Nine Lives at the Arcola, London

Dear all,


before we all disappear in a welter of mince pies and stuffing (or however you choose to celebrate Christmas/midwinter/festivals) just letting you all know that Nine Lives will be performing at the Arcola theatre in London for the WHOLE of January. We’d love to see you there. And if you’ve seen it already do tell EVERYONE you know in London to come see us.

Tickets and information available here

There are free tickets for refugees at every performance and free events with refugee and migrant artists on Saturday afternoons in association with Counterpoints Arts and Platforma.

Platforma Jam

16 January, 5.30-6.30pm
Five friends from four continents bring you songs, sounds and spoken word from Ethiopia, Palestine and beyond. Featuring Haymanot Tesfa, Leila Seguin, Duncan Mortimer, EbsilBaz, Emily Zaraa.Free – book now

Music from Zimbabwe

23 January, 5.30-6.30pm
A trio of mbira players based in the UK: Fungai Gahadzikwa, Doug Langley and Takudzwa Mukiwa. Free – book now

Bards Without Borders

30 January, 5.30-6.30pm
Spoken word inspired by the work of William Shakespeare by performers from refugee and migrant backgrounds. Free – book now

Have great holiday and see you at the Arcola in January.

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Leeds fundraiser performance in aid of No Going Back

Nine Lives after a triumphant tour around the country is returning to Leeds for ONE NIGHT ONLY. On Tuesday 15 December we will be at Oxford Place Methodist centre opposite the Town Hall at 7.30pm for a special fundraising performance in aid of No Goin Back the LGBT Asylum Charity. The performance is FREE with all donations going straight to the charity. Come support!

Book here

Or turn up on the night. See you there!

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Extra gig in Doncaster with refugee musician, Mina Salama

We are delighted that Nine Lives in Doncaster will be joined by the brilliant Egyptian, and Doncaster based, musician – Mina Salama. This will be in double-bill with the Nine Lives performance at Cast in Doncaster on Thursday 12 November, starting at 7.45pm and FREE to all attenders to the show.

Mina Salama

Declaration Kriol with Rafiki Jazz at Sensoria 2013 Sheffield at Shakespeare Pub

Declaration Kriol with Rafiki Jazz at Sensoria 2013 Sheffield at Shakespeare Pub

Immersed in Coptic liturgical, Arabic and European classical & filmscore music, and with a blossoming international career as a multi-instrumentalist with the Alexandria Opera House Orchestra, Mina improbably found himself seeking asylum here in 2012.

To our delight he is now surfacing as a talented and in-demand musician with his virtuosity, drive and sensitivity leading to commissions & collaborations across our polyglot UK world music scene, including performing, composing and recording with MIRO Manchester International Roots Orchestra, Rafiki Jazz, with the Haymanot Tesfa Trio, and with Turkish live-artist Aysegul Balkose.

Mina has performed at the Edinburgh Festival 2014, Celebrating Sanctuary Southbank 2013 & 2014, AHRC Connected Communities Festival Cardiff 2014, Journeys Festival 2014 Leicester, Manchester Bridgewater Hall 2013, Platforma Festival 2013, and is currently working on Haymanot Tesfa‘s solo recording project with Arian Sadr, on MIRO’s debut CD, and on Rafiki Jazz‘s 3rd album project.

Here he is in action with Rafiki Jazz & singer Sarah Yaseen:

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Nine Lives National Tour Dates Announced

It’s Friday. It’s the last day of July and before you all head off for holiday/Edinburgh/bed (delete as applicable) get a load of these beautiful tour dates. We are going EVERYWHERE so there really will be a performance coming somewhere near(ish) you. So get booking and we’ll see you in the Autumn. All rested and ready to play (except for those going to Edinburgh – you’ll be knackered).

