Black History: Black Present: Black Future

Are we ready to rise to the challenge of Black Lives Matter to create a fairer and more representative city after the pandemic? How can a better understanding of our past help this? What is the impact of Bristol’s history on the racial injustice we witness today? How can we use stories of the past to help us build a better city in the future?

Join leading figures in the city for a series of conversations that focus on the momentous events of 2020, Bristol’s relationship with its past and the individuals and organisations who are committed to changing the city now and in the future.

Co-curated by Chinonyerem Odimba & the Bristol Old Vic team

Listen again to the talks on SoundCloud


This summer we have seen a powerful idea turning into a widespread movement; an idea that we could possibly create a society that isn’t racist: a society that is anti-racist.

David Olusoga


Pay What You Choose

So everyone can access tickets, we’re using a flexible pricing scheme. Find out more about it here. Although you have to book in bubbles, each seat in a bubble has a price range* that you can choose from:

  • Concession (£2.50) – we know these times are extraordinary, so if you don’t have the extra cash right now, don’t worry; book this price range and let us welcome you with open arms.
  • Standard (£6) – if you can afford to, please book this rate; the extra money you give will support your theatre and the independent artists and companies on its stages.
  • Pay It Forward (£12) – if you’re feeling generous and you have the means, please consider choosing this rate. Each Pay It Forward ticket subsidises two concession tickets, and helps more people experience the delight of watching live theatre.

*These prices do not apply for the Olivette Otele event, which is priced on Festival of Ideas’ Pay-What-You-Can structure of £0-8.

FAQ

How will it work? Find all the details on how your visit will work and all the measures we’ve put in place to keep you safe here.

When shall I arrive? Please arrive at least 30 minutes before the show starts. This is to allow us time to seat everyone in the auditorium safely. We cannot accept latecomers.

What if the show sells out? With reduced capacity, many of our shows sell out fast. If the show sells out, email our Box Office to be added to the waiting list.

Colston. What Just Happened?

Venue:
Thatre
Duration:
Approx. 1 hour

A panel of Bristolian change-makers reflect on the momentous events of 2020 to look at Bristol’s history, examine its present and talk about its future. Chaired by Desmond Brown, campaigner and Chair of the Lammy Review Group for Avon and Somerset, the panel includes; Filmmaker Michael Jenkins (Blak Wave Productions), sharing the first trailer of his film “Colston: A Bristol Story” and Cllr Cleo Lake & Maya Mate-Kole who will be discussing the politics of change in Bristol. Featuring Vanessa Kisuule’s poem “Hollow”.

  • 6:00pm
    Signed

Education is Resistance

Curated for St. Pauls Carnival by Esther Afikiruweh and Edson Burton
Venue:
Theatre
Duration:
Approx. 1 hour

The recent campaign ‘Why is My Curriculum So White?’ is the latest manifestation of a long battle to transform education. Access is key to the struggle against racism; from slavery through to segregation, denying access to education was a key weapon in the oppression of African people. Furthermore, it led to a fake news ‘fairy tale’ version of British history that excluded or diminished the Black contribution in all its forms. Recognising its importance to challenging oppression, Black resistance has always placed the acquisition of education as a priority in the struggle for equality.

Our panellists Aisha Thomas, Cathy Waithe (MBE) and Osei Johnson are part of a long line of Black activists who have, for centuries, sought to reinstate the real contribution of African people in British history and reform the curriculum. The discussion will also explore the ways in which, locally and globally, Carnival has offered an informal curriculum and a living school, celebrating Black culture and history.

  • 6:00pm
    Signed
Online Event

Olivette Otele: African Europeans

Co-produced with Festival of Ideas
Venue:
Online
Duration:
Approx. 1 hour

Professor Olivette Otele’s lecture ‘The Past is The Present’ was scheduled to launch Unfinished Business at Bristol Old Vic in April, a week of events commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the St Pauls Uprising. This presentation picks up that thread in celebration of the launch of her book African Europeans: An Untold History.

Professor Otele traces a long African European heritage through the lives of individuals both ordinary and extraordinary. She uncovers a forgotten past, from Emperor Septimius Severus, to enslaved Africans living in Europe during the Renaissance, and all the way to present-day migrants moving to Europe’s cities. By exploring a history that has been long overlooked, she sheds light on questions very much alive today—on racism, identity, citizenship, power and resilience.

African Europeans is a landmark account of a crucial thread in Europe’s complex history. “European History is not complete without this book” Bonnie Greer OBE

Hosted as an online event on the Crowdcast platform and also live-streamed to Facebook.

  • 6:30pm

Role Models, Creativity and Change

Marvin Rees in conversation with Chinonyerem Odimba
Venue:
Theatre
Duration:
Approx. 1 hour

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees is a passionate believer in the value of creativity and potential in everyone. In conversation with Bristol playwright and Bristol Old Vic Trustee Chinonyerem Odimba, he will reflect on one of his role models, abolitionist Frederick Douglass, and the importance of harnessing the creative potential of all Bristolians on the path to change.

The talk will be illustrated with footage from Frederick Douglass: An Abolitionist Returns, in which Marvin appeared as Douglass in 2018.

  • 6:00pm
    Signed

The Future: Can Bristol Really Change?

Venue:
Theatre
Duration:
Approx. 1 hour

In this pivotal year of 2020, will the opportunity for change be seized or will it once again pass Bristol by?

This final conversation will invite some of those making real change happen to share their vision, describe the obstacles they are confronting, and set out what they need if Bristol’s potential is to be reached. Panellists include Aisha Thomas on her new company ‘Representation Matters’, Dr Mena Fombo on the launch of Bristol African Caribbean Cultural Space – the first black-led creative organisation in the city centre – and spoken word artist Malaika Kegode. The discussion will be chaired by Tim Pemberton, Managing Editor at BBC Radio Gloucestershire and incoming Head of BBC Religion.

  • 6:00pm