First World War Holy Trinity Church Remembrance Day Service

Sun 17 Aug, Doors: 12pm and service: 1pm
Holy Trinity Church
Trinity Road
B6 6AH

To commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the beginning of the First World War and as precursor to The Drum’s official Black History Month programme of events in October, The Drum is pleased to host the First World War Holy Trinity Church Remembrance Day Service in partnership with Recognize and the Why Are West Indians Project (WAWI). The service will be led by Rev Canon Pitts of Holy Trinity Church to pay tribute to servicemen and marks the role played by women from across the Caribbean, who fought, were wounded and lost their lives during World War 1.

Presentations will be led by H Barnes of WAWI, which is a voluntary organisation run by the people for the people, whose main purpose is to bring communities together by promoting Caribbean Military contribution within the British Armed Forces, as well as, highlighting the integral role the Caribbean community played in the rebuilding of post war Britain. Both have had a positive influence on British heritage, culture and society which sadly has neither been acknowledged nor taught within schools. Garry Stewart will speak on behalf of Recognize an organisation concerned with charting the historical, cultural, social and economic contributions of black people, by hosting discussions, exhibitions and other events.

The service will also include an exhibition featuring pictures, letters and poems from 1914 – 1918, which will be on display. There will also be a candle lighting ceremony to remember those who fell, were wounded or missing in action during World War 1.

This special event commemorates the sacrifice made by servicemen and women and their countries, particularly the Caribbean islands, whose contributions during World War 1 have yet to be fully recognised. Veterans and current serving members from The Army, Navy and the Royal Air force will be in attendance.

For further information about the event please contact either:

Black History Month 2014 Birmingham Brochure Call for Submissions

Black History Month was first celebrated in the United Kingdom in 1987. Since then the month of October has been dedicated to raise awareness through events and activities celebrating our Black History. If you have an event, exhibition, talk or activity planned to celebrate this year’s Black History Month this is your chance to get involved …

The Drum in partnership with Birmingham City Council is the official organisers of Black History Month 2014 Birmingham. We are putting together a collection of events and activities offering people from all around Birmingham the opportunity to explore and learn about the history and heritage of African, Caribbean and Asian communities in particular their struggles, achievements and contributions. We are producing a brochure and website that will list events taking place in Birmingham during October.

The theme this year will be Commonwealth and World War 1, with the launch event taking place on Friday 26 September. As the UK commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the beginning of the First World War, The Drum will use performance and talks to show how the Africa, Caribbean and Asian communities at home and overseas contributed to the Great War.

If you have an event, exhibition, talk or activity planned to celebrate this year’s Black History Month, please email Paulette Francis-Green on p-officer@the-drum.org.uk for a submission form. The deadline for returning your form is Friday 8 August.

The Drum discourages any form of discrimination

Following a conversation with the promoter of the Ebonies showcase which was to have been held Sun 24 Aug 2014, where the Rapper Bobi Wine (from Uganda) was to have appeared, we can confirm that The Drum has made it quite clear that he (Bobi Wine) was not welcomed at the Drum as a performer, audience, observer, etc.

Bobi Wine appearance and beliefs conflicts with The Drum ethical and equal opportunity policy. Our mission is to lead and facilitate the development, presentation and celebration of creative, performing, visual, participative and digital arts for the benefit of all our communities and in accordance with the law. In short, The Drum will not tolerate or condone any homophobic sentiments and lyrics at any time. And if an artist or individual was found to be in breach of our rules whilst on stage or in the building the show or performance will be terminated and person(s) ejected from the building.

