I'm a poet, playwright and performer who makes issue based work.
With a record of creating pieces which handle 'tricky' topics like sexual violence, masculinity, biphobia and race, I take a bespoke, whole community approach; helping audiences have vital, difficult conversations one piece of art at a time.
An OFFIE nominated touring production for ages 8-12 about boys and crying for Papertale Productions in partnership with Half Moon Theatre. Boys Don’t was livestreamed at the Brighton Festival and is available to view online.
Click here to view the livestream recording.
'Has the power to reach those who often feel alienated from the arts scene.' Live Theatre UK ★★★★
'A poignant and very compelling piece of acting.' Susan Elkin, Sardines Magazine
Here and Now
Directed by Law Ballard for Full Disclosure's night 'Xposed', exploring LGBT+ narratives at the Southwark Playhouse. Here and Now follows a bisexual woman through the highs and lows of same sex dating.
This Is How it Happens
This is is How it Happens' is a semi autobiographical play about men recovering from sexual abuse. The full length play is currently in production and a short version has been developed at the following settings.
UNHEARD Festival, 2015 at the Bread and Roses Theatre, dir. Ella Marchment.
Clear Lines Festival 2015 at Iklektic, dir. Ella Marchment.
Bar Broadway (rehearsed reading), 2015 dir. Leo Mylonadis.
Keble College Arts Festival 2016, dir Ella Marchment.
Clear Lines Festival 2017, Rich Mix, dir. Tanaka Mhishi.
Chats Palace Hackney (R&D), 2019, dir. Julie McNamara, movement direction by Imogen Butler-Cole. In collaboration with Vital Xposure and with support from Arts Council England.
Place to Be: The Canal
Tanaka's short play 'A Nice Girl Like You' was performed by Jasmin Gleeson at the Rosemary Branch Theatre as part of Place to Be: the Canal. Directed by Henry C. Kempels and produced by Anima Theatre Company.
As part of Goblin Baby Theatre's night of responses to the Brexit and Trump phenomena, 'From Here' finds Greg and long lost half sister Sophia searching for their mother's pearls before her funeral. He's white, she's not. He's conservative, she's not. He's leave, she's remain. But together they have to figure out what it means to be from here- and decide where exactly they're going.
A short for the Vault Festival 2014. Directed by Martin Leonard and produced by Descent Theatre
Tanaka also works as a performance poet, and his work has been featured in content for BBC 3, Shambala Festival, The Brighton Fringe Festival, Hammer and Tongue Brighton. He is poet in residence for the Consent Collective.
Tanaka's work has been published for a variety of outlets. For examples, please see the list below.
Essays and Interviews:
What We Have to Build Next: How Writers can tackle sexual harm | PEN Transmissions
Activism and Facilitation
How can I help?
Tanaka works as a facilitator with a number of organisations on issues surrounding consent and sexual violence, with a particular interest in the way we can bring creativity to these difficult subjects.
Tanaka has run consent and intersectionality workshops for young people of all ages, from top 20 universities to secondary schools and colleges. He appears regularly in How to be Good in Bed, the consent and relationships panel show from the Consent Collective where he is poet-in-residence. Currently he facilitating On Road Media's peer support network for young people form migrant backgrounds who are engaging with the media.
Tanaka currently teaches part time at the University of Brighton, where he specialises in supporting students as they develop writing on sensitive issues. He also collaborates with other writers and theatremakers as a script consultant and dramaturg.
If you would like to work with Tanaka, please use the contact form below. Rates are negotiable, with special discounts available for small charities that work to combat violence against women and/or the trans* community.