The Bite Magazine - Autumn/Winter 2022 - Issue 32

Awards Ceremony 2022 Black British Theatre Jada Brookes attended the 4th annual Black British Theatre Awards 2022 at the National Theatre, which presented a few laughs and notable winners. bitetheatre Photography:Tony Wellington T his year, the Black Brit- ish Theatre Awards held their 4th annual awards ceremony at the National Theatre. BBTAs is the UK’s first award show to celebrate the excellence and in- fluence of Black performers and creatives within the UK theatre industry. Since its launch in 2019, BBTAs have been more relevant and impactful, providing mentor- ship and training for aspiring the- atre actors, set designers, and cos- tume, music and lighting crew. The audience waited patiently for the awards ceremony to begin in the Lyttelton Theatre auditorium. As the strobing spotlights panned the stage with orchestra music playing, the lights went down, and the suspense sound had people waiting with bated breath. Sudden- ly, a booming voice announced the 4th annual Black British Theatre Awards 2022 and the crowd erupt- ed with applause and cheers. British musical theatre actress Rachel John opened the stage with ‘Coloured Woman’ from the play Memphis . The actress was first cast for the alternate role of Felicia Farrell in Memphis, generally played by Bev- erley Knight, in 2014. Two years later, she played the role of Nicki Marron in The Bodyguard during its limited West End engagement, alongside Beverley Knight as Ra- chel Marron. She also played the latter part in specific performances, despite not being officially listed as the understudy. From November 2017 to December 2018, Rachel John played Angelica Schuyler in the West End production of Ham- ilton. Following the National Theatre Ar- tistic Director Rufus Norris and Deputy Artistic Director Clint Dy- er’s introduction, Dyer talked about community and the BBTAs taking place on the set of the Lynette Lin- ton-directed Blues for an Alabama Sky, based in 1930s Harlem, New York. The play marked Samira Wiley's ( The Handmaid's Tale, Or- ange Is The New Black ) UK stage debut. It starred Dyer's long-time collaborator, Giles Terera, who will be the lead in Dyer's directed Oth- ello from November 2022. Dyer’s fruitful career includes TV, films and theatre productions. One of his breakthrough roles as Leon Delroy in the powerful, claustro- phobic 2010 drama SUS about elec- tion night 1979 saw his character suspected of murdering his preg- nant wife and subjected to a rough and aggressive interrogation by a pair of thuggish cops. Since then, Dyer has starred in other TV shows and directed several award-win- ning productions such as Death of England, Ali, Othello, and Get Up Stand Up : The Bob Marley Musical. This evening’s awards were divid- ed into five groups - Creatives, Recognition, Plays, Musical, and Achievements. Giles Terera pre- sented the award for Best Director to Ryan Calais Cameron for the play adaptation of his long-titled book, For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Hue Gets Too Heavy, performed at the Royal Court, Sloane Square. The playwright and director thanked several people, including the Royal Court, JT Management and fellow author Tristan Fynn-Aiduenu. The Best Producer Award went to Ameena Hamid for The Wiz at the Hope Mill Theatre, Manches- ter. The 22-year-old founder of her namesake production compa- ny, dressed in a long heart-shaped green gown, was thrilled by her win and stated The Wiz was a brilliant production that meant the world to her. Sean Green won Best Musical Director Award for Get Up Stand Up: The Bob Marley Musical at the Lyric Theatre, West End, while Leah Hill was awarded Best Cho- reographer or Movement Director for The Wiz. During her introductory speech, composer, visionary artist and music educator Shirley Thompson MBE, Professor of Music at the University of Westminster, recalled performing in the East End of Lon- don in the ‘80s and ‘90s. “We’re in the West End now,” she declared to rapturous applause. She present- ed soprano April Koyejo-Audiger with the Best Opera Production or Performance Award for Jenufa at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Before handing the Best Dance Production to Ballet Black for their Ballet Black Double Bill at the Bar- bican, Thompson, who has worked at Sadler’s Wells and London Coli- seum, explained the dance world is hard to participate in. Whilst serv- ing as composing resident at the Royal Ballet School some years ago, she learnt discipline. She witnessed young students in the studio at 6 am or 7 am doing their exercises before engaging in the rehearsals, for which she admired them and other performance dancers.