Special BHM performance for Law Society’s NOTICED network at Reed Smith

We had a wonderful time, Thurs 22nd Oct 2015, at the plush London HQs of law firm Reed Smith, where we performed East End Boys, West End Girls as part of a special BHM event.

Our hosts were the Law Society’s NOTICED Diversity Network. And their members certainly appreciated our play about African-heritage people going into white spaces! The q&a afterwards was excellent, with people sharing their experiences of the issues the play raises. Having taken part in several BHM events with Spora shows, we’ve now got a good overview of the similarity of the issues around diversity and equal opportunities in different sectors. It’s one struggle with varying degrees of effort being made to improve things in each arena. It seems that there is now progress being made in the legal sector.

The post-show discussion
The cast with ‘hostess supreme,’ Carole Megihan of Reed Smith.

The cast included a new cast member, Amy Tobias. She played Bali as Jennie was away, and did a fantastic job with just a few rehearsals. Amy trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts after reading English Literature at Warwick University. She recently played the Jailer’s Daughter in ‘The Two Noble Kinsman’ at the White Bear and the title role in ‘Winky’ at the Soho Theatre and Underbelly, Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Thanks, Amy!

The post-show discussion

The show was supported by Aso Gobal and Nilare, two leading Africa-inspired design companies, who kindly donated items from their stunning collections. Check out their work via the links below.

Carole Megihan, Reed Smith’s Responsible Business Co-ordinator EMEA, was an exceptional host and we’re so grateful to her for the terrific hospitality we enjoyed. Her colleagues, Antonia Munro (Events Manager) and Abi Adams-Orme (Marketing Officer) were also so generous with their time. So was Reed Smith associate and NOTICED member, Shaunee James. Absolute stars, all of them!

The event was organised by Rashida Abdulai (Senior associate at Hogan Lovells) and Siddharta Shukla (associate at Herbert Smith Freehills), co-chairs of NOTICED.

To them, and all of the above who helped make it happen, a big THANK YOU from all at Spora for inviting us to be part of your inspiring network and this special event.

INFO:

NOTICED is the UK’s first inter-firm diversity network aimed at promoting networking opportunities to integrate, celebrate and educate on diversity across the legal sector. Its objectives are: 1) To encourage diversity in the legal profession and amongst member firms with a view to making the profession more accessible to individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds; 2) To raise awareness about issues faced by ethnic minorities, not just in accessing the profession but also in their progression within the profession. Contact: committee@NOTICED.org.uk. NOTICED

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REED SMITH represents many of the world’s leading companies in complex litigation and other high-stakes disputes, cross-border and other strategic transactions, and crucial regulatory matters.With lawyers from coast-to-coast in the United States, as well as in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, Reed Smith operares across a broad array of industry sectors. Reed Smith counsels 13 of the world’s 15 largest commercial and savings banks; 25 of the world’s 35 largest oil and gas companies; and the world’s three largest pharmaceutical distribution and wholesale companies.  http://www.reedsmith.com/

NILARE is a lifestyle brand offering stylish and contemporary handcrafted accessories and gifts, whilst showcasing African artistry to the world.We create elegant, ethically traded, high quality pieces. Our products are beautifully handcrafted by local craftsmen using local natural resources. Contact: info@nilare.com. Nilare

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ASO GLOBAL is a new brand of African-inspired t-shirts for men, and t-shirts, vests, and t-dresses for women. All products are produced sweat-shop free. Contact: info@aso-global.com. www.aso-global.com.Aso Global

 

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THE END OF THE BEGINNING!

A wonderful end to our London tour with two packed-out shows at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre in Tottenham. Two excellent, animated post-show discussions with Audrey West and Sharon Massey from Kids’ Company and Juliet Alexander from The Amos Bursary on Fri, and Diane Abbott MP on Saturday.

Thanks you to all our audiences, venue partners, Arts Council England, The Royal Victoria Hall Foundation and Peggy Ramsay Foundation for making the show possible. Next stop: UK tour! Watch this space!

image Audrey, Juliet and Sharon.

WHAT OUR AUDIENCES ARE SAYING:

“I absolutely loved this play. Brilliant acting, dialogue, characters, I was spellbound for the duration. Well done everyone ??????  ”  Sola Ott (via Facebook)
“A play that understands teenage angst. Not to be missed.”
– @imjussayin2

“Brilliant incisive writing and great performances”
– @NMTAutomatics

“Inspired by Spora Stories”
– @Genevieve_Dunne

“Thank you so much. You opened up debate about what race means for Spora Stories, for London, and beyond. I hope through your play people consider more viewpoints and think about society in a new light.”
– @RosieCappuccino

“We saw your play last Friday. Really enjoyed it. Raises some serious issues but funny as well. The young cast was brilliant! congrats.” – Ifeoma

“I was thinking about it more…in the discussion afterwards all the focus was on Toby and his difficult decision -but I was also interested in Bali -because she was beginning to question her privileged background and to look at other options…….it’s all fascinating stuff!” – Pat

“Really enjoyed the play and will be coming back for second helpings at Bernie Grant – as usual you hit on subjects that so many of us are having conversations about in our kitchens and front rooms – which is what I especially love about your work.” – Deborah

“Saw Ade Solanke’s East End Boys, West Girls with Ellen Thomas. Great script. Reminding us of the pressures that are put on the young not only from parents but also from their peers. Beautifully executed by a young and relatively new cast members. Well done Ade.” – Anni Domingo

“East End Boys, West End Girls is a success because it deals with the challenges our young people face when choosing between schools, friends, dreams and opportunity. I went expecting belly laughs especially after the fab “Pandora’s Box” but instead I was moved and educated by the performances of the talented young cast (19 – 23) about the world they live in, which although similar, has many differences to the world I grew up in. If you are a parent, uncle, aunty or someone interested in raising youth aspirations, this family play (I took my wife and children, as did many others) is the one for you.” – Toyin Agbetu

We were thrilled to be invited into the ARISE NEWS London Studios in Piccadilly to chat about the play. Watch the clip here

The British Blacklist (TBB) interviewed Ade about the changes in London the play looks at.

“Pandora’s Box was set in Lagos and is very much the British-African migration and inter-generational story. This one is about teenagers who live in different parts of London. Three of the characters are British-African, but wearing their Londoner hats more in this story. I wanted to look at how young people in London are interacting and inter-relating. It’s more about class differences and economic differences… in different parts of London.” Read more  here

We had another stimulating chat with Reconnect Africa about the play.

“When I was growing up in London, London was our oyster! We’d spend the whole of the summer holidays exploring the city. …today’s kids are often prevented from experiencing that. So…basically the play is about worlds colliding.” Read the interview  here

We also popped into the BBC Radio London to chat about the show to Dotun Adebayo and shared an extract from the play with his listeners. It was fun!

Check it out BBC London Dotun Adebayo show

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We had a lively and funny debate about the play with audiences at our first q&a at Arcola. Interesting exploring the characters and their relationships. Was Tobi right to go his own way? Did he win the scholarship? Is Katie too pushy? What happened to Bali?

Thank you to all the friends and supporters who came down on press night. We were joined by a real East End MP and a fictional EastEnder from the TV show! Lovely night and more dollops of praise for our brilliant cast.

We’re listed in Lyn Gardner’s Top Tickets for the week!

Details here

http://www.theguardian.com/stage/theatreblog/2015/jul/27/franko-b-chris-goode-ursula-martinez-howard-davies-theatre-top-tickets