A programme of special events celebrating black history are planned as part of Wandsworth Arts Fringe (9-25 June) to mark the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the HMT Empire Windrush to the UK.
Windrush Day, 22 June, marks the arrival at Tilbury Docks in 1948 of people from the Caribbean travelling on the ship Empire Windrush. They came at the invitation of the Government to work in vital industrial and public sector jobs, including the new National Health Service, in order to help repair the war-ravaged British economy.
On 9 June Pegasus Opera presents a Windrush 75 Anniversary Concert at the National Opera Studio featuring top classical singers and music by composers of African, Caribbean and Asian heritage with gospel, spirituals, opera, musical theatre and songs inspired by the black diaspora.
Battersea Arts Centre will host a play on 22 June from the Black Heroes Foundation about Flip Fraser, who arrived in England from Jamaica aged 15. He was the first editor of The Voice newspaper and creator of the ‘Black Heroes Hall of Fame’ theatre production. Find out more
Other WAF events celebrating Black history include The Story of John Archer exhibition, performance, Q&A and open-mic session at Battersea Arts Centre on June 17. John Archer was London’s first Black Mayor, elected Mayor of Battersea in 1918. And Alison Ray Dance Company share an extract of their new show ‘The Unknown Soldier’ at the Royal Academy of Dance, which charts the journey of Black British war veterans from WWI and WWII.
Alongside Windrush Day and October’s Black History Month events, this year Wandsworth Council’s Arts and Culture Service have launched Black History 365 to celebrate Black history, community and culture all year round. In February 2023, the new fund was opened for artists and cultural organisations to develop programming for Black History 365 to happen locally over the coming year. Seven brilliant projects were selected, each receiving up to £2000 to develop and deliver their ideas.
Book tickets online: wandsworthartsfringe.com
About Wandsworth Arts Fringe
Wandsworth Arts Fringe is funded by Wandsworth Council, “supporting the arts and culture industries across the borough. Part of Wandsworth Council’s arts and culture programme,”
According to the fringe team: “WAF brings together hundreds of creatives in nooks and crannies throughout the borough – indoor, outdoor, online and in unexpected places – revealing a Wandsworth you never knew existed.”
The festival describes itself as “emphatically inclusive and welcomes participation from artists across all art forms – including street performances, dance, exhibitions, comedy, theatre, music and everything in between. WAF is an opportunity to try something new, take creative risks, test new ideas and reach new audiences. WAF also offers development support such as professional and peer advice, networking events and marketing.”
You’ll find FringeReview’s coverage of the fringe here.