Friday 28 January to Sunday 30 January 2022
The Lyric Hammersmith Theatre is excited to announce international prize-winning writer Lemn Sissay, drag diva Le Gateau Chocolat, the 90s Baby Show podcast and platinum-selling artist Shingai as the headline acts of the inaugural For the Culture – Celebrations of Blackness Festival across the last weekend of Jan 2022.
The line-up also includes children’s show Josephine about the life of performer, spy and activist Josephine Baker with further events to be announced. Over three days, the Lyric will host theatre performances, music, readings, discussions, talks, films, food, art, hair and beauty, and more, all celebrating Black joy, talent, culture and creativity.
For the Culture – Celebrations of Blackness Festival is led and curated by Dr Peggy Brunache, Lecturer in the History of Atlantic Slavery and Director of the Beniba Centre for Slavery Studies at University of Glasgow, Tinuke Craig, Lyric Artistic Associate and Nicholai La Barrie, Lyric Associate Director.
Dr Peggy Brunache, Tinuke Craig and Nicholai La Barrie said: “The resurgence of Black Lives Matter is rocket fuel for a global reckoning. For the Culture does not ask sweetly, quietly to please see our humanity. We must be loud, we must be rebellious, we must be grateful, and we must be joyful. And we will take up as much damn space as we can. So, this is a call to action from us at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre: Black joy is resistance!
This inaugural festival is an inspiring programme of love and inclusivity, through art, music, intellect, literature, and self-care. Every artist who shares their gift and every person who joins us at the Lyric to share in this joy will help make this festival a beautiful celebration of our culture and of our resilience.”
Schedule: LE GATEAU CHOCOLAT Friday 28 January, 8pm | Main House Le Gateau Chocolat, the black-bearded drag and cabaret diva, will open For The Culture – Celebrations of Blackness Festival and mark his debut performance at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre on Friday 28 January with his brand new show Raw Cacao. Lurching from pop to opera via folk song, musical theatre, disco and more, Raw Cacao is a veritable mixtape of the songs that have shaped him as a man and as an artist. An exploration of intimacy that makes us wonder: who are we when no one is watching?
90S BABY SHOW
Saturday 29 January, 5pm | Main House
Following sold-out shows across London the wildly popular 90s Baby Show podcast is hitting ‘record’ live on stage at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre on Saturday 29 January. Join Fred, Temi and VP, three friends who grew up in inner city London for a candid conversation about life as a 90s baby in this ever-changing world. From pop culture to relationships and the Black experience in the UK; no topic is taboo for the ‘18.104.22.168’ Boys.
Saturday 29 January, 8pm | Main House
Saturday’s headliner is Shingai, the legendary frontwoman and bassist of the platinum-selling band Noisettes, who will perform a solo set including songs from her album Too Bold. Too Bold is an effervescent soundscape inspired by the sounds of her London, Bantu and Zimbabwean heritage. Renowned for her spellbinding performances, and described by Rolling Stone as “the new afrofuturist pop goddess,” Shingai will take audiences on a sonic odyssey.
Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 January, 11am & 1pm | Lyric Studio
The extraordinary story of performer, spy and civil rights activist Josephine Baker is brought to the Lyric Studio on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 January in Josephine, by Leona Allen and Jesse Briton in a co-production from The Egg, Wales Millennium Centre and Oxford Playhouse. Josephine Baker. The little girl from Missouri who became an original 20th Century icon. Dancer, actor, activist, campaigner, spy and mother to the multicultural Rainbow Tribe, Josephine broke the mould and high-kicked the pieces to the kerb.
But, almost 50 years after her death, Café Josephine, a down-at-heel New York diner dedicated to her memory, faces closure. Nobody remembers Josephine, who she was, what she did, what she stood for. And she just can’t allow that. Born in St Louis in 1906, Baker was the first Black woman to star in a major motion picture. She became a French national where she raised her 12 internationally adopted children, dubbed the Rainbow Tribe. She aided the French Resistance during WWII, which earned her the Croix de Guerre and spoke at the renowned March on Washington in 1963 alongside Martin Luther King.
With a sultry, Harlem Renaissance-inspired score, spring-heeled Charleston dancing and a hatful of historical figures, Josephine blurs the real with the imagined as we follow one woman’s incredible journey from the slums of St Louis via the bright lights of Paris and into the hearts of the world.
Recommended for ages 7+
Sunday 30 January, 2.30pm | Main House
Lemn Sissay will give a reading and talk on the story behind how he created Gold from the Stone in this Sunday headline event with one of Britain’s most popular and celebrated poets.
Lemn Sissay is renowned for his strong, lyrical work on social and family themes. He was seventeen when he wrote his first poetry book, which he hand-sold to the miners and millworkers of Wigan. Since then, his poems have become landmarks, sculpted in granite and built from concrete, recorded on era-defining albums and declaimed in over thirty countries.
More For The Culture – Celebrations of Blackness Festival updates to be released over the coming month
Tickets are on sale here.
Click here for more information on the Lyric Theatre.