The Queen has named the UK’s first black female director for services to drama in her Birthday Honours List.
South London-born Director Paulette Randall will receive an MBE in honour of her work for British Black theatre and TV. She was the first female black director to bring a drama production to the West End with her play, Fences in 2013, which she went on to describe as her “biggest achievement”.
Paulette has had a long and successful career. At eighteen, she went to drama school and trained to be an actress at the Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama.
She said she decided to become an actress after working in a shop in Brixton on a Saturday, “it was working in Brixton market that was my real first understanding of theatre, just the characters you met and stories you heard.”
She also founded the Theatre of Black Women in 1981 with writers, broadcasters and actors Bernadine Evaristo and Patrician Hilaire after graduating from the drama school. This was a direct response to the lack of roles for black actors at the time. They defined themselves as ‘Black Feminists’ and engaged in public debates about why black women have been so excluded from the women’s movement.
Paulette has also directed August Wilson’s classic plays, which celebrate the African American experience.She was also the former artistic director of Talawa, the country’s longest-surviving black theatre company which has produced and directed many smash-hit musicals, Shakespeare and nurtured up and coming writers in London for the past twenty years.
Paulette was chair of the board for Clean Break Theatre Company in 2006-2007, in fact, Paulette’s catalogue of work is vast and ever-growing and includes producing the much-loved UK TV hits series Desmonds and The Real McCoy while she also assist-directed the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony with Danny Boyle.
In the past, she has been nominated for the BAFTA (British Academy Television Award) for Comedy and Comedy Entertainment Programme.
We wish her congratulations from Planetfem. What a woman!
photo credit: The Guardian