BADA’s four-week Black British Theatre and Performance course provides an overview of contemporary Black British theatre and performance. Play texts by major Black British Writers such as Roy Williams, Winsome Pinnock and debbie tucker green, will be analysed from social and cultural contexts framed by theories of identity, representation, nationalism, race, gender, sexuality and class.

There will be twice-weekly theatre trips to watch performances at venues such as The National Theatre, Bush Theatre, Arcola Theatre and the Royal Court Theatre. There will also be visits to places of relevance to broaden the contexts of the course, such as The Black Cultural ArchivesTalawa Theatre Company, The V&A Museum, and a theatre-focused tour of London by Black History Walks.

The work of the course is evenly divided between academic work in the classroom and practical work/masterclasses in the studio. It appeals to a wide range of applicants from the undergraduate to the graduate level and to professionals at any stage in their career.

The analytical modules will be taught by academics, directors and writers from the field of Black Theatre Studies.  The practical element, which makes up for half of the course will be taught by directors, writers and dramaturgs, along with practitioners from the productions seen in the twice weekly visits.

The practical elements and analytic work will complement and feed into each other, building on and bringing together the various elements.

Although there is no direct actor training offered, as an area of study it will build on any actor’s training.

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  • Applications for Summer 2024 are closed. Applications for Summer 2025 will open in early autumn of 2024. If you would like to be notified when applications open, please sign up for our Black British Theatre and Performance mailing list.

    Your application to Black British Theatre and Performance includes:

    • Application Form
    • Proposal (approximately 500 words): Tell us why you would like to attend this course.
    • Academic/Professional Recommendation

  • Oladipo Agboluaje
    Course Director

    This course presents an exciting opportunity for participants to learn about and experience Black British theatre and performance. We will analyse key playtexts that dramatise the Black-British experience as well as identify their dramaturgical and aesthetic underpinnings. There will be visits to places of interest and to performances that will support our understanding of the environment in which these plays are developed. We shall invite key professionals to shed light on their practice and to offer insight into the practicalities of working in the British theatre industry.

  • This course provides an overview of Black British theatre by tracing the social, cultural, intellectual and political developments that have come to define the theory, practice and aesthetics of its practitioners. The course will interrogate how Black people have been represented on stage by White writers before plays by Black theatre practitioners began to gain greater visibility on the British stage. Early work by C.L.R James’ The Black Jacobins will introduce the participant to the anti-colonial aspect of Black British writing. The course will then trace the concerns of early black writers of the seventies like Mustapha Matura and Michael Abbensetts up to the writers of the present day.

    We shall analyse key texts that exemplify representations of the Black British experience against notions of Britishness. We shall draw out the confluence of influences from Africa, the Caribbean and the United States and immigration trends to illustrate the diasporic, hybrid nature of Black British theatre and how these influences shape identity and representation through the lens of multiculturalism. The course will map the dominance of writers of Caribbean descent post-Windrush to the growing visibility of writers of African descent. By doing so, the course shall expose participants to seminal writings on British culture and history with which to contextualise the plays that will be studied.

    A practical component of the course will introduce participants to contemporary practitioners including, writers, actors, directors, artistic directors through workshops and talks. Apart from theatre visits to see relevant plays, participants will visit sites of interest including The Black Cultural Archives, The George Padmore Institute, The British Library, The V&A Archive, The National Theatre Black Plays Archive, Talawa Theatre Company.


    Key Dates 2024

    1st June Arrive in London
    2nd June Orientation
    3rd June Course starts
    28th June Course ends

    Sample Schedule

    Schedule subject to change depending on the availability of guest artists and theatres’ performance schedules. (Click the images to expand)

