It’s 1963 and the Swinging Sixties have arrived: The Beatles release their debut album; the mini skirt is born, and the Civil Rights movement is gaining ground in America.
Back in the UK, the country is emerging from the Big Freeze. As temperatures thaw, tensions are running high in Bristol where the Omnibus Company refuses to employ Black or Asian drivers or conductors.
Paul Stephenson, an idealistic youth worker, takes to the streets to stand up for equality. Lorraine, a teenager, newly arrived from Jamaica, joins the fight and, in so doing, finds her voice and becomes part of a movement that changes history.
£8 tickets* - saving up to £7 per ticket!
Limited to performances in West Park, Wolverhampton on Sunday 28 August.
Please use the promo code TTS8 or this booking link and select ‘£8 ticket offer’.
To The Streets is a China Plate and Birmingham Hippodrome production.
The musical To the Streets! was commissioned for the #B2022Festival and Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022.
|Launch event of the new exhibition|
Grand Union, Birmingham launches a new exhibition Congregation (creating dangerously) by Alberta Whittle following the Birmingham 2022 Festival.
Congregation (creating dangerously) is a long term collaborative visual art project undertaken by Grand Union Gallery and Alberta Whittle for the Birmingham 2022 Festival. Through the use of public sculpture, film, workshops, and community gardening with women's groups, Grand Union seeks to address issues of land justice, race, class, and gender, using the concept of congregation to consider notions of freedom and long-term healing.
Launching on Friday 2 September, Grand Union presents an exhibition of Alberta Whittle’s long-term body of work that draws together the different elements of the project as it reaches its term. Designed by fabrication studio MJM Bespoke (Birmingham), the gallery will be transformed into an active apothecary that holds space for healing and restoration through a programme of events and weekly gatherings. The exhibition will bring together Alberta Whittle’s two newly commissioned films – a culmination of 18 months of research, conversations & interviews. Alongside the films, we will present our long-term collaborative work with a group of women who have been building resilience through workshops, using the concept of congregation to consider notions of freedom and long-term healing.
The film element of Congregation is composed of two films, which will be screened in tandem in the gallery. The films combine conversations, performances, archival footage and interviews with and by Black women, non-binary people, and trans people; Alberta works towards processing trauma and colonial histories through forming oppressional, restorative, and healing connections with the past via intergenerational conversations and gardening. A documentary film centres the important work by community activist Eunice McGhie-Belgrave, the founder of the community group Shades of Black (started in 1989 to unite a fractured community in Birmingham in the wake of the 1980 Handsworth Uprising) and features fellow activist and collaborator Sonia Hyman. The film explores the effectiveness of grassroots community building, direct community action and positive healing gardening practices, which addresses the wider issues of poverty in the city.
|A still from the movie Congregation|
Throughout its engagement, research, and production, Congregation has been a part of Grand Union’s community-led Growing Project, which connects people with each other through plants and their natural environment — producing this project with local community groups is an integral element of Alberta’s holistic work, offering a legacy that is rooted in community cohesion and care. Congregation is the product of long term collaboration between Alberta Whittle and a group of women who are supported by Midlands-based women’s organisations Anawim and Crisis Skylight Birmingham since March 2021, coming together weekly for workshops in the garden, facilitated by artists, gardeners and chefs. As part of these workshops, we have grown a public green space The Minerva Apothecary Garden adjacent to our gallery space in Digbeth on the banks of the Grand Union canal, full of healing herbs and plants. The space has been built by them and for them, and has become a source of healing – an apothecary – with a dedicated section for medicinal plants. Designed and constructed with MJM Bespoke to include planters, seating and outdoor cooking facilities, it is also a space for sharing, distributing and accumulating knowledge of plants including teas, oils, ointments, compresses, tinctures and recipes as a free resource for local communities.
Earlier this year, Grand Union launched a new outdoor installation designed by MJM Bespoke in collaboration with artist Alberta Whittle, and Birmingham-based Women’s organisations. The sculpture has been created using the model of a Scottish bothy – a place which provides temporary shelter and is free for anyone to use – and a Barbadian Chattel House. The bothy is a shared public space that has been re-imagined and reinvented for people’s needs and, since its installation, it has become a place of congregation, community, celebration, and rest.
On Monday 1 August, Grand Union held the inaugural screening of Congregation, a large-scale film by Alberta Whittle, at St Phillips Cathedral. The film explores and tests the conditions of freedom under the hostile environment. In the context of Birmingham being the UK’s second most culturally diverse city and the host of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, there is a need now more than ever for art to anchor itself in sustenance, healing, witness, and critique. Alberta’s film commission is an inquiry into the function of cultural amnesia as it maintains structures of oppression, examining the colonial history of Birmingham, especially as it relates to the Commonwealth Immigrants Act.
