Skip to main content

Black Gold Arts Festival and Contact, present the live world premiere of mandla rae's 'as british as a watermelon'

“My name is mandla. It means power. I gave it to myself.”

Writer and performer mandla rae has a selective memory and is scrambling to piece together a life mostly forgotten in the name of survival. Through the exploration of mandla’s fragmented asylum and migration memories, as british as a watermelon asks questions about belonging, trauma and forgiveness.

Told through an unflinching autofiction narrative weaving poetry and storytelling; set within a chaotically colourful, sensory performance space; you are invited to watch as mandla rises from the dead to reclaim a previously misplaced power.

mandla rae is a queer Zimbabwean writer, performer and curator. mandla is agender and has no pronouns. mandla’s work typically explores an intersectional existence enforced on the artist’s body as a result of the world we live in. mandla has been commissioned by many organisations across the country including the BFI, Journeys Festival International and Hope Mill Theatre to make written works. mandla is an Associate Artist for Outbox Theatre.

This show has content warnings, please read in full here.

Black Gold Arts and Contact have come together during Black History Month to deliver a line-up of outstanding Black-led art, performance and film, all supported and commissioned by the two organisations. Keep your eyes peeled for additional events. 

Access & Socially Distanced Performances

  • There will be BSL performance of this show on Mon 25 Oct 7.30pm, interpreted by Lauren Lister.
  • There will be a captioned performance of this show on Weds 27 Oct 7.30pm
  • We have two socially distanced performances of this show on Sat 23 Oct 7:30pm and Tue 26 Oct 7:30pm. Go to our Your Visit page here, for more details on visiting our building.
  • If you have any access needs you want to discuss with us, please call the box office Monday to Friday between 10-5pm on 0161 274 0600, alternatively you can email the box office on, or get in touch via direct message on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram (@contactmcr on all three platforms.)


The Stage ★★★★

“The show is short and sharp, slippery and nonlinear, It feels like witnessing a person trying to gather themselves up, and is beautifully intrusive.”

The Scotsman ★★★★

“Mandla Rae’s as british as a watermelon stands out as a piece of solo theatre investigating the nature of memory.”


“Sharp, stylish and tenderly imbued with truthfulness. It builds itself precariously, with delicate details of a life. The straightforward obliqueness of the show’s storytelling can’t help but charm you. It’s knowing. And defiant.”


For just £10, you can get 12 months of priority booking, exclusive offers and juicy deals.

Book tickets to shows like News News News entirely for free.

You get the added bonus of 25% off other shows such as First Time, Pink Lemonade and Frankenstein: How to Make a Monster for the next year!

AND, keep your eyes peeled for an announcement about our next Queer Contact Season. More exclusive deals pending.



Produced by Switchflicker Productions/Jayne Compton

Visual Collaborator – Graham Clayton-Chance

Costume – John Krausa

Creative Advisors – Sonia Hughes and Jo Fong

Sound Designer – Xana

Production Images – Benjamin Liddell

Set Designer – Michael Hankin

Production Manager – Phil Buckley

Outside Eye – Dan Watson

Logo Reads: BGA, Black Gold Arts

Date Time & Place
Saturday 23 October 7:30pm
Sold out
Monday 25 October 7:30pm
Sold out
Tuesday 26 October 7:30pm
Sold out
Wednesday 27 October 7:30pm
Sold out
  • 📸Graham Clayton-Chance
  • 📸Graham Clayton-Chance
  • 📸Graham Clayton-Chance

Credits & Partners