In the Second of our production profiles we take a look at Anthony Maddalena the writer of Black Spartacus.
Anthony wrote his first play “Pill Head” at the age of 15, a cautionary tale about a teenage drug abuser and came Runner Up at the Royal Court Theatre Young Writer’s Festival in Chelsea, London. This led to a television appearance on “The Extraordinary People Show” (ITV) in which he interviewed Nigerian novelist Buchi Emecheta.
In 1998 he founded Hungry Lion Theatre Company with Kenneth W. Caravan and wrote and staged “This Island’s Mine! ” at the Africa Centre, Covent Garden, London about a Jamaican family fleeing the violent Kingston elections of 1976 to stay with an eccentric relative in the countryside where a series of startling revelations occur. With a cast of 16 it was one of the largest multicultural plays ever to be staged in London.
“This Island’s Mine!” received positive reviews with one critic from The Stage Newspaper referring to “the rich gallery of earthy believable characters.”
Hungry Lion has since expanded into film production and its first project will be short fantasy drama called “Seed of Desire”, which Anthony co-wrote with Kenneth and which will be shot partly in the Republic of Seychelles later this year.
After being commissioned by Thee Black Swan Theatre Company to write “Black Spartacus” in 2007 he was awarded Script Development Funding from Arts Council England to research and write the play in celebration of the Bicentenary of the Abolition of Slavery. It was subsequently adapted into a 4 part mini-series for radio and was aired on Galaxy FM. The production is currently available for download on The Wireless Theatre Company website.
Moira Petty of The Stage commented: “The author was most successful at juggling the issues while presenting fleshed out characters.”
Anthony was in part inspired to write the play after reading CLR James’s moving account of the Haitian Slave Uprising “The Black Jacobins”. How did Toussaint L’Ouverture an ex-slave with no training manage to defeat the army of Napoleon? How was he able to forge arguably the most successful army of all time out of a nation of brutalized ex-slaves? These questions and countless more drove him while researching and writing the play.
Anthony looks forward to seeing the fascinating real-life characters of the Haitian Revolution spring to life again when “Black Spartacus” finally makes its much anticipated stage debut at The Courtyard Theatre in August.
Tickets to Black Spartacus are available here
for updates follow us on social media