“I do not need your permission” – Part 2

nitroBEAT Pit Party-Suckerpunch Boom Suite collaborators on how Jean-Michel Basquiat has inspired them…

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Maya Williams

Basquiat, to me, is an identity crisis with a paintbrush. Someone who was as sketchy, complex, layered and distressed as their artwork. It's not a typical way to look to someone as inspiration, but there's a lot that I take from seeing an artist relish and thrive in their own complexities and anxieties.

Basquiat resonates with artists who feel marginalised, but not by being some kind of 'voice of the people' character. He resonates because he embodies and he addressed the conflict and struggle that comes with striving for success in amongst the elitist nature of the arts. And it really is a conflict; we look at Basquiat as one of the most influential artists of recent history who at the time was listed as 'wild', like the big-bad-dangerous-urban-jungle-man of the arts. An idea like that diminishes the artist’s legacy and completely overlooks the genius of his work and the intelligence that he was very aware of in himself.

Basquiat's art, to me, comes from a place of creative genius. The way the figures and text are exploded on to the canvas, it's a whole other language of brilliant communication. Even years after his death when we look at his work we're still in conversation, still in conflict. I can't say this inspires me to 'become a better artist', but it inspires me because I am convinced that art is communication and to hold on to the conviction that I could tell you everything and then some with my body, with a paintbrush, with a spray can.

Diane Morgan

As a ‘small island’ black girl growing up in a West Midlands suburb I felt somewhat disconnected from the dominant black music and culture of Jamaica, so I turned instead to the US. The hip-hop scene that Jean-Michel Basquiat rose from had me hooked as New York shaped and influenced the youth cultures of London, Birmingham, Manchester and Bristol.

I studied Basquiat feverishly (independently - he wasn’t mentioned during my art A level or masters) while soaking up Public Enemy’s ‘Fear of a Black Planet’. In his work entitled Defacement (The Death of Michael Stewart), he depicted how 25-year- Michael Stewart was beaten by police officers because of his graffiti art and later died from his injuries. Over 30 years later this work is now more relevant than ever in our so-called post-racial society.

Basquiat made me feel normal in wanting to delve into the black experience, my reality AND across invisible lines to draw from multiple sources of inspiration (old, new, black, white, high art, popular art & technology). I didn’t know back then that graffiti artists questioned the authenticity of his work, that black people accused him of selling out, and that the white art elite questioned his right to be there. It isn’t a stretch for me now however, to imagine how he might have struggled with the dichotomy of different worlds and the challenges of fitting in nowhere and everywhere simultaneously.

As I celebrate Basquiat’s success and undeniably incredible talent, it also reminds me why he and I felt/feel so connected to black music – because its innovation and evolution is less easy to constrain. There would be many more Basquiat’s if opportunities were fairly distributed. He was a chosen one, but not the only one.

Throwing Shade

He was a trailblazer and he was the first artist to upset the racial status quo in the Western art world. His ideas feel real.

Matthew Xia

As an artist, a musician and a theatre maker I connect strongly to Basquiat’s anger, his frustration with the historical lines drawn across current society, his sense of rage and rebellion. I started my own art - initially as a performer, an actor, a rapper a DJ – and was informed by my environment, the streets of East London. I fell in love with hip-hop and its associated cultural forms including graffiti. Through hip-hop I fell in love with New York, Jazz, Harlem, Brooklyn, Long Island, the Bronx and the streets Jean-Michel grew up around. I became acquainted with the heroes of the civil rights movement and became politicised around issues of identity, big city living and what it means to be marginalised as a black artist in a white world. I connect strongly to the fury in Basquiat’s work – the depiction of the terrifying, the shattered and the disconnected and the fierceness of his attack.

nitroBEAT Pit Party - Suckerpunch Boom Suite, 29 & 30 Sept, Barbican Centre


“I do not need your permission” – Part 1

nitroBEAT Pit Party-Suckerpunch Boom Suite collaborators on how Jean-Michel Basquiat has inspired them…

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Michael Barnes-Wynters

As an artist who grew up alongside the likes of Robert '3D' Del Naja (Massive Attack) during the 80's at the epicentre of Bristol's creative melting pot, I feel blessed to have been introduced to Basquiat's existence courtesy of The Face Magazine (R.I.P), which prompted me to go to his UK debut exhibition at The ICA. Whilst Bob and Marcia's 'Young Gifted and Black' alongside Bob Marley and Muhammed Ali installed pride of my black skin and Jamaican heritage in me, Basquiat confirmed my existence as an artist.

