BET mailing list

Submit your email

BET on Twitter

Loading feed...

Charity number: 1077161

Company number: 3724349

Blue Elephant Theatre Privacy policy.

We use cookies for Google Analytics, but these can be disabled via your browser configuration.


The Blue Elephant Theatre never ever does things by

Please see our past programme section for reviews of past shows.


Celebrating Black Voices – Blue Elephant Writers Announced

Date published
Thursday 15 October 2020

This Black History Month, Blue Elephant Theatre is commissioning five writers to write short monologues, suitable for primary school-aged audiences, around the theme of Black Heroes. The monologues will be recorded and available to watch on YouTube.

We are delighted to share that the writers chosen are:

Sandra Brown Springer
Sandra is an emerging writer of prose and poetry who was shortlisted for the Nick Darke Award for Playwriting 2018 for her first play, Seb’s Soles. She has written an Amazon Kindle e-book for children called Alice and Her Magic Hair. She is writing about Mary Seacole.

Elizabeth Adejimi
Elizabeth has chosen to write about Madam CJ Walker, the first female self-made millionaire in America.

Angela Mhlanga
Zimbabwean born multi-disciplinary artist, Angela focuses on writing and creating unique silhouetted paintings, sculptures and puppet shows out of recyclable materials. She has recently collaborated with Coventry City of Culture, Talking Birds Company and Shoot Festival. Her monologue is inspired by Serena Williams.

Saana Sze
Saana is an East London based playwright and poet and she is writing about Claudia Jones.

Olu Alakija
Olu is a playwright, screenwriter and script reader. In 2020 his play Mr Ten per cent reached the top three in Just Some Theatre’s Forward Dialogue Initiative. In 2019 he was long-listed for The Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting and he was shortlisted for the Theatre 503 Five. Olu was one of the Year 4 Tamasha Playwrights 2017/18. He is writing about Mary Prince.

The monologues will be available to watch from October 24th.

This work is funded by Southwark’s Black History Month Fund.


BET Artist Network

Date published
Tuesday 13 October 2020

Blue Elephant Theatre is very excited to be launching our Artist Network.

We are launching it to keep in touch with emerging artists, share opportunities and facilitate new collaborations.

Artists are invited to sign up to our mailing list here and will receive emails a couple of times a month - we're also very happy to include other opportunities from artists in these emails, so please do get in touch if you have something you'd like to share.

We're also inviting artists to share details about themselves and their work on our Artist Network Google Sheet, which is open for anyone to view, make connections, to offer or ask for mentoring, or just expand their network of other artists.


Elephant Tips #6

Date published
Friday 9 October 2020

While things are still disrupted and opportunities for artists are limited, we wanted to spread the word about what is out there and available to you. Like most Blue Elephant seasons, there's a selection here and hopefully something for everyone, whether young or old, working in the arts or not...

Today's Elephant Tips mark Black History Month so we've got a selection of events and opportunities for, by and about Black artists and communities.

Young Gifted & Black

Theatre Peckham celebrates its reopening with Young Gifted & Black, a multi-artform programme of socially distanced, in-person and participatory digital events, taking place throughout October and into November. The line-up features theatre, new writing, spoken word, poetry, scratch nights, panel discussions, workshops, seminars and exhibitions. Curated by Associate Director malakaï sargeant alongside Artistic Director Suzann McLean, more than ten events spread across five weeks, shine a light on lived experiences of London’s Black community. Find out more - here.

846 Re:Play

Slightly further afield but a free opportunity from Stratford East open to Black* young people aged 16-18 in East London and nearby boroughs. All you need is passion and commitment. Work with writer Natasha Brown and director Abigail Sewell to write and perform an audio play on Stratford East's main stage. To register click - here.

Digital Patchwork Quilt

Celebrate Black History Month and contribute by creating a digital square for the Southwark Stands Together Digital Quilt.