The culmination of the project will be 2022 Harvest Festival, held on 16 September 2022 at Birmingham Cathedral, where Alberta, The Grand Union team, Growing Project participants, and other collaborators and community members will congregate to celebrate our communal efforts towards sustenance, shelter, witness, and serve a meal from the harvest of our community garden.
|Image of the outside of the canal side gallery|
Artist Alberta Whittle, said, “It feels so meaningful to return to my home city and present this new commission with Grand Union and Shades of Black for the Birmingham 2022 Festival. The past few years have been spent listening, learning and making bridges with new communities to think about how working together can resuscitate healing and hope. Tackling the complicated history of migration and extraction with these integral partners has been fundamental in how Grand Union, our communities and I have been working together on home building, with the creation of our canalside Bothy and our new film commission.”
Congregation (creating dangerously) is presented by the Birmingham 2022 Festival with generous support from Arts Council England and the National Heritage Lottery Fund. Further details about the programme can be found at https://grand-union.org.uk.
Fri 2 Sept, 7.45pm and Sat 3 Sept, 2pm and 7.45pm
Back after a sell-out screening in June 2022, Wolverhampton Grand Theatre's first ever self produced film, an in-conversation celebration of Jamaica's Windrush Generation.
This roundtable discussion celebrates a generation of seemingly ordinary people with extraordinary life stories to share, stories of being invited to leave Jamaica to help build a better Britain, of receiving houses and partners, of hard work and success, of resilience and faith, and of joyous social gatherings and the sights, sounds and flavours of life in Jamaican family homes.
In a world-first, the council is creating a number of Integrated Wetlands specifically for the purpose of removing phosphates before they reach our rivers, which will enable the damaging ban on development in some areas to be lifted.
The new Phosphate Credits system will allow developers to buy credits generated by the operation of the wetlands to offset the phosphate
s that their new developments will create. In this way it is possible to ensure that the overall effect of new development is what’s called ‘nutrient neutral’, similar to the way companies can offset their carbon footprints by planting trees or sponsoring carbon negative projects.
Trading in Phosphate Credits will commence in August 2022 and will increase as further Wetlands arrive on stream. Credits will be allocated on the agreed first come first served policy.
Cllr David Hitchiner added: “Excellent progress has been made on our pioneering Integrated Wetlands Scheme. For the first time anywhere in the world, Wetlands sites will remove phosphate pollution from waste water before it reaches our rivers, and thanks to the Credits scheme, developers will be able to purchase credits to offset the impact of their development. Not only will this mean an end to the damaging and frustrating ban on development in certain areas, but also that new developments will be ‘nutrient neutral’.
“This is just one example of the practical steps we are taking to restore Herefordshire’s rivers.”
Councillor Adrian Gregson and his partner Rachel Hall organised the event as a formal welcome to the city for people who have fled the war in their home country.
The free event at the historic city centre building included the serving of tea and cake, and a range of fun children’s activities, including making traditional Ukrainian flower crowns and friendship bracelets.
The guests were given a tour of the Guildhall, and many of them posed for photos with the Mayor in his traditional robes of office.
The Mayor said: “The idea of this event was to give a warm Worcester welcome to the Ukrainian guests who are now making our city their home after fleeing the conflict in their homeland. I hope it also provided the chance for them and their hosts to have a bit of fun together and build even stronger bonds of friendship.
“On behalf of the city, I also took the opportunity to thank the many local families who have come forward to host our Ukrainian guests at this most difficult of times.”
Several guests thanked Worcester City Council for organising the event and said it had helped them feel welcome in the city. The day also allowed the Ukrainian families and their hosts to strike up new friendships, and to build up new communication channels with each other and the Council officers who are supporting them.
The popular Worcester Show is coming back to the Pitchcroft racecourse (WR2 2WD) on Sunday 14 August (10.00am – 5.00pm), after attracting a record-breaking 15,000-plus visitors at the same location last year.
A thrilling line-up of live music has now been confirmed for the day, topped by ska band [spunge], who have supported Green Day and will be leading the bill on the big day, on the stage vacated by Tom Jones just the day before.
This year’s Worcester Show will also have something for all the family, with fair-style attractions; a have-a-go sports zone; a taste of Asian music, dance and food; judging of over 130 competitive creative classes; local food and drink – and much, much more!
