Black History Month Leicester

Having hosted Black History Season (BHS) in 2012, Serendipity has since been awarded the tenure for the next three years by Leicester City Council. Held in October, Black History Month promotes the history and contribution that African and Caribbean communities have made to Leicester, helping to understand the present through our past.

BHM Filmfest 2015

As part of BHM 2015 and in-keeping with the theme of Jazz, Serendipity is organising a month long filmfest of some of the most iconic films of the late century. The events will be taking place at Phoenix Square Cinema across the month of October.

BHM Programme

lady-sings BHMFF

Lady Sings the Blues (1972)

Book Ticket
jazz-on-a-summers-day BHMFF

Jazz on a Summer’s Day (1960)

Book Ticket
thelonious BHMFF

Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser (1989)

Book Ticket
cabin-in-the-sky BHMFF

Cabin in the Sky (1943)

Book Ticket
stormy-weather BHMFF

Stormy Weather (1943)

Book Ticket

BHM Live 2015

Curve Theatre

(as part of Industry Events for Inside Out Festival)

BHM Live is returning for its third year this April, relishing the fact we get to give new, talented and diverse Black artists a platform for their work. The project offers mentoring and support to emerging artists and gives them a chance to showcase their work in front of promoters, producers, programmers, artistic directors and venue managers.

The previous two years have no doubt been a success, seeing many of the artists involved continuing to create and develop their work with funded projects and other wonderful opportunities. This year we would like to go bigger, knowing the ability and potential of all of the artists being showcased this year.

We will be showcasing unique and varied performances from dance, film, short stage plays and interdisciplinary theatre covering a diverse range of subject matters and contemporary issues.

This years artists

Alison Ray

Alison Ray image

Alison Ray is a Black British Dancer and Choreographer. Her ideas are often embodied in the emotional expression of the dancer and depicted through a myriad of Contemporary, Modern and African dance styles. She is currently developing her ideas around the relationship we create within space whilst also expanding her choreography by experimenting with film, architecture and dance. Motivated by her work with French Choreographer George Momboye, Alison has developed her own unique style of Afro Contemporary dance which she teaches at danceworks in London. Her piece “What lies beneath our feet” was performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2014.

Alison’s piece unifies West African dance and Ballet to explore issues of identity and the physical perception of Black women in relation to how they look. The performance aims to highlight the similarities between these different traditions and forms, whilst also challenging the perceived aesthetics of dance.

Cherish Oteka

Cherish Oteka is a London based filmmaker whose interest began in fashion photography. Having worked at the British Urban Film Festival, Cherish was part of a team of young people that developed a sister film festival to The Images of Black Women Film Festival in 2014. Although a visual artist at her core, her passion also lies in music, poetry and storytelling, all of which lays influence within her films.
Later on last year she curated the film page for Osarge News, an online platform catered to the African Diaspora. Through her films she aims to explore themes of identity and civil unrest, and create a platform for marginalized communities to take ownership of how their experiences are portrayed in the media.

Cherish’s short creative documentary Father’s of Colour, joins three young Black fathers on their journeys into fatherhood. With relationships between Black men and their children rarely presented positively with the stereotype of the absentee father, the film aims to challenge perceptions about fatherhood within the Black community.
In the film we are taken through the fears, challenges and change each of the fathers face as well as how fatherhood affects their relationships to their own fathers.

Emma Uwejoma

Emma Uwejoma image

Emma is an emerging photographer based in Brighton. Emma’s practice explores concepts of culture and heritage through photography, touching upon themes of feminism, marriage and the role of women through a juxtaposition of African and Western perspectives.

Emma’s project Ngwako meaning ‘hybrid,’ focuses on the self-analysis of her own multicultural heritage. Being born into a Westernised community, Emma was unfamiliar with the African heritage of her father who once originated from the Igbo tribe of Nigeria. Using a trip to Lagos, Nigeria as the impetus, she has embarked on a personal ‘journey of self-discovery’ to submerge herself in her heritage and discover the culture.

Julius Ayodeji

Julius Ayodeji image

Julius is a Nottingham based playwright whose philosophies adopt a Community of Practice where work is developed through artists inspiring other artists, rather than pure adherence to the text. In 2006 his stageplay Natural Breaks and Rhythms was published by Methuen Drama and toured regionally. In 2009, Julius was selected as one of the 24 UK based writers to develop ideas for BBC Writer’s room and he has recently written a series of short stories for the Nottingham Museum NESTA Project.

His stageplay Cot highlights the experiences of child immigrants when a young boy is detained at Heathrow Airport. Who is he? Where is he from, and how did he get here?

Michelle ‘The Mother’ Hubbard

Michelle ‘The Mother’ Hubbard image

Michelle is a renowned performance poet and African drummer based in Nottingham. Founding member of the monthly Nottingham open mic night Blackdrop spoken word events, Michelle has a series of self-published poetry books including Tapestry of a Black Woman and The Irish Jamaican. She is also a spoken word enthusiast, interested in how the art form allows her to push boundaries and can act as a vehicle to tackle subjects that are not always ‘safe.’

Michelle’s interdisciplinary theatre piece, Cutting Edge, is a one woman live performance piece exploring the taboo subject of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and cultural expectations of women. Using her own perspective from her lifestyle as a Rasta, Michelle explores the conflict between her desire to keep African traditions alive with her modern perspective against suppressive and damaging practices such as FGM. Her work processes this cultural conflict through a fusion of oral narrative, chant, rhyme, rhythm, percussion, body percussion, mime, dance, African drumming and visual imagery.

BHM 2015 Call for Commissions

Applications are open for a male Jazz singer to support Jamaica’s First Lady of Jazz – Myrna Hague, at the launch of Black History Month, Leicester on Friday 25 September 2015.

Performing since the 1960’s, Myrna released her first album Melody Life with Studio One and is also a founder and organiser of Ocho Rios Jazz Festival. As well as winning the Jamaica Music Industry Award for Jazz several times throughout her career, Myrna received a Caribbean Hall of Fame Award in 2012. She tours internationally, recently as a guest vocalist with Jazz Jamaica as part of Women in Jazz and the Big Band, and since 2011 has held the annual ‘Simply Myrna’ concert series.

The successful candidate will have the opportunity to not only support Myrna, but to perform as part of Black History Month, a distinguished event to celebrate the best in Black arts and culture.

Annually taking place in the UK in the month of October, Black History Month recognises the contribution of individuals and communities from the African and African Caribbean Diaspora. This year’s theme commemorates the unique talent and phenomenon Billie Holiday, who still remains an illustrious icon in jazz in the year celebrating the centenary of her birth.

To Be Considered

You will need at least two videos or a DVD of yourself singing (keeping in mind that the theme of this year’s launch). You will also need to send us a complete biography and CV exhibiting previous experience. The applicant must be a soloist.

This opportunity is open to UK based artists. You will need to be available for the date of the performance and also the week prior to this for rehearsals. There is a £300 performance fee and support towards travel expenses.

The selection panel for auditions will include Myrna Hague herself and Pawlet Brookes, the Artistic Director of Serendipity,

The application process will close on the 29th May.

If interested you can send your application to info@serendipity-uk.com or post to the following address:

Serendipity
CL00.07a Clephan Building
De Montfort University
The Gateway
Leicester
LE1 9BH