As part of our countdown to this year’s Camden Fringe, today we’re highlighting some of the BAME artists set to take this year’s festival by storm. Now in its 14th year, London’s alternative to Edinburgh Fringe runs from 29 July and 25 August 2019 with over 300 shows across 30 different venues.
Camden Fringe prides itself on showcasing new voices, local performers and providing a platform for political theatre. One play is doing just that this year, Down There: In the Mind of the Conscious (8-9 August, Lion & Unicorn) is an exploration of black stereotypes and black love through a blend of comedy and social commentary.
Director Andrea Lungay said: “Down There is relatable and truthfully expresses the positive and negatives in black youth relationships. I saw myself and my friends in all of the characters, and the irony of the stereotypes against the actual personalities really hit me.”
Actor Clint Mwaka added: “I am excited about the show because we get to showcase more young, upcoming black artists who are willing to break the glass ceiling by telling this great story.”
At the Cockpit, PYNEAPPLE (31 July-1 August) is a devised piece of theatre centred around five young women from London on their journeys of self-discovery and acceptance, all in the therapeutic setting of a hair salon. Melissa Saint, artistic director, actress and writer with SPYCE Collective, said:
“We wanted to create PYNEAPPLE because we wanted to see ourselves and our stories represented as black British women on stage. We wanted to create work for ourselves, the women that came before us, and will come after us. To empower them and to educate people on our experience, which is rarely given space. We also wanted to open up conversations about taboo topics within our community.”
Michelle Flower, co-founder of Camden Fringe, added: “We’re always keen to see female companies raising awareness of feminist issues, in a super entertaining way, of course! We’re particularly looking forward to PYNEAPPLE, which will be specifically about the young, black female experience. And will undoubtedly feature some great hair as it’s set in a salon.”
Denzil Barnes stars in a searing adaptation of Kafka’s A Report to the Academy, Red Peter (1-6 August, Etcetera), which is described as “an African ape has been captured in the jungles of West Africa and brought back to ‘civilisation” by his European captors. To escape a life of incarceration, he “evolves into a human being”.
At the London Irish Centre, I Know It Was The Blood: The Totally True Adventures of a Newfangled Black Woman (8-11 August) makes its UK premiere after touring the US, where actress, soprano, and storyteller Tara Lake takes audiences on a journey into the world of African-American Jersey girlhood in the 1980s and 1990s.
Lake said: “When I was making decisions about the show’s international debut, I knew I wanted to come to Camden Fringe because the UK’s growing mission to embrace and celebrate its diverse communities has been beautifully apparent for us in the States. I’m so excited and grateful to perform in London, and I just can’t wait to meet my Camden Fringe audience family.”
Full festival programme
For details on all 300+ shows in the 2019 Camden Fringe programme, visit the festival websiteClick here