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Britain’s first all-black, all-female Shakespeare company

For decades black actors in Britain have struggled to overcome the prejudice that denied them parts in plays throughout the nation’s theatre companies. Undoubtedly, things have improved in recent years, but not necessarily speedily enough. Now a group of women have launched Mawa, the first all-black, all female Shakespeare company. They aim to examine the bard’s work from a ‘black female perspective.’ But is there such a thing? Do black people constitute an homogenous group? Perhaps not, but one of the founders, Gabrielle Brooks, argues the initiative is nonetheless a move in the right direction: “If we can, as black British women, embed ourselves into the history of classical texts, then I think we can bring about real change,” say Brooks. “This idea of white ownership over Britishness and over British art needs to be debunked.”