Tayo Aluko – Writer, Performer, Producer
Nigerian-born Tayo Aluko is based in Liverpool, UK, where he worked until early 2009 as an architect and property developer, with a special interest in eco-friendly construction.
With his one-man play CALL MR. ROBESON, he won the coveted Fringe Review Outstanding Theatre Award at the Brighton Festival Fringe in June 2016. He also won the Best Actor, Best Original Work and Impresario awards at the London Fringe in Ontario, Canada in Summer 2012; the Best Solo Show at the Stratford Fringe in June 2013 and the award for Best Musical Performance at the Atlantic Fringe in Halifax, Nova Scotia in September 2013. He sold out all his eighteen performances at the New Zealand and Adelaide Fringes in 2015. The play has also been performed on a number of occasions in Nigeria and Jamaica, to great acclaim, and also at New York’s Carnegie Hall in February 2012.
As a baritone, he won a Gold Medal at the Grand Festival of Festivals held in commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the British Federation of Festivals, in competition with other singers and instrumentalist from all over the UK. He appeared as soloist at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, accompanied by the Hallé Orchestra for the opening of the Annual Co-Operative Congress. He has also performed lead roles in various operas and stage musicals including Nabucco, Kiss Me Kate and Anything Goes. Oratorio roles have included Faure’s Requiem, Brahms Requiem, Samson, C Minor Mass, Carmina Burana, Elijah and The Messiah. His rendition of GO DOWN, MOSES, recorded on his CD titled RECALLING ROBESON, is featured as the song of the month for July 2008 on the US-based Labor Notes website.
Tayo researched, wrote and narrated to camera a film on the history of West Africa before the TransAtlantic Slave Trade, which forms part of the permanent exhibit at the National Museum Liverpool’s International Slavery Museum. Published writings include articles for the UK’s The Guardian, Morning Star, NERVE Magazine, Liverpool Daily Post and Echo; North West Chronicle; Punch and ThisDay Newpapers in Nigeria, and modernghana.com. He has also written and performed a lecture-cum-concert titled FROM BLACK AFRICA TO THE WHITE HOUSE, which deals with African History, and particularly Black Resistance to White domination, illustrating it with live renditions of Black Spirituals. This has also been performed on three continents.
With The Maltings Theatre, Berwick-upon-Tweed, he developed a new piece titled WHAT HAPPENS? featuring the writings of African American Langston Hughes (with songs from the era), performed to live jazz accompaniment. In October 2013 he produced the inaugural Paul Robeson Art Is A Weapon Festival in Covent Garden, London, which featured speakers and performers from as far afield as South Africa and Canada.
As writer-on- attachment with the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse theatres, he developed a new play titled JUST AN ORDINARY LAWYER which premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2016, and features as a mainstage production at the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in August 2017.
Download Tayo’s biog here.
Olusola Oyeleye – Director and Dramaturge
Olusola is an award winning writer, director and producer working in opera, music theatre, visual arts and dance. Theatre includes: Tin, a play about breast cancer (The Lowry), Ti-Jean and his Brothers (Collective Artistes & Sustained Theatre, Cottesloe), Resident director on Trevor Nunn’s West End production of Porgy and Bess (Savoy Theatre), staff producer at English National Opera, Spirit of Okin and Sankofa for Adzido Pan African Dance Ensemble, (National & International tours), the award-winning Call Mr Robeson (UK tours, New York Fringe & Carnegie Hall), Coming Up For Air (The Drum & UK tour), The Resurrection of Roscoe Powell (Soho Theatre), The Shelter (RSC Barbican Theatre), Medea (Ariya, Royal National Theatre Studio), The Playground (Polka Theatre, Time Out Critics’ Choice Pick of the Year), High Life, (Hampstead Theatre), Maybe Father, (Talawa, Young Vic),Twelfth Night (British Council Tour, Zimbabwe) and Ella, a monodrama about Ella Fitzgerald (Rich Mix). Opera includes: Akin Euba’s Orunmila’s Voices: Songs from the Beginning of Time (Jefferson’s Arts Centre, New Orleans) and Chaka: An Opera in Two Chants with the St. Louis African Chorus, Dido and Aeneas (Tricycle/BAC), God’s Trombones (Fairfield Halls) and the second cast revival of Jonathan Miller’s production of The Mikado (English National Opera). Olusola has also worked in Ghana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Hungary and the Czech Republic. She has been a visiting lecturer and Artist at Witswatersrand University, Johannesburg and CENCE, University of Port Elizabeth, South Africa; Goldsmith’s and Middlesex Universities, London and was Head of the Acting Studio at Morley College. Her poetry has been set to music by Akin Euba and performed at both Harvard and Cambridge Universities. She is artistic director of Ariya, associate producer for Collective Artistes and a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts. She is very proud to be taking part in New World Nigeria, the sports and cultural programme organised by the Nigerian Olympic Committee at Theatre Royal, Stratford East.
Phil Newman – Designer and Assistant Director
Phil’s Design credits include: Jungle Book & High School Musical (Elgiva Theatre), Strange Land, Saint/Jeanne and Spring Awakening (Chelsea Theatre), Carousel, Fame, Hairspray, Cabaret & Attempts On Her Life (Amersham & Wycombe College), Kwaidan (Rouge28 Theatre), Lord of the Flies & Grimm Tales (Colet Court School), The Tempest & Pinocchio (UK/UAE tours for Shakespeare4Kidz), an open-air Romeo & Juliet (Cornucopia Theatre), Dance or Die (Hoxton Hall), Voices in the Alleyway & Yes, I Still Exist (Spread Expression Dance), The Fiddler (Unicorn Theatre) and film short The Judge for Faith Drama, The Riddle of the Sands & Laurel and Hardy (Jermyn St Theatre), The Famous Five (Tabard Theatre), Hansel & Gretel (UK tour), Stockholm (BAC), open-air tours of The Merchant of Venice & The Railway Children (Heartbreak) and the award-winning UK/international touring production of Hannah & Hanna. Collaborations with director Olusola Oyeleye include Heartbeat – The Musical workshop (in Lagos, Nigeria), A Wing, A Prey, A Song (Guest Projects Africa), High Life (Hampstead Theatre), The Security Guard (Merton Abbey Fest 2012), Ella (Rich Mix),Coming Up for Air (UK tour), The Playground (Polka Theatre) and Ma Joyce’s Tales from the Parlour (Oval House/Edinburgh). Phil has recently been appointed Resident Creative Designer at the Colour House Children’s Theatre, Merton Abbey Mills where he has designed their 100th production, Peter Pan and their forthcoming pantomime, Cinderella.