Following government advice and the cancellation or postponement of event activity across Reading since lockdown, this year’s Black History Month is being marked with a fully digital programme of events and activities throughout October. There are a whole host of exciting digital events including workshops, talks, musical and theatre performances featured in the diverse programme of events taking place online across the town in October.
Black History Month was established in the USA by Dr Carter G Woodson, a black American historian who created a month (February) for African American people to have the opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge themselves and their achievements.
In England, Black History Month was first celebrated in October 1987 (30 years ago), in African Jubilee year, as part of a drive to improve racial harmony in London. It has since grown to encompass the whole country and to recognise and embrace the contributions and traditions of other black communities.
A celebration of oral literature and visual art uniting participants/authors by getting them to think creatively about their own culture and diversity. In bringing pieces of literature from their background and heritage such as poems, folk tales, songs, proverbs, or even remembered life histories and images that mean something to them and make them feel positive in their wellbeing, participants will share their heritage and use it to learn from each other, connect, unite and educate the world in Black history.
“It’s not about the Statues” a monologue by Thabo Makuyana, Rank & File Theatre and RRSG inspired by a timeline of events spanning from 1968 to 2020.
Available on Reading Culture Live throughout October
12 October 9:30am
On Zoom – access free but booking essential. Also livestreaming via Reading Fringe Festival Facebook page.
Join writer and composer Urielle Klein-Mekongo (Yvette, Bush Theatre, Royal Exchange Theatre) and director Miranda Cromwell (The Little Mermaid, Bristol Old Vic; Rockets and Blue Lights, Royal Exchange Theatre, (BBC Lockdown Theatre Festival) in conversation about the process of developing a new musical for the stage. Black Power Desk is set against a backdrop of 1970s Notting Hill.
It is inspired by the true events of London’s Black Power movement, and uses an original score of rap, reggae, soul and R&B to deliver an energetic call to arms against the racial discrimination that persists today. The team would love to answer any questions about the process and discuss responsibility and representation in retelling Black British stories for the stage.
Black Power Desk was originally commissioned by the Old Vic 12. The original creative team included co-composer Richard Melkonian, movement director Natasha Harrison and designer Anna Orton. If you’d like to learn more about the show, please contact the producer Steph J Weller on firstname.lastname@example.org
The Reading Windrush Group have produced a website as a celebration of Black inventors & innovators and role models. It highlights the contribution of Henry Baker and includes a list of over 400 Black inventors and their inventions (including patent numbers and dates).
Sixth Form students from Queen Anne’s School present various untold and unknown black historical events and characters on their YouTube channel as a celebration of Black History Month.
Join Limpopo Groove for a live music set streamed on the evening of the 16th of October.
Visit www.rrsg.org.uk for more information on how to watch this live performance!
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Through A Different Lens wants to increase the number of films and stories from the Caribbean community with the chance to screen your work at future events.
Explore your creative side by joining our scriptwriting workshop to develop your idea. Learn the basics of developing your script, including how to write a synopsis and tagline to create interest in your project. No previous experience needed you will just need a pen, paper or plus laptop or phone to take part/listen in and type up your ideas. Sign up to the free and online scriptwriting class here – 10th October – scriptwriting20.eventbrite.co.uk
Increasingly, new and established storytellers and filmmakers are turning to filmmaking on their mobile phones. A recent example includes High Flying Bird by Steven Soderbergh. Got an idea for a short film? Want to make it on your mobile phone? This workshop can help you to plan, shoot and edit your short and all you need for the session is your phone and an idea. No previous experience needed. Sign up to the free and online filmmaking class here – 17th October – filmmaking20.eventbrite.co.uk
Join us on Saturday 21st November from 6.30pm for our Caribbean stories screening night. We will be sharing a couple of screen gems featuring African Caribbean talent plus there will be a poetry reading from our Windrush themed poetry competition winner. It’s free and online, you can sign up here filmandpoetry20.eventbrite.co.uk
Questions? Contact Jocelyn@throughadifferentlens.co.uk
19 October 7pm – hosted on Zoom
As a continuation of the Churches Together in Caversham (CTC) conversation, ‘Captured by God’s vision for a multicultural church’, which was featured in the Caversham Bridge last month, Black History Month will be celebrated on the 19 October 2020, an occasion in which CTC members are encouraged to join in the conversation. New Testament Church of God will host the zoom CTC conversation, and the guest speaker will be Dr Joel Edwards, who was General Director of the Evangelical Alliance from 1997 until 2009. Prior to taking on this role, he was working as a probation officer alongside service as a NTCG church pastor, and General Secretary of the African and Caribbean Evangelical Alliance.
Hosted on zoom and Reading Culture Live – The zoom meeting will be available from 18:30 on 19 October for a 19:00 start – Zoom ID 97003464570 – Pass code 014294.
31 October – via zoom
Would you like to find out more about the Black British/Caribbean and African MP’s in parliament? Who are they and how did they get themselves elected to serve diverse communities? Regardless of your political persuasion you can appreciate the challenge it would be to become a Member of Parliament. What got them interested and what keeps them motivated? Join this free session to find out more and get an exclusive preview of an upcoming book on the subject. Limited spaces so book now.
Email email@example.com to book
Date: Saturday 31st October 8-9pm
We are living in a time of incredible change and awful suffering which affects our wellbeing. It can be difficult to figure out what we need to keep us well. Wellbeing is physical, emotional, social, spiritual and societally. Through poems, writing exercises and reflections you will be able to connect to what improves your wellbeing and how to bring more of that into your life. Spaces are limited, book now.
Hosted on zoom and Reading Culture Live – Looking After Your Wellbeing
Date: Saturday 17th October, 2-3pm via zoom
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book
Visit https://www.readingmuseum.org.uk/resources/windrush-day-22-june to see their fantastic online exhibition exploring Windrush Day. In partnership with Reading’s Caribbean community and with the support of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) we’ve created a range of online resources below, teaching, celebrating and commemorating the Windrush story.
20 October until 12 December
A portrait of the black civil rights pioneer, actor and musical virtuoso Paul Robeson is being displayed at Reading Museum for this year’s Black History Month, as part of a major project developed by London’s National Portrait Gallery. The COMING HOME project sees portraits of iconic individuals from the national Collection traveling to places associated with their subjects.
This year marks 60 years since Paul Robeson sang to a large and enthralled audience at Reading Town Hall; a legendary event in Reading’s cultural history arranged by the Reading and District Association for Peace. The bromide photographic print portrait by Neil Libbert shows Robeson in 1958, the year in which his political activism had forced him to leave the United States and live in exile in the UK.
Look out for special performances on Reading Culture Live in celebration of this project.
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