The Drum operates on three levels a) General Programme b) Young People and Creative Learning including Young Gifted Brum and c) hire of surplus space and capacity to voluntary, public and private sectors. In this instance the Ebonies event was not programmed by the arts team but was a commercial hire by a promoter from Uganda who was keen to make the connection between the UK and Uganda. Unfortunately, and we make no apology for the promoter, Bobi Wine music and views are well known in Uganda but not in the UK. Therefore the level of scrutiny that applies to general programming must now be applied to commercial hires and rules will be implemented to ensure that this unfortunate situation does not reoccur. However, making honest and lasting connections with communities from Uganda and other countries has to be a positive approach and is welcomed because it fits with our intercultural art agenda – sharing between the UK, Africa, USA, South Asia, Caribbean, Europe, etc …

Over the past 20 years The Drum has positively worked with the vast range of cultural organisations, involving people from all corners of the globe and every section of our greater community in cultural activities that educate, inform, entertain, challenge and delight them and would discourage any form of discrimination including homophobia.

Charles Small – The Drum, CEO

Simmer Down is Boiling Up! Sun 20 July @ Handsworth Park

It’s almost time! Are you ready for an unforgettable day of music, arts, craft, culture and celebration with some of the best local and international talent Birmingham has to offer? Then make sure you join us for the free Simmer Down Festival 2014 on Sun 20 July in Handsworth Park, proudly presented in association with Birmingham Mind and Time To Change 

It’s shaping up to be an amazing day, with all acts for our Main Stage and Time To Change Stage confirmed and ready to party! As part of The Drum’s 20th Anniversary Celebrations, this year’s line-up is a real homecoming for the music that put Birmingham on the map.

International Reggae Legends and Handsworth locals Steel Pulse will be hitting the Main Stage at 6pm, following master of Ragga Fusion Apache Indian and his band Reggae Revolution at 4:45pm. Before that, chart-topping Birmingham Reggae band Musical Youth will start heating the evening up at 3:45pm, following a whole day of music from across the city. There’ll be performances from Aston Performing Arts Academy, Kezia Soul, Diego Flex, Rose Capri and The Superskas, and the specially commissioned Simmer Down Big Brass Mash-Up – You won’t find a line-up like it anywhere else in the world! (See below for full listings).

The fun continues with home-grown Birmingham talent on the Time To Change Stage – dynamic dance from Ace Dance and Sticky Toffee, music from Afro Mio and Jam Tidy, and special sessions from Young Gifted Brum, Simmer Down Schools Holly Head and Alum Rock, and a very special showcase from proud festivals sponsors Birmingham Mind and Time To Change. There’s something for everyone, so make sure you don’t waste a minute! (See below for full listings).

There’ll also be fun throughout the Park with arts and craft activities, education workshops, face painting, and a belly-busting range of food stalls serving up delicious treats from across the city.

It’s going to be an amazing day, so make sure you don’t miss the biggest and best free party of the year – In the words of Steel Pulse, it’s a “Handsworth Revo-Revo-Revolution!” Remember, we want to keep Handsworth beautiful, so help us to help “Keep It Clean” this year – pick up your rubbish and respect the grounds!

To find out more about Simmer Down 2014, call our Box Office on 0121 333 2444, and make sure to follow us on Twitter @SimmerDownFest with hashtag #SimmerDown14.

Main Stage:

12:30pm – 12:45pm
Simmer Down Original Dishes: Big Brass Mash-Up

Coventry Brass band collides with a bhangra reggae flava.

12:55pm – 1:15pm
Aston Performing Arts Academy

UK’s first Urban Glee – Heavenly harmonies and sensational lead vocals with high end choreography.

1:25pm – 1:45pm
Kezia Soul

Birmingham’s Neo-Soul Jazz Funk Pioneer with a full backing band.

1:55pm – 2:15pm
Diego Flex

Contemporary dancehall on a conscious tip back by the Mighty Vibes band.

2:25pm – 2:55pm
Rose Capri

Uplifting vocals from one of Birmingham’s finest Lovers Rock performers.

3pm – 3:30pm
The Superskas

Energetic Ska classics guaranteed to get you up on your feet!

3:45pm – 4:30pm
Musical Youth

Birmingham’s very own chart topping ‘Pass the Duchies’ sensations.