Seeing someone who looked like me being intuitively creative whilst provocative in his wordplay and shedding light on black histories was a revelation. To this day it gives me the strength to continue broadcasting by any medium necessary whilst asking blunt, relevant and meaningful questions that tackle human suffrage, racism, gender exploitation, injustice, control and the hyper normalisation of humanity.

I do not need your permission. Do not pigeonhole me. Thank you Jean – Michel.

Titi Dawudu

Like Basquiat, I too was heavily influenced by a book. For him it was the famous Gray's Anatomy given to him by his mother when he was in hospital after being in an accident. This book would become a profound influence on Basquiat throughout much of his work. The book that influenced me was Mildred D Taylor's Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry. Seemingly voiceless, strong women like Cassie Logan feature heavily in my writing.

What I take from Basquiat’s work is to bring to the forefront the richness and complexities of the black voice. Voices that can in some communities and parts of the world, be stifled, but knowing underneath that there is strength. This is what has drawn me to Basquiat and his influence continues to highlight the power and strength of black culture.

Dead Human

Heading off to art school I was full of ideas and heavily into street art and graffiti - a world that allowed me to experiment with colour, typography and illustration without constraint. Sadly, my first day didn’t go as planned due to my first lecturer snarling ‘that’s not art!’ It was clear from day one I didn’t fit into contemporary art school, something that was continually used as a form of attack and humiliation.

It wasn’t until I started doing photography that everything clicked (no pun intended!). There were less ‘rules’ with photography and I could experiment the way I did with graffiti. I began to explore art history, searching out artists that didn’t fit in with or play by established rules. It was around this time I discovered Basquiat, he faced the same vitriol from the established white-washed art world. His eventual demise was unfortunately not an isolated occurrence. Still to this day, dealers, art critics, large galleries and predominantly middle aged white people decide, as did my ‘teachers’, what art is and what it isn’t.

Basquiat taught me that his chaotic (to some) way of working, taking influence from music, literature and history is my foundation. Yes, he was a flawed individual in some areas, but so are all focused creative people. He did it his way and left a legacy of not only incredible art but a cautionary handbook of the dangers of success.

Jack Miguel

On the surface it looks like Jean-Michel Basquiat exploded out of nowhere, at an outrageously young age, to bless the universe with his raw talent, giving us some of the most iconic and visceral artworks of the 20th century. But he’s not an exception and to call him an artistic genius and to revere him as such does him and his work a disservice, not least because it others him, casting him in gold and hanging him up high where in death like in life he is stripped of context and treated as exotic and not of this world.

Basquiat strikes me as someone who was deeply committed to their art and who protected it with a fierceness I find inspiring. He knew there was nothing else he could do and he went for it despite having no money, no house, against the wishes of his Caribbean father (that’s massive) and as a young black man in America (also very massive).

As an artist that works across disciplines I’ve really struggled with my sense of identity. This feeling of not quite being part of any one world is also something reflected in my personal identity as a mixed race man living in England. He embodied this difficult sense of inbetweenness and used it as a means to transcend convention, freely creating beautiful artwork.

There’s a deep isolation that comes with not quite being part of any one thing, of being alien everywhere you go and ultimately this may have been one of things that contributed to his tragic death. I think one aspect of the power of Basquiats work lies in its ability to make you feel less alone somehow. I hope other people feel the same way and I just wish Basquiat had more Basquiats around him to get it.

nitroBEAT Pit Party - Suckerpunch Boom Suite, 29 & 30 Sept, Barbican Centre


Basquiat: Boom for Real at the Barbican

The first large-scale exhibition in the UK of the work of American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960—1988). nitroBEAT has been commissioned to produce Suckerpunch Boom Suite, which will respond to some of the themes of Basquiat's wide-ranging work.

