THE COURT MUST HAVE A QUEEN by Ade Solanke

Directed by Sam Curtis Lindsay

Produced by Hannah Evans, Historic Royal Palaces

 

NOW ON AT HAMPTON COURT PALACE, JUNE 29th – SEPT 2nd 2018

It’s the summer of 1539 and Henry VIII is looking for a fourth wife after the death of his beloved Jane Seymour. Join the court as Thomas Cromwell oversees the finishing touches to a feast he hopes will seal the marriage treaty between Henry and Anne of Cleves.

 

The palace is a flurry of activity with the cooks preparing food for the feast in the kitchens, servants taking deliveries and bustling around the service areas, musicians preparing the entertainment, and guests and courtiers preparing their finest clothes.

However, with Henry’s mood threatening to upset weeks of planning, everyone is watching nervously to find out what happens next. Can the returning favoured court trumpeter, John Blanke help to soothe the king’s mood?

 

Full of music and drama this new play written for Hampton Court Palace by Ade Solanke and directed by Sam Curtis Lindsay, brings the court of the palace’s most famous resident to life in a theatrical spectacle suitable for all ages.

Daily Schedule

The Court Must Have a Queen runs from the 29 June- 2 September 2018 Thursday- Monday.

Performances take place in the Great Hall at 11:30, 12:30 and 15:30 and last approximately 30 minutes

Book here

AFRICAN LITERARY FIGURES IN GEORGIAN AND EDWARDIAN LONDON

AFRICA WRITES 2018

African Literary Figures in Georgian & Edwardian London

Discover the remarkable stories of Phillis Wheatley & A.B.C. Merriman-Labor with Ade Solanke, Danell Jones, S.I. Martin & Emma Dabiri.

More info here

Greenwich Book Festival 2018 – Exhume Those Stories

Dramatising African-British History

Join us for this fabulous discussion at Greenwich Book Festival 2018

Exhume Those Stories: Phillis Wheatley and John Blanke, readings and panel discussion

Sat 16 June 2018 15.30 – 17.00, Council Chamber, Queen Anne, Old Royal Naval College

Chair: The Right Honourable Diane Abbott MP, Shadow Home Secretary

Performances, discussion, and extracts from: Incomparable Worlds by S.I Martin, soon to be adapted by BBC/Ridley Scott; Black Tudors by Miranda Kaufmann, soon to be adapted by ITV/Silverprint Pictures; a new edition of The Interesting Narrative of Olaudah Equiano edited by Brycchan Carey; and new plays,  Phillis in London and The Court Must Have a Queen by Ade Solanke, the latter to be performed at Hampton Court Palace June 29th – Sept 2rd 2018.

“You know, there’s one place that all the people with the greatest potential are gathered. One place and that’s the graveyard. People ask me all the time, what kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola? And I say, exhume those bodies. Exhume those stories.”

In her powerful Oscar acceptance speech in 2017, Viola Davis exhorted storytellers to “exhume those stories,” referring to the dearth of films and plays about African historical figures. Join us for rehearsed readings from two new plays featuring two extraordinary historical figures: Phillis Wheatley and John Blanke.

More about this event

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University of Sheffield Distinguished Alumni 2016 – me!

Humbled  – and extremely honoured – to be the recipient of the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Sheffield.

It was very moving going back to my old campus this week for the award ceremony, which took place in the  very same hall I originally graduated from many (many) moons ago!

Read more

The Professor Robert Boucher Distinguished Alumni Award

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The Professor Robert Boucher Distinguished Alumni Award is awarded to former students as an acknowledgement from their University of their achievements and success.

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Sheffield is a member of the Russell Group of leading UK research universities. Its outstanding performance for excellent teaching and research, as part of a genuinely global community, is consistently confirmed by international independent assessments. 

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Firth Court

 

My sincere thanks to the Award Committee for this amazing compliment in selecting me for this prestigious award. Huge thanks, also, to the Alumni Office (especially Claire Rundstrom, Head of Alumni Relations) for the wonderful hospitality I enjoyed on the day.

It was a  beautiful experience, and brought back many fond memories. Studying English Literature was the foundation of my writing life and, even through it was during the 1980s, we even had a professor who discussed all sorts of writing in English, not just that from England. So I had some access to exciting and diverse worlds of writing early on.

So I’m thrilled – and motivated. Much more to do! Thank you, University of Sheffield.

 

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 West Africa :Word, Symbol, Song exhibition was on at the British Library,  Oct 16-Feb 16 2016!

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Looking forward to event for primary school teachers re how they can help kids see Africa more positively – Thurs Nov 5th, 4.30-8.00 at the British Library!

http://www.bl.uk/events/teachers-private-view-of-west-africa-word-symbol-and-song-for-newly-qualified-teachers

Congratulations to Kemi Akindoju for winning Most Promising Newcomer at the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) 2015 for her lead role in Dazzling Mirage!

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Kemi plays sickle cell sufferer Funmi in the film.

The 2015 Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) took place on Saturday, September 26th at Broad Walk Centre in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

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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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