Riffing around Nina

call-and-responseSo we are entering the final week of the sold out Nina – a story about me and Nina Simone

In that final week we are also ramping up our programme of wrap around activity inspired by and reflecting on the themes in the show.  If you’ve enjoyed Nina already it’s a perfect opportunity to come back…

The programme culminates in Call and Response on Friday and Saturday 28th and 29th October, at 6pm.  Four brave North West artists have taken up the challenge to create a short piece in response to Nina. The four – Raven Radha, Aleasha Chaunte, Esther Wilson and What a Little Bird told me – all came to see early performances of Nina and have been spending the intervening time developing their responses!  How they respond, what they come up with is totally up to them – all I know is its quite a challenge – I cant wait to see what they come up with. (You can read a bit more about our four artists below).  The whole evening is being co-ordinated by Rio Matchett, Assistant Director on Nina whose appointment has been made possible by a generous grant from the Greg Grenidge Memorial Trust.

Before call and response Unity welcomes too very different pieces which are exploring similar issues to those being explored by Josette in Nina. 2059144971-word First up is Word by Jamal Harewood .  When I saw the performance originally it left me feeling so many things – confused, angry, exposed even – and that was before I realised I’d unwittingly broken the rules.   Taking its structure from a game show Jamal’s work cleverly challenges our preconceptions about language.  ‘I was always told’ writes Jamal ‘that it’s not what you say, but how you say it – is this true?.  Catch his work in progress show on Tue 25 October, 6pm .

Then on Wednesday 26th October Worklight Theatre bring their multi-award winning show Labels to Unity 2.  Quiet, funny and unassuming this show packs its punch in a different way to Labels and Nina.  Like Nina though, its based on personal experience .


It’s a funny, moving and honest story about mixed heritage and immigration, charting a childhood in 90’s Devon, shifting political landscapes and global refugee crisis, uses comedy, storytelling and spoken word. Expect paper planes, racist romances and lots of sticky labels!

You can book tickets for all four shows (Nina, Call and Response, Word and Labels) via our Box Office – in person, by phone (0151 709 4988) and online.

In the mean time here’s a bit more information about our brave quartet of artists creating Call and Response

Raven Radha is a Liverpool-based Spoken Word Artist whose practice includes playwriting, theatre/film making, directing and performing. Here to celebrate individuality, diversity and raise the vibrations of humanity, she instigates non-conventional perspectives and explores new scientific findings as well as ancient philosophies and practices, which support the idea of a more loving and peaceful world. Raven uses new technologies and metaphysical visuals in her work to demonstrate the relativity of our reality.

Aleasha Chaunte: a singer and Liverpool-based Theatre Artist. She is interested in the potential of the human voice as an expressive entity indivisible from the inner experience of the vocalist. As a theatre maker she is interested in communicating in non-rational ways and in the power of old stories to teach and transform. As well as working creatively, she campaigns for the rights of asylum seekers and refugees.

I am a part of this event @unitytheatre very excited to be able to think about this in the context of our times. Can’t wait. https://t.co/z1SHxvV99a

— Aleashaat work (@AleashaChaunte) October 18, 2016

Esther Wilson is a Liverpool based writer whose works include Tony Teardrop (2013), First Words (Tutti Frutti Productions) 2011. The Quiet Little Englishman (Liverpool) 2008 and Ten Tiny Toes (Liverpool Everyman) 2008.  Ten Tiny Toes was shortlisted for the TMA Award and the Susan Blackburn Smith Award and was recently revived (as a rehearsed reading) at Unity Theatre.  Esther – like Josette  – spent an early part of her career with Kaboodle Theatre (link is a review for Lear, directed by Josette and Lea Beagley featuring Esther).

What a Little Bird Told Me are dedicated to bringing audiences more female representation. We do this by creating work that shares and celebrates female stories and characters that excite and interest us.  Artistic Director Rachael Creamer is no stranger to Unity, having performed as part of Metro Boulot Dodo’s Out of the Darkness, worked as an Assistant Director on The Oddity and most recently presented work as part of our Autumn scratch night.


Tuesday 25th October – WORD , 6pm

Wednesday 26th October – LABELS, 6pm

Friday and Saturday 28th & 29th October – CALL AND RESPONSE, 6pm

You can book tickets for all four shows (Nina, Call and Response, Word and Labels) via our Box Office – in person, by phone (0151 709 4988) and online


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