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Bola Agbaje

Bola Agbaje, British-Nigerian playwright

Bola Agbaje is a playwright and scriptwriter. Her first play, Gone Too Far! premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in London in February 2007 (where she had trained under theatre director and playwright and won the 2008 Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliated Theatre.

Early Life and Education
Born in 1981, Agbaje grew up on a housing estate in South London. She spent two years of her early childhood in Nigeria but left at the age of six. After earning a degree in Media Communications, she initially dreamt of becoming an actress but eventually discovered a love of playwriting. She works part-time as a housing manager for the 600 tenants of Beckton Estate in London.

Works

Much of Agbaje’s work is inspired by the unique dynamics and problems of modern British society. Her engaging use of plot reveals the warm humanity of her rich and fascinating characters while exploring themes such as London life, youth culture, identity and stereotyping. In an interview, she stated that a production of the play The Gods Are Not to Blame by Nigerian dramatist Ola Rotimi inspired her to similarly celebrate her culture through theatre.
As a result of the initial success of Gone Too Far!, the play was performed at a number of theatres, including the Albany and the Hackney Empire.
In July 2008, her second play In Time opened the Tiata Delights’ season at the Almeida Theatre, which led to a nomination for the 2008 Evening Standard Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright.
In 2009, Agbaje was commissioned by the Tricycle Theatre to be part of its “Not Black and White” season with the play Detaining Justice. It opened on November 25, 2009 to a sold-out audience.
Off the Endz, Agbaje’s second play for the Royal Court Theatre, opened on February 19, 2010 and was directed by Jeremy Herrin. Her other works include House of Correction, Belong, and Playing the Game, which was part of the Women, and Power and Politics season at the Tricycle Theatre. Her most recent play, The Burial will be showing at the Albany Theatre in May 2013.
Agbaje recently received development funding from the UK Film Council and is working with the UK production company Poisson Rouge Pictures to adapt Gone Too Far for film.

 

Sources

  1.  Black Women In Europe
  2. Coutts & Co
  3. The Royal Court Theatre website
  4. Nigerian Tribune
  5. IdeasTap

Picture sources: The Guardian UK and BlackGirlFlow