Baobab Creative Hub

In support of the Utopia Baobab Project

20/07/2021

Matthew Xia

Matthew Xia is a theatre and film director, DJ, composer, broadcaster and journalist with a focus on using theatre as a platform to promote inclusion, activism and social change.

One of his earliest jobs was being commissioned to create a hip-hop musical at Theatre Royal, Stratford East at the age of 18. A year later, he was appointed as the first DJ on Black music radio station BBC 1Xtra.

Matthew’s acclaimed productions include: at the Manchester Royal Exchange; Frankenstein with Shane Zaza & Ryan Gage, Wish List with Erin Doherty & Joseph Quinn (also Royal Court), and Into The Woods with Maxine Peake, Gillian Bevan, Alex Gaumond & David Moorst; Blue/Orange with Daniel Kaluuya, David Haig & Luke Norris and Sizwe Banzi is Dead at the Young Vic; Shebeen and One Night in Miami with Matt Henry & Christopher Calquhoun at the Nottingham Playhouse.

Other work of note includes: Amsterdam and Blood Knot at The Orange Tree; i was looking at the ceiling and then i saw the sky (for Barbican) 846 Live (Royal Docks) and Sleeping Beauty at Stratford East; Scrappers and Migration Music at the Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse; Dublin Carol at the Sherman, Cardiff; and NitroBeat’s Suckerpunch Boomsuite at the Barbican.

Matthew has worked with an array of renowned writers as a director and a dramaturg, including; Joe Penhall, Arinze Kene, April D'Angelis, Katherine Soper, David Levi-Addai, Yasmin Joseph, Mojisola Adebayo, and Nessah Murty. He is a respected panellist for the 2021 Evening Standard Future Fund, the Yale Drama Series, the Alfred Fagon Award, BEAM, the Hodgkiss Award & the Bruntwood Prize.

Matthew has served as Associate Director at Stratford East, Director in Residence at the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, and as Associate Artistic Director at the Manchester Royal Exchange, where he directed Into the Woods, Wish List and Frankenstein and established the OPEN EXCHANGE, an artist development scheme for over 400 next-generation theatre-makers.

His DJ career highlights include playing at Glastonbury Festival, Ministry of Sound and the London 2012 Paralympics Opening Ceremony.

Matthew is a founding member of Act for Change, which is a registered charity with the mission of strengthening diversity in the arts. He is also a trustee of Cardboard Citizens, the UK’s only homeless people’s professional theatre company, as well as a trustee of Artistic Directors of the Future. 2020 has seen him join the Everyman and Playhouse Diversity Action Group, the board of Inc Arts and the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama’s Equity Committee.

In 2019, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of the Arts London for his efforts to make theatre universally accessible by working to promote minority groups as theatre leaders, makers and consumers.

He is Artistic Director and joint CEO for the Actor’s Touring Company, and an Associate Artist at Nottingham Playhouse.


Patricia Cumper

Patricia Cumper’s plays have been produced throughout the Caribbean, in the UK, the US and Canada. A collection of three of her plays was published by Peepal Tree press. She has worked extensively in radio writing original plays and series, adaptations and abridgements. She has won among other awards the Race In Media award, a Sony Silver and most recently the BBC ‘Outstanding Contribution to Audio Drama’ award. She led Talawa Theatre Company from 2006 to 2012 and accepted an MBE for her contribution to Black British theatre.


Tayo Aluko

Tayo Aluko was a self-employed architect in Liverpool for many years. He tried to become a developer too but found his way blocked by unfortunate circumstances. His colour and his inability to recognise the "potential of corruption" didn't help either. Frustrated, he gave up designing and building buildings and embarked on telling stories of Black activism in theatre buildings way, way beyond Liverpool. This started in 2008 - Liverpool's Capital of Culture year - and the year his architecture business came tumbling down. Four years later, he found himself on stage at Carnegie Hall, New York.


