Brixton Stories at Lyric Theatre Hamilton: A play about change

This article was originally published in CBC Hamilton,Aug. 4, 2012

Brixton is a neighbourhood in London, England.

It has revived from racial tensions during the 1980s and is home to blacks of African and Caribbean descent, whites and the middle class.

And in a way, Hamilton is a lot like Brixton, undergoing transformation. You can see reflections of Hamilton in the play, Brixton Stories.

“Like Brixton, Hamilton is undergoing a metamorphosis, with a growing art scene,” said director Jude Idada.

The play tells a story about the south London neighbourhood through the eyes of a man who was in a coma for 15 years.

The play is made up of different styles, with dance, mime, monologues and music. Its multiplicity has a place in Hamilton, a city with a sizeable visible minority population.

“It is a potpourri of stories; not one story but different stories merged together,” said Chibie Okoye, one of the three actors of the play.

The play’s diversity is reflected in the cast itself; Okoye is from Nigeria and graduated from the computer science program at the University of Windsor. She shares the stage with an actor from Guyana and a first-generation African Canadian theatre graduate from Ryerson.

Managing Artistic Director, Muoi Nene, thinks Hamilton offers a space for aspiring artists to create their own work. The growing Kenyan community in Hamilton is one reason he thinks the play resonates.

“Brixton Stories is about the creation of immigration; a very multi-layered society in the south of London — just like Ontario,” said Nene, emphasizing the diversity of the show.

Producer Patrick Brennan calls it a “voice that is unheard.”  He thinks with its black focus the play offers Hamilton an alternate perspective.

Brixton Stories runs until August 11 at Lyric Theatre, 434 King Street West.

For show times and tickets, visit Lyric Theatre’s website.

For more news on shows at Lyric, follow them on Twitter at @LyricPatrick and Facebook.

AfriCan Ensemble Theatre is a professional, nonprofit theatre company, presenting works from playwrights of African descent to tell contemporary and traditional stories of the African-Canadian milieu. Follow @AfriCanTheatre on Twitter or check out their Facebook page.

Be sure to visit our Facebook page for photos of Brixton Stories.