TBTL explores black heritage and climate justice
Theatre by the Lake stage three new extraordinary shows as part of their Studio programme; from celebrating black heritage with one woman’s hair journey that shines a light on what cultural appropriation actually means, as well as the story of two South African freedom fighters who paved the way for Nelson Mandela, to shining a light on the climate emergency with the world’s first show powered by an energy-harvesting dance floor!
Cumbrian theatre maker and actress Lekhani Chirwa’s play, Can I Touch Your Hair? is a bold and funny show charting her own experiences of growing up mixed race in Cumbria. Lekhani’s story isn’t just about her hair struggles, but about being different and the pride and acceptance of identity.
Lekhani is a volunteer for Anti Racist Cumbria, who work with Cumbrians of all backgrounds to work towards an anti-racist county, holding organisations to account and supporting them to change whilst building grassroots projects for communities. Lekhani had some negative experiences growing up in Kendal which led her to leave the area, but more recently she has found a way to reconnect with her hometown.
Lekhani said: “Since joining Anti Racist Cumbria I’ve reconnected to the county. I have met so many amazing people who want to actively challenge racism in the area.”
Can I Touch Your Hair? will be performed on 23 and 24 September. Theatre by the Lake are working in partnership with Anti Racist Cumbria to offer a number of free tickets to the show to people from low income households, or people who are Black, Brown or from under-represented racialised communities. The idea behind the offer is to encourage new audiences who may not have had the opportunity to go to the theatre. To find out more, contact the theatre’s Box Office or visit their website.
Janett Walker CEO and Co-Founder of Anti Racist Cumbria said: “It’s fantastic that Theatre by the Lake are showcasing diverse homegrown talent and we are delighted to offer these free tickets so that more local people can enjoy this great show.”
To celebrate Black History Month this October, the Keswick theatre is staging Forgotten Voices on Fri 7 October. It tells the remarkable real-life story of Eva Moorhead Kadalie, the wife of South Africa’s first national black trade union leader, Clements Kadalie. For over three decades, the couple fought for freedom and paved the way for Mandela.
This insightful one woman show is written by her grandson, David Moorhead. David said: “My grandmother was glamorous and warm-hearted but beneath lay a complex person, whose struggles were immense. Her political contribution in terms of support and sacrifice were huge but have been completely ignored – which is so often the fate of women – and especially those of colour. I felt it was time to hear and celebrate the story of Eva Moorhead Kadalie. She was a woman who refused to give up. I am proud to be her grandson.”
Theatre by the Lake are offering a limited number of free tickets to the performance to local refugees. If you’re involved in a group or organisation that supports refugees and would like to find out more, please contact the theatre.
The Cumbrian venue will also mark The Great Big Green Week from 24 September – 2 October with the return of multi award-winning Pigfoot Theatre and their brand new production of Hot in Here. The show weaves together dance, real-life stories, spoken word and music in an energy-generating dance party that celebrates action taking place around the world for climate justice.
Incredibly, the show is powered by the first energy-harvesting dancefloor in live theatre, making Theatre by the Lake, which is the first stop on the national tour, the first ever theatre to host such a spectacle! In the same way that collective action is needed to tackle the climate emergency, the dancefloor converts the collective energy of the performers’ bodies into electricity.
Hot in Here runs for just 3 performances only from Thu 29 September – Sat 1 October.