Interview Literature

Quick Chat with Okezie Morro Creator of Tata Storytime: Stories read by UK’s Award Winning Actors, Charles Venn, Martina Laird, Adjoa Andoh, Arinzé Kene, Lucian Msamati and more.. online now

Here is something to boost the spirits of your children since learning this weekend that they may not go back to school until perhaps June!!

Tàta Storytime is online now, is a kids show where some of our best loved and award-winning actors read picture books. The books that have been selected to be read by the actors are from authors of African, Caribbean & African American heritage telling stories to engage your children and provide representation. Inspired by his daughter, Okezie wanted to create a show that allowed her to feel represented through both the stories and the storytellers.

Okezie Morro Jollof
Okezie Morro (The Mist, Netflix)

He said.

“I want this show to educate and entertain children all over the world and bring more on screen representation to children’s TV”. Aimed at pre-school to 8 year olds, it’s the perfect tool for entertaining & educating young children.

Alt had a quick chat with the actor and Producer/Creator of Tata Storytime Okezie Morro.

ALT: WHAT IS TATA STORYTIME?
Tàta Storytime is a Kids TV show where great actors read beautiful picture books. Its aimed at 2-8 year olds, although we have found children as young as 1 and as old as 9-10 have enjoyed it.

ALT: WHY DID YOU CREATE THIS SHOW?
It is important that children can see themselves mirrored on the page and on the screen. I never had anything like this as a kid growing up in the UK and couldn’t believe there wasn’t anything like this out there when I was watching similar type shows with my then 1 year old daughter. I thought it was important to push forward the stories of black authors and in turn increase the representation of black leading characters for our children to relate to and be inspired by. It also serves as a great educational tool for kids not from African/ Caribbean backgrounds to learn about those cultures (through entertainment).  This small show truly covers much ground.

ALT: WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING IF WE WERE NOT IN LOCKDOWN? 
I am an actor by trade and I’m best known for The Mist series on #Netflix  (based on the Stephen King novella). If we weren’t on lockdown I would have been on set filming for a new #HBO series (which is obviously now on hold indefinitely).

ALT: WHO ARE THE PLAYERS OF TATA STORYTIME?
Our actors for this season are…
Lucian Msamati (Game of Thrones, His Dark Materials BBC) Reads Chicken in the Kitchen
Adjoa Andoh (Invictus) Reads “Sing to the Moon)
Charles Venn (Casualty, BBC) Reads
Okezie Morro (The Mist, Netflix)  Reads Femi the fox, a pot of jollof
Susan Wokoma (Year of the rabbit Channel 4, Chewing gum Netflix) Reads Who do I see in the mirror?
Arinzé Kene (Been so long, Netflix) Reads Riley Can Be Anything
Martina Laird (Casualty, BBC)
Bunmi Mojekwu (Eastenders, BBC)
Kemi-Bo Jacobs (DR Who, BBC)

ALT: SO WHAT HAS BEEN THE RESPONSE TO TATA………. ?
If you’re asking about the response…”It has been phenomenal. I’ve had so many messages/videos from parents and children who love the show. It has been very humbling…I knew it was needed but it is always touching to get the personal response from the people I created this for, the kiddies!”…I hope it inspires the children that watch it to grow up with a strong sense of self, I hope they get inspired to always aim high…I hope they grow up feeling that they can achieve whatever they put their minds too, to be whatever they want be it an author, illustrator, animator, publisher, director, producer, makeup artist, set designer or actor it is possible. If they see one of us doing it, one day they might be able to achieve it too.

Here is what some of the actors said.

Charles Venn (Casualty BBC, pictured main image) said.

“Story telling is an ancient practice that has fuelled the imagination of children since the beginning of time, me being one of them. Now that I am an adult and parent I feel it is my duty to help fuel the imagination of children. Tàta Storytime has enabled me to do that!!”

Adjoa Andoh smile
Adjoa Andoh (Invictus)   “Thrilled to join creator Okezie Morro on Tàta Storytime. Children of all ages love stories and we are hungry to see ourselves in those stories. I rarely saw myself as a child in the books I read but for my children and all the generations of children coming, it’s vital for them to see we are all of value, all in the story.
Lucian Msamati mischief
Lucian Msamati (Game of Thrones, His Dark Materials BBC)  “…Beautiful tales well told and delightfully illustrated; what’s not to love? It’s a privilege to be a part of something so universal and at the same time refreshingly unique…”

Time to catch up here not just for little kids us big kids too can enjoy the stories. On YouTube here.   The Tata Storytime website here.

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