Destinations Magazine

It's Showtime... Black Is The Colour Of My Voice: Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton!

By Josephharrison1990 @JTAH_1990

The theater called my name once again, this time I was able to switch Birmingham for a more local setting. As Wolverhampton's Grand Theatre continues to step things up, I was able to experience an epic 'one woman show' during September 2022. 'Black Is The Colour Of My Voice' opened my eyes to the music legend that will forever be, 'Nina Simone'. Wolves, be the change!

It's Showtime... Black Is The Colour Of My Voice: Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton!

During one late night I turned to Netflix for some much needed escapism, we all know the last few years have been grim, an injection of culture was what I desperately needed! I love me a good documentary, mind I found an absolute beauty in the form of 'What Happened, Miss Simone? How did that documentary connect with 'Apphia Campbell's' one woman show, 'Black Is The Colour Of My Voice?' Unknowingly that biographical documentary prepared me for that September 2022 showpiece event. Born 'Eunice Kathleen Waymon' during 1933 in Tyron, North Carolina. Eunice defied her segregated childhood situation, Netflix took me on a heartbreaking yet wondrous journey as it narrated 'Nina Simone's'' life. Going 'across the tracks', Eunice's life was about to change, learning to play the piano would forever transform her life. Revealing her journey to be tumultuous to say the least, her 'Atlantic City' beginnings found her being told to 'sing' if she wanted to keep that gig! O, Wolverhampton's Grand Theatre would take the wheel! 

For me I was already aware as to who 'Nina Simone' was and the impact she had during the 'Civil Rights Movement' in the United States during the 1960's. 'Black Is The Colour Of My Voice' paid homage to those references as 'Eunice' used her music as her power. Her position in the music industry changed forever, her passion to fight through her music was ground breaking. The Netflix documentary about Nina Simone's life and career had me glued to my seat, I applied every fiber of my attention to the achievements Nina reached during her epic career. After becoming a wife and mother, the documentary featured about her move to Liberia in Africa. Things in the United States for her didn't feel right, although she remained in Liberia for many years, her daughter returned to the U.S eventually to be with her father. You already know that for me to watch this almost two hour documentary about Nina Simone's life, it had prepared me for 'Black Is The Colour Of My Voice' in ways that I can't explain. Wolves put on a show, indeed! 

It's Showtime... Black Is The Colour Of My Voice: Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton!

There's no secret that Wolverhampton's Grand Theatre has been exploring theater projects that are diverse, broadening a certain gap. At first when I saw 'RUSH' being advertised, I thought to myself that it was about time to flip the script in more ways than one! When 'Tonia Daley-Campbell' became the Grand's own 'Audience Development Consultant', changes for the better were made with performances transforming the Grand's demographic for the absolute better! Sure, 'RUSH' would only be the beginning because when I saw 'Black Is The Colour Of My Voice' first advertised, you know the Grand Theatre could have all of my money! After speaking with Tonia at a social gathering, she excitedly informed me about a powerful 'one woman show' about the life of 'Nina Simone'. Those tickets were booked with quickness, I wanted to be part of this movement, it's about time! With notice paid, Wolverhampton's Grand knows that representation is golden! WV1, I'll be taking my Grand seat soon because 'She's Royal!' She is! 

The Grand is making changes because people from all races, cultures and walks of life deserve to see themselves represented and to feel welcome at the theater. The day had finally arrived for me to travel the short distance to the Grand Theatre in Wolverhampton to witness another key cornerstone moment. Seeing the audience congregate outside of the theater doors, in the bar and those taking their seats before the show was a treat because I saw a diversely rich audience! With a running time of 70 minutes without an interval, well that was like music to my ears because the show wouldn't run late into the night neither would time wasted. If you ask me, intervals can take a hike from now on! I had a feeling that 'Black Is The Colour Of My Voice' would change my feelings towards the Grand Theatre, to allow me to see a 'London-like' theater piece but in the West Midlands! Oh, I wasn't disappointed whatsoever! With 'Apphia Campbell' almost ready for her curtain call, all I could do was sit back and turn my phone off! I took heed! 

It's Showtime... Black Is The Colour Of My Voice: Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton!

The stage stood ready, no elaborate set changes would need to be made, it was time for the show! 'Apphia Campbell' effortlessly embodied the spirit of 'Eunice' otherwise known as 'Mina Bordeaux' or 'Nina Simone'. 'Campbell' interwove the pain of 'Eunice's' father passing whilst she fondly reminisced of childhood happenings, narrating the struggles her community faced. Being introduced to classical piano compositions by 'Bach' allowed 'Simone' to use her god given talent to the fullest, although her mother didn't want her to side with the devils work. The piece showed how tormented yet liberating her success became from those early Atlantic City days. 'Campbell' graced the Grand with soundbites of 'Simone's' classics when the story called for them. Her vocals were and are incredible, I loved her passionate rendition of 'Mississippi Goddam' after yet another racial targeted shooting! The way 'Campbell' told us 'Bordeaux's' story had me wanting more, we all wanted to know more! How, 'Eunice' longed for equality! Simple! 

As more things brought tragedy, 'Campbell' carried forth with her love letter to 'Simone' as that 'one woman show' beautifully embodied the songstresses spirit. Singing several other of 'Simone's songs enabled us to feel 'Simone's' triumphs, her deep stress and longing for her fathers support and love, displaying vivid night terrors during her nights rest upon the bed that we could all see. To see how 'Simone's relationships pushed her to her limit, the spirit of her music kept her head above water. There's been no secrets kept to hide that 'Simone' became much more than an artist, her work became activism during those times of segregation and ongoing torment. To see such scenes played on the stage during 'Black Is The Colour Of My Voice' allowed me to connect the dots between 'Campbell's' one woman show and Netflix's own 'What Happened, Miss Simone? Finally, we in Wolverhampton do not have to venture to Birmingham or even London to see such theatre, to have this in WV1 meant a lot! What a show! 

To Be Young, Gifted & Black... 

Desperately Seeking Adventure 

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