Theatre: My White Best Friend, The Bunker, SE1

A production that looks at the diverse experiences of people through letters by 11 writers is featuring in a week-long festival.

My White Best Friend and Other Letters Left Unsaid is the experimental approach to discussing the experiences of the writers, by Rachel De-Lahay and Milli Bhatia, taking place at The Bunker in Southwark from March 18-23.

Milli said: “Not every piece is aimed at a white audience, each letter has an intended audience and the context changes across the pieces, we’re interested in creating conversations about necessary allyship.”

Milli’s previous directorial work has been staged at The Bush Theatre, The Young Vic and The Royal Court.

She is currently the trainee director at The Royal Court Theatre where she founded the all-female movement TakeUpSpace and is co-artistic director of Dismantle, a collaboration-led company which makes interrogative work about race and power.

Milli Bhatia

The show, which originally featured as part of Black Lives Black Words at the Bush Theatre, showcases De-Lahay’s provocative act of letter-writing to engage with racial tensions, microaggressions and emotional labour.

Performers include Inès de Clercq, most known for her role in Broadchurch, and Rosie Day from Watership Down.

The show has been requested to run again by Chris Sonnex, artistic director of The Bunker, with the added format of the letters being read out without being rehearsed to create a unique atmosphere.

Milli said: “People often assume magic can only come when something is rehearsed, but when it is done live it can be absolutely joyful.

It creates this truthfulness between the audience and the reader. “We ask the writers to come up with a truth they have never said and feel goes unsaid, and put it out in the wider world.

“All the writers are extraordinary, they take form in different interesting ways, from spoken word to poetry, and we’re all hoping to change the space we live in today.

Rachel De Lahay

Rachel de-Lahay’s most recent play, Circles, won the Pearson Award and the Catherine Johnson Award from Channel 4.

She transferred to the Tricycle Theatre in London after a sell-out run at Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

Rachel said: “These are some of my favourite writers, who we asked to face some of their biggest fears and gripes about the world today.

“What we have now is a collection of brave and fearless essays of all the things most people tend to shy away from thinking, let alone saying. And we’re going to shoot them out into the ether – for one night only – our very own Snapchat or Insta-story of theatre.”

The production will reflect on identity and the letters explore lived experiences of people of colour, people who identify as non- binary or LGBTQIA+ and people’s voices that have been side-lined.

Each night will be followed by a DJ set in The Bunker with audiences invited to stay and enjoy the space until late.

The Bunker 53a Southwark Street, SE1 1RU Tickets, £10.
Call 0207 234 0486.

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