Nicky Allpress

Nicky has been an acting tutor and director at numerous drama schools and theatres in the UK for over 20 years. As a writer and dramaturge, she's directed and developed scripts for stage and screen assisted on epic theatre productions as well as directing musical theatre. In 2020, Nicky worked extensively in digital theatre and in June, starts work as assistant director for the large scale puppetry production Dragons & Mythical Beasts for Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, before it goes on National Tour. This Workshop is a part of the Baobab Creative Hub, in support of the Utopia Baobab Project. Money raised from these workshops will go towards passing the baton to the next generation of African Theatremakers through funding the production and publication of 3 plays by gifted new playwrights.


Anni Domingo

Anni Domingo was born in London but grew up in Freetown, Sierra Leone. She finished her education in the United Kingdom where she trained to be an Actress as well as qualifying as a teacher of Speech and Drama at Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama. Anni later obtained a BA Honours (First Class) in Literature, another BA Honours (First Class) in Humanities with Creative Writing from The Open University and an MA in Creative Writing from Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. Anni has worked extensively as an actress in the theatre as well as on TV, radio and films. She has toured Europe, the USA and Australia as a Shakespearean actress. She has worked for the BBC and other television stations as an actress, broadcaster, and interviewer. Earlier this year Anni was in several episodes of EASTENDERS before appearing in Inua Ellam’s ‘Three Sisters’ at the National Theatre. She is currently lecturing at St. Mary’s University in Twickenham, at Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama and Directing at RADA. Anni works regularly as Director for WriteOn Theatre Company in Cambridge and in Theatres around the UK. She recently directed ILE LA WA by Tolu Agbelusi at Stratford Circus Arts Theatre, London. Anni is also a writer. Some of her plays have been performed and her poems and short stories published in various anthologies and online. Anni’s company, ‘Shakespeare Link,’ takes Shakespeare workshops to schools and colleges and she has also written several workbooks on Shakespeare which have been used in many UK schools. Her first novel, ‘Breaking The Maafa Chain’ was shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish College Fiction Prize and won a place in a writing residency at Hedgebrook in Seattle. She then won the Myriad Editions First Novel Competition and an extract of her novel is in their highly acclaimed ‘New Daughters Of Africa’ anthology, edited by Margaret Busby. ‘Breaking The Maafa Chain’, is to be published in 2021. Anni is now working on ‘Ominira’, her second novel. This Workshop is a part of the Baobab Creative Hub, in support of the Utopia Baobab Project. Money raised from these workshops will go towards passing the baton to the next generation of African Theatremakers through funding the production and publication of 3 plays by gifted new playwrights.


Oladipo Agboluaje

Oladipo Agboluaje is an award-winning Playwright who was a writer in residence at The National Theatre. His plays for radio and stage include: Early Morning, Mother Courage and Her Children (African adaptation for Eclipse Theatre) and The Estate. He is the winner of the prestigious Alfred Fagon Award and received the 2010 Olivier award nomination for Outstanding Achievement in An Affiliate Theatre for his 2009 play for Iya–lle (The First Wife) Soho Theatre.


Uncle Errol McGlashan

Hailing from Brixton, South London, Uncle Errol McGlashan, a live wire multiple slam-winning Spoken Word Artist, has been ripping up stages across London since 2011 with his rhythmical poetic verses. He has dabbled in acting on stage, screen and community theatre settings. An occasional host, workshop facilitator and event organiser, he is also the creator of Word On The Kerb (a mobile Open Mic, providing a platform at busy public places for spontaneous creative expressions from random members of the public). And now with plans for a couple of one-man shows and a play; he intends to set up a theatre production company so is currently in the process of GSD.

This Workshop is a part of the Baobab Creative Hub, in support of the Utopia Baobab Project. Money raised from these workshops will go towards passing the baton to the next generation of African Theatremakers through funding the production and publication of 3 plays by gifted new playwrights.