Join host Phil Rickaby as he talks with the playwright of Sweeter, Alicia Richardson and Assistant Director Amaka Umeh who enlighten us on the creative process behind the play. Set in 1887 Florida, this magical and surreal tale of a talking mango tree and a 7-year-old black girl tackles themes of black womanhood and growing up black. The origins of Sweeter trace back to an ambitious exercise where Alicia penned seven plays in seven days, with many forming the foundation for her other work, Articulation.
We also talk about Amaka’s journey to joining the production as assistant director, and the thrill and challenge of bringing a theatre production to life. From a short piece to a full-scale production, the evolution of a play is indeed a labor of love. The value of versatility and embracing multiple passions in the theatre world are also discussed. Our conversation takes an intriguing turn as we explore the art of creating distinct character voices in a new play, and the significance of representation and diversity in theatre. Hear how theatre provides a platform for young children of colour to explore their identities and see themselves represented on stage.
Finally, Alicia and Amaka share their journeys in the theatre world. Amaka shares her passion for movement, and Alicia, her interest in voice training and dialect coaching. They also discuss the importance of storytelling and representation in the theatre world, especially for Black individuals. Hear about the Alicia and Amaka’s early encounters with theatre, the power of storytelling in shaping our identities, and the role of education in promoting diversity and inclusivity in theatre.
Alicia Richardson is an African-American actor/writer and voice coach originally from Boynton Beach, Florida. She came to Canada for the affordable tuition, then she got health care and figured…why fight it? Now she’s a Permanent Resident livin’ that sweet (but sometimes sour) artist’s life in Toronto. Her body of work spans television, film, theatre, and voice-over. Alicia is PUMPED to have the world premiere of her Theatre for Young Audiences play, Sweeter, a co-pro from Cahoots Theatre and Roseneath Theatre slated for production in December 2023 in Toronto.
Amaka Umeh is an award-winning English theatre performing artist of Nigerian descent who enjoys puns, sweets, and adventures. A graduate of the Musical Theatre Performance Program at the Randolph Academy for Performing Arts, she explores the provocative, liberatory, and transformative powers of investigating truth through imagination and pretense while wrestling with the limitations of the spoken word as a vehicle for communication and understanding. Their work has been generously recognized with a Dora Mavor Moore Award, a Toronto Theatre Critics Association Award, and two MyEntertainmentWorld Critics’ Pick Award nominations.
Tickets and Info for Sweeter: https://www.cahoots.ca/production/sweeter