Matilda and the Importance of Representation

In primary school, my sister and I were nicknamed Matilda because we read a lot. Matilda was one of our favourite books growing up, and we watched the film a lot, so as you can imagine, we were very excited when Bangladeshi Bae got us tickets to see the West End play. (Hey that kind of rhymes!)

Ken and I were pretty sure nothing could top our excitement when the show started, but when Matilda came on, we quickly realised how wrong we were.

Matilda was black!

Words can’t fully express how much it meant to me to see a little black girl playing one of my favourite literary characters.

To be able to see yourself represented in a show and think, “That could be me!” is something that people of colour don’t get a lot. This doesn’t just happen with plays; accurate representation in books, films and TV is getting better, but there’s still a lot that could be done.

Colour blind casting in theatre is one step forward towards that. Watching Matilda, I actually got teary eyed thinking of the little black girls in the audience who would watch the show and be inspired, because you know what? The theatre isn’t just for middle class white people.

I highly recommend going to see Matilda- the show was brilliant, made me feel very nostalgic, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Those children are so talented!


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