BBC Radio 4 and Talawa Theatre Company showcase three new audio dramas by rising talents

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Radio 4, Talawa Theatre Company – the UK’s leading Black British theatre company, and producers feral inc, will come together to showcase original audio dramas by three promising young writers; Sian Davila, Charles Entsie and Roberta Livingston, from 7 May. These new works will be brought to life by casts including Sharon D Clarke, Don Gilet, Jocelyn Jee Esien, Lydia West, Don Warrington and more.

In Running with Lions a death challenges a British-Caribbean family as each of them experiences their unique reactions to loss. Sian Davila’s script is directed by Talawa Theatre’s Artistic Director, Michael Buffong. Charles Entsie tackles sexuality and identity in his play NSA, directed by Jade Lewis. Roberta Livingston offers a comedic exploration of class and gender in Precious Little Things, directed by Anastasia Osei-Kuffour.

Between them Davila, Entsie and Livingston have presented work at institutions including The National, King’s Head, and The Gate theatres – and each now adds a Radio 4 drama debut to their credits. The broadcasts coincide with Talawa Theatre Company’s 35th anniversary.

Talawa Stories will be some of the first Radio 4 titles to broadcast as part of a renewed approach to bring audio drama to a wider audience. New half hour dramas are being commissioned to appeal to both on air and on-demand audiences, with some titles being available as box sets ahead of broadcast for people who prefer to listen to great new series that way. This follows the success of hit Radio 4 dramas such as Tracks, Tumanbay, The Lovecraft Investigations, and also hybrid docu-dramas such as Fake Heiress. Listeners can expect brilliant quality drama and sound design, fresh approaches to storytelling, and to hear work by new writing, acting and production talents. These new audio dramas will broadcast on Friday afternoons and more titles will be announced soon.

Alison Hindell, Radio 4 Commissioning Editor for Drama and Fiction says, Radio 4 has a long history of developing new talent across a broad range of voices and we’re excited to continue this by working with Talawa and these three young writers. It’s also an exciting time more generally in audio drama with producers, dramatists and performers extending the boundaries and many listeners enjoying drama podcasts and on-demand listening as well as on air. It’s great to be able to bring these new dramas to a wide audience, helping to serve the next generation of audio drama fans, alongside all of the brilliant classic drama the station is also renowned for.

Michael Buffong, Artistic Director of Talawa Theatre Company adds, In its 35 years, Talawa Theatre Company has consistently worked with writers to develop new stories. With these three stories, Talawa’s commitment to broadening and enriching the canon of British playwriting takes us in new directions. We are the UK’s outstanding Black theatre company for a reason; the quality of our artists’ work. And to be able to share that on Radio 4 is a delight.

The TX details are as follows:

Talawa Stories: Running With Lions Friday 7th May 2021, 2.15pm – 2.45pm

A British-Caribbean family struggles to come together after the death of their loved one. With each family member dealing with grief in their own way, they experience challenges to faith and their mental health, and examine the things they do and do not say, as they rediscover the importance of love and joy.

It tells a story with compassion, intelligence and atmosphere.

Directed by Talawa’s Artistic Director, Michael Buffong, and written by Sian Davila (Semantics;

Human Animals), Running with Lions stars Don Warrington (Death in Paradise, BBC), Sharon D 2

Clarke (Caroline, or Change, West End), Lydia West (It’s A Sin, Channel 4), Sharon Duncan- Brewster (Sex Education, Netflix), and Alfred Enoch (How to Get Away With Murder, ABC).

Talawa Stories: NSA

Friday 14th May 2021, 2.15pm – 2.45pm

Set within the charged confines of a car, a clandestine encounter between two Black men leads to far more than either had bargained for as they come to terms with their identities and very different life trajectories.

Charles Entsie’s Adrian Pagan Award-winning NSA is directed by Jade Lewis (Quarter Life Crisis, Bridge Theatre). Idris Debrand (MotherFatherSon, BBC) and Don Gilet (Eastenders, BBC) will both star.

Talawa Stories: Precious Little Thing

Friday 21st May 2021, 2.15pm – 2.45pm

A humorous and heartfelt comedy that explores womanhood, class and how being let down by the system leads to heart-breaking choices.

Willow and Nicole’s journeys collide in the dead of night when they unexpectedly meet in the garden of a London mansion. Both desiring something from inside No.92, they join forces to break in. But once they do, and get caught by the Nanny, Bian, it’s soon revealed that they haven’t been completely honest with each other.

Written by Roberta Livingston and directed by Anastasia Osei-Kuffour (Typical, Soho Theatre), the cast of Precious Little Thing is made up of Jocelyn Jee Esien (Turn Up Charlie, Netflix), Jacoba Williams (The Snow Queen, Stephen Joseph Theatre) and Tuyen Bo (The Great Wave, National Theatre).

Casts including Sharon D Clarke, Don Gilet, Jocelyn Jee Esien, Lydia West, Don Warrington and more

Available from May 2021

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