Mic Lord’s grandmother Dorothy (pictured below) came to the UK in 1958, leaving her home in Trinidad in search of a new life. Mic is a creative producer with over 25 years’ experience in performing arts. He wanted to explore the tremendous impact African Caribbean women have made to British culture and society, over five decades.
Through his group Five ASide Theatre, Mic said: “We’ve been encouraging local people to share their memories and stories for our multi-artform production. Our creative workshops combine drama, dance music, poetry, film, and photography to create theatre by and for the people. These particular Saturday Soup sessions are a series of events for people living in Croydon, Merton, Wandsworth and Sutton to share their lived experiences, which will culminate in a final show in March at New Wimbledon Theatre.
“At the same time as devising our production we are talking about key health concerns in our community – diabetes, diet, mobility and wellbeing. In one of our workshops, we have a nutrition advisor advocating healthy options so we can still enjoy treats such as callaloo and dumplings.”
In one of our workshops, we have a nutrition advisor advocating healthy options so we can still enjoy treats such as callaloo and dumplings.”
Funded by NHS South West London, the sessions are part of an engagement programme to share vital health information through community groups.
Thursday 22 June this year marks 75 years since the ship Empire Windrush landed at Tilbury Docks. The date is an opportunity for communities across the UK to celebrate the contribution of the Windrush generation and their descendants. Many of the passengers helped support the establishment of the NHS, which launched two weeks later.
It has brought back beautiful memories from my childhood.”
With the milestone anniversary, Mic said it was especially timely to celebrate UK African and Caribbean heritage and share all the stories for future generations. Mic said: “We want to improve people’s knowledge about black British history. In our sessions we look back on five decades and talk about our tremendous contributions to the UK and our familial Saturday rituals and traditions where families, shop and prepare their food and get together.”
Music and dancing were a key part of culture, and the workshops look back to the music of 1950s (Calypso and Minto), 1960s (Ska and Rocksteady), 1970s (Lovers Rock and Reggae), 1980s (Hip-Hop and Dancehall), 1990s Garage and Jungle and teach the dances of each era.
Elizabeth from Sutton relived her memories of traditional Saturdays in the 1960s during one of the events. She said: “It has been an amazing day of keeping up our traditions and culture and a fantastic way of sharing stories to ensure they are never forgotten. It has brought back beautiful memories from my childhood. I was named after the late queen Elizabeth who visited my home country, and she was a huge factor in my life.”
Colliers Wood resident Paula Forbes said: “I loved learning all the dance moves to keep our culture alive and the chance to learn about how to have a healthy diet with our traditional foods. It has been great to meet new people and hear their forgotten stories of history.”