Nine Lives Tour Dates

Friday 25 Sept 7.30pm Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea 01792 602060

Sun 27 Sept 3pm Wakefield Lit Festival 01924 215550

Mon & Tues 28 & 29 Sept 7.30pm Burton-Taylor Studio, Oxford Playhouse 01865 305305

Sat 3 Oct 8pm Ilkley Literature Festival, Ilkley Playhouse 01943 816714 Booking opens in September

Mon 12 Oct 7.30pm The Bikeshed, Exeter 01392 434169

Sat 17 Oct 7.30pm Trinity Bristol 0117 9351200

Fri 23 Oct 7.30pm Malvern Cube or via Malvern TIC 01684 892289

Fri 6 Nov 7.30pm Upstairs at the Western Leicester 

Thurs 12 Nov 7.45pm CAST, Doncaster 01302 303959

Mon 16 Nov 1.30pm 7.30pm Waterside Arts Centre, Sale 0161 912 5616

Thurs 19 Nov 7pm ARC, Stockton 01642 525199 Pay what you decide

Tues 8 Dec 7pm Nottingham Contemporary Free event – booking open in Sept

Thurs 10 Dec 7.30pm Brighton and Hove Sanctuary on Sea – booking open in Sept

Weds 6 – Sat 30 Jan 8pm Arcola Theatre, London 020 7503 1646

NL leaflets 2

Our leaflets have arrived!

Our leaflets have arrived!

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News: Nine Lives to be published by Methuen

We are very, very excited to share with you that Nine Lives is being published by Methuen Drama along with Zodwa’s monologue Come To Where I’m From. So now you will have the chance to take Nine Lives home with you, read it, cherish it. Full of brilliant monologues for men and women – for all those auditioning/showcasing actors among you.

It will be available to buy from performance venues. Or if you want to order a copy from us just drop me a line at alex[at]

Play text cover image

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Last Leeds Date coming up (national tour coming soon)

Hello folks,

sorry it’s been a bit quiet here for a while. Been very busy taking Nine Lives out on the road (actually more out on the rail – this is a very public transport tour). Thank you to everyone who has made it already to see us – we’ve had fantastic time in Holbeck, Liverpool, Sheffield and Hebden Bridge.

If you haven’t made it yet Nine Lives is COMING BACK TO LEEDS. This is the LAST Leeds date before we head off on a National Tour this Autumn (dates being announced SOON).

So if you are in Leeds or anywhere near come see us on Monday 27th July at 7pm at the fabulous Chapel FM in Seacroft. We’re in a double bill with local writer and composer due Peter Spafford and Richard Ormorod and their piece Threshold:

Threshold is about leaving home

and casting yourself upon the world, upon the kindness of strangers. It’s also about
the refusal of hospitality, fear of strangers, of the unfamiliar. I suppose it’s about
wandering and searching for/finding your place.

Tickets are Pay What You Decide and available here 

And just to tickle your fancy here are some of the things that people have been saying about the show. Enjoy!

‘I thought the performance was outstanding. I was very impressed by the range of emotional ups and downs that Mr Bryant exposed to the audience. I didn’t expect that such a range of immigrant experiences would be discussed and I liked the critique of class. The script is simply poetic and brilliantly written’ (Professor Barbara McCaskill (Athens-Georgia, US), interested audience member, Liverpool)

‘Really powerful and truthful, didn’t make fun of the characters. Just honest and playful. Really very emotional and touching…It deserves to reach as wide an audience as possible. As a daughter of immigrants I felt very affected by narrative’ (Tuktu Barbaros, London)

‘Best thing I’ve seen in ages, loved the performance and the writing. Made me laugh and made me cry’ (Giona Hesselden,  Hebden Bridge)

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Zim music star to appear alongside Nine Lives in Leeds

Calling out to all World Music fans in Leeds, renowned Zimbabwean musician, Stella Chiweshe, will be appearing in a rare and intimate solo gig, in a double bill with Nine Lives in Leeds.

To celebrate Refugee Week 2015 and the opening of Nine Lives, Stella Chiweshe, will be playing after the first performance at The Hub, 5pm Sunday 21 June.

The gig is only available in a double bill with Nine Lives. Tickets are Pay What You Decide and available from or on the door prior to 5pm on the day of performance.

Stella Chiweshe

 Stella Chiweshe


Mystic Sounds from Inner Space


Despite having endured many trials and tribulations,respected veteran Zimbabwe-born singer and instrumentalist Stella Chiweshe has never lost faith in the healing power of music.


Some artists project a stage persona which differs markedly from their everyday personality. Nothing could be further from the truth as far as Stella Chiweshe is concerned. The 68-year-old Shona singer and instrumentalist is the real deal.