  • Classes include
    • Developments and Contexts of Black British Theatre led by Anton Phillips: will examine the development of theatre in Britain as performed by people of the African Diaspora. The course will survey the different contributions of practitioners from Africa, the Caribbean and America. It will chart Black British theatre’s rise through the contributions of its practitioners, theatre companies in the face of political and social changes.
    • Female Narratives led by Natasha Bonnelame: starts by contextualising and situating the development of black women playwrights and black theatre companies with a gender specific remit. It locates the arrival of radical young black female artists in the 1980s, and examines their determination to challenge their absence from the mainstream. This period is the foundation for the rest of the course which interrogates the works of contemporary female Black playwrights and black female theatre companies looking at their concerns, influences and performance styles as distinct from their male and white female counterparts.
    • The Dual Heritage Experience: looks at the work of writers like Mojisola Adebayo and Lynette Linton to understand how the experience of Britons of dual heritage is explored in their work.
    • African-British Narratives led by Oladipo Agboluaje: explores the growing presence of black playwrights of African descent like Inua Ellams and Bola Agbaje. It shall look at how these writers and Black African-led theatre companies like Tiata Fahodzi and Utopia theatre are influencing the definition of what it means to be Black British.
    • Diasporic Performance in a British Context led by Patrice Naiambana: uses Shakespeare’s Othello as a catalyst text to create an African Diasporic performance. Within this performance paradigm, students will study voice/text analysis, story-making, working as an ensemble, body, voice and rhythm awareness.

    Work Expectations
    In addition to in-class acting and academic work and out of class preparation, participants will submit and present additional work drawing from the theatre visits, site visits, Masterclasses and in-class conversations.

    • Theatre Reports (8 total)
    • Research Project

  • Oladipo Agboluaje (Course Director) is the author of several plays including, Early Morning, The Christ of Coldharbour Lane, The Estate, Iyale – The First Wife, New Nigerians, Immune, The Hounding of David Oluwale and Here’s What She Said To Me. Awards include the Alfred Fagon Award, The Pearson Award, the Peggy Ramsey Award and an International Research Centre Fellowship, Berlin. He is a fellow of the Royal Literary Fund and Treasurer of the African Theatre Association (AfTA). Oladipo has been writer in residence at The New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich and the National Theatre. He is a member of The Fence, an international group of directors, dramaturgs and playwrights. Oladipo has taught African Theatre, Post-Colonial Theatre, Black British Playwriting and Creative Writing at Goldsmiths University of London, City University and University of Greenwich.


    Natasha Bonnelame undertook her PhD at the Centre for Caribbean and Diaspora Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London where she has taught on Black British Literature and Caribbean Women’s Writing. As Archive Associate at the National Theatre, she has curated 5 exhibitions in the National Theatre’s Lyttelton Lounge and was the Project Manager for the National Theatre’s Black Plays Archive (2011 – 14) establishing the digital platform which documents the first production of every African, Caribbean and Black British play produced in the UK. With a specialism in heritage, archives and digital media she has worked on projects with Tate, and the Athena European Network.


    Patrice Naimbana is an actor and workshop facilitator who has worked all over the world to tell stories through a post-colonial diaspora lens. He was apprenticed as a theatre artist in Sierra Leone with Tabule Tiata and Gbakanda Tiata in Chapeltown, Leeds. As an animateur and African performing artist he has been facilitating tribalsoul since 1991 – a laboratory for African Diaspora performance aesthetics exploration and critical dialogue. He has received several awards for his work, including: Olivier Award for Best Ensemble The Histories, The Royal Shakespeare Company 2006-9 (Actor) and Edinburgh Fringe First Award, The Man Who Committed Thought 1999 (Writer-Actor, with Ian Leonard). Screen roles this year include: Death in Paradise, Black Ops, Criminal Record and Damsel.


    Anton Phillips is director of Carib Theatre Company. He has produced some notable successes, including Trevor Rhone’s Two Can Play, at the Arts Theatre, and later at the Theatre Royal, Stratford; Remembrance, by Derek Walcott at the Tricycle Theatre; and Sitting in Limbo by Judy Hepburn and Dawn Penso, also at the Tricycle, and a tour to the West Indies. His most notable achievement was to direct the Amen Corner, by James Baldwin, at the Tricycle and the Lyric Theatre, Shaftsbury Ave. He has also directed in Germany, Holland and the National Theatre of Ghana. He has been a theatre consultant to the British Council in Tanzania. He directed the world premiere of the opera, Cry of Innocence, at the Greenwich Theatre. His latest show for Carib is Sweet Inspiration, a compilation of music and the written word celebrating the Caribbean. He has directed five of the plays for the Missing Pieces season at the Bristol Old Vic and Hamilton House.

    Other faculty to be announced.

    Schedules permitting, we will be joined by the following artists for workshops and masterclasses during the course.

