Being in The Croydon Avengers makes you feel like you’re a real-life superhero! When the sound affects and lights kick in your heart starts beating faster; you know it’s time to fight crime! The play has got a fantastic pace to it that sweeps you up and throws you into the heart of the action. It’s go go go; from fighting moped thieves one moment to fighting amongst ourselves in the next.

What’s great about being in the show is it’s really a team effort. We all have to work together to keep the ball rolling. Being a young superhero’s means we all get to bounce off what the other characters are doing; whether its what they’re saying or unleashing their awesome powers!

I love that we get to interact with the audience in this show; it just makes it so fun and playful! It’s great to really engage with people directly, whatever their age, and to involve them in our story and develop a relationship between them and our characters. Hopefully it means they’ll be rooting for the Avengers! The audience really are as important as any one of us.

Playing Petr is such a joy because he lives from moment to moment. He’s sparky and excitable and energetic and constantly keeps me on my toes. Although, because he doesn’t speak the best English, that lack of fore-thought can land him in a bit of trouble, but his hearts always in the right place. We all got to learn karate during rehearsals, and it’s so much fun to take that work and put it on stage; I think the fight scenes look really brilliant!

But perhaps the best thing about doing the show is knowing that you’re telling an important story about these young people and about Britain as a whole. I think it speaks on many levels, and I hope the audience get to leave with lots to talk about!

Theo Toksvig-Stewart
Actor

With every new production, I get excited about the world I will inhabit with the cast. As a movement director I constantly shift between physical languages in different eras and locations.  Recently I have created football matches, the work of hard labour in a prison camp and the physicality of a character based on the 1920’s Charleston dance, all for stage productions.  With The Croydon Avengers I was tasked with helping to find the main characters special physical personas and powers.

A play with superheroes could not have been more timely and let’s face it, we all dream of having some type of extraordinary capability!  Oladipo Agboluje’s wonderful script marked out our superheroes with fighting skills and elemental qualities.  I reflected on how we would use these and remembered that above all, superheroes are cool.

So in rehearsals I worked with the cast to explore different types of elements, like soil, stone, breeze, tornado, spark or a flame, with their bodies and how each would manifest in their character’s personalities and special powers.  From there we started to shape the physical life of all the characters – superheroes and of course their nemesis.  That work was woven into expertise shared with the cast by Alton Brown our martial arts specialist and champion sportsman!

All this work did make me think about what superpower I would want.  It’s stayed the same since I was little – to fly (because teleporting would be too fast) to whip people up out of harm’s way and to soar up to the stars and look down onto our planet.

Diane Alison-Mitchell
Movement Director and Choreographer

I’m an artist based In north London and have been making comics for 4 years. I’ve had an interest in comic since I was 6 from reading the sonic the hedgehog comics, beano, marvel and DC and then some manga’s in my teen years. My style is influenced by Jamie Hewlett of the Gorillaz and tank girl comics. I started drawing from the age of 5 and never stopped.

I usually work with a fully written script that has dialogue, set imagery and page layout to consider. Fortunately, this project didn’t have dialogue, which allowed me to put a lot of visual information within the panels.

I had to approach the comic for The Croydon Avengers in a different way to give a clear understanding of the mood and story telling. To do this, I used colours to help express the moods and atmosphere in each panel. This also helps convey characters emotions. I’m happy with the end result and that the way the comic flows. I hope you enjoy my work.

The super power I would like to have is to be able to transform in to any animal, so i’d be able to fly, have great speed and change my size from a tiny ant to a massive elephant.

Shane Melisse

Comic Artist, Illustrator

We’ve had a Black Panther movie, followed by a royal wedding with the bride being mixed heritage (there is no such thing as race). But people of colour have always been part and parcel of society, even though many of our achievements have gone unnoticed. The Croydon Avengers represent those people plugging away undercover, trying to do what’s best, failing, and then failing better. They want to be part of society but they can’t, thanks to laws that place barriers in front of them. They are in an awkward situation because they are fighting to uphold the law. This leads them to question what makes a person a citizen, or who or what institution has the power to tell people who they are or where they can or cannot make a life for themselves. This has been the most challenging aspect of the play for me to write. It is hard to imagine being in such a position – it’s like being in limbo, with your life on hold. Around you, people are getting on with their lives. This is hard for young people who are full of dreams and the energy to pursue those dreams, especially if they are inspired by role models like the characters in Black Panther and by Meghan Markle.
If I could be given a superpower, I’d want to be a master of the mystic arts like Dr Strange. It would be amazing to have powers that operate on the material and spiritual planes. I could do almost anything, but I’d have to remember that with great power comes great responsibility. I would use the powers to help change peoples’ lives.
Oladipo Agboluaje
Writer

Just over a week to go until rehearsals start for Maya Production’s The Croydon Avengers by Oladipo Agboluje. It’s a celebration, as with all Maya’s work, of diversity and Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee artistry.  So I’m currently reflecting on the fact that I have a pumped up Billionaire White American man to thank for the inspiration for this play – no, it’s not Donald Trump ( although our writer Dipo has called the Media Moghul in the play –  Regina Rump!) – but the one and only Bruce Wayne – AKA Batman! It was whilst I was watching a Batman film, many moons ago, that I was struck by the lack of superhero role models for young people from BAMER backgrounds – and wanted to do something about it.

