Founder Members


Founded in 2000 by Artistic Director Mehmet Ergen and Executive Producer Leyla Nazli, Arcola stages 24 shows per year including 6-8 in-house productions, specializing in new writing and international works alongside re-interpretations of classics and some opera.

Internationally acclaimed artists in Studio 1 are complemented by groundbreaking work in Studio 2 from some of the most exciting
young companies.  Arcola is much more than an arts venue, providing an extensive multi-cultural community and youth programme.

Mehmet Ergen & Leyla Nazli, Artistic Directors


FlowersEstablished in 1994, ADAD’s work supports the development of high quality dance experiences which reflect the rich and diverse contribution of African cultures to British society.

ADAD supports artistic development through small grants, fellowships, professional training, festivals, conferences and other projects.

Jeanette Bain-Burnett, Artistic Director

EurydiceATC aims to make fresh, bold and ambitious new productions for as wide an audience as possible.

Our work is made by bringing together emerging and established artists, from both the UK and abroad. We combine contemporary playwriting with devised work and innovative productions of classic texts.

By encouraging collaboration between artists and by creating dynamic partnerships with audiences, venues and companies across the world, we aspire to make work that is cohesive, provocative and entertaining; work that we hope everyone will want to see.

Ramin Gray, Artistic Director


Lion_JewelCollective Artistes is an international performing company that produces socially-relevant theatre from Africa and the African Diaspora.

Formed in 2002, the creative team and core performing company have worked together since 1997 in major productions, touring the UK and internationally.

The company’s productions tackle epic themes, drawing on classic work from Europe and Africa to create life-changing theatre that inspires community development and social change.

Chuck Mike, Artistic Director


Maria OshodiFounded in 1997, Extant is the first performing arts organization in the UK, managed for and by visually impaired professional arts practitioners, seeking to promote the arts and culture of the visually impaired community.

Extant’s work consults, pushes creative boundaries and involves high production values.

Extant produces theatre in the UK as well as touring internationally. In 2007 Extant was the first disability led organization to win the 29th Arts and Business Award for The Cast Party, and experimental event, sponsored by Orange.

In 2008 Extant became a Regularly Funded Organization of the Arts Council England.

Maria Oshodi, Artistic Director


DSCEstablished in 1991, Kali has a reputation for creating quality touring theatre that takes audiences on unpredictable journeys that inspire, excite and intrigue. We seek out strong individual Asian women writers who challenge perceptions through original, thought provoking theatre. We focus on content and ideas as much as on style, aiming to present memorable theatre based on challenging and innovative ideas. We actively encourage our writers and audience to reinvent and reshape the theatrical agenda.

Janet Steel, Artistic Director


Desert BoyNitro collaborates with leading and emerging artists and performers to create dynamic music theatre events that explore the contemporary black British experience.

Nitro has created over 60 shows, developing opportunities for black artists and working with some of the most talented performers, composers and writers, since its inception in 1979.

Nitro creates accessible and popular theatre that combines new writing, original music, drama and dance. Nitro’s productions celebrate black music, inspired by a wealth of styles from reggae, salsa, soul, jazz, gospel and hip-hop to contemporary opera.

Exploring epic and explosive themes such as migration, cultural values, belonging and salvation, Nitro’s unique blend of music theatre brings spectacle and intimacy to the art of story telling.

Felix Cross, Artistic Director


Nutkhut (mischievous) are a leading outdoor performance company based in London, working nationally and internationally.

With a strong commitment to increasing participation, the company creates and tours mid-large scale, cross art form work for diverse audiences. By combining theatre, dance, music, circus and film, Nutkhut creates imaginative, witty and visually stunning performances and installations, with a popular appeal.

Ajay Chhabra & Simmy Gupta, Artistic Directors


Over the years, Phakama has helped thousands of young people all over the world to create outstanding theatrical events. In so doing, they have inspired and been inspired; their horizons have widened, their opportunities have multiplied and their confidence has soared.
Corinne Micallef, Artistic Director

The Red Room creates theatre that frees the imagination to challenge the status quo.

We aim to create theatre, film, debates, forums and web-based events that challenge social injustice and promote human rights. We aim to create work that is original, daring, provocative and inspiring, for audiences who question the changing world.

