films La Chiesa, Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.

Paulette Randall was Associate Director for the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics, and former Artistic Director of Talawa Theatre. Work includes producing Desmond’s and Porkpie on TV; directing The Amen Corner (Bristol Old Vic); Blest Be the Tie (Talawa); Three Sisters (Birmingham Rep); Radio Golf (Tricycle); Gem of the Ocean (Arena Stage Washington DC); Fences (Bath/Duchess).

Chaired by Burt Caesar.

Part of a week of events, led by actor Giles Terera, honouring the rich contribution that black artists have made to British theatre over the past 50 years. In the afternoon events, actors recall their favourite memories that form part of this extraordinary story; in the evenings, theatre-makers talk about their experiences of the period; and on the Sunday, a unique performance celebrates the 50-year journey of black theatre.

Related content: 
  • War Horse
  • One Man, Two Guvnors. A 50 star hit, with three tour cast members and suitcases
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  • Great Britain at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in the West End
  • NYT - Selfie
  • NYT - Private Peaceful
  • Here Lies Love. Imelda Marcos with a microphone against a vivid coloured background
  • Romeo and Juliet - sun shining through a heart shaped by hands
  • JOHN, a co-production with DV8 Physical Theatre. Photo of Hannes Langolf by Ben Hopper
  • Behind the Beautiful Forevers. Collage of a boy on a rubbish heap with a passenger jet flying overhead
  • 3 Winters. Black and white photomontage of a young woman. Photo © Jagoda Kaloper-Tajder
  • Treasure Island poster image
  • Dara. Photography by Seamus Ryan
  • The Hard Problem
  • Man and Superman poster, with Ralph Fiennes. Photography by Juergen Teller
  • Rules for Living. Instruction image for combining people and objects