Her singing and mbira (mbira dzavadzimu to give it its full name) playing are not just a joy to behold, they generally leave her audiences spellbound and elated. Mbira dzavadzimu is a sacred instrument used by the Shona people of Zimbabwe to call on the spirits of their ancestors.


Chiweshe set out on the global concert circuit in the early 1980s and has released seven albums under her name to date. She is a regular performer at the prestigious WOMAD world music festival, and has toured her inspirational music all over the world. Her endeavour and persistence has opened the door to other women to follow her musical, artistic and traditional social status-defying lead.


Today, Chiweshe is a celebrity back home in Zimbabwe, and in 2014 founded the Chivanhu Trust ‘so that our children will grow up knowing their culture’

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First tour dates announced!

Hello all,

Booking now open on first tour dates for Nine Lives. They are coming up SOON and places are already going fast so get booking:

Sun 21 June 5pm

HUB (Holbeck Underground Ballroom) Leeds 67-71 Bath Road, Holbeck, LS11 9UA

To book tickets email:

Tickets: Pay What You Decide

Fri 26 June 8pm

Festival 31, Lantern Theatre, 57 Blundell Street, Liverpool, L1 0AJ

Tickets: £8.50/£5.50

Sat 27 & Sun 28 June 7.30pm

Theatre Delicatessen, 17 The Moor, Sheffield

To book tickets email:

Tickets: Pay What You Decide

Wed 1 July 7.30pm

Hebden Bridge Little Theatre, HX7 8EE

Book tickets here

Tickets: £10/£8

Mon 27 July 7pm

Chapel FM Leeds The Old Seacroft Chapel York Road Leeds LS14 6JB

In a double-bill with Threshold featuring Peter Spafford and Richard Ormerod

Threshold is about leaving home

and casting yourself upon the world, upon the kindness of strangers. It’s also about
the refusal of hospitality, fear of strangers, of the unfamiliar. I suppose it’s about
wandering and searching for/finding your place.

Book tickets here

Tickets: Pay What You Decide

And to whet your appetite – here’s another pic of our brilliant performer, Lladel – come see him in action!

Photo by Adam Robinson Design by John Polley

Photo by Adam Robinson
Design by John Polley

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Leeds Studio to tour Nine Lives By Zodwa Nyoni

We are delighted that Leeds Studio has received a Strategic Touring Grant from Arts Council, England to revive and tour Nine Lives by Zodwa Nyoni performed by Lladel Bryant.

Fleeing from his home in Zimbabwe where a fresh wave of homophobia threatens his life, Ishmael has sought sanctuary in the UK.  Dispersed to Leeds, he waits to hear his fate, he waits for a new life to begin amongst strangers.  Strangers who don’t trust him and don’t want him there.  But not everyone is bad… can he find a place to call home again?

Some of us wanted to stop being afraid.

Some of us wanted to find ourselves.

Some of us wanted to belong.

Zodwa Nyoni (West Yorkshire Playhouse/Channel 4 Writer in Residence 2014) threads together humour and humanity to tell the real personal story behind asylum headlines.

‘the wit of the writing and lightness of the playing style gives the play its depth’ The Herald.


Photograph by Adam Robinson

Leeds Studio, in association with West Yorkshire Playhouse, will be touring Nine Lives to 18 venues across UK from 21st June 2015 to 30 January 2016. Full tour dates available soon.

The production will be accompanied by a programme of audience development and participation engaging refugees and asylum seekers and raising awareness of the issues around LGBT asylum. We are working with City of Sanctuary, Counterpoints Arts and UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group.

For more information on tour or outreach work email Alex on

For press and marketing contact Lizzie on

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A new theatre for Leeds

We believe there is a significant gap in Leeds arts sector. There are many talented young people who are taking part in participatory arts activities, training and education. But we are not seeing enough of those people coming through as professionals. Either they move away or, especially when they do not have financial or social capital to see them through, they go do something else. Generations of potential artists from and around Leeds are being lost, particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds.

We believe that there should be a creative place or places in Leeds that bridges that gap, a physical and psychological space in which young artists and technicians can be working out who they are and what they want to create, be producing work, gaining skills and making contacts which will sustain them through their career.

If you are aged 16-30 with an interest in theatre, dance, music, backstage; if you are trying to make your way in performing arts but don’t feel there’s a home for you; if you are an experienced arts professional who feel you have something to offer, we want to hear from you.

Email us at

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