When I look at you, when our eyes connect?
I have to protect… to hold on to something, ’cause there’s too much to feel…
Four generations of black men are trying to understand themselves in a world which tells them they have to be strong.
Inspired by real-life testimony and told through an explosive fusion of physical theatre, hip-hop dance and text, SAMSKARA explores vulnerability, emotional trauma and how cycles of fathering affect masculinity.
Moving through joy and suffering, laughter and longing, this soul-baring odyssey by award-winning artist Lanre Malaolu untangles what it means to be a black man in 21st Century Britain.
What will be passed on and what will be left behind?
Age Guidance: 14+
SAMSKARA starts at 7.30pm and the approximate running time is 90 minutes.
Written, directed & choreographed by Lanre Malaolu
Commissioned by The Yard Theatre
Ntonga Mwanza | Young Buck
Oliver Alvin-Wilson | Wisdom
Will Atiomo | Father
Razak Osman | Older
Paaliba Abugre | Silent Man
Yahael Camara Onono | Drummer
CREATIVE + PRODUCTION TEAM
Lanre Malaolu | Director, Writer + Choreographer
Rochea Dyer | Assistant Choreographer
Kirk-Ann Roberts | Assistant Director
Anthony Simpson-Pike | Dramaturge
Natalie Pryce | Associate Designer
Meg Hodgson | Technical Stage + Production Manager
Ali Hunter | Lighting Designer
Jan Baranowski | Composer + Sound Designer
Shereen Hamilton | Creative Producer
Ruby Baker | Executive Producer
Yahael Camara Onono | Additional Composition
Lanre is a director, choreographer & writer working across theatre and film. He creates work that seamlessly intertwines movement and dialogue to tell socially engaged stories about our world. He was commissioned by the Camden People’s Theatre to present his theatre production Elephant in the Room, which later transferred to the Roundhouse Theatre.
His hybrid dance-documentary film THE CIRCLE had its world premiere at Sheffield Doc/Fest and was acquired by The Guardian in 2020 (currently streaming on their online platforms). He was the choreographer for British Council film DEAR MR. SHAKESPEARE (Sundance Film Festival 2017).
His most recent film THE CONVERSATION was selected for the BAFTA recognized Aesthetica film festival, winning the BEST DANCE FILM award. He also won the BEST DIRECTOR award at this year’s SOUL festival (supported by BFI & The British Blacklist).
Paaliba Abugre began his training in Swansea with Groundswell Dance Company first beginning in the Street Dance styles. He later expanded his range with Contemporary, Ballet and Jazz dance before moving to London to train at The Urdang Academy. Previous credits include: Heartbeat Of Home (Europe & Asia tour), West End Live, River Dream, John McColgan, Assistant Choreographer, Fila Disruptor, Guerilla Creative, Melody Squire, Turning Tides Festival, The Rise Collective, Mahla Axon.
Oliver Alvin-Wilson’s theatre credits include All of Us, The Red Barn and All’s Well That Ends Well (National Theatre), Nine Night (National Theatre and Trafalgar Studios), The Doctor (Almeida Theatre), The Twilight Zone (Almeida Theatre and The Ambassadors Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Young Vic), The Gala (RSC) and Genesis INC (Hampstead Theatre). Olivier has also worked with Propeller Theatre Company, Stafford Gatehouse Theatre, Pilot Theatre, Leeds Playhouse, Nuffield Theatre and Theatr Clwyd. His television and film work includes Wonder Woman 1984 (DC Entertainment/Warner Bros; The Huntsman (Universal Pictures), The Bay and From Cradle to Grave (ITV), Collateral (BBC), Lovesick (Netflix), The Rebel – Series 2 (UK TV Gold) and Misfits (Clarkenwell Films & Channel 4).