Ian Hilton-Turvey of the Friends of Worcester Show said: “We can’t wait to once again welcome people of all ages to Pitchcroft for a truly fabulous day out, celebrating all that is great about our wonderful city of Worcester. My thanks go to all the people who have worked so hard to put on this much-loved event and to all the city folk who have showed their skill and creativity with their competition entries.
“With temperatures set to be around 30C on the day, I’d like to remind people to bring a bottle of water, and to wear sun cream and a hat.”
Music and entertainment
For the first time, the Show has a major new music zone, based around the stage where Tom Jones will perform the night before, offering an opportunity for local bands to perform on an international-quality stage.
Top of the bill are [spunge], the Tewkesbury ska band who have toured with or played alongside a number of UK and American bands including Green Day, Dropkick Murphys and Reel Big Fish.
The full line-up for the music stage is:
Look out too for great musical entertainment on the Show’s Community Stage, including The Got 2 Sing Community Choir, folk singer Stefan Evans, Bulgarian music and dance, plus theatre, poetry, karaoke and a performance by DanceFest.
Subject to the weather, the Show will also include a dog show, run by local vet firm MacArthur, Barstow & Gibbs.
A taste of Mela
An extravaganza of Asian music, dance, crafts and food is set to bring a carnival atmosphere to this year's Show, with a Mela Marquee offering a warm welcome to all the family.
Mela means a festival of togetherness and Worcester Mela Partnership are promising a riot of colour, fun and celebration as they arrive at the Show for the first time.
Both the Main Stage and the Community Stage will host performances of traditional Asian dance as well as contemporary music, and the brightly decorated Mela Marquee will offer an Asian Bazaar, free craft activities for children, a henna artist, cookery demonstrations and Asian food and drink.
Get active at the Worcester Show
Throughout the day there will be free have-a-go sports sessions, including kids’ penalty shootout contests run by Worcester City Football Club; Mini Athletics Worcester; high-kicking action from Worcestershire Martial Arts; dance classes with Focal Pointe Dance School; and much, much more.
There will also be plenty of demonstrations to enjoy, including Studio B Performance Arts; 187 Air Training Corp; and the Jitterbugs.
Food and drink galore!
A massive range of locally cooked produce will be on offer at the Show – from burgers to churros, falafel to smoothies, and pizzas to pork rolls, there’s something to suit all tastes! And that includes many flavour-tastic vegetarian and vegan options.
Look out too for the huge range of independent and market stalls, offering everything from local handicrafts and confectionery, to energy advice and a taste of Worcester’s remarkable history.
Keep the little ones happy with plenty of fun and frolics – including bungee trampolines; a bouncy castle and inflatable slide; a vintage children’s swing chair ride and a strong-arm striker game.
Free activities at the Show will include craft activities based on the themes of The Queen’s Jubilee and Harry Potter; face painting; hands-on engineering fun for five-15-year-olds; activities from the Children’s Air Ambulance Service; and much more!
Also at the Show will be The Music Box, a travelling music bus, full of musical instruments and recording equipment ready to be played.
Judging of competitive classes
One of the highlights of the event will be the judging of over 140 competitive classes, including many for under-18s. The classes range from growing a wide variety of fruit and vegetables to displaying flowers and floral decorations, creative handicrafts, art, baking and photography.
Transport and parking
Worcester Show aims to be a sustainable event and visitors are encouraged to travel on foot, by bike, by train or by bus where possible. There will be signs to the show from popular cycling and walking routes around the city, meaning that the whole family can pop along without taking the car. Secure bike parking will be available on site and visitors can also try out an e-bike, courtesy of Bike Worcester.
Pitchcroft is just a five-minute walk from Crowngate bus station and only ten minutes away from Worcester Foregate Street railway station.
Pitchcroft car park will be reserved for blue badge holders on Show day. Other nearby City Council car parks are Croft Road and Cattle Market, where the usual parking charges apply. Locations and further information are at www.worcester.gov.uk/parking
Stewards will be on hand to guide traffic and pedestrians toward the site.
For full details about the Show, including a timetable of events on the day, go to www.worcestershow.org.uk.
He looks like Elvis, he sings like Elvis and he has the on-stage charisma that, at times, makes audiences believe that they are watching the "King" himself.
In 2012, Ben made history when he won the Elvis Presley Enterprises 'Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest' in Memphis, crowning Ben as the 'Worldwide Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist' - the first from outside the USA to win this prestigious title.
Internationally renowned as one of the greatest Elvis tribute artists in the world today, Ben will bring his unique style and charisma - showing audiences why he's regarded as the best in the business.
Dudley Town Hall
Thursday 22 September 2022
Elvis - The King is Back
Phone 0208 8270218
National website mssociety.org.uk