Black History Month celebrates the vibrant lives, histories, and cultures of Black people in the UK. Of course, learning, celebrating, and sharing Black people’s stories shouldn’t be something we do for one month a year. Charlotte Nelson from Norwich Theatre writes on why the month provides a great reminder of the contributions made by Black individuals.
Where else is it better to celebrate life and culture than the theatre? After all, theatre is a home for people to explore their creative side and tell stories. At Norwich Theatre we collect and amplify stories from all walks of life, showcasing them on our stages.
Wendy Ellis is Creative Programs & Audiences Director at Norwich Theatre. She said: “as a Theatre of Sanctuary, we believe that creativity and creative spaces play a vital role in bringing people together, building understanding and stemming the tide of division. The world of theatre can be educational, entertaining, magical and profound; it should be a place of equality.”
This year’s theme for Black History Month is celebrating Black women’s role in shaping history and inspiring change. We will be welcoming work from amazing Black female creatives and have inspiring Black women on stage.
Ailey 2 (6 – 7 Oct), features dancers performing Artistic Director, Francesca Harper’s Freedom Series. The work is about returning to the Alvin Ailey Family. Speaking about the piece, Francesca said: “It examines identity and community and being an African American woman as well as the diversity that Alvin embraced.”
Ballet Black is a neo-classical ballet company made up of international dancers of African, Caribbean, and Asian descent. They will be at Norwich Theatre Royal for their show Pioneers on 20 October. The second piece on the bill has been inspired by the artistry and activism of the legendary, Nina Simone.
For a musical sensation, Jamaican-born singer Ruby Turner (20 Oct) heads to Norwich Theatre Playhouse to delight the audience with hits such as If You’re Ready (Come Go With Me), I’d Rather Go Blind, and the number one hit single in the US R&B chart, It’s Gonna Be Alright. At the Royal, you will be able to celebrate the icon Tina Turner with What’s Love Got To Do With It? This is the ultimate tribute featuring some of Tina’s most-loved classic hits.
Winner of the Funny Women Best Comedy Writer Award in 2021, Sophie Duker is coming to Norwich Theatre Playhouse (6 Oct). A star of the current stand-up comedy scene, she has also appeared on Live at the Apollo, Mock the Week, and 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown.
The line-up for the month also features the ever-funny Stephen K Amos (22 Oct) at Norwich Theatre Playhouse.
For an immersive, unforgettable experience, why not try Boy’s Khaya (26 Oct) at Norwich Theatre Playhouse? It is a powerful and moving account of the choreographer’s early life in Zimbabwe, told through a mesmerising combination of contemporary, ballet and African dance, with a spoken-word soundtrack and music. The Tavaziva company dancers will be holding an hour-long dance session where you will have the opportunity to learn and practice Boy’s Khaya’s expressive and rhythmic style.
“The work you see on the stage inspires our off-stage work,” added Wendy. “We want everyone to feel welcome and to get involved with various creative experiences throughout the year.”
For more information about these or any of the shows, see below or call the Box Office on 01603 630 000.