Nigerian British Playwright tackles Immigration, Deportations and the Windrush Scandal in Ilé La Wà
How do you belong to a place that doesn’t see you?
This emotive question, which hangs over the heads of many ethnic minority communities who call the UK home, is the central theme tackled by Tolu Agbelusi’s debut play Ilé La Wà. The Windrush Scandal and the underlying anti-immigration stance during the Brexit campaign have reawakened conversations about race, identity and belonging within the UK.
Caught in the web of the government’s hostile environment four characters’ lives are interrupted when they can’t produce valid ID in a spot check. Whether they are actual targets or collateral damage is irrelevant. Held without answers as they wait for verification of their legal statuses, the tension will unravel them and lay bare the realities of always being ‘the other’ in the place you call home.
“When I wrote Ilé La Wà, I was contemplating how society decides who gets to belong. It feels very much about the Windrush Scandal, but that’s a new face for the consequences of our government leading the charge to say some of us don’t belong. Government-sanctioned go home vans, institutional racism, threatened deportation of children who’ve lived here most of their lives, and the mental toll of feeling you don’t belong at home, were just a few of my preoccupations”. Tolu Agbelusi, playright.
Ilé La Wà, which means ‘We Are Home’ in Yoruba, (a Nigerian dialect/language) is based on real stories from interviews, workshops and media accounts. It is a defiant affirmation that says ‘nobody gets to tell me where I belong’. Directed by Anni Domingo Ilé La Wà, starts a 6 city regional tour at the Proteus theatre in Basingstoke, April 10, 2019.
The cast includes Antonia Layiwola, Mamito Kukwikila, Winston Sarpong and Tolu Agbelusi.
Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Thursday, April 11, 2019
Thursday, April 25, 2019
Wednesday, May 8, 2019
Friday & Saturday, May 17 – 18, 2019
Ilé La Wà @ Curve Leicester
Thursday, June 20, 2019
For interviews or further press information, contact Ronke Lawal email@example.com
Social Media: FB/Insta/Twitter: @whenifindhome
Project Photo links
Note to Editors
Ilé La Wà is a product of ‘Home Is…’, a poetry and visual arts project curated by Tolu Agbelusi exploring the impact of physical and emotional displacement on people’s concepts of home. Supported by the Arts Council & Counterpoint Arts, Tolu interviewed about 30 people across London, Manchester and Liverpool about their experiences of home. Working with a group of poets, many of those narratives became poems, which were the basis for the play & collaborations with illustrators, a dancer & an animator, which culminated in a two-week exhibition at Richmix in 2016.
The following video and web links provide more information about the project:
Tolu Agbelusi is a Nigerian British writer, performer, educator and lawyer. Born in Nigeria, she moved to the UK at age 13 and has since lived on a few other continents, igniting her where/what is home interrogations. As a lawyer who currently works in civil liberties and a writer who teaches all ages, she is constantly engaging with how our actual or perceived identities shape our experiences. When she isn’t figuring out what it means to not be Nigerian enough anymore and to never have been sufficiently British in the first place, she is being commissioned as a poet by the BBC & the Southbank amongst others, and leading guest lectures (poetry) including to Ph.D. students at Birbeck and graduate students at Kings College. Tolu also runs Home Sessions, a seasonal poetry & development course for BAME writers. For more information, visit her website at www.toluagbelusi.com
Anni Domingo is an actress, singer, director and writer working in theatre, radio, TV and films. Recently spotted on the National Theatre stage for Palimpsest, a panel celebrating exemplary Black women in UK theatre, with the likes of Noma Dumezweni and Yvonne Brewster, Anni brings to her role as director, 40+ years of experience and a natural knack for storytelling. Anni’s company ‘Shakespeare Link’ takes Shakespeare workshops to schools and colleges and her Shakespeare workbooks are used in schools. She has just finished her first novel, Breaking the Maafa Chain.