Born and raised in Zambia and now residing in London, Ntonga Mwanza is a UK based Actor, Writer, and Dancer. Ntonga made his debut in first feature film Leave2remain with Award winning Director Bruce Goodison, he then starred in Doctors BBC1, Channel 4 series Babylon directed by Danny Boyle, Hotel directed by Maria Aberg at the National Theatre, Lead in The Meet up at the Royal Court and Lead Role in feature film ‘Honey Trap’ by Director Rebecca Johnson. He recently toured his One Man Show Resonate produced by Nouveau Riche (Award winning plays Queens of Sheba/Typical) with English Touring Theatre and Plaines Plough Brixton, He first performed his self written play at the Omnibus Theatre Engine Room Take Over 2018 then at the Vaults Festival 2019 and is now currently developing his second play.
Razak Osman is a artist from East London, He trained as an actor at Arts Ed, since graduating he’s been featured in the TV series You, me and The Apocalypse. Studio 3 Arts, Merchant of Venice, Olivier award winning opera, Katya Kabanova at the Royal Opera House, Wolf of Wall Street, The immersive play, No Strings Attached at The Kings Head theatre, and many other productions. He also trained for many years as a dancer at various studios across London in the street dance styles, hip hop, popping and house. He’s been featured in various music videos, taught at Pineapple studios. Performed with Olivier award winning dance company Boy Blue Ent, at Sadlers wells and The Barbican.
Yahael Camara Onono was born in North West London to Nigerian and Senegalese parents. Despite being born in the UK and growing up in inner city London for most of his life, he had an affinity for his folkloric music from a very young age. He received his first talking drum at the age of 6 from his grandfather, and later started playing the djembe at the age of 8. Though he grew up in Harlesden, he was given the gift of an open mind through travel at an early age.
He has since gone on to play with and accompanied many groups, bands and ensembles including Family Atlantica, Maisha, The composers, burna Boy, Wande Coal just to name a few.
He is most known however for his role as Musical director and Band leader of Balimaya Project, a 16 piece collective in London that intently infuses traditional mande music with Jazz and other styles in the diaspora to create a unique sound and also a renaissance within the culture, making traditional folkloric music styles more accessible. Their debut album is out now is taking the Jazz scene by storm!
Ali is a freelance lighting designer working in dance, theatre and opera. She was the Young Associate Lighting Designer for Matthew Bourne’s Romeo and Juliet in 2019.
Recent Lighting Design Credits include:
Dance: Inscribed in ‘Me’ (Alethia Antonia); Happy Father’s Day (Dani Harris Walters); Vital Stages (Studio 3 Arts); Benched (Leila McMillan); The Quake Within (Yun Cheng); Deuce (Iona Brie); Foreign Body (Southbank Centre for WOW).
Theatre: Small Change (Clapham Omnibus); Brief Encounter (The Watermill); Fix (Pleasance Islington); The Man who wanted to be a Penguin (Stuff and Nonsense); Mother of Him (Park 200), For Services Rendered, The Play About my Dad, Woman before a Glass, (Jermyn Street), Cash Cow (Hampstead); Muckers (The Egg, Conde Duque, Oxford Playhouse); Soft Animals (Soho); Sugar, Don’t Forget the Birds, Rattlesnake (Open Clasp); Clear White Light (Live Theatre Newcastle); Fairytale Revolution, Out of Sorts, Isaac Came Home from the Mountain, Cinderella and the Beanstalk (Theatre 503);
Opera: La Nonne Sanglante (Gothic Opera); Treemonisha, The Boatswain’s Mate (Spectra); Gracie, The Biograph Girl (Finborough), Tenderly (New Wimbledon Studio); Katzenmusik (Royal Court);As Associate Lighting Designer: Hot Mess for Candoco Dance, The Half God of Rainfall (Birmingham Rep and Kiln) Lighting Designer: Jackie Shemesh.