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Discover the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat, the pioneering prodigy of the 1980s downtown New York art scene. This unprecedented exhibition brings together an outstanding selection of more than 100 works from international museums and private collections. Featuring rare film, photography and archive material, the show captures the spirit of this self-taught artist, poet, DJ and musician whose influence, since his death at 27 in 1988, has been enormous. More info

nitroBEAT Pit Party: Suckerpunch Boom Suite

"We are thrilled to bring back nitroBEAT", Toni Racklin, Head of Theatre at the Barbican

Pioneering New York artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, one of the most significant painters of the 20th century and whose first large-scale exhibition is in Barbican Art Gallery, is the source of inspiration for two performances in The Pit.

Suckerpunch Boom suite is a fluid theatrical gig that unites collaborators at the forefront of experimental art, sound, lyricism and physical poetry and responds to some of the themes and deeper truths present in Basquiat's work. In this spirit, nitroBEAT’s Artistic Director Diane Morgan curates an evening that celebrates freedom of expression through contemporary black culture, cross-fertilisation, liberation and inclusivity.

nitroBEAT Pit Party – Suckerpunch Boom Suite,  Friday 29–Saturday 30 September 2017, 8pm.


Black Theatre Co-op Exhibition

nitroBEAT is the current phase of Nitro Music Theatre, which itself evolved from The Black Theatre Co-op established in 1979. This new photographic exhibition at the National Theatre, South Bank covers the 1979-1982 period when the UK’s black theatre scene found its distinct voice.

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Black Theatre in London 1979 – 1982

An exhibition of photographs by Michael Mayhew and a new artwork by Cherelle Sappleton in the Lyttelton Lounge at the National Theatre

23 February – 10 June.

The photographs from the National Theatre Archive’s Michael Mayhew Collection is a rare snapshot of the work developed by Black theatre Co-op between 1979 and 1982. Michael Mayhew was the NT’s Art Director (from 1976 – 2009) when he was first asked by Charlie Hanson to take publicity photographs of the newly established theatre company. In the 1970s and 80s there was an explosion of new black-led theatre companies in the UK, primarily focused on London. Mayhew went on to shoot more images of theatre productions and rehearsals with Foco Novo and Temba Theatre, leaving a legacy of over 1000 newly digitized photographs at the NT archive.

To respond to this archive collection, Cherelle Sappleton, a young British/Caribbean visual artist whose work focuses on photography, moving image and collage was commissioned to create new work. For Cherelle, Mayhew’s images provide the opportunity to pause and consider the politics of ‘making’ and the spaces in which creative work can be made.

A series of events are accompanying the exhibition to explore and challenge the content and context of the work.

In Context - GLC Story, Black Feminist Theatre 1981-1986
Saturday 1 April, 2-5pm, Cottesloe Room, £25/£20/£7.50

On Screen – Tunde’s Film (dir. Tunde Ikoli and Maggie Pinhorn, 1973, 49 mins)
Saturday 25 March, 6-7.30pm, Cottesloe Room, £5/£3

In Context; Black Woman Time
Saturday 11 March, 2-5pm, Cottesloe Room, £25/£20/£7.50

Stage Photographers
Saturday 4 March, 6-7pm, Cottesloe Room, £6/£5

The Black Plays Archive is an online catalogue for the first professional production of every African, Caribbean and black British play produced in Britain. Visit in person by appointment - NT Archive 020 7452 3135.


Beautiful, carefree & unapologetic

L.GOLD.BT Open Mic was a relaxed event with choreographed dance, visual art, poetry, song and music by young, queer, black artists. "To look around and see a room full of beautiful, carefree, unapologetic and artistic qpoc and allies was all I ever wanted from this project." Maya Williams - Performer, choreographer, teacher, nitroBEAT Intern and L.GOLD.BT creator.

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Maya Williams

I started L.GOLD.B.T out of frustration, I was tired of feeling like my sexuality was a burden. I was tired of simultaneously resisting white-washing alongside racial discrimination.  I was tired of seeing people of colour being continually dismissed and neglected until it's time to score diversity points. I wanted to create a night where we can exist as artists, as creatives, as genuine diverse people and by showing up and showing so much love you all made that possible. It still hasn't sunk in - I couldn't have asked for anything more.

