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Swim, Aunty, Swim! Cast Announcement

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DAT REN WE BIT BITA-LIF SOTE I BITA, NA-IN BIT SHUGA KEN SOTE I SWIT –  Krio Proverb - The same rain that beats bitter-leaf until it’s bitter, beats sugar cane until it’s sweet 

We are excited to announce the full casting for Swim, Aunty, Swim!, a new play by Siana Bangura, directed by Madeleine Kludje, and produced by The Belgrade in association with tiata fahodzi. 

A poetic story of friendship, loss, sisterhood, motherhood, and the sublime power of water, Swim, Aunty, Swim! will have its world premiere at The Belgrade Theatre Coventry on Monday 20 May until Saturday 1 June, with a national press night on Thursday 23 May.  

Joining the previously announced Anni Domingo (Mansfield Park, UK Tour, and The Watermill Theatre Newbury) as ‘Fatu’ and Midlands born Sam Baker-Jones (HERE, Southwark Playhouse) as ‘Danny’, will be Coventry-based Evelyn Duah (A New Way to Please You & Believe What You Will, Royal Shakespeare Company) as ‘Ama’, and Karlina Grace-Paseda (Abel and Cain, Hampstead Theatre & Witness for the Prosecution, London’s County Hall) as ‘Blessing’.  

Director Madeleine Kludje said, I have been waiting to direct a play that centres older, West African women at the heart of the story and as main characters onstage. This story follows three incredible women on a journey to finding themselves at crucial moments in their lives with swimming and friendship guiding and sometimes pushing them towards healing and rebirth. This is a witty, warming, and heartfelt story that we can all relate to about rediscovering who we are after difficult moments within our lives.

Karlina Grace-Paseda (Blessing), Anni Domingo (Fatu), Evelyn Duah (Ama), Sam Baker-Jones (Danny)


Coventry local Sarah Githugu has also been announced as assistant director, as part of the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme Intensive Residencies, which offers theatre companies funding to host a local director or theatre-maker in their organisation for a total of 12-weeks. Following her directorial debut of The High Life (Barons Court Theatre), Sarah is passionate about work that challenges societal norms and uplifts marginalised peoples.  

Sarah Githugu said, “I’m really excited to be working back at Belgrade and assisting Maddi on a production that celebrates our aunties and mothers. For all they do for our community, they deserve their flowers.” 

A Belgrade Theatre Production in association with tiata fahodzi, Swim, Aunty, Swim! is written by Siana Bangura, directed by Madeleine Kludje, with set design by Claire Winfield, costume design by Naomi Thompson, lighting design by Ryan Joseph Stafford, sound design by Duramaney Kamara, movement direction by Gabrielle Nimo, dramaturgy by Chinonyerem Odimba, drama therapy by Samantha Adams, and production management by Adrian Sweeney 

Swim, Aunty, Swim! is one of The Belgrade Theatre’s flagship in-house produced productions, developed in close collaboration with tiata fahodzi. The show is part of the new strand of work under the leadership team’s creative vision for the people of Coventry and the wider region; the next step in the Belgrade’s long standing commitment to the process of co-creation and artistic excellence.