Michelle Inniss, due to complete her MA in Creative Writing: The Novel at the end of this academic year, is producing 'She Called me Mother' alongside her co-founders of Pitch Lake Productions, Cathy Tyson and Cara Nolan.
Overjoyed that her work is coming to life, Michelle said: "This is the first play I have ever written so it was amazing to discover that others love it as much as I do."
Cathy Tyson is a BAFTA and Golden Globe nominated actress with over three decades of experience in film, television and theatre. She will perform as the lead character with Cara directing and overseeing production.
Cathy is also associated with Brunel, having graduated in 2012 with a BA in English and Drama, but that is not where she and Michelle first encountered each other. They actually met in secondary school in Liverpool, and continued to be good friends ever since.
The protagonist of the story, Evangeline, is an elderly homeless lady from Trinidad. The play is written from her perspective, in a poetic Trinidadian vernacular, and partly inspired by a real homeless lady that Michelle came across in her travels in London.
"I wondered, where were her family, what happened to her loved ones? This play explores how she ended up in that situation. I can't imagine what it's like to not have a home, somewhere safe to live. Everyone has a right to a home."
Cathy commented: "When she sent the script to me I fell in love with the language immediately. My father is from Trinidad so I was already familiar with the speech.
"You don't often see elderly black women on the stage, and it's such a wonderful opportunity to bring an overshadowed character to life."
Cara added: "Michelle has this amazing gift of poetry. As I was reading the play, the language inspired a roller deck of images in my mind. I just knew we had to bring it to the stage."
Black Theatre Live received over 50 applicants for the funding overall, and this is the first new play that they have supported in this way. The consortium is backed by Arts Council England, which is "committed to increasing the amount of black and ethnic minority theatre on the touring circuit". The play is hoped to be shown in eight theatres late this year.
Black Theatre Live is a partnership of Tara Arts, Derby Theatre, Queens Hall (Hexham), the Lighthouse (Poole), Theatre Royal Bury St. Edmunds, Theatre Royal Margate, Stratford Circus (London) & Key Theatre (Peterborough).
Communications Officer at Brunel University