The host, Xana, did an amazing job and carried the whole night, the programmed acts were beautiful to watch and to interact with. A huge thanks to Ama Josephine Budge, Cher Ho, Shamel Mashatte, Abigail Rose, Rebekah Ubuntu and the open mic artist’s - you all killed it.  I was expecting it to be good but we had actual Gods and Goddesses on the mic. Just know that I did this all for you - I live to uplift queer people of colour and in return you all gave me life.

nitroBEAT, Ovalhouse, Westway Trust and Vinspired trusted and supported me when all I had was a pitch. As a young qwoc I have faced institutions that not only don't want to engage or cater to me, but have denied me entry or asked me to leave their premises on the premise that they've “already filled the black quota" and won't be accepting anymore of us, whilst continuing to play our music, mimic our dancing and wear our identities like fancy dress.

To have a group of organisations that didn't just accept me as a queer, black artist, but genuinely engaged, understood and uplifted my cause, has been a privilege I've never known before. To look around on the night and see a room full of beautiful, carefree, unapologetic and artistic qpoc and allies was all I ever wanted from this project. I never ever say this, but for the first time I'll admit that I am proud of myself and I am proud of us. Thank you so much for making that possible.

Read a Q&A with Maya here.

"A brilliant evening of live performances and incredible talent. I only wish it was a regular event! When is the next one?" Kamara Gray

"Great night spent at L.GOLD.B.T event. Ovalhouse, nitroBEAT so much great talent! An eve of Unity and expression! Please repeat this event!" Antoinette Lester

"Drenched in love, celebration and style" Angela Hurst

"Eye opening and inspiring with a lot of love and fun! " Cher Ho



"The best show I’ve seen in 2016"

Intuitive, accessible, rebellious and evolutionary; I sincerely hope that our future is filled with high quality experiences such as this. If you were there this July, what a privilege. If you weren’t, next time, I urge you to bring your Avatar, your hologram, your best [dressed] self, your memories, your dreams. Or just an open mind...

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Review for The British blacklist

by Be Manzini / @BeCreates

“Welcome earthlings…” is the greeting from our bald-headed, well-spoken, inter-dimensionally styled host, Roney FM. We had already had our feel-good memories covertly stolen by space travellers and data thieves, Mission//Misplaced Memory, earlier in the Barbican Pit foyer. Now, we were to be transported to a liminal state of being on Earth, but not as we know it. Where reality and fantasy collide…Black cultural capital being uplifted and sprinkled with moon dust. A multidimensional experience where k3 media’s surrealist imagery is projected onto a wall. There are no boundaries. A golden Pharaoh with a skull for a face. Dragons and fire-breathing horned humans. Census-type boxes to be ticked in your mind that scream, ‘Who are you?’ appear and disappear.

In the show, Brexit, Trump, the policing of Black people are referenced, to be included and then excluded. For a few hours, we can acknowledge the racial reality of being a Diasporan African and celebrate Blackness without feeling defined by the weight of the current political climate. We can escape. We can breathe. Afrofuturism, a term coined by cultural critic, Mark Dery in his 1995 essay, ‘Black to the Future’ [Newton, 2014], speaks to inclusivity rather than a rigid notion of Black identity. In line with that, there are no binary wars in Nitro’s Afrofuturistic world; aboriginal art married with technology, historical references merged with science fiction, the desire to be free standing side by side with having achieved it.

Award-winning director Benji Reid’s first vignette does not disappoint. Hands raised, heads bowed, fists clenched, our performers are united from different corners of the stage as their six bodies form two lines of the Black power salute. Juice Aleem, XANA and our other cosmic host, Aina Moore, alongside the Jazz Re:Freshed band featuring Cassie Kinoshi, TJ Koleoso and Israel Shabani. An image of the tube behind them suddenly displaces what you saw. The bodies disperse while the focus shifts to MC and singer, Aina Moore in a sequined head wrap, the styling sitting somewhere between the glittering geles of West Africa (we know and love) and the unique flair of a woman from the Afro Punk movement. Like her attire, Moore is fresh, she sings and spits urban bars infused with Afrobeat rhythms on the theme of having to go work; “I have no memories just USBs…they want me to become a robot”. She has already pulled us in with a universal theme…the audience chants a chorus with her. I lean into my theatre buddy, quietly acknowledging that at some point in our lives, we all have felt the urge not to get out of bed, not to want to move at all, not to even speak. Later, as if mindreading, XANA looks in my direction and declares, “Your silence has no currency here!”

There were many moments and aspects where there was magic that at times, I had to wonder if it was serendipitous or my artistic mind taking me beyond the realm of the creative/s intention? But isn’t that the point of art? That it lives, it is a seed that is grown by the creatives and then offered to an audience who by engaging, watering it with their interpretations, it grows and lives on?

