Bristol Old Vic welcome to the whole community grows with 'Seeds of Change' week celebrating black voices and empowerment

8 Oct 2018

Bristol Old Vic continues its mission to welcome people from across the city through its brand-new front doors. Seeds of Change (8–12 Oct), is a week of performance, events and discussions sharing stories of black experience and empowerment. 

Within the context of Bristol’s Year of Change, Seeds of Change is a curated week of work investigating the mechanisms through which radical social change is, or might be, achieved in Bristol’s Past, Present and Future.

Throughout the week, Tom Morris and Olivier-Award winning Giles Terera(Hamilton: The Musical) will be exploring a new draft of Giles’ debut play about the Abolition movement, The Meaning of Zong, ahead of the play being fully staged at Bristol Old Vic in 2019. The results of these workshops will be shared on the evening of Thu 11 Oct.  

Alongside this event will be a host of conversations, performances and films including the return of Miles Chambers and Edson Burton with their much-loved Curry Goat and Fish Fingers. First performed in 2016 across three sell-out nights, this funny, sharp, lyrical exploration of the highs and lows of friendship, writing and the forces that drive creativity returns to Bristol Old Vic’s new Weston Studio – a little darker, a little sharper, a little more salt peppering the humour. 

For two nights only on the main stage, Phoenix Dance Theatre present their critically acclaimed smash-hit Windrush: Movement of the People, a lively celebration of the rise of multicultural Britain. Featuring an uplifting soundtrack from calypso, jazz and blues to ska, gospel and reggae, this thrilling new dance piece celebrates the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the SS Empire Windrush that brought the first Caribbean migrants to the UK.

Across six nights, the short film Daughters of Igbo Woman will also be shown in Coopers’ Loft as a free event. Daughters of Igbo Woman is a transnational digital installation comprising a trilogy of literary films made in UK, Nigeria and Nevis respectively. It re-joins and gives voice to three separated and rendered invisible 18th century African women from one family. Nigerian writer Akachi Adimora Ezeigbo creates the grandmother’s voice, African British writer Ros Martin creates the daughter’s voice, and St Kitts & Nevis writer & film-maker Vida Rawlins creates the mother’s voice. There is also the chance to meet the Producer/Director Ros Martin on Wed 10 Oct for a Q&A after the film. 

This week will culminate in a grand finale event: 50 Voices for Change, on Fri 12 Oct. 50 Voices for Change will be a celebration of free-wheeling conversational cabaret, of glorious music and powerful speeches from the history of civil rights, alongside personal moments of inspiration from Bristol artists of real vision from across a wide range of genres. 

50 Voices for Change also marks 50 years of civil-rights activism since the assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968. Once again ‘50 Voices’ are brought to the stage to give their personal testimony about what social activism means to them and how they use their work and art to make change happen. Contributors include poetry slam champion and Bristol City Poet Vanessa Kisuule, poet and founder of Milk Poetry Malaika Kegode, performance poet Soloman O.B., singer-songwriter and Ujima Radio broadcaster Kizzy Morrell, Bristol-born singers Lady Nade and Dionne Draper and one of the newest additions to Bristol’s choral scene: Sønder Choir.  More artists to be announced next week.

50 Voices for Change is created in partnership with Ujima Radio, celebrating their 10th anniversary and following on from the 2015 event 50 Voices for Malcolm X, which featured local artists and activists (including both Bristol’s Lord and Elected Mayors Cleo Lake and Marvin Rees and spoken word artists Miles Chambers and Edson Burton).

Bristol Old Vic is the longest continuously running theatre in the UK, and celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2016. The historic playhouse aims to inspire audiences with its own original productions, both at home and on tour, whilst nurturing the next generation of artists, whether that be through their 350-strong Young Company, their many outreach and education projects or their trailblazing artist development programme, Bristol Ferment.

They use their funding to support experiment and innovation, to allow access to their programme for people who would not otherwise encounter it, or be able to afford it, and to keep their extraordinary heritage alive and animated.

On 24 Sep 2018, Bristol Old Vic completed its 2-year multi-million pound redevelopment project, which transformed its front of house space into a warm and welcoming public building for all of Bristol to enjoy, created a new studio theatre and opened up its unique theatrical heritage to the public for the first time.

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