Anthony Simpson-Pike is a director, dramaturg and writer whose work has been staged in theatres including The Bush, The Gate, The Young Vic and The Royal Court. He is currently Associate Director at The Yard Theatre, was previously Resident Director at Theatre Peckham and Associate Director at The Gate Theatre. Anthony is also a facilitator, having worked with young people and communities at The Gate, The Royal Court, The Young Vic, The Globe, and National Theatre.
Recent directorial work includes Lava by Benedict Lombe (Bush Theatre), Living Newspaper (Royal Court), The Electric by Vickie Donoghue (Paines Plough/ RWCMD), and The Ridiculous Darkness by Wolfram Lotz (Gate Theatre).
As a dramaturg Anthony has developed multiple seasons of work for The Gate and The Yard as Associate Director. Recent dramaturgical credits include Hotline with Produced Moon (Tron Theatre), Dear Young Monster by Pete McHale (The Queer House), and Coup de Grace by Almudena Ramirez (Royal Court). Anthony is also a reader for the Royal Court.
Jan Baranowski is a composer, sound designer, engineer and pianist pioneering at the forefront of electronic music. Having played piano as a child, Jan left Warsaw at 18 and moved to London to study a degree in jazz and pursue a music career.
Film work includes short films such as The Circle – long list candidate for Bafta Best British Short Film and winner of the parliamentary award Film The House. The Circle was officially released online via The Guardian in 2020.
Jan has also scored The Conversation – Best Dance Film Winner at Aesthetica Film Festival.
Jan’s body of work includes scores and sound-design for theatre pieces such as: Saskia Horton’s “Life According To Motown ” which received The Place Startin’ Point Comission; and sold-out Lanre Malaolu’s solo “Elephant In The Room”.
Jan is also an assistant engineer at 5 dB, a project based in West London that helps young, talented and underprivileged musicians produce and record their music at a world-class level.
Kirk-Ann is a Caribbean born, London based, spoken-word poet, playwright and theatre director. Inspired by movement and visual art. Her work often focuses on identity and the human experience. Roundhouse Resident Artist and graduate of Young Vic’s Director Programme. A workshop facilitator and creative practitioner; she has worked for the likes of Talawa Theatre, Emergency Exit Arts and The London Bubble.
Meg Hodgson is a technical production/stage manager and lighting designer who also has their own performance practice. They’ve worked with artists such as Stacy Makishi and Le Gateau Chocolat and are currently in the process of making their first full-length solo show MOONFACE.
THEATRE includes Red Velvet at RADA; 846 Live at Theatre Royal Stratford East; Me for the World at the Young Vic; Ducklings at the Royal Exchange; (Co -Set and Costume Designer) For All the Women Who Thought They Were Mad at Hackney Showroom; Not Now, Bernard at the Unicorn.
THEATRE includes Old Bridge at the Bush; White Noise at the Bridge; Is God Is at the Royal Court; Anna X on the West End; Tales of the Turntable for Zoonation; and The Winter’s Tale (as Costume Supervisor) at Shakespeare’s Globe.
FILM includes Good Grief, Fourteen Fractures, Myrtle, Fellow Creatures, Swept Under Rug and (as Costume Trainee) My Name is Leon.
Rochea Dyer is an interdisciplinary artist, choreographer and teacher specialising in the combination of art forms such as movement, physical theatre and spoken word.
Rochea’s aim is to create performance work that triggers deeper thinking by exploring
themes that should not be ignored or overlooked in society. At the heart of her work is the intimacy of that spectator/ performer relationship and how that connection enhances performance art to a higher level. She has gone from touring at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and working in the West End on shows such as ‘Breaking Convention’ and ‘Into the Hoods’ by Kate Prince. To working as an assistant choreographer for the award winning actor Regé Jean-Page’s music video ‘Don’t Wait’. In addition to short award-winning films such as ‘The Conversation’ by Lanre Malaolu; winning best dance film at BAFTA recognised Aesthetica Film Festival & San Francisco Dance Film Festival2020. The driving force behind Rochea’s passion is the art of making revolutionary work.