There are so many merits to the work, each performer flowing and each artistic element wonderfully executed. Like Juice Aleem’s, “Rock your hologram!”, reminiscent of the days when Hip-hop educated and inspired, Juice managed to bring a New Age tilt to Old Skool. Every so often, images of colourful Mandalas were the chosen visual. Was it a coincidence he wore his ‘Harry Potter’ scarf over a T-shirt with cursive Arabic (I associated with Mandinka scripts I’ve seen in Gambia) or a salute to courage, healing and ancient mysticism?  “You can’t evolve without an open mind” was another, ‘read’ from an archaic phone by our male host with eyes hidden by vector-framed sunglasses.

When ‘Loading Your Illusion’, remember “We are the people that are born from flames, Marcus Garvey, Scott Joplin, Fredrick, Linton Kwesi Johnson and on and on and on…” I’m aware this list and the audio were male centric, but by omission, those words made me think of the wonder women. Of Janelle Monae, Grace Jones, Shingai Shoniwa. I thought of them being African-American, Jamaican and a fellow Black-British/Zimbabwean. How our music and our fashion is global. We are global. We are Alpha. We are Sun[Ra]-beings. We are pyramids. That there was a female sax player on stage, and a few feet from her, a female MC, and another few feet, a female beatboxer. That here was a triangle of women, a dreamy but real constellation of talent and femaleness.

That femaleness has many articulations. XANA’s vocal gender switching; first a funk-filled electronic George Clinton to lighter mellow mezzo-soprano vocals. Code switching from a tantalising London twang (reminiscent of Taiwah) to the patois of Kingston dancehalls. XANA’s androgyny enhances her ability to morph, the ability to be anything and at once everything. Declaring her queerness as she improvises her song on loop pedal, beatboxing, singing, rapping and chatting to us. The mic is home for XANA. As I sat there, my smile matching my friend’s, I realised XANA encapsulated so much of the honesty and comfort yearned for over the last few weeks and months. A profound talent who intermittently repeats, demanding our attention, “Your silence has no currency here!” reinforcing that Afrofuturism, at its heart, is artistic activism.

All the collaborators in this work (from the individual performers to the collectives) have a progressive vision of revitalizing and progressing the genres they work in. For nitroBEAT to bring together Jazz Re:Freshed, k3 media, Mission//Misplaced Memory, established and new found talent under the extraordinary direction of Benji Reid, made for the best show I’ve seen in 2016.

Intuitive, accessible, rebellious and evolutionary; I sincerely hope that our future is filled with high quality experiences such as this. If you were there this July, what a privilege. If you weren’t, next time, I urge you to bring your Avatar, your hologram, your best [dressed] self, your memories, your dreams. Or just an open mind – but overall, do come and join the party.

Original Feature


nitroBEAT Pit Party - An Afrofuturistic Trip - SOLD OUT

An exploration into Afrofuturism by some of the finest UK innovators, featuring live music, lyricism & art. Aina More, Juice Aleem, Mission//Misplaced Memory, K3 Media, Roney Fraser Munroe, XANA, Jazz re:freshed, Ezra Collective.

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Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates and videos of the show. #nBPitParty.
Artists Profiles & more info
Promo created by K3Media's Michael Anthony Barnes-Wynters.
Music: Rock my Hologram by Juice Aleem.

A few words from Benji Reid

(Performance Architect)

It’s wonderful to be working with nitroBEAT and the Barbican on a show that explores Afrofuturism. I first got excited by the movement when viewing the work of Rammellzee, a legendary graffiti writer whose work inspired me to think about the Black imagination and space travel.

From Michael Barnes-Wynters eclectic visual art to Aina More, Xana, Roney FM and live musicians, this artistic collaboration offers us hip hop, jazz, performance art, spoken word and sound experiments in an intoxicating mix. The Bastion of hip-hop & futuristic thinking, Juice Aleem, is the embodiment of Afrofuturism, an early exponent of its philosophies. We don’t have to get bogged down in theory, the show is a celebratory and accessible journey, but it’s vital that this work is presented to uplift us because of the times we’re living in, where struggle is still apparent. To voice our experiences in a way that connects our past, present and future helps to uplift us spirituality, mentally and physically.


