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Q&A: With Clive Lyttle

A CERTAIN STYLE: Certain Blacks’ Clive Lyttle looks at artists ‘across the spectrum of diversity’

Q: Talk to us about what Certain Blacks actually represents?

Clive Little: We started the company in order to put on more black artists, but not just black artists – more artists from across the spectrum of diversity, and also put on some challenging work. We present both theatre and music. We also put on live art and performance as well, so it really is across the spectrum of performance.

We try and do what no one would expect an organisation like us to do. There are a lot of good artists out there, and what we are trying to do is put the artists on some really good stages.

We’ve promoted at Rich Mix this year, and we have done some good stuff at Stratford Circus. We are really trying to give all of our artists really good exposure. We get press for them and support them. Two of the shows in the festival are new, including Invisible Man from Crying In The Wilderness.

We’re not just putting it on – we are helping them make it for the festival.

Q: The programme for this year’s festival seems packed with some amazing content. What can people expect?

CL: We’re really pleased to have Byron Wallen bringing his band Indigo. He’ll also be supported on that night by Addictive TV, who are DJs and visual artists. Both of those will be on the same night, so you get a mix of things.

Q: Do you have a personal favourite?

CL: I’ve worked with all of the artists, and to be honest, I am really looking forward to the Invisible Man. It’s a play, but it’s also going to have a four piece jazz band which will be led by Byron Wallen, as well as a community chorus. That is going to look really good on stage, so I am looking forward to that.

Q: If you had a magic wand and could oversee some changes in the arts world, what would they be, and why?

CL: It’s an interesting one, but I would look at supporting art- ists so there wasn’t a difference in who you saw or what you saw, and there was some sort of equity about funding across the arts world, where you didn’t have to compare how much money The Royal Opera House gets compared to a smaller organisation. It would be nice if it was all seen and valued the same.

Q: Where would you like to take the Certain Blacks Festival? Which venue would be a dream come true, and why?

CL: Southbank Centre is somewhere we would like to put work on, and the National Theatre. I’d like to tour the project, too. Oh, and work at the Royal Opera House as well! I want to take the artists I work with and put them on the biggest of stages in front of the widest-possible audience.

Q: Who can be a part of Certain Blacks, and how can people get involved?

CL: It’s a collective, and I’ll be honest, it’s a very small team. We would love to have volunteers and people who would like to support the organisation get the artwork out there.

If anyone likes what we do and would like to get involved, you can register your interest by e-mailing me at: certainblacks@gmail.com.

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