    Ola Animashawun is one of the most significant figures in new writing. As an artistic associate of the Royal Court, Ola established the influential Young Writers Programme which he ran for 10 years. Ola is also an associate and mentor for Theatre Absolute, Eclipse Theatre, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and Belgrade Theatre. Ola is also a patron of Script Yorkshire and Graeae Theatre. Ola runs the dramaturgical service Euphoric Ink. He is the National Theatre Connections Dramaturg.


    copyright Aaron Imuere Kwame Kwei-Armah is an actor, playwright, artistic director and cultural commentator. He is the Artistic Director of the prestigious Young Vic Theatre. In his previous post, he was Artistic Director of the Baltimore Center Stage. Kwame is the author of several plays including, A Bitter HerbHold On, Big Nose, Elmina’s Kitchen, Fix Up,Statement of Regret, Let There Be Love and Seize The Day. Elmina’s Kitchen was the first non-musical play by a Black British playwright to be staged in the West End. As a director, Kwame directed Marley (which he also wrote), Soul: The Stax Musical, Things of Dry Hours, Tree, Changing Destiny, among other plays.  Kwame initiated the setting up of the Black Plays Archive which is housed at the National Theatre Studio.


    Chinonyerem Odimba has written for stage, radio and TV. Her stage plays include Unknown Rivers (Hampstead Theatre), Princess and the Hustler (Eclipse), and Black Love (Paines Plough). She is a winner of the Channel 4 Playwrights Scheme and has been shortlisted for the Alfred Fagon Award and the Adrienne Benham Award. Chino is the Artistic Director and Chief Executive of the leading British-African theatre company, Tiata Fahodzi.


    Winsome Pinnock is the first black British female writer to have a play produced by the Royal National Theatre.

    She is the 2018 recipient of the Alfred Fagon Award for her play Rockets and Blue Lights.

    Other awards include the George Devine Award; Pearson Plays on Stage Scheme best play of the year Award; and the Unity Trust Theatre Award.  She received a special commendation from the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.

    She was Senior Visiting Fellow at Cambridge University and writer in residence at Holloway Prison, Clean Break Theatre Company, Royal Court Theatre, Kuumba Arts Community Centre, Tricycle Theatre, and The Royal National Theatre Studio.  Her play Leave Taking received a major revival at The Bush Theatre in 2018.

    She is currently commissioned by the Bush Theatre and the Royal Court Theatre in London and is developing a screenplay with Blueprint Pictures.  A revival of One Under  toured nationally and at the Arcola Theatre, London by Graeae Theatre Company in Autumn 2019.


    Roy Williams is one of Britain’s foremost playwrights. He is a recipient of several major awards including the George Devine Award, The Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright, The Olivier Award for Best New Play. Since the mid-1990s, Roy’s plays have received critical acclaim for their uncompromising dissection of the Black British experience. Plays include: Lift Off, The No Boys Cricket Club (Theatre Royal Stratford East, 1996), Clubland (Royal Court, 2001), Sing Yer Heart Out For the Lads (National Theatre, 2002), Fall Out (Royal Court, 2003), Sucker Punch (Royal Court, 2010) and Death of England (National Theatre, 2020, with Clint Dyer). Roy has written several scripts for radio, TV and film.

  • The course is open to everyone.

    This course appeals to a wide range of applicants from the undergraduate to the graduate level and to professionals at any stage in their career. Applicants aged 18 must have at least one year’s experience away from home to be considered for this course.

    Although there is no direct actor training offered, actors are encouraged to apply as this area of study will build on any actor’s training.

  • The 2024 Black British Theatre and Performance Program fees are: $7,550 *

    Should you wish to arrange your own accommodation for the duration of the course then the reduction in the course fee will be $1,650.  Participants must confirm on acceptance whether they wish to make their own accommodation arrangements or use that arranged by BADA. Due to the high demands for accommodation in London during the summer months, we cannot guarantee that rooms can be made available should a later decision be made to take up the offer of accommodation booked through the course.

    Program fees include tuition, all excursions (theatre trips, site visits, museum admission and tours, etc.), required books/scripts and accommodation while on the course.

    All fees are payable in US dollars. Please contact Finance Director Ruth Paul at should you wish to settle the fees in UK Sterling so that an appropriate rate can be agreed.

    On acceptance, in order to hold their place, applicants will need to pay a non-refundable deposit of $500 and indicate whether they wish to make their own accommodation arrangements or use those arranged by BADA.

    The remaining fees are due as follows:

    Friday 22 March 2024 $2,700
    Friday 12 April 2024 $2,700
    Friday 3 May 2024 $1,650*

    Fees become non-refundable on the due date.

