Breathing fire

Two women performing on stage, one behind waving a red, yellow and green fabric in the air, the one in front looking up and gesturing upwards with her hand
Acting out your story: Performers from Breathing Fire. Photo by Leroy Wenham

Story by Fatima Barma and Corrine Moss | Photo by Daniel Falekulo

Black history month is an international annual observance recognising the contributions of black people to a more equal and progressive society. In celebration of this month, on 16th October SADACCA organised a stage performance by Breathing Fire playback theatre company, led by
a group of black women. So what is playback theatre? It is an interactive type of theatre which enables the audience to share real life stories and ideas which are then recreated on the spot. The theme explored was, ‘what does black history mean to you?’


Audience members contributed by reflecting on black role models, past and present, such as Rosa Parks, Mohammed Ali and Nina Simone – saying how inspirational they had been. Volunteers were even invited on stage to tell their own stories. The actors displayed the reflections
through means of fluid expression and poses, as well as musical chants, rhymes, movement and one-minute poetry composed on the spot. No story was insignificant or silly as even the children had a chance to tell their own stories. Daniel Falekulo from SADACCA, said of
having his own story re-enacted: “Being able to express our words in writing is something, but seeing it recreated in a play is something else. It was amazing having our words visualised through theatre playback. There was an amazing feeling in the room as if the audience were
watching the history of black history in the wondrous art form that is playback theatre.”

The audience who attended really enjoyed the evening, expressing comments such as: “It’s good to see a wide range of people in SADACCA at events like this.”

Breathing Fire are inspired communicators and lots of fun. I was really captivated by their performance as there was no pre-planning and it was spontaneous. The workshop worked really well and brought a different approach to how performance art is expressed
by such talented women in the community. The play was not just entertaining but also educating as it promoted the knowledge of black history and cultural heritage. And I really enjoyed myself.