The UK’s outstanding Black theatre company Talawa has announced Black Joy 2024, a season of theatre and workshops celebrating Black stories and artists. As part of this season an exciting large scale musical production Play On!, , will come to Birmingham Hippodrome from Wednesday 6 November – Saturday 9 November.

The Black Joy season is a partnership between Talawa, Olivier Award-winning J Clare Productions and Chuchu Ngawu Productions to create local and national opportunities for Black artists The season will also feature a new touring Studio Commission, and Seed Commissions to support Black artists around the country and more.

Play On! is a joyous retelling of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and vividly brings to life the 1940s New York jazz scene, set to a timeless, toe-tapping Duke Ellington soundtrack. This exciting jazz musical is conceived by Sheldon Epps, with a book by Cheryl L. West.

In the Cotton Club, New York City, a young songwriter arrives ready to make her name – but disguising herself as a man will give her a better shot in a male-dominated music world. As she meets club owner The Duke and sensational singer Lady Liv, Vy is swept up in a syncopated symphony of melodies, mistaken identities and romance.

Play On!, directed by Talawa’s Artistic Director Michael Buffong (A Kind of People, Royal Court; All My Sons, Talawa and Royal Exchange), is produced by Talawa Theatre Company and Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, with co-producers Birmingham Hippodrome; Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse Theatres; Lyric Hammersmith Theatre; and Wiltshire Creative, Salisbury.

In line with Talawa’s commitment to platforming global majority actors and creatives, the season’s Associate Programme addresses under-representation in the sector by prioritising emerging creatives. The Play On! partners are committed to supporting Black artists to create theatre across the country.

As part of the tour, each of the producing partners and Talawa will participate in the Seed Commission Programme – each partner commissioning an emerging African Caribbean diaspora artist and supporting them in creating new work. The programme will include scratch performances and networking events throughout the year.

Play On! comes to Birmingham Hippodrome from Wednesday 6 November – Saturday 9 November. Tickets can be booked here or by calling 0844 338 5000*

*calls cost 4.5p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.