As a Creative Producer, Ruby works across artforms and disciplines to reimagine spaces and challenge traditional presentation methods. Her background in outdoor arts & festivals means Ruby often works in unconventional environments.
Ruby splits her time as a freelancer and as Senior Creative Producer at Poet in the City and is also the Creative Director for Cloud9 Festival. Prior to this, Ruby led the artist development and professional performance programmes for East London Dance.
Ruby has worked as a creative producer for East Wall at Tower of London, listed as The Guardian’s ‘top 25 dance productions of 21st Century’, Equality Always Fits, A Celebration of Pride with Levi’s UK® and Identity, a co-production with Shoreditch Town Hall.
Previous collaborations include: London College of Fashion, Coventry City of Culture, Emergency Exit Arts, Feminist Review, London Mela, Latitude Festival, Mahogany Carnival Company, National Theatre & Latitude Festival.
Shereen is a dedicated and versatile Creative Practitioner. Alongside her BA and MA in Theatre and Performance, specialising in the intersectionality of race and gender in theatrical representations, Shereen has trained and worked as a Producer, Director, Actor, Stage Manager and Facilitator. Her area of work centres around intersectional identities on stage, current and historical politic, theatre as a vehicle of education and diversifying the theatre we see today.
After being Project Manager for the SAMSKARA R&D and Lanre Malaolu’s Elephant in The Room at The Roundhouse 2019, Shereen was selected as part of The Roundhouse Future Producers 2020.
Prior to this, Shereen has worked as Assistant Producer on Evolution Festival at The Lyric Hammersmith and has Produced and Directed Bitchcraft, part of Melanin Box Festival at Peckham Theatre and then to Blacktress UK, part of The John Thaw Initiative.
Shereen’s recent directing credits include; Assistant Directing seven methods of killing kylie jenner at The Royal Court 2019 & 2021 and directing CRIPtic Pit Party at The Barbican 2019.
Shereen has undergone training with Talawa on Creating Routes 2019 and with Company Three on Making Theatre with Young People, resulting in her becoming one of Company Three’s Young Peoples Facilitator.
100 BLACK MEN: A NIGHT DEDICATED TO BROTHERHOOD
On Thursday 18 November, the performance of SAMSKARA will be a special night of brotherhood, celebrating Black male identity. If you identify as a Black male and would like to watch the show, please book a ticket using the code SAMSKARA100.
The show will be followed by a post-show discussion led by Courtney Brown of Father 2 Father and Lenny Williams, parenting course facilitator for youth and community charity Hackney Quest.
Please note that only those who identify as black men will have access to the theatre and this night. If you do not identify as a black man, then do not purchase tickets for this night.
Father 2 Father is an award-winning Community Interest Company that provides support, training and development to fathers, men and adolescent boys. It aims to empower fathers, young men and youth to make informed decisions about their lifestyle and relationships.
Lenny Williams is a parenting course facilitator for youth and community charity Hackney Quest. Established in 1988, Hackney Quest has been supporting young people, families and the local community to build skills and confidence through a variety of programmes designed to help people reach their potential.
WAYS TO SAVE
Access tickets are priced as concessions and can be booked online. We offer free tickets for companions and these must be booked by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
KEEPING US SAFE
We’re doing a few things to keep all of us including The Yard team, our artists, and our audiences as safe as possible. To read more about what we’re doing to keep us all safe and about our socially-distanced performances, head over here for our Covid Guidance.
Socially Distanced Performances:
SAMSKARA CONTENT ADVSORIES + SELF CARE
If you would like more details, please click here to see the additional information, which does contain spoilers.
If you would like to access our Self Care Resources, either before or after visiting us, please click here.
SAMSKARA is commissioned by The Yard Theatre, with support from Arts Council England, Jerwood Arts New Work Fund, Battersea Arts Centre and The Society for Theatre Research. Supporting partner East London Dance.