4:45pm – 5:30pm
Apache Indian backed by Reggae Revolution

The Don Rajah of Ragga fusion backed by Birmingham’s stellar musicians. Boom Shakalaka!

6pm – 7:30pm
Steel Pulse

Grammy Award winning International Reggae Revolutionaries comes home to Handsworth!

Time To Change Stage:

12:30pm – 12:45pm
Simmer Down Schools: Holly Head

Holly Head’s dancers deliver Hot Moves and Cool Shapes to kick off the Stage in style.

12:45pm – 12:55pm
Drum About Brum

Bangin’ Beats and Pieces from Brum’s finest drumming group.

12:55pm – 1:05pm
Ace Dance

Leading innovative dance company ACE showcase their youth programmes’ rising stars.

1:05pm – 1:15pm
Drum About Brum

More beats from Brum’s best.

1:15pm – 1:30pm
Young Gifted Brum

The Drum’s Youth programme invite you to the stage for a vocal adventure.

1:30pm – 1:40pm
Simmer Down Schools: Alum Rock Youth Group

Alum Rock’s young creatives deliver insightful lines and slick rhymes.

1:40pm – 1:55pm
Sticky Toffee Dance

Sticky Toffee Dance showcase the dance stars of the future.

2pm – 3:50pm
Birmingham Mind

A special showcase performance from our proud festival sponsors Birmingham Mind and Time To Change.

4pm – 4:20pm
Afro Mio

Rhythmic conga, melodious African guitar, and rich vocals in five languages!

4:30pm – 5:15pm
Jam Tidy

Gypsy-Swing-Reggae-Hip Hop mash-up to close the show in style.

Calling All Journalists! Get Your Simmer Down Press Pass!

Are you a blogger, Youtuber, Tumblr or Tweeter following the Music and Festivals scene in Birmingham? Want the chance to cover Simmer Down Festival 2014, Birmingham’s biggest free family music festival of the Summer, and team up with The Drum to share your work? Then this is for you…

We will be making a limited number of Press Passes available to budding journalists interested in covering the festival on Sun 20 July in Handsworth Park.

Take photos, record video, interview the crowd and performers, live blog or Tweet and Post – whatever you do, you’ll have a chance to meet artists, soak up the sunshine and really get into the festival spirit, then work with us to share it!

Any interviews, videos or photographs of the day will be shared with The Drum and made part of the Simmer Down Festival Archive, helping us to document that day, giving you great exposure for your work, and a great experience covering live events.

Think you’ve got what it takes to get a great story and celebrate Simmer Down? Then get in touch! DM us on Social Media, call 0121 333 2420, or email n.lunt@the-drum.org.uk with some info on what you can do. We’ll be in touch with the successful applicants by Fri 11 July. Good luck, and hope to hear from you soon!

Afrovibes Festival 2014 comes to The Drum and mac birmingham, Mon 20 – Sun 26 Oct

On the 20th anniversary of democracy  in South Africa, Afrovibes Festival returns to Birmingham. The biennial festival, which celebrates the performing and visual arts of South Africa, made its UK debut in 2010, and is poised to return for a third, highly entertaining and thought-provoking four week season from Mon 13 Oct to Sat 8 Nov 2014. This year Birmingham will be hosting events and performances at The Drum and mac birmingham from Mon 20 to Sun 26 Oct.

Featuring an eclectic, contemporary programme of theatre, dance, music, song, photography and film, the fifty-strong festival ensemble will consist of individual theatre and dance companies from all over South Africa with actors, dancers, directors, playwrights, choreographers, musicians, singers … and one photographer.

The Drum and mac birmingham will host a full week of performances and events, giving audiences a unique opportunity to enjoy a diverse programme of quality work including political drama, astonishing real life stories, stunning contemporary dance, great music, film and photography.

