Sold-out screening at the Ritzy Cinema, Brixton, at Dazzling Mirage’s long-awaited UK premiere on Saturday Nov 7th.

Part of Film Africa 2015!

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Director: Tunde Kelani Country: Nigeria Year: 2015 Running time: 124 mins Colour: Colour Language: English

An inspiring story of love, perseverance and hope in the face of adversity from one of Nollywood’s bright stars, Tunde Kelani. A talented young advertising executive is in the prime of life – she’s bright, her career is in overdrive, and she has a supportive and loving boyfriend. There’s just one problem: she suffers from sickle cell disease. Kelani’s film gets to the root of the stigma associated with this increasingly common illness, suggesting that it doesn’t have to define or restrict life. Written by Yinka Egbokhare and adapted by Ade Solanke, this powerful drama provides a much-needed platform for the sickle cell community.

See trailer here

Followed by a Q&A with the director Tunde Kelani.

Excellent post-show discussion which I joined TK for, along with Iyamide Thomas from the Sickle Cell Society.

ABOUT FILM AFRICA

Film Africa is the Royal African Society’s annual festival celebrating the best African cinema from across the continent. Launched in 2011, Film Africa is now the UK’s largest festival of African film and culture. Every year, Film Africa brings London audiences a core programme of fiction and documentary films alongside a vibrant series of accompanying events, including director Q&As, panel discussions, talks, workshops, master classes, family activities and Film Africa LIVE! music nights.

Find out more about the festival here

Special BHM performance for Law Society’s NOTICED network at Reed Smith

We had a wonderful time, Thurs 22nd Oct 2015, at the plush London HQs of law firm Reed Smith, where we performed East End Boys, West End Girls as part of a special BHM event.

Our hosts were the Law Society’s NOTICED Diversity Network. And their members certainly appreciated our play about African-heritage people going into white spaces! The q&a afterwards was excellent, with people sharing their experiences of the issues the play raises. Having taken part in several BHM events with Spora shows, we’ve now got a good overview of the similarity of the issues around diversity and equal opportunities in different sectors. It’s one struggle with varying degrees of effort being made to improve things in each arena. It seems that there is now progress being made in the legal sector.

The post-show discussion
The cast with ‘hostess supreme,’ Carole Megihan of Reed Smith.

The cast included a new cast member, Amy Tobias. She played Bali as Jennie was away, and did a fantastic job with just a few rehearsals. Amy trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts after reading English Literature at Warwick University. She recently played the Jailer’s Daughter in ‘The Two Noble Kinsman’ at the White Bear and the title role in ‘Winky’ at the Soho Theatre and Underbelly, Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Thanks, Amy!

The post-show discussion

The show was supported by Aso Gobal and Nilare, two leading Africa-inspired design companies, who kindly donated items from their stunning collections. Check out their work via the links below.

Carole Megihan, Reed Smith’s Responsible Business Co-ordinator EMEA, was an exceptional host and we’re so grateful to her for the terrific hospitality we enjoyed. Her colleagues, Antonia Munro (Events Manager) and Abi Adams-Orme (Marketing Officer) were also so generous with their time. So was Reed Smith associate and NOTICED member, Shaunee James. Absolute stars, all of them!

The event was organised by Rashida Abdulai (Senior associate at Hogan Lovells) and Siddharta Shukla (associate at Herbert Smith Freehills), co-chairs of NOTICED.

To them, and all of the above who helped make it happen, a big THANK YOU from all at Spora for inviting us to be part of your inspiring network and this special event.

INFO:

NOTICED is the UK’s first inter-firm diversity network aimed at promoting networking opportunities to integrate, celebrate and educate on diversity across the legal sector. Its objectives are: 1) To encourage diversity in the legal profession and amongst member firms with a view to making the profession more accessible to individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds; 2) To raise awareness about issues faced by ethnic minorities, not just in accessing the profession but also in their progression within the profession. Contact: committee@NOTICED.org.uk. NOTICED

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REED SMITH represents many of the world’s leading companies in complex litigation and other high-stakes disputes, cross-border and other strategic transactions, and crucial regulatory matters.With lawyers from coast-to-coast in the United States, as well as in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, Reed Smith operares across a broad array of industry sectors. Reed Smith counsels 13 of the world’s 15 largest commercial and savings banks; 25 of the world’s 35 largest oil and gas companies; and the world’s three largest pharmaceutical distribution and wholesale companies.  http://www.reedsmith.com/

NILARE is a lifestyle brand offering stylish and contemporary handcrafted accessories and gifts, whilst showcasing African artistry to the world.We create elegant, ethically traded, high quality pieces. Our products are beautifully handcrafted by local craftsmen using local natural resources. Contact: info@nilare.com. Nilare

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ASO GLOBAL is a new brand of African-inspired t-shirts for men, and t-shirts, vests, and t-dresses for women. All products are produced sweat-shop free. Contact: info@aso-global.com. www.aso-global.com.Aso Global

 

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The West Africa :Word, Symbol, Song exhibition was on at the British Library,  Oct 16-Feb 16 2016!

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Looking forward to event for primary school teachers re how they can help kids see Africa more positively – Thurs Nov 5th, 4.30-8.00 at the British Library!

http://www.bl.uk/events/teachers-private-view-of-west-africa-word-symbol-and-song-for-newly-qualified-teachers

Congratulations to Kemi Akindoju for winning Most Promising Newcomer at the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) 2015 for her lead role in Dazzling Mirage!

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Kemi plays sickle cell sufferer Funmi in the film.

The 2015 Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) took place on Saturday, September 26th at Broad Walk Centre in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

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THE END OF THE BEGINNING!

A wonderful end to our London tour with two packed-out shows at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre in Tottenham. Two excellent, animated post-show discussions with Audrey West and Sharon Massey from Kids’ Company and Juliet Alexander from The Amos Bursary on Fri, and Diane Abbott MP on Saturday.

Thanks you to all our audiences, venue partners, Arts Council England, The Royal Victoria Hall Foundation and Peggy Ramsay Foundation for making the show possible. Next stop: UK tour! Watch this space!

image Audrey, Juliet and Sharon.

We were thrilled to be invited into the ARISE NEWS London Studios in Piccadilly to chat about the play. Watch the clip here

The British Blacklist (TBB) interviewed Ade about the changes in London the play looks at.

“Pandora’s Box was set in Lagos and is very much the British-African migration and inter-generational story. This one is about teenagers who live in different parts of London. Three of the characters are British-African, but wearing their Londoner hats more in this story. I wanted to look at how young people in London are interacting and inter-relating. It’s more about class differences and economic differences… in different parts of London.” Read more  here

We had another stimulating chat with Reconnect Africa about the play.

“When I was growing up in London, London was our oyster! We’d spend the whole of the summer holidays exploring the city. …today’s kids are often prevented from experiencing that. So…basically the play is about worlds colliding.” Read the interview  here

We also popped into the BBC Radio London to chat about the show to Dotun Adebayo and shared an extract from the play with his listeners. It was fun!

Check it out BBC London Dotun Adebayo show

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Thank you to all the friends and supporters who came down on press night. We were joined by a real East End MP and a fictional EastEnder from the TV show! Lovely night and more dollops of praise for our brilliant cast.