23 Mar 2022


Last week we got a special visit from a very special cast and crew from the egg theatre in Bath (in case you don’t know it, it’s one of our favourite theatre because it was built specifically for use by young people.)

The Egg, Wales Millennium Centre and Oxford Playhouse’s co-production of Holm Theatre’s Josephine by Leona Allen and Jesse Briton was performed to over 250 students from years 3-6 at Barton Hill Academy in Torquay.

Josephine Baker. The little girl from Missouri who became an original 20th Century icon. Dancer, actor, activist, campaigner, spy and mother to the multicultural Rainbow Tribe, Josephine broke the mould and high-kicked the pieces to the kerb.

But, almost 50 years after her death, Café Josephine, a down-at-heel New York diner dedicated to her memory, faces closure. Nobody remembers Josephine, who she was, what she did, what she stood for. And she just can’t allow that.

With a sultry, Harlem Renaissance-inspired score, spring-heeled Charleston dancing and a hatful of historical figures, Josephine blurs the real with the imagined as we follow one woman’s incredible journey from the slums of St Louis via the bright lights of Paris and into the hearts of the world.

Alongside the performances teachers were given access to an interactive Learning Portal through which classes can learn about the Harlem Renaissance, Rent Parties, Paris 1920, Josephine’s iconic banana skirt, the French Resistance, The Rainbow Tribe, the March on Washington, how to make a play about an historical figure and more.

In Josephine, writers Leona Allen and Jesse Briton have embraced all aspects of Josephine Baker’s extraordinary and at times controversial life in a bid to artistically address anti-racism and diversity training in schools. Through this exploration of her life pupils can learn more about the challenges she faced as a female artist from the Global Majority* living in the 20th Century.

  • ‘Global Majority’ refers to people who have been racialised as ‘ethnic minorities’  and who make up 80% of the world’s population, including people of the African Diaspora, people of the South, East, and South East Asian diaspora, and Middle Eastern and North African people.

The national touring performance has been produced as part of our Seeding Futures project that will continue through to summer 2022. The project is reigniting opportunities for diverse artists at critical stages in their careers, supporting them to create and platform new work, finding safe ways for performers to connect with Torbay’s communities, while ensuring that lesser-heard voices are seen, heard and modelled.

If you would like to find out any more about the Seeding Futures project please contact mair@doorsteparts.co.uk