Pitch Lake Productions in association with Tara Arts for Black Theatre Live presents She Called Me Mother Michelle Inniss’ play about an elderly, Afro-Caribbean homeless woman, starring Cathy Tyson to tour in Autumn 2015
Derby Theatre Studio Thu 5 – Fri 6 November, 8pm
National Tour: 8 October – 21 November 2015
BAFTA and Golden Globe nominated actress to star in national tour of production which highlights and celebrates Black, Asian and minority ethnic theatre
She Called Me Mother is the début show from Pitch Lake Productions, founded by actor Cathy Tyson, writer Michelle Inniss and director Cara Nolan, and the second show to tour for the Black Theatre Live consortium, following their first acclaimed production of Macbeth earlier this year. She Called Me Mother is also the latest production dedicated to bringing inventive BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) theatre to venues across the country.
Starring Cathy Tyson, She Called Me Mother invites the audience into the life of Evangeline Gardner – a homeless, 70 year old Afro-Caribbean woman, who finds herself living on the streets. The play brings together Evangeline and her estranged daughter, Shirley and is written in poetic Trinidadian vernacular rarely heard on our stages.
Cathy Tyson said “New plays are exciting as they offer the creative team the freedom to try out new ideas. The language in She Called Me Mother is in the Trinidadian vernacular and there are two BAME female leads. We hope that these features of the play help to fire the imagination of audiences. We are a BAME led theatre company but our themes are universal. So please feel free to enter into the characters of Evangeline and Shirley whatever your background is. We’re very pleased to be sharing their story with you.”
Pitch Lake Productions was formed to address the lack of leading roles in British Theatre for BAME mid-career actors. Actor and Pitch Lake Productions co-founder Cathy Tyson is a BAFTA and Golden Globe nominated actress with over three decades of experience in the industry. She began her career at the Liverpool Everyman at the age of 17, before joining the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1984, and achieved widespread renown for her role in Mona Lisa alongside Bob Hoskins in 1986.
Recent credits include Bright Phoenix (Liverpool Everyman), Stand (Oxford Playhouse and touring) and Monkey Bars (Traverse and touring). Evangeline’s daughter Shirley is played by Chereen Buckley, who recently performed in the critically acclaimed I and the Village at Theatre 503 and has also appeared on TV in Admin Lunch Monkeys (BBC3), My Family and Thieves Like Us.
Michelle Inniss is a writer and Spanish teacher. She will be published this autumn in Closure: an anthology of short stories published by Peepal Tree. She has been long listed for Angle at The Bush Theatre 2011, short-listed for The Fish Short Story Prize 2010, and in 2006 was awarded a runner up for the Penguin Decibel Prize.
Writer, Michelle Inniss said: “I am really excited by the prospect of Evangeline and Shirley’s stories being brought to life on stage and that the audience will be able to share in the telling of their stories.”
Director, Cara Nolan is a director and writer, who has worked across the UK and Europe and has recently completed an MA in Theatre Directing at RADA. Her directing credits include; Yard Gal by Rebecca Prichard, Oedipus adaptation by Geoff Williams, The Wing by Clara Brennan (2014); My Mother Said I Never Should (2012) and Alice in Wonderland (2010). She has been assistant director on Laurence Boswell’s production of Exit the King, Bright Phoenix directed by Serdar Bilis (2014) and The Raft of the Medusa by Joshua Sobol, directed by Andrew Visnevski (2014). Cara is also a University of Derby graduate.
She Called Me Mother is the second production from Black Theatre Live, a pioneering consortium of 8 regional theatres committed to increasing the amount of Black and Ethnic Minority theatre on the touring circuit. It follows the recently concluded tour of Tara Arts new version of Macbeth.
Through a 3-year programme, Black Theatre Live will bring high quality performances from culturally diverse perspectives to venues across the country. The initiative is a partnership of Tara Arts (London), Derby Theatre, Queen’s Hall Arts (Hexham), the Lighthouse (Poole), Theatre Royal Bury St. Edmunds, Theatre Royal Margate, Stratford Circus Arts Centre (London) & Key Theatre (Peterborough).
Sarah Brigham, Artistic Director Derby Theatre said “I’m delighted that our consortium have selected such an exciting prospect – the combination of experienced artists such as Cathy Tyson and Michelle Innes, with an emerging director like Cara Nolan, signals the combination of quality and innovation which Black Theatre Live is all about. The poetry of the script blew me away and I’m looking forward to bringing our audiences an unheard voice and story told through powerful and engaging drama.”
Cast: Cathy Tyson, Chereen Buckley.
Written by Michelle Inniss
Directed by Cara Nolan
Black Theatre Live is supported by Arts Council England