Our digital patchwork quilt project is inspired by Harriet Tubman, an abolitionist and freedom fighter; whose brave and noble work liberated many fellow slaves by means of an underground railroad – a network of secret routes and safe houses. A square at a time we will build a quilt that symbolises togetherness, peace, equality and justice. Families and friends can create a patch together, or you can send in your own. Your square can be created and then photographed, or produced digitally.

The finished digital quilt will be available to see online, at libraries and in chosen venues across Southwark. To take part click - here.

Windrush: Portrait of a generation

A photo essay by Jim Grover capturing the daily lives - church, home, social, funerals & more - of Lambeth families who came from the Caribbean 70 years ago will be on display in Brixton Library from the 1st of Oct. Find out more about this poignant exhibition here.

Free online dance classes

Upside Down Dance is inviting you to celebrate Black History Month with them and is offering free dance classes for children and adults. Get a free taste of Afrobeat, Dancehall, Soca & hip hop classes for a week on Zoom. You can book tickets to a class here.

And one for luck...

Tata Storytime

Tata Storytime is a new online kids' show where fantastic actors read beautiful picture books. With Authors from African, Caribbean & African American heritage these stories will engage your children pre-school to 8 years. You can find them all on youtube.


Celebrating Black Voices - Writer Call-Out

Date published
Wednesday 30 September 2020

Black History Month in Southwark: Celebrating Black Voices

Blue Elephant Theatre is seeking five Black writers to write very short monologues, suitable for primary school-aged audiences, around the theme of Black Heroes.

Each monologue will be about a Black person from history who was/is heroic or significant in some way but may not be well-known to children.

The monologue can be written as this person, as someone close to them or as someone talking to them – the choice is the writer’s!

Each writer and the Blue Elephant will agree on a subject and the Blue Elephant will provide some basic research so that the writer only needs to concentrate on writing. The monologue is expected to be 3 – 6 minutes long.

The plan is to record each piece as read by actors and share them as audio files and via YouTube.

There is a payment of £120 for each monologue, this includes:

• Agreeing on the subject with BET
• Writing and submitting a monologue by October 15th
• Addressing any small points raised on submission by October 17th
• Allowing the monologue to be recorded and shared – an agreement will be made but ideally it will stay publicly online for more than six months
• Checking that you are happy with the subtitles added on YouTube

This project is funded by Southwark Council’s Black History Month Fund and decisions have only just been made so time is very short. To apply to write a monologue, please email Niamh at with:

• An attachment with a sample of your writing, up to one page long, that you think showcases your suitability for this call-out. Please include no personal details or indications of identity on this page as it will be sent to our two trustees who are making the decisions completely anonymously. Please do not write anything new for this – we are looking for extracts from pieces you have already written. They don’t need to be for children.
• Please indicate in your email only if there is anyone you would particularly like to write about or already have a lot of knowledge on
• If you are also an actor, please say in the email if you would also like to be considered for the recordings/receiving information about them. The recordings are to take place on October 19th and 20th.
• Please include your phone number in the email

The deadline to apply is 12 noon on Saturday 3rd October! Please also email Niamh or call 02077010100 to discuss alternative ways to submit an application.

As this is a celebration of Black voices, this commission is for people who are Black/of Black heritage only. With the short turnaround, we are also limiting it to people who have a base in London (if you have moved away temporarily and plan to come back, you can still apply). Finally, please only apply if you are able to commit to completing the monologue by October 15th.

We aim to notify the five writers on October 6th.


Interview with Rebecca Tortora, Director of 'The Title of the Drama about Ante is Written Here'

Date published
Monday 21 September 2020

Why did you want to direct Ante?

When I was working at BET as Education Officer Jasmine asked me if I wanted to direct a rehearsed reading of Ante as part of Writers at Work. It went well and then BET decided to programme it as a fully realised production which was a great opportunity.

I really liked the way the play took a news headline of a big picture political conflict, the Croatian war of independence, and made it personal through one family’s experience. I also really enjoyed the theatricality in the script, juxtaposing intense emotional content with the actors describing their actions from the outside.