In addition, both venues will host a Township Cafe where visitors can enjoy typical South African food and drink while taking in music, poetry, talks and free pop-up performances by local artists as well as Afrovibes performers.

Mukhtar Dar, Director of Arts & Marketing at The Drum, said: “Birmingham has a long and endearing associated with South Africa, which is reflected in the extensive links amongst our artists, musicians and activists and more recently the Drum’s Nelson Mandela tribute was attended by hundreds of people from across Birmingham’s diverse communities. As the UK’s premier intercultural art centre, The Drum is proud to be once again hosting the Afrovibes Festival and especially to be working in partnership with mac Birmingham, building in past success to deliver a truly unique cultural experience across both venues.”

Louisa Davies, Performing Arts Producer at mac birmingham added: “Audiences across both our venues will have a great opportunity to enjoy a slice of contemporary theatre, music and dance, with performances that echo the energy and positivity of the new South Africa, informed by past struggles. Afrovibes promises to offer an exciting eclectic mix of events that will engage and amaze in equal measure. We look forward to sharing the programme with audiences across the West Midlands this autumn alongside The Drum.”

Artistic Director James Ngcobo, who is also Artistic Director of the Market Theatre in Johannesburg says: “In 1994 a new nation was born.  Since then our artists have been showing the world that South Africa has stories to tell: stories that speak to the collective memory of who we are.  Yet at the same time they speak of life in South Africa today – stories that link us with the world.”

Afrovibes Producer and UK Arts International Director Jan Ryan says: “2014 is an important year for South Africa, marking as it does the 20th anniversary of the country’s first democratic elections. We are absolutely delighted that Afrovibes will once again be coming to the UK to commemorate this event.”

For more information on Afrovibes at The Drum, call our Box Office on 0121 333 2444, or visit www.the-drum.org.uk, Like on facebook at Afrovibes and follow on Twitter @Afrovibes with #afrovibes


Afrovibes is more than just a show. The Township Café at each venue provides the hub for creative work by local organisations and other professional performances as well as opportunities for people to participate.

The Drum is offering young people the chance to get up close, learn, and become part of the festival through free schools and youth education outreach programmes. This includes free workshops, education opportunities and performance opportunities. If you are a teacher or youth group leader interested in getting involved, contact The Drum on 0121 333 2444.

The Drum

Biko’s Quest
Thu 23 Oct, 7:30pm

Tickets: £10.50 (£8.50)
Earlybird Tickets: £8.50 (£6.50), available until 5pm, Sun 5 Oct

Inspired by the Steve Biko Foundation’s photographic exhibition, The Quest for a True Humanity, Biko’s Quest is an energetic large-cast dance piece about the world famous anti-apartheid activist and Black Consciousness Movement founder’s life and sudden death in 1977 (aged 29) while he was in police detention.

“It is better to die for an idea that will live, than to live for an idea that will die”Steve Biko

Directed by Mandla Mbothwe

Choreography by Jackie Manyaapelo, Ina Wichterich-Mogane and Mzo Gasa

Fri 24 Oct, 7:30pm

Tickets: £8.50 (£6.50)
Earlybird Tickets: £7.50 (£5.50), available until 5pm, Sun 5 Oct

Mamela tells the remarkable stories of eight young women, the ‘born free’ generation, from the Eastern Cape, living in post-apartheid South Africa. They tell their own moving stories through words, song and dance and talk about the dreams they have for themselves, their country, and the future.

Sat 25 Oct

Tickets: £12.50 (£10.50)
Earlybird Tickets: £7.50 (£5.50), available until 5pm, Sun 5 Oct

Presley Chweneyagae, star of the 2006 Oscar-winning film Tsotsi, leads a company of five actors in this play by Mpumelelo Paul Grootboom, a wickedly insightful exploration of the art of persuasion using some of the most famous speeches of Thabo Mbeki, who succeeded Nelson Mandela as President of South Africa in 1999.

mac birmingham

The Soil
Mon 20 Oct, 8pm

Tickets: £12 (£10)
Earlybird Tickets: £10 (£8), available until 5pm, Sun 5 Oct

Soweto’s award-winning, platinum-selling beatbox a cappella group combine an eclectic mix of township jazz, hip hop and Afro-pop.  The trio – Buhle (Soil Sister), Ntsika (Fana-tastic) and Phindo (Master P) – met at school in 2003, and their infectious music has taken them all over the world.

