Rich Mix, 35 — 47 Bethnal Green Road, London, E1 6LA
Created in response to the UK’s societal climate, performance festival Shipbuilding from Certain Blacks takes place in February 2022. Named after Elvis Costello’s symbolic anti-war song and reflecting upon the climate of C19, Brexit and Black Lives Matter, each of the four shows has been created from true stories, whether autobiographical or observed. As well, Shipbuilding seeks to explore what it is to be British and diverse in these challenging times.
Staged at Rich Mix, Shipbuilding features A Night’s Game from Alleyne Dance from twins Kristina and Sadé Alleyne inspired by stories of imprisonment and confinement. DICK - One Man in 1000 is Richard Stamp’s frank solo drawn from his experiences of Penile Cancer. Brixton wordsmith Abstract Benna showcases his compelling body of work as he launches new EP Out Of Darkness then finally, Certain Blacks presents Black Sheep from Livia Kojo Alour AKA MisSa. Livia performs internationally as a dazzling burlesque artist and sword swallower. Black Sheep is both a candid autobiographical show and a euphoric reclamation of her core identity and ongoing fortitude.
Friday 18th, 7.30pm — Alleyne Dance — A Night’s Game — How does it feel to have your freedom taken from you? Would you spend every waking hour longing to be free again? Or would you fight against it? Inspired by stories of imprisonment, escape and fighting for freedom, A Night’s Game reflects the turmoil and strife when faced with the prospect of incarceration.
Identical twins Kristina and Sadé Alleyne, former athletes and dynamic dance artists perform this startling piece with intensity, grace and strength. Drawing from dance styles of West African and Caribbean origin plus elements of Kathak and Hip Hop, Alleyne Dance deliver a high-octane duet with a powerful and dramatic edge. £12 (£8 cons)
Saturday 19th February, 7.30pm — DICK — One Man in 100,000 – Performer, actor and clown Richard Stamp presents this frank theatre show documenting his experience of penile cancer. DICK tells of his whirlwind journey from diagnosis to partial penectomy which left him, in his own words, “A clown with a mission: to promote understanding of the disease and its effects, to both doctors and civilians”.
Penile cancer is unchartered territory, not just in theatre but in polite conversation. As DICK unflinchingly recounts events, disposing of taboos as the narrative evolves, preconceptions of masculinity and potency are openly explored. Having performed professionally since childhood, in his own words “As man, boy and fool”, Richard’s openness and vulnerability are matched by his engaging humour and resilience. As well as offering heartfelt and informative theatre, Richard hopes that DICK will accelerate diagnosis, support others and further the awareness of Penile Cancer. £10 (£6 cons).
Friday 25 February, 8pm — Abstract Benna — Out Of Darkness — Born and raised in South London, Abstract Benna has been writing and performing since childhood. A social commentator and spoken word artist, Benna is also a storyteller and an instinctive musical collaborator. Intricate rhyme schemes and layered narratives meet sonic and visual landscapes while Hip-Hop beats and cinematic sounds form musical backdrops. This performance launches Benna’s EP Out Of Darkness
Set on a South London estate, Benna’s brutally honest audio film will accompany live performance. A fly-on-the-wall inner city journey delving deeply into the mind of a young Londoner, Benna’s observational lyrics and sense of drama evoke this tense environment. The story unfolds as a set of choices young Londoners have to make, their life lessons learned as they transition to adulthood, figuring out who they are and who they want to become.
Benna has worked extensively with young people facilitating educational workshops. His many commissions include projects for the Roundhouse and the NHS. On February 25, he’ll be joined by musicians and collaborators. The Out of Darkness EP is Produced by: Farda Jaymez. £10 (£6 cons)
Sunday 27 February, 7pm — Livia Kojo Alour (formally MisSa Blue) — Black Sheep — After moving from Germany to London ten years ago to live and work in a more diverse community, Livia learned that life-long feelings of self-hatred and otherness are part internalised racism and part survival techniques. With an ongoing and successful career in circus under her stage name MisSa, Livia has tired of playing someone else full time and has created her first full length show. Using this autobiographical performance to speak out about challenges and repercussions facing Black women who dare to ditch stereotypes, Livia reclaims her power.
Black Sheep is a testament of personal strength, developed through transcending the white gaze and overcoming institutional racism. Securing her place as a pivotal UK Black voice while telling the story of one of the world’s most renowned sword swallowers, Black Sheep is timely, unsettling and deeply personal. Artistic mentor: Marisa Carnesky £12 (£8 cons)
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