Bilimankhwe was set up in 2006 by Kate Stafford and Gideon Kagoya, to produce theatre allowing artists to work together across cultural boundaries, with an understanding of and respect for each others core principles, culture and values. The company’s first major project was AFTER MIKUYU, where we worked with our Malawian partners Nanzikambe, to develop work around the writings of the dissident poet Jack Mapanje. In partnership with London’s Ovalhouse Theatre. This led to a full adaptation by Kate Stafford of Mapanje’s prison memoir, And Crocodiles Are Hungry At Night, which premiéred in Malawi to great acclaim and went on to garner rave reviews when it opened in London.
Since then, Bilimankhwe has produced and toured a range of productions in both the UK and abroad, including our two highly ambitious projects Romio ndi Julieti in 2016 and The Tempest in 2017 (for more information on these and other works by the company, please visit our Past Performances page).
Bilimankhwe is proud to have worked with a range of partners over the years, including Arts Council England, UK Arts International, Ovalhouse Theatre, The Afrovibes Festival, Mzuzu University (Malawi), University of Malawi, University of Leeds, Nanzikambe Arts and Mwezi Arts Malawi. We have very pleased to have an ongoing relationship with our Associate Artists Shyne Phiri and Charlie Morgan Jones, and have also worked with a number of internationally acclaimed artists such as Stanley Kenani, Misheck Mzumara, and Roe Lane.
In 2019, Kate Stafford stepped down as Artistic Director after thirteen years overseeing the company’s innovative work for 13 years. The company is currently headed by co-Artistic Directors Amy Bonsall (who joined the company in 2011) and Brian Desmond.
Looking forward, Bilimankhwe is currently developing projects for 2021. We are also currently developing our partnership links, including a network with international artists currently working in the UK.