Cathy Tyson actor and producer at Pitchlake Productions
Cathy Tyson talks about her inspiring experience of touring She Called Me Mother with Black Theatre Live and the company she co-founded with Michelle Inniss and Cara Nolan, Pitchlake Productions.
What has being involved in Black Theatre Live meant to you?
Black Theatre Live (BTL) has helped me expand as an actress and as a producer. As an actress I experienced being on stage by myself for thirty minutes. This increased my confidence and love of my job. It allowed me to embrace auditions that involved a lot of line learning, with surety.
BTL has been my first experience of producing. With their guidance I approached theatres and asked them for dates and guarantees for our show. It was exhilarating speaking to the programme bookers, many of whom were men, and begin to overcome the fear of talking about money.
The whole experience of BTL has given me deeper incites into all the aspects that go into a production. I am indebted to BTL for helping me develop as a creative.
Has the work of Black Theatre Live had any unexpected benefits for you and Pitchlake Productions?
I really hope that Pitchlake Productions and our experience with BTL have encouraged fellow BAME creatives to tour and audiences to participate. Support of BTL and the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation inspired me to believe I could play the lead and carry a show, such as was demanded of our national tour of She Called Me Mother by Michelle Inniss.
A young black actress I saw recently, after she had performed for one night, said she had never experienced a part of that size before. I watched her look of self-belief as she came off stage. I want Pitchlake Productions and BTL to continue to be powerful role models for other young black theatre talents.
We have toured to rural areas that do not get a chance to experience what life is like for black people. We have started a positive dialogue with these regions and rural areas. A dialogue that with Pitchlake Productions and BTL I hope to help continue to ensure we create and sustain relations between many diverse peoples through theatre.