Director and co-founder Black Theatre Co-op
Below is an outline of the topics covered in our interview with Charlie Hanson in 2013, recorded to assist with the construction of the Black Theatre Co-operative company webpage. Charlie’s Unfinished Histories interview is now deposited with the British Library Sound Archive, V&A Theatre Collections and Sheffield University. Please see Viewing Interviews for further details.
Company: Black Theatre Co-op
Interviewer: Lucie Reagan
Interview contents include: How company was formed – Charlie Hanson was working with Mustapha Matura on his play Rum and Coca Cola at Royal Court. Matura had another play Welcome Home Jacko (WHJ) that they produced together after being turned down by Royal Court. Cast became regulars with BTC – Victor Romero Evans, Chris Tummings, Trevor Laird. WHJ – first play about Black British youths. Opened at The Factory. Very well reviewed in Evening Standard which led to other venue bookings, national & international tours. Second production was a Farouk Djondy commission, Mama Dragon. ICA and tour. Casting of Janet Rule. Edgar White wrote 2 plays. Charlie Hanson and Mustapha Matura involved with company for around 9 years. After four years with BTC was head hunted by Chanel 4 leading to the creation of the sitcom No Problem which was hugely successful and meant those contributing got paid well. Good writers & actors key to success of BTC. Co-operative where actors were involved making choices, running workshops. In early years jobs shared. New directors emerged – Malcom Fredericks, Paulette Randell assisted. Supported well by a number of venues: Riverside Studios (Peter Gill and David Gothard) gave rehearsal and workshop space, also Theatre Royal Stratford (Philip Hedley) and Tricycle (Nick Kent). Initial company policy to do plays by Black writers that portrayed life in Britain from a Black perspective. BTC eventually came under Nitro banner. Mentions 2 contemporary productions he feels embraced BTC ideals. Reflections on success of BTC.