Talawa’s Black Joy Season Brings Hit Broadway Musical ‘Play On!’ To Liverpool


As part of Talawa Theatre’s Black Joy Season, the Broadway hit musical Play On! is coming to Liverpool this October. Ready to take Liverpool’s Everyman and Playhouse Theatre back in time, Play On! is set in the vivid 1940s New York jazz scene. The musical promises to be a dazzling retelling of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, with that extra bit of flourish.

Created in conjunction with Talawa’s Black Joy 2024, this musical celebrates Black stories and artists. The Black Joy season aims to tackle the issue of under-representation in the industry, and at the centre Play On! will form a huge part of it. “As a Black theatre company, now more than ever, we are determined to spotlight and celebrate great Black British talent, on and off stage,” said Michael Buffong, the Artistic Director of Talawa. Play On! will help to amplify opportunities for emerging and mid-career artists, allowing collaborations on this large-scale production and UK tour.

As well as nationally raising profiles of Black artists, Black Joy seeks to create local opportunities. Co-commissioned by Talawa Theatre company and Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, an exciting new work featuring stories of Liverpool’s music scene will also be created. Supporting a Liverpudlian artist of Afro-Caribbean descent from the area will help to further engage the local community.

Play On! is a collaborative production involving Talawa Theatre Company; Belgrade Theatre, Coventry; Birmingham Hippodrome; Bristol Old Vic; Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse Theatre; Lyric Hammersmith Theatre; and Wiltshire Creative, Salisbury.

“We’re thrilled to finally be announcing our part in the Black Joy season, led by our Associate Company Talawa,” said Mark Da Vanzo, CEO for the theatres involved. Praising the “joyous jazz musical”, he added, “This collaboration truly serves our ambitions to ensure a diversity of talent and stories on our stages.”

Play On! is performing at the Liverpool Playhouse Theatre from Tuesday 15 October to Saturday 19 October.

Words by Hannah Goldswain

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