Here, There, Now online storytelling project for young Black women from London and Zimbabwe
The Lyric Hammersmith Theatre in partnership with Nhimbe Trust Zimbabwe and supported by the British Council today announce Here, There, Now, a new digital storytelling collaboration that will bring together young Black women, aged 18 – 25, from West London and Bulawayo, Zimbabwe to create work exploring themes of womanhood, identity and race. UK-based theatre director and writer Monique Touko and Zimbabwe based award-winning actor, creative, poet and director Lady Tshawe will lead a series of workshops throughout May 2021.
In response to Black Lives Matter and events of 2020 including the ongoing effects of the pandemic, the online collaboration will provide young women the agency, power and platform to share their voice and stories with others who are experiencing the same issues from the other side of the globe. Online workshops will run simultaneously from London and Bulawayo as participants come together to create monologues inspired by their individual experiences yet which will be performed by their counterpart overseas. The monologues created through the workshops will be filmed and shared online and available to watch in July.
Monique Touko said: “Here, There, Now provides a great opportunity for young Black women to not only develop skills in playwriting, creative writing and performance but also to explore their identity in their home country and empathise with those based in their partner nation. I hope they will feel emboldened through this exchange of ideas and feel a strengthened sense of community. Personally too, Bulawayo is the birthplace of my Mother and a place I hold dear to my heart. The opportunity to make and create cross-culturally particularly at this time is beyond exciting. In addition, being a Black woman is beautiful and complex and exploring it in this way in the shadows of Black Lives Matter feels right and highly nourishing. I’m looking forward to seeing what we create.”
Lady Tshawe said: “I am excited and honoured to be given this opportunity to be a part of this project. I am particularly looking forward to seeing how the young ladies interact with the topics and with each other using the ‘new normal’ format of work being done online. This exchange, I believe, will not only foster working relationships but will inspire the participants to explore and challenge themselves creatively.”
Rob Lehmann, Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, Director of Young Lyric, said: “Here, There, Now is a new and exciting opportunity within the Young Lyric offer that connects young people from West London internationally with their peers to acquire a local, national and international perspective on the world through the use of theatre and creativity. We are delighted to be working with both local and international collaborators and look forward to developing a partnership with Nhimbe Trust who have a track record of artistic excellence with young people.”
Here, There, Now will bring together 20 young women from both countries. There are 10 spaces now available for applicants in the UK who must be aged between18-25, identify as Black and live within one of the 10 West London Boroughs of Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Kensington and Chelsea, Richmond upon Thames, Westminster or Wandsworth. Applications can be made via www.lyric.co.uk and close on Friday 23 April at 6pm. All participants will also receive payment for any in-person engagement required as part of the collaboration. Nhimbe Trust will be handling applications for the 10 Zimbabwean participants. This project is led in partnership by the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre and Nhimbe Trust and is kindly funded by British Council as part of their Digital Collaboration and Storytelling Grants scheme.
Monique Touko is a London based director and multidisciplinary artist working in theatre, radio and film. Her assisting credits include Rosmersholm (West End), Lorca’s Blood Wedding, Yellowman (Young Vic), Richard II (Shakespeare’s Globe), Wishlist (Royal Exchange Manchester and Royal Court), Kanye The First (HighTide UK Tour), On the Exhale (Traverse Theatre), Cock (Chichester Festival Theatre). Recent directing credits include BLANK at Rose Bruford and This Might Not Be It reading at Bush Theatre. Monique is also part of The Ubunifu Space – a definitive guide to music and culture from the youth of Africa and the diaspora. Monique is Partnership Manager and Assistant Producer for Ubunifu Radio as well as a regular member of the UK reaction team on the YouTube channel which has a global following of 270K+ subscribers and over 40 million views.
Lady Tshawe is an award-winning actress and a multi-talented artist hailing from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Her artistic style, expression and image embody her abilities, aspirations and achievements as a musician, poet, writer, dancer, actress, curator and creative thinker. She received the 2018 Roil Bulawayo Arts Awards for Outstanding Theatre Actress. Acting credits include Zambezi Express, Tellers:The Musical, BloodTongue:The Musical South Africa tour. Other performances include the Kwaguqa International Festival 2017, the opening ceremony of Sanganai/Hlanganani Tourism expo and the NAMA awards ceremony. Writer and director credits include 6.55, a theatre production produced by Nhimbe, Bulawayo. Writer credits include Unified Women (Young Vic). TV includes ZBC dramas Mr Perfect and Ezakomkhakha. Film includes Qiniso and The Lost Letter.