The Sid Peacock Youth Ensemble (mac Associate Artist funded by Arts Council England) will also perform as part of the opening night event.

Tue 21 Oct, 8pm

Tickets: £12 (£10)
Earlybird Tickets: £10 (£8), available until 5pm, Sun 5 Oct

In January 2008, in Skierlik, west of Pretoria, 17 year-old Johan Nel went on a racially motivated shooting spree killing four people and wounding eight.  The massacre had tragic effects on those left behind. Skierlik, a solo show written and performed by award-winning playwright Phillip M Dikotla, is the story of one man returning to the scene of the carnage.

Rainbow Scars
Wed 22 & Thu 23 Oct, 8pm

Tickets: £12 (£10)
Earlybird Tickets: £10 (£8), available until 5pm, Sun 5 Oct

Written by Mike Van Graan, one of SA’s most incisive playwrights, Rainbow Scars starts in 1994 in the new Rainbow Nation, the term coined by Archbishop Desmond Tutu to describe post-apartheid South Africa.  Lindiwe is a black teenager who has been adopted by white parents and is forced to confront her racial identity when contacted by a long lost cousin.

The Beat Goes On – Exciting Future Ahead for The Drum

The Drum is delighted to announce the confirmation of our status as an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) for another three years, and have taken another step to securing Strategic Funding for our amazing Raising The Roof campaign!

As an NPO, The Drum will continue to receive Arts Council funding up until 2018, allowing us to continue to nurture young talent through our YGB activities, support local artists and engage communities through our arts outreach programmes, and continue to programme professional international touring work in Music, Theatre, Comedy, Literature, Dance, Film and Visual Arts. Prime Minister David Cameron himself endorsed the work we do and wished us the very best for the future when he visited The Drum recently, and the Arts Council’s backing further acknowledges our vital role as the UK’s premier intercultural arts centre.

Even more excitingly, The Drum has made it to Stage Two of Strategic Funding to assist with our ambitious Raising The Roof programme.

Raising The Roof will redesign and upgrade our venue, facilities and equipment to state-of-the-art standards, including…

“Raising The Roof” to increase the capacity of the Auditorium by 30%; seating from 350 to 478 and standing from 750 to 1000
• Renewing and refurbishing all spaces, mechanical and electrical equipment, including a new lift, to improve accessibility and usage
• Improving and upgrading our services and facilities for young people working in Digital Arts, Dance, and Drama

“It is with very great pleasure that we can announce today that The Drum has been awarded NPO status by Arts Council England. This will facilitate the long term sustainability of The Drum, and allow us to offer an outstanding programme of international performing arts within the heart of the local community.”Professor Mick Durman, Acting Chair of The Drum

“To again be recognised by the Arts Council as an NPO is a fantastic tribute to the work of the staff, the talents of the many and varied artists who perform, and the support of all those who visit The Drum, as we move forward in providing premiere art and culture in the heart of the community.”Sharon Palmer MBE, Drum Trustee

“We are delighted to once again be selected by Arts Council England as an NPO, and will continue bringing our audiences and community great arts. We are also thrilled about the Stage One Pass, bringing us closer to actualising Raising The Roof and transforming The Drum into an all-purpose arts centre for the future.” – Charles Small, CEO of The Drum

The Drum thanks everyone who has helped make this great news possible, and especially our dedicated audiences, whose support proved the need and demand for us to provide excellent art and culture opportunities.

To learn more about Raising The Roof, and to get involved with our plans for the future, follow the link!