Presenting these two pieces as a double-bill marks the first time that Talawa has taken productions from Talawa Firsts to key cities outside of London – encapsulating the vision of 2023’s festival, New Ideas; No Limits.

The two pieces complement each other hugely, using off-beat humour to tackle themes of extraction, temporality in people and places, (be)longing and the perils of late-stage capitalism.

Bougie Lanre’s Boulangerie by acclaimed poet Kareem Parkins-Brown is an existential poetry talk show chronicling Kareem’s years working in the hospitality industry, attempting to make ends meet as a Black, working-class artist who cares more about craft than consumerism. It’s the job of long-suffering waiting staff, servers and cooks to be kind; serving and embodying kindness, with a smile on each and every shift. Or is it…? Putting the ‘cuss dem’ in customer, through ingenious wordplay and graphic visuals, Kareem exposes a world of raging waiters, kind cooks, rude customers and gentrifying pop-ups that had audiences howling- as well as reconsidering how they behave in restaurants.  

   

Love in Gravitational Waves is a two-hander that is inspired by multi-generational interviews with over 40 people that articulates the vapid nature of contemporary dating through a fast-paced comedy-drama. Through a series of dates and apps interactions, we meet characters in search of something better in a world where profiles are currency and one right (or wrong) swipe is enough to change a life. A play about love, identity and fate penned by award-winning playwright and hip-hop artist/beatboxer Testament (Black Men Walking, Orpheus in the Record Shop).   

 

About Talawa

Talawa is the UK’s outstanding Black British theatre company. They champion Black excellence in theatre like no other.

Led by Artistic Director Michael Buffong and Executive Director Carolyn ML Forsyth, Talawa’s purpose is to tell inspirational and passionate stories, reflecting Black experiences through art. For decades Talawa has been breaking down barriers, nurturing talent in emerging and established artists, and providing opportunities for Black creatives throughout the UK.

Now resident at Fairfield Halls, Croydon, they have brought inspiring original productions including Run It Back (2021), Running with Lions (2022), and Offies 2024 award-winning musical Recognition (2023) to the stage, garnering accolades and attracting new and diverse audiences. Through their established New Work (Talawa Firsts) and Community Engagement ((Talawa Young People’s Theatre) projects, they continue their legacy of fostering inclusive and representative safe spaces where Black artists can thrive.