It’s 1998. Lekhani feels like she’s the only mixed race girl in Cumbria. And she’s just realised she doesn’t know what to do about her hair.
“I hear black people don’t wash their hair... ”
Join Lekhani on her hair journey as she discovers that she can’t wash her hair with 99p Alberto Balsam, that some white people actually do find her hair distracting, to finally accepting her Afro hair.
“Why do white people feel so entitled to touch my hair?”
A bold yet humorous piece, this is an exploration of what cultural appropriation really means, the struggle of having Afro hair, but more importantly, the pride.
Can I Touch Your Hair? Is the first full-length play by actress Lekhani Chirwa. It is debuting at VAULT Festival having been previously scratched at OvalHouse, Theatre N16 (as part of the HerStory festival), and the Actor’s Centre (as part of the Blacktress 2018 season).
Lekhani Chirwa is an actress and writer. Graduating from London South Bank University in 2015 with a Drama and Performance degree, she then went on to study at Identity Drama School in 2016. Previously worked with The Delta Collective Theatre Company, performing in SEVEN, a devised female led ensemble show about what it means to be a good citizen.
"brave, intriguing and entertaining work that celebrates women and the collective experience." - Fringe Review
"a thoughtful dystopian hour of the actually not-too-distant future with a dark air of Black Mirror" - The Upcoming
From SEVEN Lekhani signed to her first agent Daniel Tasker, Billboard PM. Other recent credits include Papa, Don't Preach, a play in a car written by Bola Agbaje, produced by More Than Car Insurance, 2018.
Garen Abel Unokan work includes The Ball by Chinenye Ezeudu as part of Blacktress season at The Tristan Bates Theatre. Garen previously worked as an assistant director on The Convert, by Danai Gurira and directed by Ola Ince at the Young Vic (part of the Young Vic’s Boris Karloff Trainee Assistant Director Programme 2018, supported by the Boris Karloff Foundation). She has also written for publications such as The New Yorker and Black Ballad.
Jessy Parker Humphreys is a creative theatre producer. Recent credits include ‘Ares’ (Katie Granger, VAULT Festival 2019) and ‘Antigona and Me’ (44 Theatre Productions, Arts at the Old Fire Station). As Executive Producer of their company, Transgress, they had a sell-out 2018 Edinburgh run with ‘(even) HOTTER’ at Bedlam Theatre alongside ‘Everything Is Going To Be KO’ at the Pleasance.
Zanna Mercer is making her production debut following a lengthy run in theatre design and construction. Previous credits include A Flat Full of Chandeliers (Hen & Chickens), City Love (Bussey Building), Freedom, Books, Flowers and the Moon (Waterloo East Theatre), The Inappropriateness of Love (Hen & Chickens), Ondine (White Bear), As Fate Would Have It... (Etcetera, The S
Writer and Performer: Lekhani Chirwa
Dramaturg: Amina Eisner
Director: Garen Abel Unokan
Producer: Jessy Parker
Assistant Producer: Zanna Mercer
It was picked as one of the Evening Standard’s ‘12 theatre shows you must see’ for VAULT Festival 2019.