The Oberon Series of Monologues for Black Actors

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The Oberon Series of Monologues for Black Actors

The Oberon Series of Monologues for Black Actors is the first of its kind – a range of practical audition pieces dedicated to black actors and students of the theatre.

These books were born out the creation of the Black British Play Archive (BBPA) at the National Theatre. Simeilia Hodge-Dallaway worked as a project manager on the BBPA, having been recruited by Kwame Kwei-Armah in 2009.

It was this experience that inspired Simeilia to compile these monologues collections, which document the best published plays by Black British writers, from pioneers such as Barry Reckord, Alfred Fagon and Mustapha Matura to rising stars such as Inua Ellams and Lydia Adetunji.

In this way these books are not merely auditioning tools for black actors, but also form an invaluable primer on African, Caribbean and black British theatre in the UK. These collections demonstrate the diversity of characters, themes, language and styles that have been used to tell the stories of the Black British experience at a time of great social change.

Divided by gender and suitable for young people and adults, each volume features over twenty speeches, and each selection includes production information, a synopsis of the play, a biography of the playwright and a scene summary. The aim is to help actors to strengthen their craft, and by doing so, ensure these plays are always remembered.

This is the first instalment in a series of audition pieces dedicated to BAME actors, and will be followed by similar volumes dedicated to British South Asian actors.

Kerry Michael, Artistic Director of Theatre Royal Stratford East said: “We’re pleased to be supporting this important publication – the first of its kind. This new edition of monologues will play an important role in expanding the choices for aspiring and established actors who define themselves as Black British. Each year we help to train hundreds of young actors and many of them have been crying out for this kind of resource. The collection is also a celebration of diverse new writing – something we do extremely well in this country. We’ve already c ommitted to supporting subsequent volumes for British South Asian actors and I hope we’ll see more follow.”

“The diversity of subjects and themes alone are enough to make this book stand out. But it is the voices, the stories that these monologues explore, the beauty, the ugliness, the pain of the twentieth-century Black British experience mixed with the triumphs and horrors of the twenty-first that will make this collection sit in the annals of OUR history. Or as Ziggy Marley sang ’Istory.” Kwame Kwei-Armah

“This anthology has opened my eyes to many plays which contain a realistic representation of what it means to be a woman today and more importantly, what it has meant to be a woman throughout the last sixty years. It’s enlightening to come across a collection of speeches that enables us to see ourselves throughout the years, as we celebrate our culture, language and experiences… actresses around the world can now revel in a magnitude of parts written by Black British play- wrights.” Naomie Harris

Simeilia Hodge-Dallaway was born in East London to West Indian parents. She trained as a theatre director at the Young Vic and the National Theatre. Her passion for increasing diversity within the arts industry has enabled her to work as a director, producer, audience development officer and facilitator in theatres and schools nationally and internationally. Simeilia has been affiliated with theatres such as National Theatre, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Young Vic Theatre, Royal Exchange Theatre, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Arcola Theatre, Eclipse Theatre, Kali Theatre Company and Baxter Theatre (South Africa). She has devised and facilitated workshops about Black British plays for a wide range of arts organisations and univer- sities. Simeilia has recently produced ‘Voices from the Black Row’, a short film documentary celebrating Black British artists. She is currently working on a new project which aims to document the experiences of women in the arts.


The Oberon Book of Monologues for Black Actors: Classical and Contemporary Speeches from Black British Plays.

Available Now

Volume One: Monologues for Women (click image to buy):

Volume Two: Monologues for Men (click image to buy):

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