The writer, Ivor Martinic, had developed the script from improvisation and it had a free, spacious quality to it which allowed for a visual style of storytelling. I tried to recapture that in the show so that the actors were always on stage, jumped in and out of character and discovered the story as they performed.

What are your favourite memories of the show?

I got to work with a really lovely team of people who all brought lots of energy, creativity and positivity to the process.

Playing with recreating a sense of improvisation was a creative challenge for me and for a while it slowed down the action. George Mann and Nir Paldi from Theatre Ad Infinitum had been working at BET and came in and watched a run about halfway through. They gave me some really useful feedback which helped to unlock the energy of the play. The cast were great and really went for it.

It was exciting working with Dinah Mullen on the sound design. She introduced a simple sung live theme which recurred at various moments and some recorded sound too. Live singing is something I’ve incorporated in all the shows I’ve done since. I love it!

It was also really great to work with the design team on creating a world of newspaper and a white box theatre that could be drawn on like a giant white board. It was lovely to play with lighting on white walls.

The whole thing was a brilliant learning experience. It was really exciting to watch the show with a full audience, feel the buzz and see it come together.

I’m forever grateful to Jasmine for taking a chance on me as a director. Thanks!

How would you describe Blue Elephant in one sentence?

Fun, inclusive, experimental, DIY, kind, community oriented and unpretentious.

Are you working on any shows now?

I’ve just made a show called #TheMarket which looked at the themes of consumerism and self-worth. It explored cryptocurrency, pyramid selling, cryogenics, fake news, social media and the art of manifestation. It was created with students from East15 Acting School and I’m now adapting it for a small professional cast.

I’m putting together a bid for ‘Theatre on Film Fest’ an online festival of new work focussing on magical realism, physical theatre and new stories created by theatre makers and shot on mobile phones. If funded this will take place early next year.

I’m also planning to R and D a one-person show, ‘Flying or Falling,’ to be filmed and presented digitally, exploring the theme of mortality through extreme selfies, base jumping, astral projection, masks and painting with your eyes.


Elephant Tips #5

Date published
Tuesday 8 September 2020

While things are still distrupted and opportunities for artists are limited, we wanted to spread the word about what is out there and available to you. Like most Blue Elephant seasons, there's a selection here and hopefully something for everyone, whether young or old, working in the arts or not...

We're continuing to try to support the artists we work with so these opportunities will be by artists who have worked with Blue Elephant or who are at the very early stages of their careers or they are activities that might be of interest to emerging artists.

Hate 2 Love Collective

“All the Feels" features monologues and vignettes of original work from emerging and existing talent: actors, writers and creatives in the UK and from around the world. This work was streamed live in August but is still available for you to watch here

Camden People's Theatre Call-outs

Camden People's Theatre have announced a series of call-out opportunities for artists. Another theatre that supports emerging artists and innovative ideas, the opportunities include the offer of 9 seed commissions to artists from marginalised backgrounds, to support the development of innovative new theatre projects. You can find out about them here. Hurry as the deadlines are fast approaching!

Swish by Moulded Theatre

Whilst they are unable to tour live in 2020 to venues, hospitals, schools and libraries around the UK, Moulded Theatre have made Swish online! They have details of the online tour of their show for 3-7 year olds - which is suitable for audience members with complex needs - here.

Hatha Flow for Creatives

Yoga for creatives who struggle with stress, anxiety and lack of motivation. These classes are designed to help you balance emotions, relax, and ease into the present moment. Reducing stress and anxiety helps with feeling more open and creative. here.

Shannen Dance and Fitness

Fun online dance and fitness classes with Shannen Redmond. More details and video workouts can be found here.


Blue Elephant Birthday Celebrations - Day 7

Date published
Sunday 7 June 2020

Today we are saying THANK YOU to some of the people who make Blue Elephant what it is!

We’re starting with the team at BET - trustees, volunteers and staff. Thank you!

Picture of the Blue Elephant Trustees
Composite picture of Blue Elephant Theatre staff and volunteers
Composite picture of Blue Elephant Theatre staff and volunteers

We wanted to give out some other awards to some familiar faces at the Blue Elephant.