Unleashing the black imagination and alternative visions of the future

The intersection between black culture, technology, liberation and the imagination, Afrofuturism has been expressed through film, art, literature and music. It not only critiques present-day dilemmas of people of colour, but also aims to revise, interrogate, and re-examine the historical events of the past. It's a way of bridging the future and the past and essentially helping to re-imagine the experience of Black people.

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Why Afrofuturism?

Diane Morgan

Black radical theory explores systems of oppression and how we may dismantle them. However, it has its limitations. It’s not an easy space from which to explore broader gender, sexuality and class issues. Although the focus is on exclusion and inequality it doesn’t always allow for the inclusion of multiple sites of oppression (intersectionality), occurring in complex and often contradictory ways.

Afrofuturism challenges what we’ve been told about adhering to divisions that don’t exist. It encourages self-exploration, individuality and to see our lives more fully than the present allows – politically, socially, economically, technologically and artistically.

The representation and treatment of black female bodies is deconstructed by Afrofuturist contemporary artists such as Wangechi Mutu, Ellen Gallagher and many others. An inclusive space for an eclectic array of cultural forms and expression (See: Octavia Butler, Basquiat, Sun Ra, Janelle Monae, Flying Lotus, Sons of Kemet and Lady Vendredi), Afrofuturism navigates an Afrodiasporic cultural aesthetic that draws together literature, jazz, funk, progressive hip-hop, sci-fi, techno-culture, art, film and fantasy into an all-encompassing philosophy. Always evolving, never stuck in one place or time and with a central focus on the cross-fertilisation of ideas.

Underpinning musical, literature and art explorations, incredible costumes and academic recognition, Afrofuturistic ideas and philosophies are focussed on improving the lives of black people. Marcus Garvey proposed a ‘Back-To-Africa’ movement for descendants of slavery, but Afrofuturists felt the future for black people could be imagined in new ways. With even the most outlandish intergalactic visions being rooted in real, everyday struggle.

Many of us are children of imperialism and colonialism and we do not have the luxury of vast archives and documentation about our ancestors. Reclaiming the colonial past is a radical act - in order to transform the present and future. Our work will ultimately place the black body as a site of both reparation (for social injustice) and liberation through the imagination. Rather than disavow the importance of race in identity formation, we aim to reformulate it in new frameworks that exist at the juncture between alternative and activist, producing new spaces for creative ideas to flourish.

 nitroBEAT Pit Party  – An Afrofuturistic Trip, is commissioned by the Barbican and taking place on Friday 22 July 2016.


It starts with a conversation

This Spring and Summer nitroBEAT and Soho Theatre have been fortunate to have a team of four talented emerging producers and arts managers working with us via placement schemes, MA internships and as volunteers to gain valuable experience of the sector. Introducing Titi Dawudu...

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It starts with a conversation

Titilola Dawudu

Role: Emerging Producer via Tamasha Theatre placement scheme & Assistant Producer 

From a chat with Fin Kennedy, artistic director at Tamasha Theatre to a meeting with Diane Morgan, nitroBEAT’s director and David Luff from Soho Theatre – these conversations have landed me with an assistant producer role and a piece of new writing performed on stage to a near sold-out audience at nitroBEAT bites.

By my own admission, I am not a natural networker in the sense of going up to someone at a networking event with a half-filled plastic cup of warm wine in my hand, nodding along as they go on about their careers and then watch their eyes glaze over as they realise I can’t help them in any way.

What I do best is authenticity. When I speak to someone, I’m genuinely interested in who they are, how they are and not about getting something out of it, and this approach has served me well. Taking to Fin one day at university, whilst studying for an MA in Dramatic Writing at Central Saint Martins, led to the youth charity I work for becoming an associate company with Tamasha. I spoke to Fin about the kind of work Tamasha does, his career trajectory, I asked him for advice and I congratulated him on his impending role into fatherhood. I was genuinely interested. In turn, he asked about the course, the work I do, what plays I like and the issues around the lack of diversity in the arts. Before you know it I was in his office, talking to his staff about my objectives for the year and how Tamasha can support me.

