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Spirit of Friendship Festival *

Arts and culture

The Spirit of Friendship Festival’s nationwide Arts and Cultural programme is underway. It sets out to portray the vibrant visual and performing arts, and cultural traditions of the countries that make up the Commonwealth. A spirit which celebrates and embraces diversity is sweeping through theatres, concert halls and galleries, and spilling out on to the streets of towns and cities.

Courtney Pine

Recent events

Use this page to find reviews of recent events; links to related sites in different regions; events for your diary and details about how you can get involved.

Courtney Pine “On Track” for Festival – Saxophone legend Courtney Pine was the driving force behind the national sell out tour ‘On Track – Urban Grooves from the Commonwealth’, which took place in March heralding the start of the Spirit of Friendship Festival and cultureshock. The celebrated jazz star blends elements of hip-hop, soul, drum ‘n’ bass and reggae to create innovative music that has earned him an OBE for services to jazz. Each concert also generated music workshops with disadvantaged young people.

"A tireless champion of the cutting edge, he combines fearsome technical skill with a level of charismatic showmanship quite beyond the reach of your average virtuoso saxophonist." James Griffiths – The Guardian

Cherie Booth

Cherie Booth QC experiences poetry in Motion, 17 – 23 June - A world-class selection of writers and poets descended on Manchester for the Literatures of the Commonwealth Festival. Cherie Booth QC attended the fundraising Gala Dinner, hosted by Sir Trevor MacDonald, which opened a diverse festival whose esteemed contributors included the Poet Laureate Andrew Motion, and authors such as Margaret Atwood (Canada), Tariq Ali (Pakistan/England), Nadine Gordimer (South Africa), Germaine Greer (Australia/England), Doris Lessing (Zimbabwe), and Frederic Raphael (England). As well as live readings the festival featured a whole programme of events for schools, colleges and community groups. The Literatures programme was piloted by Manchester Metropolitan University which aims to create a bursary scheme for young writers across the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth Film Festival, 28 June – 7 July - The first Commonwealth Film Festival presented the largest ever celebration of Commonwealth films from established talent to a range of cutting-edge work. The Festival was a truly international event on a scale never before seen in Manchester or the North West. Visit the website for more details: www.commonwealthfilm.com

Visit their website www.cultureshock2002.com for programme details.


Regional links

The hub of the Spirit of Friendship Festival’s arts and cultural programme in the north west is cultureshock, featuring more than 200 events. The programme presents fresh perspectives of Great Britain and the Commonwealth with UK, European and World premiers in theatre, music, dance, film, literature, visual arts and new media. Highlights include a showcase with Nitin Sawhney, sculptures by Sokari Douglas Camp and a wide ranging programme of events at the Lowry.

For more information and to receive a brochure visit their website www.cultureshock2002.com or call 0161 238 4533.

Whilst visiting the north west during the Games, do take in some of the remarkable museums and galleries including:

  • Urbis - is a new kind of museum exploring life in different cities of the world. , Cathedral Gardens, Manchester www.urbis.org.uk

  • The Imperial War Museum North - This new branch of the Imperial War Museum is now open on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal in Trafford. Visit www.iwm.org.uk/north/

  • Manchester Art Gallery - The gallery houses one of the UK's finest art collections in spectacular surroundings, and has recently re-opened after a £35 million transformation. Mosley Street, Manchester www.manchestergalleries.org

SOFF arts image

Some other highlights in the North West include:

ArtsouthAsia – Shisha - Shisha is the international agency for contemporary South Asian crafts and visual arts. Four exhibitions of visual art from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are being programmed simultaneously in Manchester, Oldham, Preston and Liverpool. www.shisha.net/projects

Shikor o Phool (Roots and Blossom) - Gallery Oldham
9 July - 14 September 2002
Bangladesh exhibition
Curator: Syed Manzoorul Islam

CRAFTY THOUGHTS - The University of Liverpool Art Gallery
10 July - 13 September 2002
Curator: Sharmini Pereira

THREADS - DREAMS - DESIRES - Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston
11 July - 14 September 2002
Curator: Salima Hashmi

NEW INDIAN ART: home-street-shrine-bazaar-museum - Manchester Art Gallery
13 July - 01 September 2002
INDIA EXHIBITION at Manchester Art Gallery
Curator: Gulammohammed Sheikh