On this anniversary, we can’t forget that our Chair of Trustees, Chris, has been supporting the Blue Elephant for its entire 21 years. That deserves a lifetime achievement award if anything does.

Thank you Chris! Lifetime Achievement Award

We also have a few people we don’t get to shout about as much as we’d like - two stealthy supporters who are always there when needed.

Duty Manager/Facilitator/Technician/Editor Kome who always has BET’s back and appears unexpectedly all the time just to check on things or to sort something out.

Thank you Kome! BET's Unsung Hero

Trustee Paul who should really have his own seat by now, coming to support our emerging artists and young people and see their work so often. He quietly and consistently supports us, especially in times of difficulty.

Thank you Paul! BET's Unsung Hero


Blue Elephant Birthday Celebrations - Day 6

Date published
Saturday 6 June 2020

Today we're celebrating the creativity and talent of our Young People's Theatre, which has been going strong for many years.

We want to look to a more positive future so are sharing the thoughts of some of our young people about Blue Elephant. We very much appreciate the time they and their parents took to make these videos for us - as every actor knows, self-tapes aren’t easy!

We also announced the winners of our 21st birthday poster competition, which received so many fantastic entries that picking winners was difficult! Below are the winning entries:

Over 10

Over 10's entry reading 21st anniversary Blue Elephant Theatre, with a blue elephant in a party hat in the centre

Over 10's entry reading Blue Elephant 1999 - 2020 is turning 21, with the Blue Elephant Theatre logo surrounded by bunting

Over 10's entry reading Happy Birthday Blue Elephant Theatre, surrounded by silver ribbons

Under 10 and Digital

Under 10's entry reading Happy 21st Birthday, with a blue elephant on an orange background

Digital entry reading Happy 21st Birthday with a image of an elephant coloured blue on the left hand side

Under 10's entry reading Blue Elephant Theatre 21, with a drawing of a blue elephant and a birthday cake

Finally, we think this poster deserves a special commendation for the wonderful poem!

Entry reading Happy Birthday Blue Elephant Theatre!!! Beneath is an outline of en elephant, with a poem inside: If you enjoy acting come on down, The Blue Elephant will lift your frown! We're celebrating 21 years, look how far we've come, making great plays and having loads of fun


Blue Elephant Birthday Celebrations - Day 5

Date published
Friday 5 June 2020

We asked Jasmine Cullingford, the second Artistic Director of the Blue Elephant, to say a few words about her time there and particularly about her programming.

There are some wonderful memories here and also great insight into the workings of a very small theatre.

Have a watch and see if you remember any of the shows!

We also shared pictures from our in-house shows since Jasmine started programming, through to The Christmas Quest in December 2019, listed below.

The Christmas Quest (December 2019)
Baa Humbug (December 2018)
Boy in Darkness (March-April 2015)
The Butterfly Lovers (April 2014)
The Fantastical Adventures of [Not] Being With You (June-July 2012)
Noah’s Ark (November-December 2011)
The Book of Disquiet (June-July 2011)
The Cave (October-November 2010)
Drive Thru Nativity (December 2009)
The title of the drama about Ante is written here (September-October 2009)


Blue Elephant Birthday Celebrations - Day 4

Date published
Thursday 4 June 2020

Our Co-Artistic and Participation Director Jo Sadler-Lovett, leads an engaging workshop online where we create a monologue to look back on in the future and remember how we are feeling now - as well as some drama games to play at home to get imaginations firing!

We also took the opportunity to celebrate and shout about the work we do in schools. We are incredibly proud of the community programmes we run which form a large proportion of the work that we do and has involved working with and in schools.

It is innovative, creative and accessible and has had an incredible, positive impact on our community and on the lives of many people.

What would you like to be when you are older?

Creative Minds is our primary school programme.

We deliver weekly bespoke drama workshops in local Southwark schools each term, generally reaching 800 - 1000 young people a year.

