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Talawa Appoints Michael Buffong as New Artistic Director

Britain’s longest-established black theatre company, Talawa, has announced the appointment of Michael Buffong as its new artistic director.

He will join the company, currently celebrating its 25th anniversary, in early 2012, succeeding Patricia Cumper, who is stepping down after five years in charge.

Buffong is currently directing One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest at the Leicester Curve and will be directing A Moon on a Rainbow Shawl at the National Theatre in the New Year.

His has previously worked with Talawa directing Oladipo Agboluaje’s play A Passing Wind at the Pulse Fringe Festival in June of this year, while other recent theatre credits include Crawling in the Dark (Almeida) and Private Lives, A Raisin in the Sun, All the Ordinary Angels (Royal Exchange, Manchester).

Speaking about his appointment Buffong said, “I am delighted to be given the opportunity to take on this immense and challenging role. As Talawa enters its 25th year, I look forward to leading the company into a new and exciting phase, and engaging our audience with excellent memorable theatre.”

Talawa company chairman Benjamin Yeoh added, “I'm delighted that Michael is coming to Talawa. He has a brilliant track record as a director and his vision for Talawa is passionate, exciting and brimming with ideas … I would also like to express my thanks and admiration to Pat Cumper for all the great work she has done at Talawa and the fantastic legacy she is passing on.”

Talawa, which takes its name from a Jamaican phrase about strength, is the longest established black theatre company in the UK. The group’s first production was The Black Jacobins in 1986.

Currently, the company is continuing its 25th anniversary season by staging George C Wolfe’s satire The Colored Museum at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Directed by acclaimed actor Don Warrington, it runs from 15 October to 23 October 2011.

The 25th anniversary season will culminate in February 2012, with a new production of Waiting For Godot featuring an all-black cast, in association with West Yorkshire Playhouse and directed by Ian Brown.


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