Contact Theatre is hosting a festival from Black Gold Arts – an organisation that works with LGBTQ+ and ethnic minority artists. Starting on Friday 23 October, this three-day-long cultural extravaganza will feature dance shows, discussions, spoken word performances, and more. It’s a perennial festival, and this year it’s taking place exclusively over Zoom and has the theme of ‘Decolonising Theatre’. Below, you’ll find five of the best events to check out. The suggested price for each is £10/£5 (Conc.), or whatever you can afford.

Opening Night Keynote: Smashing Down the Doors | Fri 23 Oct | 7pm

Launching the festival, this keynote address will recommend that the arts need to nurture the non-traditional. Presenting is Travis Alabanza, a theatre maker, writer, and performer who was named by The Evening Standard as one of the 25 most influential people under 25. Their recent show won the Total Theatre Award at the Edinburgh Fringe and here, Travis will use their experience of entering the arts as working-class Black trans person to discuss what the sector misses when its doors aren’t open to everyone.

Journey Through UK Bass Music Culture with Lil.Miss.Lady | Fri 23 Oct | 8pm

Following a sell-out show at The Roundhouse and a packed tent at the Latitude Festival, Lil.Miss.Lady goes digital. Part Grime-rave, part-drama – she will take the audience on a journey through the history, sounds, and visuals of bass music culture. Inspired by a series of interviews with influential women in Grime, she explores what it’s like being female in such a male-dominated scene. The show features original music by Lady Lykez and Dominic Garfield, mixed live by DJ Kaylee Kay.

Beginners Intro to Cross Media Storytelling | Fri 23 and Sun 25 Oct | 1pm

At these two workshops, you’ll learn the tools and techniques needed to communicate an idea through multiple mediums. Come armed with a story idea – be it fact or fiction – and you’ll make a digital storyboard. Then, you’ll choose a selection of platforms (e.g. Instagram, audio, poster) and create a prototype transmedia piece. Each event is hosted by Maya Chowdhry, who has a background in video art, poetry, and radio. Please note: this course is exclusively for Black, Brown, and East Asian people.

Celebrate Connection at Live Art Social (Distance) Club | Sat 24 Oct | 10am

This event is all about connection. The aim is to cultivate the kind of connections that people feel when they can share without judgment. Participants will explore what happens when people drop their armour; recognise perfectionism as the killer of creativity, and quit comparing themselves to others. The host, Stacy Makishi, hails from Hawaii before moving to that ever-so-hip area of Dalston, East London. She’s been creating different kinds of art for over 30 years, including theatre, comedy, and film.

Explore Mental Health With One Woman Short Film & Q&A | Sat 24 Oct | 7pm

This newly commissioned film takes you inside the mind of someone living with mental illness. Cheryl Martin, a disabled theatre artist, grew up with severe depression and borderline personality disorder. Through dreamscape-like imagery, she tries to find out who she is and how she came to be that person. The show uses binaural sound, so is best listened to using headphones. For accessibility, subtitles are built into the film. Cheryl will accompany the film with an introductory talk and a Q&A session.

Fri 23 Oct - Sun 25 Oct
A. James Simpkin
Published on:
Tue 20 Oct 2020