Fast-forward a couple of months and I’m now sitting at Soho Theatre across from Diane, who is director of their resident company. We are talking about the rest of the year’s plans for nitroBEAT and about making more work. We are talking about my writing and how to further develop it. What I’ve been able to achieve by having conversations is an amazing six months of winning awards for my writing, getting a distinction at university, assistant producing for the longest running black theatre company in the UK, seeing my work being staged, going to the Edinburgh Fringe on a producer placement this summer and starting a new theatre project with young people in Croydon.

I’m excited to continue the conversations with Diane and others. I’m proud of being a part of changing the conversations around diversity and other issues. I know some may not lead anywhere, but always being genuine and using who you are and what you’ve got will always get you somewhere.


From Chicago to London and beyond

This Spring and Summer nitroBEAT and Soho Theatre have been fortunate to have a team of four talented emerging producers and arts managers working with us via placement schemes, MA internships and as volunteers to gain valuable experience of the sector. Introducing Nakimera Moore...

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From Chicago to London and beyond

Nakimera Moore

Role: Internship via Goldsmiths University

I grew up in a suburb of Chicago that truly embraces diverse culture and the creative arts, and it instilled in me a passion for creativity and entertainment at a very young age.

"My goal is to eventually have a solid understanding of entertainment law, artist management and the foundation of running a successful startup..."

After undergrad, I landed my first 'real world' job at a well-established talent agency as an agent's assistant. There, I learned several tricks of the trade and the hurdles and joys of managing artists by helping them to bring their dreams to fruition. Artist management is now my passion and it has been an honour working with nitroBEAT, learning the ins and outs of producing live performances and managing actors! One of the projects I worked on was a completely digital programme for The Passion of Lady Vendredi - audiences recieved a business card with a weblink or QR code.

I was introduced to the company by my tutor, Nicola Turner, on the MA in Cultural and Creative Entrepreneurship at Goldsmiths. I love nitroBEAT's impressive attention to detail and it's long-term vision of challenging the stereotypical aspects of "black theatre" by portraying the multidimensional realms of art, which makes me excited to work for this company.

Upon completion of my MA in Cultural and Creative Entrepreneurship at Goldsmiths this year, I plan on obtaining a law degree from a university near a city with a major performing arts reputation. My goal is to eventually have a solid understanding of entertainment law, artist management and the foundation of running a successful startup in the creative industries for when I open my own company. This will be a talent agency by day and performance lounge by night.


Kiss, lick & bite

Soho Theatre’s downstairs cabaret space was the perfect environment for nitroBEATbites, a Future-Theatre Lounge: Six writers testing out their work in the hands of legendary director, Benji Reid, and a talented cast.

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Full house for nitroBEAT bites

Titi Dawudu

“Excellent night filled with so much talent & great new writing! @nitrobeatuk Truly hope #nBbites becomes a regular event”


An audience of new faces, friends, family, lovers of new writing, spoken word performance and industry professionals gathered to watch 10 minute bite-sized pieces of new writing within a music lounge setting, and provide feedback to encourage further development of the pieces.

nitroBEAT bites unearthed new voices for the stage alongside encouraging established writers  to test new work. Diane Morgan first conceived a version of the project at Contact in Manchester, entitled ‘Flip the Script’, which evolved into a large-scale BBC- funded programme that developed new writing, not only for the stage but also for radio and TV.

BBC New Comedy Award 2015 finalist, Athena Kugblenu, hosted the night and set the after work, relaxed tone to the event. A definite crowd-pleaser, Athena worked the audience with a no-hold bars approach to everything from Britain leaving the EU to flirty banter with the audience. Athena also had the job of asking the audience for feedback after each of the pieces were performed by holding up ‘Kiss,’ (I liked it) ‘Lick’ (I like it a lot) or ‘Bite’ (I loved it!) cards.

The writing evoked anything from laugh-out-loud moments from Paul Cree’s 'Creatine' to visible tears in response to Femi Martin’s 'I am Not There'. Each of the six writers are having discussions with the teams at nitroBEAT and Soho Theatre to discuss next steps for their writing and some will go into full development and commissions.

There was the right blance of flavours for regular theatre-goers as well as theatre-newbies and a full house despite the weather and public transport shutting down – and for nitroBEAT it was the first of planned regular event at Soho Theatre.

"Best vibe I've ever experienced for a shorts night. #nbBites"

"This night was sick, bad and wicked. Follow @nitrobeatuk I beg"

All six videod pieces and profiles of the writers, team and actors are available here