When she graduated in 2013 having studied Communication and Media Studies, Ugonnaya was already running her own not-for-profit theatre company, Outside the Box.
The company provided young people in Haringey, North London, with the opportunity to take part in original performances – exploring issues relevant to them and which they helped to devise and script – whilst developing valuable transferable life skills.
Outside the Box performed at several prominent youth events, including Myafrik International's Youth Empowerment event in October 2013.
Inspired by the overwhelmingly positive feedback and reviews Outside the Box received – from participants and audience alike – Ugonnaya realised that she had found her calling.
However, despite her entrepreneurial nature – she launched her first business aged nine, selling sweets to her neighbours – she knew that establishing a commercial theatre company would need some serious business acumen.
So, when she learned about the Studio, she applied, and now says: “The Studio has offered me great support, providing me with mentors who have real business experience not just textbook knowledge.”
Ugonnaya’s business is rapidly evolving as a result. Alongside live performances, Stage Rhythm is moving into film production. She is working with African Independent Television on a six part mini-series for Sky TV. Collide – based on Ugonnaya’s experiences at school – is scheduled to start filming in August 2014.