Malaika Cunningham

Malaika Cunningham

Theatre Director

  • Location: Sheffield
  • Career stage: Early
  • Freelancer: Available

I was born in Yorkshire, grew up in Nova Scotia, Canada and (via London) have ended up back in Yorkshire. Theatre and politics have travelled with me.

I have worked in both theatre and political research and am always on the look out for ways in which to bring these two strands of my work together. Particularly, in creating socially engaged work and in exploring the overlaps between political action and art.

In 2012 I co-founded The Bare Project in Sheffield ( We began with a committment to site specific work and new writing, however since then we have created immersive theatre parties, hosted scratch nights, mixed media productions and Forum Theatre. The Bare Project is made up of a variety of early career theatre makers all unified in a desire to play with the borders of their practice. Therefore, our ambition is to push ourselves further, create increasingly more ambitious and exciting work. We are also committed to our base in Sheffield and the North.

My academic background is in politics and I have just completed a part-time MA in Political Theory. The focus of my research is political engagement and participatory arts, and art as political expression. So many feel powerless and disengaged- I believe art, especially in relation to the facilitation of imagination, is crucial in changing the world.

I also facilitate Sheffield’s What Next group which has recently led to creation of the Sheffield Creative Guild. In Spring 2015 I completed the Clore Emerging Leaders course. I am currently training to be a facilitator with Cardboard Citizens.

Directing Credits:

Current: 'Bardo' by Joseph Houlders (funded by ACE, in research and development at Sheffield Theatres and East Street Arts in Leeds).

2015: 'The Animal People' by Joseph Houlders (a Forum Theatre piece commissioned by The University of Sheffield).

2014: 'Time Passes. Listen.' (funded by ACE, performed at Theatre Delicatessen North).

Assistant Directing Credits:

2015: 'The Effect' by Lucy Prebble, dir. Daniel Evans (performed at Sheffield Theatres)

2014: 'Mamela' by Curious Monkey, dir. Amy Golding (performed at Live Theatre, Newcastle, Contact, Manchester, The Drum, Birmingham and Stratford Cirus, London)