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Lucy Popescu’s theatre news: Dance Umbrella; Voila!; Small Axe; The Poltergeist

20 November, 2020 — By Lucy Popescu

Lovers Rock in the Small Axe collection of films

DANCE Umbrella’s virtual festival, Create. Debate. Celebrate, is on from November 23-27. The festival includes discussions, workshops, documentaries, performances and dance parties. For people who enjoy dancing around the kitchen, living room or bedroom, watch out for Home Made, aimed at a range of ages. Over five days, each group will work with a world-class choreographer to explore, play and create their own choreography. They include: Families (6yrs+) working with choreographer Satchie Noro; Adults (18yrs+) working with choreographer Annie-B Parson; and Adults (60yrs+) working with choreographer Kenrick Sandy. Participants can join from the comfort of their homes via Zoom and be part of a final film showcasing the project created throughout each residency. It’s free to take part and no previous dance experience is necessary. Visit:

Voila! Festival is produced by Cockpit Broadcast and includes Don’t Leave Me This Way at 7.30pm on November 20-22. Zoo Indigo search for their Irish, German, Hungarian and Czech roots in a Brexit-ridden Britain. In a playful and provocative exploration of cultural belonging, this concert that never quite happens mourns the loss of identity, home, and the Eurovision song contest. Ridiculous, surreal and deadly serious, their work blends bilingual text, movement, innovative projection mapping and live music. Visit:

• While the theatres are closed, don’t miss Steve McQueen’s highly anticipated Small Axe collection of films, which premiered with Mangrove on BBC One on November 15. The five films will air weekly on Sundays until December 16. Set from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s, they each tell a story involving London’s West Indian community, whose lives have been shaped by their own force of will, despite racism and discrimination. A celebration of black joy, beauty, love, friendship, family, music and even food, the stories are timely. Next up is Lovers Rock, by Courttia Newland and Steve McQueen, which tells a fictional story of young love at a blues party in 1980. The film is an ode to the romantic reggae genre, Lovers Rock, and to the black youth who found love in its sound in London house parties when they were unwelcome in white nightclubs. Sunday, 9pm. Visit:

Southwark Playhouse is live streaming The Poltergeist, Philip Ridley’s darkly comic play about art, family, memory, and being haunted by the life we never lived. At the age of 15, Sasha (Joseph Potter) was destined to take the art world by storm. Pop stars wanted his paintings and a new exhibition was going to make him a millionaire. But now he lives in a run-down flat with his out-of-work boyfriend, serves in a stationer’s, and no one’s heard of him… what went wrong? Friday and Saturday, 3pm & 7.30pm. Visit:


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