The Drum Welcomes David Cameron to discuss Birmingham’s Business Future

The Drum today played host to Prime Minister David Cameron. Touring the venue with CEO Charles Small and taking in the ‘Birmingham Strong’ photography exhibition, the Prime Minister met local artists and musicians, members of The Drum team, and members of Birmingham’s African-Caribbean business and cultural community.

Accompanied by Minister for Faith and Communities Baroness Warsi, the Prime Minister has been visiting the West Midlands to highlight the vital role of social diversity in supporting economic recovery. The Drum have already received political attention this month, having visited the Houses of Parliament on Oct 22 as part of ‘Birmingham Day’ to showcase the city’s creativity.

As a central force in Birmingham’s diverse cultural landscape, this year’s Black History Month theme of ‘social mobility and aspiration’ has resonated as strongly as ever with The Drum’s ambitions for showcasing and celebrating the city’s Afro-Caribbean community. The venue was proud to host BHM Launch Event ‘I Have a Dream’ on Sept 27, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Dr Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic speech.

The Prime Minister attended a roundtable discussion with key members of Birmingham’s African-Caribbean business, education, faith and cultural communities, including Joe Aldred, Rev. Robin Thompson, Heather Sinclair-Constance and Beverly Lindsey. He also took time to chat with several local artists including percussionist and renowned table player Mohinder Singh, lyricist and musician Naomi ‘Sic’nis’ Cunningham, and actress Tisha Whyke, a member of The Drum’s Young Gifted Brum Arts Programme.

“We are very proud to have welcomed Prime Minister David Cameron for this unique visit, providing an opportunity to engage with the African-Caribbean business, faith and cultural communities, and discuss their ideas and issues,” said Charles Small, CEO of The Drum. “We are proud of our role as a central force in Birmingham’s diverse creative community, and to bring members of those communities together at such an event has been a great privilege.”  

2014 will mark The Drum’s twentieth anniversary as the UK’s premier black-led arts centre, an occasion to be marked with a year-long programme of special events, and the launch of our Raising the Roof campaign to raise £4.8 million to renovate and reinvigorate the building and its services.

Choir of the Year – High Praise for Town Hall Gospel Choir

Birmingham’s Town Hall Gospel Choir have been named Songs of Praise Gospel Choir of the Year, winning out against choirs from London, Nottingham and Preston to land the prestigious title. The Drum are proud to welcome them on Sun 15 Dec, performing an inspiration selection of festive carols and gospel favorites.

“I am very proud of our choir. It was a wonderful competition,” said choir director Colin Anderson, who travels from London to work with the choir. “I told everyone to just let go and enjoy it. It was so uplifting.”

“We strive for technical excellence and sing songs that other choirs wouldn’t tackle. We want to get out and about and share our music, and we hope the exposure on Songs of Praise will help that.”

The choir has up to 30 or more members from all backgrounds, and was formed for a one-off concert to mark the reopening of the Town Hall in 2007, but was so good that it has continued since. The choir has performed everywhere from Birmingham’s Symphony Hall to the Royal Albert Hall, and will be appearing at The Drum on Sun 15 Dec at 7pm in Town Hall Gospel Christmas. To be part of this special festive occasion, Book your tickets now!

Felix Dexter

The Drum would like to pay our deepest respects to actor and comedian Felix Dexter, who sadly passed away Fri 18 Oct aged only 52, after a battle with cancer. Felix was a truly exceptional comic and friend of The Drum, performing many times at Upfront Comedy, and will be missed by all.

Felix is perhaps best remembered for his role in flagship black comedy The Real McCoy, and went on to appear in a host of TV comedy staples including The Fast Show, Have I Got News For You, Knowing Me Knowing You with Alan Partridge, and most recently BBC Two’s Bellamy’s People and Citizen Khan, as well as touring with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

“We salute the superman of stand-up comedy. Felix was indeed an outstanding comedian and a gifted actor. We were very privileged to have had him grace our stage. He was one of the pioneers of black comedy; as soon as he stepped onto the stage he lit it up. We thank him for entertaining us, and for all the wonderful times we had in his presence.”Mukhtar Dar, Director of Arts & Marketing

Talented, articulate, intelligent and deeply funny, Felix’s keen observational comedy and great wit gained him numerous fans and friends, and he will be missed by everyone here at The Drum.

Poetry meets Politics – The Drum brings Hip-Hop to Houses of Parliament

The Drum has been invited to the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday 22 October to promote Birmingham’s cultural diversity and creative excellence. The visit was suggested by MP Gisela Stewart, as part of a drive to raise awareness at the highest seats of power of the vibrant creative industries growing from Birmingham’s rich cultural landscape.

The Drum along with two of Birmingham’s most exciting young Hip-Hop artists, Madflow and Sic’nis, who break the mould in rap by delivering conscious, progressive music and lyrics that cut out swearing, sexism and racial stereotypes.

“As a female MC, I’m working with The Drum to attract more young women to the art form and redefine the music in mainstream media” says Sic’nis. “Going to parliament is a real privilege and an opportunity to showcase the creative innovations coming out of Birmingham.”

“We are proud to be supporting the innovative creative works being produced in Birmingham,” said Martin Cox, Programme Manager of The Drum. “As England’s Second City, Birmingham has a huge amount to offer in terms of cultural and artistic innovation, and it is important that the work of such talented young artists gains wider attention and greater support.”