We aim to forge alliances with artists, activists, writers, social commentators and organizations to campaign for equal rights and a better understanding of our stake in contemporary society. We believe that it is not only governments and the powerful that should have a say, but ordinary people. Through our work we hope to give voice to those under represented in society in a form that is accessible in style and challenging in content.

The Red Room believes that theatre should be a genuinely public art form.

Topher Campbell, Artistic Director


Feeble MindsSpare Tyre’s history of producing bold and powerful theatre stretches over thirty years, reaching communities via workshops, performances and by offering apprenticeships to future community artists.

Currently Spare Tyre has two main areas of activity, creative work with older people and creative work with adults with learning disabilities.

Spare Tyre is in the process of researching and developing work with:
• older people with dementia
• adults with complex disabilities
• women with experience of war, trafficking, prostitution and domestic violence

Using an increasingly sensory approach to its work, involving a range of art forms and multi media, Spare Tyre taps into many a powerful untold tale and unleashes the talents of people who are alienated by society, daring to bring their bold, sexy and ugly stories to a stage near you.

Arti Prashar, Artistic Director


LiquidTalawa Theatre Company is Britain’s foremost Black-led theatre company.

Under Artistic Director, Patricia Cumper, the Company focuses on giving voice to the Black British experience, cultivating Black audiences and audiences for Black work.

In addition to its productions, the Company showcases strong Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic (BAME) plays that may not make it to full production, and broadens the spectrum of work created by BAME artists through seed commissions.

Talawa runs an extensive Education and Participation programme that includes Talawa Young People’s Theatre and a programme of inclusive outreach activities. The Company also uniquely boosts the writing skills of emerging and established writers, through its Writers’ Group.

Michael Buffong, Artistic Director


Wuthering HeightsTamasha means commotion, creating a stir.

Our goal is to transform theatre to create a space where British Asian talent takes centre stage, through original writing and productions that provoke debate, ideas, passion and laughter.

Sudha Bhuchar & Fin Kennedy, co-Artistic Directors


From TARA’s studio in London, the company tours vibrant adaptations of European and Asian texts, brings the great stories of the world to children in junior schools and develops emerging artists and new audiences.

TARA’s distinctive theatre, has resulted in coproductions with the National Theatre: Tartuffe (1990), The Little Clay Cart (1991), Cyrano (1995) and The Black Album (2009).

TARA has toured the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Spain, Turkey, Egypt, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and Australia.

Jatinder Verma, Artistic Director


Tiata Fahodzi (‘theatre of the emancipated’) produces world class theatre which reflects the living experiences of Africans in Britain. It commissions and develops new writing as well as reinterpreting African and European classics.

The company was founded in 1997 by British-Nigerian director and actor Femi Elufowoju Jr. Its recent, highly acclaimed coproduction with Soho Theatre, Iya-Ile by Oladipo Agboluaje (which told the story of a powerful Lagos family in the turbulent 1980s) was nominated for a 2010 Olivier Award and the play won the prestigious Alfred Fagon Award.

Lucian Msamati, Artistic Director


Upswing have swung and spun their way through a stunning array of multidisciplinary performances: from old skool hip hop and young love, through African mythology and Kenyan acrobatics, to an Olympic descent of Nelson’s column that sent a silk banner cascading down this familiar monument. The aerial and circus world of Upswing is poignant, unpredictable and eloquent.

Vicki Amedume, Artistic Director


Vayu Naidu Company is a Storytelling Theatre company with a unique signature style combining word, music and movement, creating wonder; inspired by the oral imagination of global cultures.

Our work includes:

• solo performances by Vayu Naidu and new work with internationally renowned artists
• promoting storytelling narrative as a craft through a series of masterclasses
• Licence to Tell – Standup Storytelling
• apprenticeships and the Guild of Storytelling with platforms for emerging storytellers
• education, health & community projects – work in schools, colleges, libraries and museums; in hospitals and other healthcare settings; with families and diverse community groups.

Vayu Naidu, Artistic Director



WaveYellow Earth, a London based touring theatre company, was established in 1995 by five British East Asian performers with a view to raising the profile and standing of British East Asian theatre.

Yellow Earth tours nationally and internationally, and produces quality ensemble physical work using performing traditions of East and West to explore contemporary experience through universal themes and celebrate the meeting of different cultures. We also run extensive Education and Outreach activities, a writers group ‘Yellow Ink’, and a playreading festival of international East Asian new writing.

Kumiko Mendl, Creative Producer