Pulse - International Festival of Rhythm, 13 - 16 July – is presented by The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester. Pulse is an international celebration of rhythm, focusing on jazz, contemporary and world music. The festival includes performances, workshops, story telling and free events. Musicians, singers and orchestras are featured from across the world including Wynton Marsalis, Wayne Marshall, Anoushka Shankar, Evelyn Glennie and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. www.bridgewater-hall.co.uk

SOFF arts image

East Midlands:
Long Journey Home , till December. Aims to bring artists from our diverse communities together to explore issues of community, exile, refuge and displacement. It is funded by the Commonwealth Games “Spirit of Friendship Festival” through Arts Lottery funding. Working with both artists and communities that have experienced migration, the work will promote greater understanding of the diversity, creativity and different cultures of the East Midlands. Participatory workshops through to arts exhibitions, gigs, film seasons, video and theatre in education. www.longjourneyhome.co.uk
or email: bandb.creative@virgin.net

West Midlands:
Birmingham – Spirit, 20 July
A free access event on 20 July in Canon Hill Park, Edgebaston. The park will showcase international artists like Zimbabwe’s a cappella and dance group, Black Umfolosi, plus UK-based Badmarsh and Shri and Jazz Jamaica Allstars along with Birmingham’s big names, community groups, and local up and coming talent. The day will buzz with diverse music, visual arts, displays and creative workshops.

West Yorkshire: 17 July – 28 September
The North Light Gallery in Huddersfield is running Sportin’ Art, a mixed show by 11 contemporary painters celebrating the theme of Sport through Art, coinciding with the Commonwealth Games. Among the artists represented are William Bowyer R.A, Harold Riley and the late Lawrence Toynbee. North Light Gallery: Tel: 01484 340003

A Selection of Events for your Diary

Until 20 October
Tales of Power – West African Textiles
Manchester – Whitworth Art Gallery
Ritual, tradition, spirituality and magic are explored in this textile display and, until September, the Whitworth presents ‘Travelogue’ showcasing the work of seven Commonwealth artists
0161 275 745

Until October
Moving Lives
Manchester – The People’s History Museum
Migration, work and identity – photographs, memorabilia, recordings and films representing the life and history of Caribbean communities
0161 839 6061

Until 24 July
Bushfire Pa – Boom
Various venues in NE and NW England
Australian and British collaboration creating large scale interactive performance installations
0191 276 9911

Until 13 September
Barrow-in-Furness and touring
Exotic carnival band touring with new show ‘Fuse’. The show unites musical styles from punk, soca, classical and rock through to New Orleans, combined with Indian folk and Bollywood dance, performing in exotic and amazing costumes.
01229 812036

1 July – 11 August
Sister City Project
Stratford upon Avon – The Gallery
Celebration of Stratford’s 6 sister cities worldwide
01789 414 412

6 July – 14 September
Bollywood Greats – A Celebration of Asian Film
Blackburn – Museum & Art Gallery
Unique collection of Bollywood film posters 1946 – 1980
01254 667 130

8 – 18 July
Raising the Spirits
North Staffordshire – Beaver Arts
Women singers and choirs from throughout the Commonwealth
01782 717 326

9 - 13 July
52 Degrees South
Big Theatre Productions,
Imperial War Museum North, Salford
To mark the 20th Anniversary of the Falklands War
0161 274 3434

13 July
Stockport Youth Arts Festival
Stockport – St Thomas’ Recreation Park
Outdoor event with dance, music, theatre and carnival
0161 406 6931

26 July, 3 & 9 August
Commonwealth-based Artists
Ludlow, Shropshire – Assembly Rooms
Celebrate diversity in this rural setting
01584 878 141

15-18 July and 19-21 July
Occupying Minds – Big Brum Theatre in Education
Birmingham – The Crescent Theatre
Young people explore today’s globalised world
0121 382 2087

For other events in your area, please check the Festival Events page

Count yourself in

Of course, you may have your own idea for a Spirit of Friendship estival event so why not count yourself in – loads of local events are already involved? Events can take place indoors and outdoors in traditional and non-traditional venues in any art form at any point during the Festival. If you have a project you will need to register it with us so why not visit the Guide for event organisers page to find out more.

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