As a one-woman operation running a small theatre company it’s taken me slightly longer than anticipated to get to this glorious stage – and Black Panther did beat us to it-  but it’s been a fabulous journey. The play is inspired by young refugees and Londoners who took part in our Superheroes:South of the River Project that used martial arts, comic book storytelling and theatre to explore BAMER Role Models and Superheroes. We’ve worked with schools, youth theatres and youth clubs along the way, inviting a range of young people to take part in the process of making theatre. And now we’ve pulled together a fantastic team to make this super show happen.

One thing I’m really excited about today is our comic. Its an online introduction to the play and is beautifully illustrated by comic book artist Shane Melisse. It forms the first part of our online education resource pack we’re creating,  with Why Comics?, Central Foundation Girls School and St Anthony’s Primary School, for teachers and youth leaders to use before and after they’ve seen the play.

Gotta dash to pick up my own superhero .. my seven year old son. He can’t wait to see the full production of The Croydon Avengers in action- on stage.

Oh and if I could have a superpower myself – it would be the power to duplicate myself and be in twenty places at once, to effortlessly achieve the juggling act of work/life/family balance…bliss.

Sneak peak at some of the comic below.

Suzanne Gorman – Director

 

We are pleased to be taking The Croydon Avengers to a full production this Summer and so we are looking for a Stage Manager to join the Maya team.

Rehearsals: 21 May – 9 June 2018

Production Week & First Performances at Harrogate Theatre: 11 – 16 June (First performance on 14 June)

Ovalhouse Performances: 18 – 23 June

Croydon Schools Tour and Performances at Blue Elephant Theatre  25 June – 1 July

For a Stage Management role please download our Information Pack for Stage Manager March 2018

We are also looking for a Sound Designer. Download our Information Pack for Sound Designer March 2018

We ask applicants to fill in our EO Monitoring Form Jan 2018.

Deadline for applications: Monday 9th April at 5pm for Stage Manager and Thursday 12 April at 5pm for Sound Designer

With some very exciting productions on the horizon, including The Croydon Avengers by Oladipo Agboluaje in Summer 2018, Maya Productions is looking to meet and develop relationships with Theatre Designers.

Maya Productions are particularly looking to work with creatives from backgrounds that are currently underrepresented in the arts. We want theatre to be more accessible and inclusive for everyone, which is one of the reasons we are looking to fill this position through an open call. We want to avoid a culture of access that’s just based on “who you know”, and make sure that we get the best person for the job, regardless of their background.

Deadline: 31 January

For more details on the role and how to apply please download the information pack below.

Information Pack for Designer Jan 2018

EO Monitoring Form Jan 2018

 

 

 

BAME role models and leaders are important for increasing workforce diversity. Seeing BAME artists in the spotlight builds ambition in young people and motivates individuals to step into a career in the arts. Listening to BAME leaders in positions of power inspires confidence in the ability of the industry to reflect the rich tapestry of our society. Including more BAME workers across the industry takes us closer to the creation of great art that can speak to a wide range of people.

Role models come in different types, BRIGHT LIGHTS, GUIDES, FORGERS and ENABLERS. In different ways they all can influence others and make a difference.

This guide shows how BAME role models can help challenge and change the status quo. It shows how role models can change perceptions of who should and shouldn’t work in performing arts. It shows how leaders and organisations can take practical steps to open the sector up to a more diverse workforce. And it shows how to seek out role models and learn from them.

This guide is designed to help more Bright Lights, Guides, Forgers and Enablers take the stage and make the performing arts a more inclusive place to work.

Book your place at the launch now


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Download a PDF of the booklet.

Download the PDF of the full research paper.

Our very own Edna Mode (Our designer, Elle Rose) has been create some amazing costumes for ur Heroes!

 

Behind the Mask – Part 3: No Cape!

Our very own Edna Mode (Our designer, Elle Rose) has been create some amazing costumes for ur Heroes!  

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Behind the Mask – Part 2: The Transformation has begun!

In pictures: day 1 of rehearsals

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Behind the Mask – Part 1: Oladipo Agboluaje on the ideas behind The Croydon Avengers

“Needing help is different from being helpless.” … The idea behind The Croydon Avengers was to create a piece of work that put young refugees in a position of power and responsibility. The perception of refugees is that they are helpless and need things to be done for them. Needing help is different from being helpless. This was reinforced when […]

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Photo by Barnaby Aldrick
Photo by Alex Brenner