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press release | 14 august 2015

tiata fahodzi pops in with a pop-up hair salon at Africa Utopia 2015.

tiata fahodzi is making its Southbank Centre debut at the third Africa Utopia: a festival celebrating the arts and culture of one of the world’s most dynamic and fast-changing continents.

Join them for a style consultation in their pop-up salon… only it’s a salon like you’ve never seen before. Instead of hair and money, they’ll trade tales for time. Take a seat in their hairdressing chairs, share your salon stories and become part of the inspiration behind their brand new play aunty aunty, let me do your hair


aunty aunty, let me do your hair is their flagship touring production for spring 2018. This state of the nation play about Britain – through the eyes of black women – is being developed across Britain from autumn 2015, kicking off at Africa Utopia. From october 2015, tiata fahodzi will be working with regional partners to create a community of black women during nine week-long residences.


aunty aunty, let me do your hair is a play set in a black hair salon – inspired by fact, explored in fiction – which meditates on beauty, on blackness and on Britain. Black hair salons sit at the heart of black female communities. They are miniature societies stuffed full of drama, characters, life and stories. Bursting with the personal and the political; this ritual of grooming is astonishing and thrilling. The hair salon is the setting, the intimate relationship between hairdresser and client our conceit.  Hair is a unifier but this is about so much more than hair. aunty aunty… will be a mix of verbatim and fiction; a multi-disciplinary multi-story told by a multi-cultural ensemble.


aunty aunty: the style consultation

Africa Utopia

Level 2 Foyer, Southbank Centre


saturday 12 september, 12 noon – 1.30pm, 2.30pm – 4.00pm & 5.30pm – 6.30pm

sunday 13 september, 12 noon – 1pm, 2pm – 3pm & 5pm – 7pm


tiata fahodzi – pronounced tee∙ah∙tah fa∙hoon∙zi and meaning Theatre of the Emancipated – is Britain’s leading African theatre company, producing world-class theatre that reflects the changing African diaspora in contemporary Britain.  Our journey mirrors that of the British Africans we seek to serve. From our early productions telling stories of emigration and diaspora (tickets and ties) to, under second artistic director lucian msamati, reflecting on the relationship Britain and British-Africans have with Africa (belong). In 2014 natalie ibu became our third artistic director and with her came a question: what does it mean to be of African heritage but of mixed experience? In 2015 and beyond, we continue to reflect the changing and developing diaspora with a particular interest in the dual and the in-between, in those who straddle worlds, cultures, languages, classes, heritages, races and struggles.  tiata fahodzi is a resident company at Watford Palace Theatre – a 21st century producing theatre, making new work across the art forms.


Africa Utopia runs from Thursday 10 September 2015 – Sunday 13 September 2015 and celebrates the arts and culture of one of the world’s most dynamic and fast-changing continents. The festival looks at how Africa can lead the way in thinking about culture, community, business and technology and includes topics ranging from fashion, gender and power to politics, sustainability and activism. This year’s festival features some of Africa’s greatest artists across music, dance, literature and the arts. Highlights include: legendary drummer Tony Allen, one of the acknowledged co-founders of Afrobeat, performing with special guests; Senegalese supergroup Orchestra Baobab; powerfully soulful West African singer Kassé Mady Diabaté; the ground-breaking launch of Europe’s first Black and Minority Ethnic classical symphony orchestra, Chineke!; an original play from Star Boy Productions charting the migrant’s story of survival; emerging African musicians including Cameroonian Blick Bassy; and a club night showcasing the influence of Africa on a new generation of UK artists and DJs, including Afriquoi and African Head Charge. With something for everyone across the festival, join us to take part in lively talks and debates, free events, and workshops delving into the many faces of modern Africa. There’s also African-inspired fashion, a buzzing marketplace and delicious African street-food to enjoy.


Southbank Centre is a world-famous arts centre on the South Bank of the Thames which passionately believes the arts have the power to transform lives and must be available to all.  Created in 1951 for the Festival of Britain, Southbank Centre draws on its heritage as a festival site, with art and activities inside and outside.



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