Talawa star Tanji is nominated for Black British Theatre award

Kibong Tanji, the star of the Fairfield Halls-based Talawa Theatre’s original musical play, Recognition, based around the life and works of Croydon-based composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, has been shortlisted for best female lead actor in this year’s Black British Theatre Awards.

Leader of the band: award nominee Kibong Tanji, as ‘Song’, in the Talawa Theatre production of Recognition

It is believed to be the first time since the Fairfield Halls reopened in 2019 following refurbishment that any performer or production staged there has been nominated for an independently organised arts award.

Tanji played Song in Recognition, which enjoyed an all-too-brief run at the Fairfield’s Wreck performance space in the summer, when the play was described by Inside Croydon’s reviewer Ken Towl as “Lavish… and bold”.

Tanji was judged to be particularly outstanding, Towl writing that she “…brings a tour-de-force ball-of-energy performance to her demanding role”.

Recognition is an original work co-created by Amanda Wilkin and Rachael Nanyonjo, written by Amanda Wilkin and directed by Rachael Nanyonjo.

The Arts Council-funded Talawa Theatre Company has been based at the Fairfield Halls since 2019.

‘Ball of energy’: Kibong Tanji

The nominations for prizes at the 2023 Black British Theatre were released yesterday.

The best female lead actor in a play award shortlist also includes Aminita Francis for Family Tree (from a UK Tour) and Toyin Ayedun-Alase in The Clinic at the Almeida Theatre

Today, Michael Buffong, the Talawa Theatre’s artistic director, told Inside Croydon, “We are so proud to see Kibong’s prodigious talent and dedication to reflecting black experiences through art acknowledged by this nomination.

Recognition was created as a celebration of the life of a black Croydon hero. It was a fitting showcase for Talawa’s commitment to champion black excellence in theatre and to tell inspirational and passionate stories.”

The Black British Theatre Awards will be presented in a gala ceremony at the National Theatre on Sunday, October 29.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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