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British-African theatre and film company launches new play

EAST END BOYS Ismail Kamara as Olly and Alhaji Fofana as Tobi in East End Boys, West End Girls

FOLLOWING THE box office success of last year’s production of Pandora’s Box, film company Spora Stories returns with the premiere of East End Boys, West End Girls.

The play, which tells the story of four teenagers from different corners of the capital competing for a prestigious scholarship, will tour London this summer.

As the quartet venture across the city into unfamiliar territories, friendships are tested, aspirations are challenged and each is forced to decide what matters most.

The playwright, Ade Solanke explained her inspiration for the tale to The Voice: "On the bus one day, I overheard a group of young British-African boys saying they would never go to 'a white boy school'.

"I thought well, I can understand the reticence, not wanting to be isolated, and wanting to be with people like you. But I also thought, if they persist in that way of thinking, they'll rule themselves out of most of the professions, as, here in the UK, those fields are white-dominated.

She continued: "So I wanted to dramatise young people grappling with being the first or only black person in a situation. As one of the characters says, 'someone's got to be first'."

East End Boys, West End Girls is Solanke's directorial debut, and she was heavily involved in the casting.

She said: "I've loved working with the talented actors we found. Three years ago we cast Damson Idriss in Pandora's Box when he was just graduating and he's now been signed to a Hollywood TV show being directed by Jon Singleton.

"We've got two actors who are also just graduating and making their professional debuts in this show, Ismail Kamara and Montana Mascoll. The other two cast members are Alhaji Fofana who was in Youngers and Jennie Eggleton."

She added: "I expect them all to be huge successes too! They're really talented and hard-working. We've got a great creative team too."

Acclaimed playwright, Solanke, who is also the founder of Spora Spora, has had a wide-ranging career working as a script analyst in Hollywood and teaching scriptwriting around the world.

Solanke, who created Spora Stories to develop engaging and entertaining plays and films about the African diaspora, has been awarded a Nigerian Entertainment Award for Best Playwright and Best Play at the African Film Awards.

Her writing credits include the award-winning BBC Radio drama Westway and Nigerian feature film Dazzling Mirage.

Solanke’s work has been showcased at Tiata Fahodzi’s Tiata Delights at the Almeida and Talawa’s Unzipped at the Young Vic.

Her first play Pandora’s Box was a hugely successful and was nominated for an OffWestEnd Award for Best New Play.

It toured nationally in 2014 and was also shortlisted for the 2014 Nigeria Prize for Literature, Africa’s biggest literary award.

The East End Boys, West End Girls tour opens at Arcola Theatre - the same theatre Pandora’s Box premiered - on Tuesday, July 28, 2015.

On the importance of debuting East End Boys, West End Girls at the Arcola, Solanke, said: "I love that theatre, and the work they do via the Sustained Lab initiative to support BAME work is excellent.

"It makes a big difference for theatre makers to have a space to try ideas out in. Also, being able to connect to the in-house expertise and support a venue of that calibre can provide is great. Leyla Nazli and the whole team have been wonderful. It's a home-from-home for me.

"The studio space we're working in is also one of my favourite theatre spaces in London: beautifully intimate and snug."

It continues on to CLF Arts Cafe, Saatchi Gallery then concludes at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre in Tottenham, north London.

Creative workshops will be available at all venues.

For more information visit the venue’s website.

For more information about the production or Spora Stories, visit: www.sporastories.com

FACEBOOK: sporastories
TWITTER: @sporastories [Hashtag #EEBWEG]

LISTINGS

ARCOLA THEATRE
Tuesday 28 July - Saturday 1 August, 8pm and
Saturday 1 August, 3.30pm
Tickets: Adults £17, Concessions £12 and Under 16s £6
Booking information: 020 7503 1646 | www.arcolatheatre.com
24 Ashwin Street, London, E8 3DL

……………………………

CLF ARTS CAFÉ
Tuesday 4 - Friday 7 August, 7.30pm
Tickets: Adults £12, Concessions £10 and Under 16s £6
Booking information: 020 7732 5275 | www.clfartcafe.org
133 Rye Lane, Peckham, London, SE15 4ST

……………………………

SAATCHI GALLERY
Monday 10 - Wednesday 12 August, 4pm
(N.B workshop performances)
Tickets: Under 16s £6 + £1.01 bkg fee
Booking information: 020 7811 3070 | www.saatchigallery.com
Duke Of York's HQ, King's Rd, London SW3 4RY

BERNIE GRANT ARTS CENTRE
Friday 14 - Saturday 15 August, 7.30pm
Tickets: Adults £12, Concessions £10 and Under 16s £6
Booking information: 020 8365 5450 | www.berniegrantcentre.co.uk
Town Hall Approach Road, Tottenham Green, London, N15 4RX

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