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The sun is peeking through the clouds, the parks are getting busier, and you can sense that the general mood is uplifted. We made it folks: spring is around the corner. Many of us are eagerly anticipating the warm weather, outdoor activities, and meeting friends without having to wrap up under ten layers of clothing. With their arrival, the spring and summer seasons also announce a plethora of exciting shows that are going to make your heart sing and your body dance.
From live music to theatre plays and dance shows, there is no shortage of opportunities to experience the joy of performance art. The beauty of it all is that you can enjoy them solo, with your loved ones, colleagues, friends, or family. These shows will send you to the clouds, singing or dancing with joy, and are set to leave you uplifted and energised. On the plus side, these shows have adapted performances for people with disabilities and impairments.
1) Akram Khan Company - Jungle Book reimagined, Sadler’s Wells
4-15th April 2023
In a near-future world, a family is torn apart as they escape their homeland ravaged by the impact of climate change. Arriving alone in a deserted modern city, and with wild animals claiming the streets as their own, the child soon discovers unlikely allies in this strange new jungle.
Akram Khan’s new dance-theatre production based on the original story of Rudyard Kipling’s much-loved family classic reinvents the journey of Mowgli through the eyes of a climate refugee.
Featuring an original score, ten international dancers, and state-of-the-art animation and visuals, Jungle Book reimagined is a beautifully compelling and vital piece of storytelling about our intrinsic need to belong and bond with others, and placing the importance of connecting with and respecting our natural world at its heart.
Relaxed, audio-described, and captioned performances will also be available on designated days. Sustainability has also been a key focus for the creative team on this show with the use of physical sets and props made up of cardboard boxes, allowing the company to tour more sustainably with minimal sets. Head to Sadler’s Wells for more information and additional activities around the show: https://www.sadlerswells.com/whats-on/akram-khan-company-jungle-book-reimagined/
2) La Linea 23 - London’s Latin Music Festival, various locations
21st April - 7th May 2023
Created in 2001 by Como No, the UK’s main producer of live events from Latin America, to showcase the Latin contribution to the wider musical world and to celebrate new artists, new collaborations and new projects, London’s Latin Music Festival - La Linea - has built a global reputation for bringing together a host of outstanding Latin music artists in London every April and May.
London Latin Music Festival La Linea will return this spring featuring its trademark mix of international stars and the brightest emerging talent from across the diverse Latin music scene including, Oscar winner Jorge Drexler, three-time Latin Grammy-winning Susana Baca, Netflix star Emicida, British-Colombian ensemble Mestizo, 18-piece Afro Cuban New Regency Orchestra, LGBTQ+ rights activist Alex Etchart, Award-winning Brazilian quintet Alvorada, and many more.
The festival will be hosted by various venues in London, from Jazz Café and The Barbican to Rich Mix. Tickets are on sale now and available at www.lalineafestival.com.
Accessibility options are offered on some of the venues - check their websites for more information.
3) Breakin’ Convention Festival, Sadler’s Wells
29-30th April 2023
At the end of April, Sadler’s Wells will host the 20th anniversary of Breakin’ Convention Festival: the world’s leading festival of hip-hop dance, and they’re planning to go big for this anniversary edition, with performances from hip-hop dancers, poppers, lockers, b-boys, and b-girls as well as live DJ sets, freestyle sessions, and graffiti classes, taking place across the whole building for an extended weekend. It’s a huge moment for hip-hop dance as from next year, breaking (break-dancing) will become an official Olympic Sport for the first time in history. And to top it off, Sadler’s Wells will open the Hip Hop Theatre Academy in 2024 as part of Sadler’s Wells East – their new venue in Stratford, London. We can’t wait!
Access the programme and find out more about the event: https://www.sadlerswells.com/whats-on/breakin-convention-2023-international-festival-of-hip-hop-dance-theatre/
4) Ballet Black: Pioneers, Theatre Royal Stratford East (10-20tth May 2023)
Ballet Black is transforming the dance landscape by giving a platform to artists of Black and Asian descent as well as to new and established choreographic voices whose unexpected stories and themes come from the heart to resonate with modern audiences. For their return to Stratford East, Ballet Black presents two new works.
The first is a piece for the full company by acclaimed South African choreographer Gregory Maqoma (Vuyani Dance Theatre), featuring an original score by Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante (Boy Blue). The second ballet is directed by Ballet Black’s Founder and Artistic Director, Cassa Pancho, featuring choreography created by her and the Company.
The piece explores the struggles and inspiration behind the formation of this award-winning company twenty years ago, through a series of vignettes.
The venue is also accessible to people with disabilities and impairments. More information online: https://www.stratfordeast.com/whats-on/all-shows/ballet-black-pioneers
5) Migration Matters Festival, Yorkshire
16-25th June 2023
Migration Matters Festival, located in Sheffield, Yorkshire, is the biggest Refugee Week festival in the UK on a mission to bring communities together by celebrating the positive impact of migrants and refugees.
Launched in 2016, the year of the Brexit referendum and the Syrian refugee crisis, the festival comprising several acts from theatre, art, dance performances, and more, is set to happen this June 2023.
At the time of writing, the schedule is still being finalised but organisers are aiming to bring a combination of impactful international headliners as well as a diverse mix of grassroots events to align with this year Refugee Week’s theme ‘compassion’. They are also introducing a Mini Mig Mat Fest aimed at families, babies, and children, introducing young people to the topic of migration and offering their evolving audience a new family-friendly environment.
Three guest festival curators will also be in attendance for the first time, each putting together a different strand of the programme from their own cultural perspective.
The festival will include acts from artists from the deaf and disabled community, such as Rinkoo Barpaga, who will be signing his show, which will then be translated into speech.
The organisers are also ensuring the venue will be as accessible as possible to everyone.
More information about the event and programme: https://www.migrationmattersfestival.co.uk/.
6) Sundown Kiki Reloaded, Young Vic
31st July - 11th Aug, 2023
The House of Telfar and the House of Dunn are back in the explosive Sundown Kiki Reloaded following the sell-out run of Sundown Kiki in 2021.
Watch the worlds of theatre and ballroom come together as the two families go head-to-head in an evening of pumping music, dance, and partying that celebrates a Queerer London in all its glory.
The show, which will run between July and August 2023, is brought to you by the UK Father of House of Revlon and pioneer of the London Ballroom Scene Jay Jay Revlon, and award-winning director Tristan Fynn-Aiduenu (For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy), and created with and performed by Queer Black and Brown artists.
Relaxed performances will be available on all days. Head to the Young Vic’s website for more information: https://www.youngvic.org/whats-on/sundown-kiki-reloaded