More information on Nitro/Black Theatre Co-op archive

Artistic projects overview

The failure of London fringe theatres to show interest in Mustapha Matura's now celebrated Welcome Home Jacko, led Matura and director Charlie Hanson to produce the play themselves; this 1979 collaboration resulted in the creation of the Black Theatre Co-operative. Following this development, the company went on to produce over forty shows, demonstrating a strong commitment to encourage, commission, devise and produce new writing by Black British artists, and stage popular theatre that reflected the variety of cultures existing in Britain to the widest possible audience.


From its inception, the company produced over fifty productions, including notable successes such as Mama Dragon (1980) by Farrukh Dhondy, Trinity (1982) and The Nine Night (1983) by Edgar White, No Place to be Nice (1984) by Frank McField, and Money to Live (1984) by Jaqueline Rudet. These productions took the company across most of Britain and they also toured abroad in Holland, Italy, Germany, New York, and Korea. In addition to its theatre activities the company developed a strong presence on British television with their workshop-developed sit-com No Problem! (Channel 4, 1983-1985). The appointment of Felix Cross as artistic director in 1996 gave the company new impetus, while continuing its tradition of combining Black music styles and drama. Among its acclaimed productions were Iced (1997) by Ray Shell, Up Against the Wall (1999) by Paulette Randall and Felix Cross, and Passports to the Promised Land (2001) by Felix Cross. In 1999, the company changed its name to Nitro and began a new phase in its exploration of contemporary Black British musical theatre. In 2015, Diane Morgan became director of nitroBEAT, establishing a new home and partnership with Soho Theatre. Several artistic associates joined her to develop the programme for this new creative phase, including writer, producer, DJ and social entrepreneur, Charlie Dark, award-winning playwright, Oladipo Agboluaje, and internationally recognised theatre director, Paulette Randall.


Administration records relating to the organisation have been kept since 1982. These include minutes, accounts, general administrative papers, and records of fundraising activities.