    * The balance due on May 5th for those opting to arrange their own Accommodations is $0.

    Please note, in addition to the fees payable to BADA, participants are responsible for:

    • Roundtrip Airfare to the UK
    • Meals
    • Insurance
    • Spending money

    Spending habits obviously vary widely between participants, but London is an expensive city. We recommend a minimum of £150 ($190) a week for food, laundry and transport if you mostly prepare your own food and use only public transport. Regular coffees, takeaways, meals out or use of cabs can quickly push the cost of subsistence and transport up beyond £200 ($250) per week.

    Black British Theatre and Performance Program Refund Policy

    A deposit of $500 is required on acceptance, which is non-refundable. The balance of fees payable fall due as stated above and become non-refundable on those dates.

    If the programme is canceled by BADA due to circumstances beyond our control, all fees, with the exception of the application fee, will be refunded. BADA accepts no responsibility for personally incurred expenses such as flights or pre-booked ground transportation.

    Financial Assistance 

    Limited awards from the BADA scholarship fund are available to assist accepted applicants in defraying the costs of attending BADA’s summer programmes. These awards are based on need and merit.

    Before applying to the program, please note the fees and consider how you will fund the experience should you be accepted.  Only a very small number of applicants accepted to the summer 2024 programs will be chosen to receive scholarship funding from BADA. Awards could be a small as a few hundred dollars. Most accepted applicants will need to provide their own funding.

    If you would like to discuss the possibilities of receiving scholarship funding prior to submitting an application, please feel free to contact our Summer Programs Admissions Coordinator, Jennifer Rockwood:

    Note: Fees for BADA’s summer programmes are not eligible for payment under the federal loan system nor do they qualify as higher education expenses under the 529 plan as they are not credit bearing. Unfortunately, BADA is not in a position to assist in the retention of any additional outside grant or loan assistance.

  • Facilities

    BADA’s Black British Theatre and Performance course takes place in an historic Crown Estate building in one of London’s most prestigious residential areas which is home to a number of national embassies and ambassadorial residences.

    Inside BADA you will find a full range of facilities including 6 teaching spaces, each named after a different playwright, a Library, a collection of recorded performances, and a private Green Room for participants to relax or study in-between classes.

    There are also designated computer and printing facilities for participants and wireless internet connection available throughout the building.

    BADA is located beside the beautiful Regent’s Park, perfect for walks between classes and springtime picnics. BADA’s location offers easy access to the theatres in London’s West End and it’s only a short walk from Camden Town, famous for its bustling markets, coffee bars, health food stores, art house cinemas and distinctive shops.

    BADA also lies close to Primrose Hill (home to many actors, directors, writers and other celebrities) and the perfect place to get a panoramic view across London.

  • The Stay Club Kentish Town

    The Stay Club Kentish Town has wireless internet access, 24 hour staffed reception, and 24 hour laundry facilities, as well as an on-site cafe, cinema, gym, discotheque, and spacious common areas for studying and socializing. Students live in studio flats with kitchenettes. The Stay Club offers weekly social events including discos, cinema nights and cultural celebrations.

    The Stay Club Kentish Town is located just a few blocks from the Kentish Town Underground station on the Northern Line and bus lines offering direct transportation to BADA and all central London Locations. It is a 12 minute walk to the world-famous Camden Market and a 20 minute walk to Hampstead Heath, a large and ancient park that contains spectacular views from one of the highest points in all of London.


  • BADA is not an accredited US institution; we are unable to provide academic credit for the course.

    With its intensive workload, 88 contact hours and 40 further unsupervised work hours, this programme has a suggested credit equivalency of two 3 credit courses, in line with other programmes BADA runs. You will finish the programme with a portfolio of work, and the course director can provide a written assessment for your home institution.

    Classroom and Coursework breakdown by hours

    88 Hours of contact time

    Classroom time – 60 hours
    Masterclasses – 16 hours
    Visits & Tours – 12 hours

    40 hours of unsupervised work

    Theatre Trips – 24 hours
    Report on each theatre show we see – 8 x 2 = 16 hours


  • Please visit our Covid-19 page for information on protocols and mitigations currently in effect at BADA.

  • Hear what some of our 2023 Participants have to say about their time on the course:

    Kimberly Harding Ahdis Beruk
    Zadrian Smith