Babirye Bukilwa’s new play, …Cake, a prequel to their debut, …Blackbird Hour, is part of the reopening programme at Theatre Peckham
Babirye Bukilwa is following the success of their debut play …Blackbird Hour with a prequel, …Cake, which will premiere at Theatre Peckham in south-east London.
The production will run from 13 July to 7 August, with opening night on 16 July, starring Danielle Kassaraté and Donna Banya. It is directed by Theatre Peckham’s associate director, Malakaï Sargeant.
…Cake revisits the world of Eshe, whose experiences were explored in …Blackbird Hour, shortlisted for the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting 2019 and Alfred Fagon Award 2020.
The prequel – part of a trilogy – is described as a psychological drama that unapologetically queers the existing complexities of family, roots and belonging, where power and duty dance in equal measure. At its heart, …Cake examines performativity in relationships and how generational trauma can be inherited.
Bukilwa, who completed the play after the start of the pandemic, said they wanted to write a story through a black queer femme lens that interrogates the meaning and function of love and self-worth in an exploitative climate of working-class London in the noughties.
Sargeant said: “My whole soul wept when I first watched …Blackbird Hour. To be able to revisit Eshe’s story in …Cake, the second part of Babirye’s trilogy, and bring it alive is nothing short of an honour.
“All of our creative team are black, with the majority of them also being queer, and I hope this will enable us to truly create authentically – without compromise or justifying ourselves and share this hauntingly honest story with the world.”
In a first for Theatre Peckham, this piece of new writing will be a fully staged in-house production. A second play by Bukilwa, yet to be announced, will also be performed as a fully staged production this summer.
It forms part of a reopening programme put together by its artistic director, Suzann McLean. It aims to champion the work of creatives from socially and culturally unique walks of life and challenge existing structures to support the growth of a representative sector.
McLean said: “Babirye’s writing is innovative and pushes the boundaries of form. Providing a safe space and a platform to thrive stays true to the mission of Theatre Peckham. This is a vital and bold new play which honours intersectionality and re-centres voices which will connect not only with our local community but with audiences London-wide.”
The creative team also includes sound designer Xana, associate sound designer Kayode Gomez, lighting designer Luke Goodlitt, set and costume designer Debbie Duru, design associate Rema Kahsay, stage manager Phyllys Egharevba, production manager Ina Miller and producer Sarudzayi Marufu.