12 September 2018

Ultiverse Performance Residency

Calling all students and recent graduates looking to gain experience in a professional arts project…

Visual artist, Akeelah Bertram, is looking for performing arts students and recent graduates to take part in a performance residency next week to help develop her immersive installation, Ultiverse. Akeelah and her team are particularly looking for vocalists who can sing in different languages.

This is a fantastic opportunity to learn from professional artists working in a variety of art forms. This residency will take place between 17th-21st September at The Tetley, Leeds.

If you would like to be involved, please email either Akeelah at akeelahbertram@gmail.com or GCF Director, Selina, at selina@gcfoundation.co.uk to find out more, discuss your availability next week. A fee of £30 will paid to you for each session you attend next week.

Ultiverse, Akeelah Bertram

Ultiverse will run at Light Night Leeds 2018 on Friday 5th October, 6-10pm at the Tetley, Leeds. There will also be scheduled performances on the hour from 6–10pm with GCF Creative Associate Artists, Zodwa Nyoni and Akeim Toussaint Buck; composer Aron Kyne and vocalist Thabo Mkwananzi.

23 August 2018

Exploring Windrush Roots

Urban Muhammad in 'Sorrel & Black Cake'. Photo by Tim Smith.
Urban Muhammad in ‘Sorrel & Black Cake’. Photo by Tim Smith

June 2018 marked the 70th anniversary of Windrush. Bringing the first wave of Caribbean migrants to Britain in 1948, this momentous historical event was the beginning of the mass immigration movement in the UK that resulted in an estimated 172,000 West Indian born people living in the UK by 1961; the ‘Windrush Generation’.

We decided to celebrate this important anniversary by creating a new theatre production. The project, entitled Windrush: An Influential Force on British Culture, was made possible through funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund Young Roots programme, which aims help young people explore their heritage through a variety of events and activities.

Although our Windrush project focused on engaging young people with their heritage, we were delighted when Black History buff, Urban Muhammad, got involved with the project after being invited to share his expansive knowledge of Caribbean history and the Windrush story with the project’s young participants.

Urban teaches Black History in Leeds, Huddersfield and Birmingham. The project’s coordinators, writer and poet Khadijah Ibrahiim and musician/composer Christella Litras, asked Urban to contribute to the development of script for this new Windrush inspired production.

When Khadijah mentioned to Urban that there was a role in the script that would be a perfect fit for him, he was slightly taken aback. “I’d never done anything like this before,” said Urban. “But I thought, why not? I’ll give this a try.”

And so he did! The script was finished and the final piece, called Sorrel & Black Cake: A Windrush Story, had its premiere in Leeds on ‘Windrush Day’, Friday 22nd June 2018. Urban played the part of Belford, the pastor son of the recently deceased Windrush passenger, Miss Letty.

“It was nerve-wracking,” said Urban. “But after we’d finished performing, I was filled with exhilaration. It was emotional.”

We asked Urban what guidance he’d give to older people who have never acted on stage before but would be interested in giving it a go. Urban’s advice? “Just do it! Go for it. As they say, life’s too short.”

We are delighted that Sorrel & Black Cake will be appearing at the Ilkley Literature Festival on Friday 5th October 2018. Join the production’s visionary creatives, poet and theatre-maker Khadijah Ibrahiim and composer/musician Christella Litras, as they discuss their inspiration, perform extracts and present never-before seen footage of interviews which inspired the production. This event begins at 7.15pm in the Wharfeside Theatre at Ilkley Playhouse. Tickets can be purchased here.

Urban and the cast of Sorrel & Black Cake. Photo by Tim Smith
Urban and the cast of Sorrel & Black Cake. Photo by Tim Smith

28 June 2018

Our Work Experience at GCF, Kesh & Kenya

GCF work experience 2018

Hello all, this is Kesh and Kenya here.

We have been fortunate enough to have been given the opportunity to do work experience with the Geraldine Connor Foundation this week.

We decided to do our work experience at the Foundation as it gave us the chance to explore how different art forms can have an impact on individuals and bring about many opportunities. We were introduced to this placement by GCF Creative Associate, Christella Litras, as she believed that this placement would give us both a chance to explore our interests. We have both learnt many new skills during our placement at the Foundation, including social skills and communication, independence, teamwork and leadership.

We’ve participated in many tasks during the week. On Saturday, we helped out with a performance at Room 700, Leeds Central Library called ‘Sorrel & Black Cake’, assisting audience members to their seats. We also had the opportunity to have our input on an October half term activity week for ages 8 -16. We both came up with a theme for this activity week which we decided will be about heritage, ethnicity and culture as GCF’s work is centred around culture. Activities including drama, dance, singing, music and poetry would be offered to those who attended and would lead up to a show at the end of the week in which participants will present all of the activities and tasks that they have learned during the week.

In the future we would definitely be interested in pursuing a career similar to GCF and would advise others to get involved too.

10 May 2018

Congratulations Khadijah!

Many congratulations to our Creative Associate Artist, Khadijah Ibrahiim, on being successfully shortlisted for The Yorkshire Women of Achievement Awards in the Arts Category!

Established by Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice, the annual event recognises women who have made an outstanding contribution in Yorkshire across eight categories: Business, Education, Young Achiever, Sport, Jane Tomlinson Courage Award, Community Impact Award, Arts, and Science & Technology.

Khadijah Ibrahiim
Khadijah Ibrahiim, photo credit to Jonathan Turner

Khadijah was born in Leeds of Jamaican parentage. She is a literary activist, live artist, theatre maker, producer, and artistic director of Leeds Young Authors. Hailed as one of Yorkshire’s most prolific poets by BBC Radio, she has appeared on many international stages. Her poetry collection, ‘Another Crossing’, was published by Peepal Tree Press and premiered at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in 2014. She is heavily involved with the Geraldine Connor Foundation and is also a project producer for our Windrush project, Sorrel & Black Cake.

The awards will take place at the Royal Armouries on Friday 18th May. We wish Khadijah the very best of luck!

26 April 2018

Share your story

Photographer and GCF Creative Associate Artist, Tim Smith, is bringing his fantastic exhibition, Island to Island – Journeys through the Caribbean, to Leeds Central Library in July this year. In the meantime, he needs your help!

Island Life, Tim Smith
The Renegades Steel Orchestra on the road as part of the 1967 Trinidad Carnival. Photo by Derek Smith.

Tim is looking for community groups and individuals to share their stories and memories of the Caribbean and the region’s relationship with Leeds. Some of the stories collected will then be used as part of the summer exhibition.

If you would like to share your story and contribute to this exciting exhibition, please get in touch with Tim, who’ll be delighted to hear from you. You can email him at timsmithphotos@btinternet.com.

Photographer, Tim Smith.
Photographer, Tim Smith.

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