From The Wiz Producer Ameena Hamid:
Watching The Wiz Live last summer was the first time that I thought about how poignant and clever The Wiz is – even though it’s set in the Land of Oz, there’s a real sense of authenticity to it. From ‘Soon as I Get Home’ to ‘You Can’t Win’, there’s just so much in the lyrics that evokes experience through a fantasy world that allows it to be both awe-inspiring and accessible to a wider audience.
That’s what is so great about The Wiz, it is unapologetically joyful, loud, and magical in a way that Black work rarely gets to be. Black stories on stages and screens are so often rooted in Black trauma and yet that is not what Black community is; it’s not what community is. Instead, at the heart of community is this intangible Black joy which also permeates and inspires The Wiz, itself becoming the show’s man behind the curtain. This is what I hope we can bring to our audiences. Authentic joy that is infectious, exalting, and makes you fall in love with the show. It’s what we all need.
Beyond this, I am tired of representation ending on stage. It is important to us all to build the show in the right way, with a pro-Black team creating The Wiz for a wide audience and with the right people leading the conversations. This is why I am so incredibly glad and proud to have Matthew Xia, Sean Green and Leah Hill on the team. As a young Black woman in the arts, I understand what representation can mean and what it can do for those who see it. “If you can see it, you can be it” extends beyond the cast and I am excited to build this show with that at the forefront of our minds.
Our production, this announcement and this post is an invitation for everyone to be part of this and to celebrate this with us. This show has Black joy at its heart, but more than that, The Wiz is a story of finding yourself among others, of journey, community and hope; something we’ve all been missing recently. It is the magical thing that music and stories experienced communally can do. As people we sing in pain, in delight, in love, in anything. There’s a melody to humanity. Music is so ingrained in our experiences and it connects us. At the end of this year as we sit among an audience and the lights dim, let this show connect us to joy, radiance and aspiration in ourselves and each other after a year of being apart. Let it lift us back to that community and help it become one that aspires to be better, that allows us to celebrate and reclaim the identities we sometimes give up in order to fit in, and to bask in the sunlight of Black excellence and of a community that celebrates its diversity.
I can feel a brand new day coming, can you?
Register now for priority booking here: https://hopemilltheatre.co.uk/events/the-wiz