LONDON – 2019 is here, and we still live in a time where white feminism runs rampant, blackface happens from time to time, and racism and discrimination are well and alive. How do we strengthen the move for change and be inclusive, and tell white people themselves that they are part of the problem such that they just get it?
Writer Rachel De-Lahay and director Milli Bhatia think they have the answer with My White Best Friend and Other Letters Left Unsaid. Having commissioned eleven writers to pen letters that say the unsaid to the people that matter most, the curated set of performances comes to the Bunker Theatre in London for a week this March. Originally featured as part of Black Lives Black Words at the Bush Theatre, De-Lahay’s provocative act of letter writing engages with racial tensions, microaggressions and emotional labour, asking the privileged to step back to allow rest of the room to take up space. Inspired by the original piece, every night new letters will be given to performers to read for the first time onstage.
Some of the most exciting voices in the UK have joined De-Lahay and Bhatia for this project, with work from Bola Agbaje, Zia Ahmed, Travis Alabanza, Fatimah Ashgar, Nathan Bryon, Matilda Ibini, Jammz, Iman Qureshi, Anya Reiss, Nina Segal and Tolani Shoneye. Giving a voice and face to these letters are rising stars Inès de Clercq, Rosie Day, Tom Moutchi and Zainab Hasan with more to be announced, bravely tackling the most uncomfortable and thorny issues in today’s society.
Says Rachel De-Lahay: “These are some of my favourite writers, who we asked to face some of their biggest fears and gripes about the world today. What we have now is a collection of brave and fearless essays of all the things most people tend to shy away from thinking let alone saying. And we’re going to shoot them out into the ether – for one night only – our very own Snapchat or Insta story of theatre.”
Get set for an honest, no holds barred reflection on intersections of identity, lived experiences of people of colour, people who identify as nonbinary or LGBTQIA+, of people’s whose voices have been side-lined. It doesn’t matter your identity coming in to each performance – come away with clearer ideas of how we might perhaps finally be able to start the conversation with someone you love about how their beliefs, their unthinking actions, their politics undermine, hurt or even erase you.
My White Best Friend and Other Letters Left Unsaid plays at the Bunker Theatre, London plays from 18th to 23rd March 2019. Tickets available here
Every night is set to be a surprise with the lineup revealed on the Bunker’s Twitter on the day of each performance, and each night will be followed by a DJ set in The Bunker with audiences invited to stay and enjoy the space until late.