Big Aunty – the first home produced show of the spring season – will play in The Belgrade Coventry’s B2 auditorium from 24 April to 6 May, with a press night on 26 April. Midlands-born performers Alexia McIntosh and Kieren Hamilton-Amos will join Belgrade creative director Corey Campbell in the production, directed and devised by Campbell.
Big Aunty’s dead. Her funeral’s back in Jamaica, where she returned some years ago. The children she brought up together long ago, but have lost touch and gone their separate ways, are now forced to come together again, all these years later.
Big Aunty was the matriarch – a Mum to some, a ‘second’ Mum to others. She took in waifs and strays from reckless parents when they had nowhere else to go, and she gave them a home. But now she’s gone and there’s a Big Aunty-shaped hole in everyone’s world.
Now they’ll need to confront, not just each other, but their difficult pasts, and uncertain futures. Can they finally lay their differences to rest along with Big Aunty?
This darkly comic family drama is alive with ideas and emotions that connect us all; offering a welcome opportunity to gather and reflect on challenging times, and how we can find a path to resolution.
Corey Campbell explained: “As a devising artist, I often use theatre to help express who I am, but right now I see so many people in the same place as me. A lot of us have experienced loss over the last couple of years – it feels like the whole country is mourning.
“But as the character, Big Aunty, might say: ‘There is no resurrection without death’, and I’m now reaching a place where I can experience some joy through the pain of loved ones lost.
“I hope Big Aunty will offer hope to people who are also on this journey forwards, and that it will give all of us an opportunity to come together and share the experience in the unique way only theatre can provide – to laugh and cry, to heal and forgive. Live, laugh, love.”
The production will also feature a seven-person ensemble choir, drawn from the talent in the local community.
Big Aunty is produced by the Belgrade Theatre, directed and devised by Campbell with Sarah Githugu as assistant director, Claire Winfield as set designer, Joe Hornsby as lighting designer, Auden Allan as sound designer and Emma Barber as casting director. Joelle Ikwa is the community producer and choir leader.
Birmingham-born Alexia McIntosh trained at the Birmingham School of Acting, and then went on to enjoy success as part of the ‘Queedom’ playing Anna of Cleves in Six The Musical in the West End and then on UK tour. Other stage credits include Tina/Nunn in Sister Act at the Gordon Craig Theatre, Obax in Opera For The Unknown Woman at the Fuel Theatre, Chief Weasel in Wind In The Willows at the Old Rep Theatre, Abiola in Save Our School Dinners…Jamie!! at the Belgrade Theatre and Old Rep Theatre and Rosa in Godiva Rocks at Belgrade Theatre.
Keiren Hamilton-Amos was also born and raised in Birmingham and studied Applied Performance at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Since graduating Hamilton-Amos has been a part of varying national and international tours for many prestigious theatres and he is a long term member of Strictly Arts Theatre Company. He most recently played Grimeboy in Grimeboy at the Birmingham Rep, Edgar in of Tom’s Midnight Garden with Theatre by the Lake and TV debut in upcoming BBC/Netflix Champion.
Appointed Belgrade creative director in 2022, after holding the post of one of three co-artistic directors of the theatre for 2021 for City of Culture Year 2021, Corey Campbell is also artistic director of Strictly Arts Theatre Company, formerly supported by the Belgrade’s Springboard talent development programme. Through productions such as Green Leaves Fall and the critically acclaimed, Edinburgh sell-out show Freeman, Strictly Arts used their collaborative, devising process to bring stories from real people to the stage, building long-lasting relationships with audiences through targeted workshop and outreach programmes, with a particular focus on African and Caribbean communities.
Big Aunty runs from 24 April to 6 May 2023 at the B2 auditorium, Belgrade Theatre, Belgrade Square, Coventry CV1 1GS. Tickets from £10 including booking fee. Age guidance: 14-plus. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!