Back in 1926, Carter G Woodson announced the first Black History Week – and because of him, by the end of the 1960s, Black History Month was in full swing in America. Having paved the way to what has become a global event, we Brits have been exploring black history every October since 1987. Once again, Manchester’s contribution is impressive.

1. Poetry: Patience Agbabi’s Telling Tales at Contact
Critically acclaimed and award-winning poet, Patience Agbabi offers a powerful rendition of her latest book Telling Tales. Based on Chaucer’s famous Canterbury Tales, Agbabi has re-vitalised and modernised the work.  Her innovative way with words merges the old with the new; Chaucer mixed with modern day characters (‘Punks, badasses…beauties, sinners’, writes Jeanette Winterson) and contemporary poetry styles. She’s known for her hard hitting and dynamic performance style making this a bit of a must. Tickets are still available.
Thu 16 Oct, Contact Theatre, Oxford Road, Manchester, M15 6JA. Tel: 0161 274 0600, 7.30pm, £6,

2. Female voice choir & award-winning musical Mamela at Contact
As part of the diverse Afrovibes Festival, Mamela is a story and musical experience held together by the  beautiful and haunting voices of a group of young women from Eastern Cape of South Africa. They offer an account of their lives as part of the ‘Born Free’ generation. Having been born towards the end of the Apartheid period, we hear their personal stories through traditional South African song, dance and theatre. With a pre show performance, and a post show discussion. Tickets available.
Tue 28 Oct, The Contact, Oxford Road, Manchester, M15 6JA. Tel: 0161 274 0600, 7.30pm, £9,

3. Historical drama: Tayo Aluko’s Call Mr Robeson (pictured) at Manchester Central Library
Tayo Aluko brings actor, singer and civil rights campaigner, Paul Robeson, to life through a compelling and intense and free performance. While popular and famed for his greatness on stage, Robesom faced oppression from his peers and was blacklisted because of his controversial radicalism. Backed by excellent reviews and described as a ‘pioneering performer’ by The Guardian, Aluko delves into the trials and tribulations of the activist. Re-live the great campaigner’s story through Aluko’s songs, acting and speeches. Waiting list places only.
Tue 14 Oct, Central Library, St. Peters Square, Manchester M2 5PD. Tel: 0161 234 1983, 6pm, FREE, Register for waiting list here:

Explore the full Manchester Black History Month listings:

Tue 14 Oct - Tue 28 Oct
Emma Prendergast
Published on:
Thu 9 Oct 2014