A DIGITAL CELEBRATION of drama, workshops, music and conversation are on the menu for this year’s Black History Month in Reading.
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 performances and theatre performances featuring in the diverse programme of events taking place online across the town in October.
There will also be a timetable of fascinating speakers, lively debate, thought-provoking films and entertaining theatrical productions; including a Facebook live performance from Limpopo Groove, Reading Museum’s Windrush story exhibition and Paul Robeson display and Berkshire Black Business’ talk and debate on Black MPs in Parliament.
Cllr Karen Rowland, Lead Councillor for Culture, Heritage and Recreation, said: “We are most delighted to see the hugely diverse range of online events and activities taking place in Reading during Black History Month. Despite the pandemic which sadly means we are unable to run live events, I am thrilled to see that we are able to keep this important celebration going so well virtually.
“The amazing programme of events gives everyone the opportunity to learn about and celebrate the important contribution our black community has made, and continues to make, in the town and across the country. Reading is a town that rightfully prides itself on its diversity, and this celebration of our black communities has been further highlighted this year with the Black Livers Matter movement. I do, as ever, urge everyone in Reading to take part this month to recognise the black community’s irrefutable specialness to our town.”
The Black History Month 2020 brochure with details of events and activities can be found at:
Find out about the event nationally here:
Black History Month Highlights
Throughout October why not join FAA (Fight Against Aids Society) for a celebration of oral literature and visual art uniting participants and authors by getting them to think creatively about their own culture and diversity. In bringing together pieces of literature, poems, folk tales, songs, proverbs, or even remembered life histories and images that mean something to you, participants will share their heritage and use it to learn from each other, connect, unite and educate the world in Black history.
Reading Refugee Support Group
Reading Refugee Support Group will present ‘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. It’s not about the Statues will be showing on Reading Culture Live throughout October.
On the 16th October Limpopo Groove will bring some much-needed sunshine to us all with a live digital performance. Join them on Facebook for a live performance at www.facebook.com/readingrefugees/
Reading Fringe Festival
For anyone who’d like to find out more about putting on a musical focusing on stories from the British Black History why not join Reading Fringe Festival for an extra special Creative Coffee on the 12th October focusing on the musical Black Power Desk. 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 a conversation about the process of developing this new musical for the stage Black Power Desk 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.
Reading Museum will be marking this year’s Black History Month with a couple of events. Why not visit 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) they’ve created a range of online resources teaching, celebrating and commemorating the Windrush story. Visit the exhibition at the following link www.readingmuseum.org.uk/resources/windrush-day-22-june
From the 20th October visit Reading Museum for ‘COMING HOME’ from the National Portrait Gallery a Paul Robeson display.
The exhibition will feature a portrait of the black civil rights pioneer, actor and musical virtuoso Paul Robeson as part of a major project developed by London’s National Portrait Gallery. The ‘COMING HOME’ project sees 50 portraits of iconic individuals from the national Collection travelling 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.
Queen Anne’s School
Throughout Queen Anne’s School present Black History Untold featuring various untold and unknown black historical events and characters on their YouTube channel as a celebration of Black History Month.
The Reading Windrush Group
The Reading Windrush Group (featuring Barbados and Friends (Reading) and other Partners) 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 visit the website at http://cag-reading.org.uk
Through A Different Lens brings you Caribbean Stories, Celebrating the Windrush Generation and Beyond. 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 a scriptwriting workshop to develop your ideas where you can learn the basics of developing a script, how to write a synopsis and tagline and how to create interest in your project.
There will also be an opportunity to learn more about using your mobile to film a short story. If you fancy learning how to use your phone to record a short film why not join this digital workshop to help plan, shoot and edit your idea. No previous experience required.
Alternatively join Through a Different Lens for their Caribbean Stories film screening night, they’ll be sharing a couple of screen gems featuring African Caribbean talent and an extra special poetry reading from their Windrush themed poetry competition winner.
On the 17th October join Envision Counselling for’ Looking After Your Wellbeing’ a digital workshop using reflections and therapeutic writing to help improve your wellbeing during these difficult times. 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.
Berkshire Black Business
On 31st October join Berkshire Black Business for an interesting talk and debate on Black MPS in Parliament. 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? Join this free session to find out more.
Caversham Bridge Newspaper
Caversham Bridge Newspaper presents Captured by God’s vision for a multicultural church – Black History Month
Black History Month will be celebrated on the 19 October 2020, an occasion in which you 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 Edward, 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.