The Riverfront Theatre & Arts Centre are featuring three exciting presentations at their Studio Theatre over the next few months, all of which explore powerful themes of family, identity and belonging.
Phil Okwedy: The Gods Are All Here
On Saturday 11 June is Phil Okwedy: The Gods are all Here. Exploring equality, freedom, racism, family and growing up without your birth parents in a touching, funny and evocative performance, The Gods Are All Here is both timeless and very much a story of now.
Sparked by the discovery of a series of letters from his father in Nigeria to his mother in Wales, this piece is a compelling, lyrical and warm, one-man performance.
The captivating storytelling piece will skilfully weave myth, song, folktales, and legends of the African diaspora with an astonishing personal story that uncovers Phil’s experiences of growing up as a child of dual heritage in 1960 & 70’s Wales.
Born in Cardiff, Phil never lived with either of his parents but was raised in Pembrokeshire by his long-term foster mother. Charting the time of life when children are said to view their parents as gods, but never having lived with them Phil considers if his parents were in fact the gods he had imagined them to be…
Phil comments: ‘As I developed as storyteller, there came a time when I felt ready to tell myth but could find none that resonated with me. So, I began to weave personal and family stories with folktales as a kind of myth-making exercise. When I found the letters in my mother’s flat after her death, I felt a need to do more with them than just read them but I was not yet a storyteller and so had no idea what that might be.
Now, in sharing this show my intention is that it resonates with other people, with their individual family stories but also with the audience as a whole, because it is by working together that we ensure that equality, justice and freedom are experienced by all.’
Read more about The Gods Are All Here
Novello & Son
A second powerful family-orientated drama this summer comes from Novello & Son on Friday 1 July.
The show stars Rosamund Shelley as Ivor Novello’s mother, a larger-than-life character who insisted on sharing Ivor’s London home, and his life. Set in 1938 the indefatigable Clara Novello Davies, now in her seventies, is painfully aware that the world so besotted by Ivor has forgotten her own musical achievements – and that Ivor no longer needs her nearly as much as she needs him.
With their relationship at crisis point, in this funny and at times poignant drama Clara sings Ivor’s best-loved songs and for the first time confronts the painful events that shaped her remarkable life and her complex relationship with her son.
From a humble Welsh home, Clara Novello Davies gained a world-wide reputation as a choir mistress and singing coach. Her Royal Welsh Ladies Choir won international prizes, sang for Royalty and routinely shared the stage with the likes of Adelina Patti. But her fame was as nothing compared to that of her son who became a star of the silent movies and the West End stage. He wrote, produced and starred in a string of spectacular musicals and many of his songs remain popular to this day.
An Indian Abroad
The final drama piece coming up this summer which explores identity is An Indian Abroad on Thursday 14 July.
Stifled by life in middle-class India, Krishnan is a young man desperate to see more of the world. On a journey of self-discovery, he visits the exotic island of Great Britain to ‘find himself’.
In the show audiences will get the opportunity to see what Krishnan’s journey teaches him about the world, about himself, and what happens when he falls in love with an English woman.
Pariah Khan’s debut sell out show An Indian Abroad explores themes of race, culture and identity in contemporary Britain.
- To find out more about these performances coming up at The Riverfront and to book tickets visit newportlive.co.uk/Riverfront or call the bookings team on 01633 656757.