Black Theatre Live Announces new play She Called Me Mother as second touring show

Published: Wednesday, February 18, 2015 10:38 PM
Cathy Tyson, She Called Me Mother Cathy Tyson, She Called Me Mother

Consortium of eight venues will tour Michelle Inniss's play about an elderly, African-Caribbean homeless woman, starring Cathy Tyson

Following a tour of Tara Arts’ Macbeth which begins in February, a new work by Pitch Lake Productions founded by actress Cathy Tyson, writer Michelle Inniss and director Cara Nolan will tour during Autumn 2015. She Called Me Mother will be the second production from the consortium dedicated to touring inventive BAME theatre to venues across the country.

Starring respected actor and Pitch Lake Productions co-founder Cathy Tyson, She Called Me Mother invites the audience into the life of Evangeline Gardner – a homeless, 70-year-old African-Caribbean woman, who finds herself living on the streets. The play brings together Evangeline and her estranged daughter Shirley and is written in poetic Trinidadian vernacular rarely heard on our stages.

Sarah Brigham, Artistic Director Derby Theatre said “I’m delighted that our consortium have selected such an exciting prospect for our first commission – the combination of experienced artists such as Cathy Tyson and Michelle Innes, with an emerging director like Cara Nolan, signals the combination of quality and innovation which Black Theatre Live is all about. The poetry of the script blew me away and I’m looking forward to bringing our audiences an unheard voice and story told through powerful and engaging drama.”

Actor and Pitch Lake Productions co-founder Cathy Tyson is a BAFTA and Golden Globe nominated actress with over three decades of experience in the industry. She began her career at the Liverpool Everyman at the age of 17, before joining the RSC in 1984, and achieved widespread renown for her role in Mona Lisa alongside Bob Hoskins in 1986. Recent credits include Bright Phoenix (Liverpool Everyman), Stand (Oxford Playhouse) and Monkey Bars (Traverse and touring).

Michelle Inniss is a writer and Spanish teacher. She will be published this Spring in Closure: an anthology of short stories, Peepal Tree. She has been long listed for Angle at The Bush Theatre 2011, shortlisted for The Fish Short Story Prize 2010, and in 2006 was awarded a runner up for the Penguin Decibel Prize. Cara Nolan is a director and writer, who has worked across the UK and Europe and has recently completed an MA in Theatre Directing at RADA.

Cathy Tyson said "I believe She Called Me Mother has the potential to be a modern classic. We are going into territory that hasn't been explored on our stages before; an elderly black female homeless person searching for her estranged daughter. The emotional potential of the play is boundless. I hope this play will be a rewarding experience for our audience and all those with creative involvement."

She Called Me Mother is announced as the second production from Black Theatre Live, a pioneering consortium of 8 regional theatres committed to increasing the amount of Black and Ethnic Minority theatre on the touring circuit.

Through a 3-year programme, Black Theatre Live will bring high quality performances from culturally diverse perspectives to venues across the country. The initiative is a partnership of Tara Arts, Derby Theatre, Queens Hall (Hexham), the Lighthouse (Poole), Theatre Royal Bury St. Edmunds, Theatre Royal Margate, Stratford Circus (London) & Key Theatre (Peterborough).

Black Theatre Live is supported by Arts Council England

@blacktlive |

Company Information
Cast Includes Cathy Tyson
Written by Michelle Inniss
Directed by Cara Nolan
Touring Autumn 2015: Dates to be announced

About Black Theatre Live

Black Theatre Live is a pioneering national consortium of 8 regional theatres led by Tara Arts, committed to effecting change for BAME touring theatre through a sustainable 3-year programme of national touring, structural support and audience development. Black Theatre Live is a partnership of Tara Arts, Derby Theatre, Queens Hall (Hexham), the Lighthouse (Poole), Theatre Royal Bury St. Edmunds, Theatre Royal Margate, Stratford Circus (London) and Key Theatre (Peterborough). Black Theatre Live expects to work with emerging and established BAME companies across England to commission and tour high quality productions to the consortia theatres over the coming 3 years. A structured audience development and community engagement programmes will include live digital streaming and cinema relay.

Related links

Cathy Tyson - interview
Macbeth, Tara Arts in association with Queen’s Hall Arts & Black Theatre Live , National tour , 25 Feb - 9 May 2015

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