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Kwame Kwei-Armah on multicultural Britain

In a Foreign Office film launched today, British actor and playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah discusses why he believes the UK is now the centre of the Black diaspora world and how it’s a country of diverse cultures.

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The film is one of the ‘See Britain through my eyes,’ series featuring individuals from home and abroad talking about their experiences of modern Britain in the run up to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Watch the film below.


In the film Kwame talks about a television series he presented for Channel 4 in 2009, where he re-created the Queen’s 1953/54 tour of the Commonwealth. Kwame discovered that many people across the Commonwealth still thought that the makeup of British society was much like it was in the 1950s as opposed to the diverse, modern nation it is today. Kwame was glad he was chosen to front the programme as he was able to personally vouch for the UK’s multiculturalism.

Kwame also discusses how proud he is of the progress Britain has made in reducing inequality in society. He thinks Britain today is a tolerant country, comfortable in its own skin, where tradition and modernity can co-exist.

Kwame Kwei-Armah is a celebrated actor, playwright and director both in the UK and overseas. He recently served as Artistic Director of the World festival of black arts and culture in Senegal and has just been appointed Artistic Director of Centerstage Theatre in Baltimore, Maryland.

He was born in London as Ian Roberts. He changed his name in his early twenties after tracing his family history (through the slave trade) to his ancestral roots in Ghana. His parents were born in Grenada, then a British colony and moved to the UK in the 1960s.

The film launch coincides with the thirtieth anniversary of the Tricycle Theatre in London where Kwame has staged many of his productions. The theatre has a strong reputation for hosting plays that reflect the cultural diversity of Britain and not afraid to tackle contemporary issues and events head on.

Kwame first found fame as an actor in the popular BBC hospital drama ‘Casualty.’ He became the first Black Briton to stage a play in London’s West End when his award winning piece ‘Elmina’s Kitchen transferred to the Garrick Theatre in 2005.’

Published 28 March 2011