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Amelia Michaels - MANDEM Peckham Fringe Interview

Felix, Jermaine, Idris. Best friends, brothers, mandem. In the heart of the city; Felix is trying to live up to his golden boy online persona, Jermaine is forever chasing his mum’s nonexistent approval, and Idris just wants to get rich. As these three each take on the transition from boys to men, they soon realise the bridge between the verse and the chorus isn’t as harmonious as they were led to believe. They’re up against the world, but mostly – they’re up against themselves.


And they LOVE board games.

As part of our Peckham Fringe interview series we chat to writer, producer and co-director Amelia Michaels to learn more.

What can you tell me about your show?
MANDEM is a coming-of-age story about 3 black men trying to navigate the transition from boyhood to manhood, set against the backdrop of a board game.

Where did the inspiration for the show come from?
I (Amelia Michaels) had an epiphany whilst playing the board game Articulate with a group of my black male friends – The men we’re really struggling to play the game as they were so scared of saying the wrong thing, they weren’t saying anything at all. I felt there were real parallels between the way they were playing the game, and how their real lives were playing out, and I wanted to write play to explore that.

How have you approached bringing your show to life?
We’ve done two work-in-progress showings already, and have done a mix of improvising, scripted work, and a lot of playing the game. The script has formed the basis, but it’s been a real team effort to get the show to where it is.

If you were a biscuit, what would you be and why?
Shortbread because they’re THE BEST.

What keeps you inspired?
Knowing I have the power to make stuff that can change people’s lives. Whether that’s having a conversation with a new person, seeing something from a new perspective, or just walking a different way home. I find that so cool.

What do you hope an audience takes away from Peckham Fringe?
A big chunk of black boy joy, and how we can all be better friends.

MANDEM plays as part of Peckham Fringe on Tuesday 14th and Wednesday 15th May 2024. Tickets are available from

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