The workshops can cover any topic the school requests and they are often delivered to targeted groups of children.

Teachers say:

“Creative Minds provides a really useful outlet for us to refer underprivileged children who need additional support of experts.’

“Our children…need the opportunity to feel proud of themselves, to shine, to listen to applause, to see their parents, teachers and peers admiring their work. Creative Minds has given this opportunity.”

Aim high even if you feel low

Our Speak Out programme works with schools to address issues around mental health and well-being, training young facilitators in the process.

“It’s amazing what Blue Elephant do for disadvantaged communities. I could have got caught up in the wrong activity with the wrong crowd if it wasn't for my experience working with you.” (Actor in training)

There is always light at the end of the tunnel

Speak Out has taken on fifteen trainee actor-facilitators since 2015, the majority of whom who were not in education, employment or training, had mental health problems or were at risk of developing them. The achievements of the trainees since beginning with us have been outstanding, with many progressing to further training and paid work very quickly afterwards.

Students in the schools Speak Out has visited have developed their self-confidence and self-belief, their awareness of mental health issues and explored ways to manage their well- being.

One teacher said she “could not believe the impact the programme has had. I was moved to tears”

You can achieve more than one thing at the same time


Blue Elephant Birthday Celebrations - Day 3

Date published
Wednesday 3 June 2020

Our patron Radzi Chinyanganya wished us a happy birthday!

We also shared an interview with Antonio Ribeiro, the founder and first Artistic Director of Blue Elephant Theatre, talking about his life and how the theatre came about.

Interview with Antonio


Blue Elephant Birthday Celebrations - Day 1

Date published
Monday 1 June 2020

From June 1st, we are celebrating Blue Elephant's 21st anniversary and all the people who have made it possible.

On June 1st, we shared two very special films.
The first - to mark the start of Volunteers Week 2020 - is an interview with our two longest-standing volunteers, Chris Lawrence and Leo Scalione.

And a longer but engrossing watch is this documentary made by founder Antonio Ribeiro from never-before-seen footage of the early days of the Blue Elephant. You can watch it here


21st Birthday Drawing Competition

Date published
Thursday 14 May 2020

We will be celebrating our 21st Birthday on June 3rd and we need your help! We're running a drawing competition for young people to create the poster that we use to celebrate our 21st birthday birthday week from June 1st - 7th.

We're accepting entries now and there are three categories: hand-drawn posters by under 10s, hand-drawn posters by over 10s and digital-created posters.

To enter, email us a picture of the poster to or put it on twitter and tag us @BETCamberwell. Please let us know which category it's for! The closing date is May 28th and there will be five runner ups and one winner who will receive theatre tickets when we reopen! We will also - with permission - use the winner's poster during our celebrations


Elephant Tips #4

Date published
Wednesday 29 April 2020

Elephant Tips #3

Date published
Tuesday 21 April 2020

While most people are at home, we wanted to spread the word about activities and opportunities available to you. Every few days, we're going to publish a selection aiming, like most Blue Elephant seasons, to have something for everyone, whether young or old, working in the arts or not...

We're continuing to try to support the artists we work with so these opportunities will be by artists who have worked with Blue Elephant or who are at the very early stages of their careers.

Make Your Own Play
Ever thought about writing your own play? Our very own Youth Theatre Leader Louise has put together this guide for any budding young (or not so young) playwrights out there to put together their first script.

Virtual Variety Fest
With artists from the UK, Argentina, Spain and Colombia, Virtual Variety Fest kicks off tonight at 7.30pm until 24th April with a host of live performances online. See what's showing and find out more here.

Little Star @ Home
Moon on a Stick's enchanting performance for babies is moving online, for you to watch at home! Perfect for ages 0-2 years, Little Star takes us on a journey with the star herself. Little Star wants to explore space, and to see, hear and touch everything! Find out dates and more here.

No Cactus by Jackdaw
An independent Americana album by one of our volunteers, available on Apple Music, Spotify and the musicians’ own website. You can read some of the back story here.