Mosques across Norwich have been working hard in recent years to develop understanding of the Islamic faith and culture, and to improve community relations. Starting with the establishment of the Ihsan Mosque near Chapelfield Gardens in 1977, there are also mosques in Dereham Road, Rose Lane and Aylsham Road, and a community centre in Sandy Lane. Not only is the local Muslim community small but it is geographically isolated from larger communities in Birmingham, London and Yorkshire.
Myanmar is a country under the spotlight at the moment. Human rights abuses, allegations of ethnic cleansing, economic development and foreign investment, and piss poor freedom of speech are among many controversial issues which cast shadows in today’s political discussions. On the ground, such issues require adequate legal aid, but Myanmar’s judicial system has been in tatters for decades.
As another Christmas passes us by, society suddenly remembers about the people living their lives on the streets. The cold weather and family focus of this time of year always seems to bring about fresh discussion, reports, and news concerning the issues around homelessness. Thankfully, much of the talk on the subject – especially on social media – is rather positive. This year I’ve seen a considerable number of friends and colleagues on Twitter and Facebook talking about admirable projects that provide food, care and company to those without a home during the Christmas period.
by Jan McLachlan
On a chilly December evening I went to St Margaret’s Church of Art in Norwich for the opening of ‘Enlightening the Eye’s Mind’. Rus Ki, the organiser of the exhibitions there, has a history of hosting thought provoking, inclusive exhibitions that are open to all artists and with no funding from the Arts Council or any government/corporate body. As Rus Ki says ‘providing our artists the freedom to articulate and express themselves however they choose’. This was no exception, with interesting and beautiful work by local artists, several of whom are disabled artists.
I was particulary looking forward to seeing (and hearing) Vince Laws’ work. Vince is an artist, a poet, a political campaigner and an activist. His politics often inform his artwork, but recently, as he says ‘I wanted something brighter to work on alongside some of the campaigning’.
by Hannah Rose
Director Tim Lane’s adaptation of Richard III is bone-chilling—and that’s not only down to the lack of heating in the Shoe Factory Social Club in Norwich. Shakespeare’s story of the wicked and rapacious King Richard is superbly located by Crude Apache in the disused factory space, which has been turned into a frightening vision of the future, an urban hinterland where people live in makeshift communities of cardboard boxes and behind wire fences. Exposed lights, metal girders and old sofas furbish the old factory; I could have been inside a modish bar in Hackney, or a punk squat in Berlin. The thumping techno beats made it all the more ethereal, and for a moment I was back at an illegal rave I once went to when I was twenty, except this one sold gin and tonics and cups of tea.
by Hannah Rose
Now is the winter of our discontent
Richard III reimagined by The Crude Apache Theatre Company
23rd Nov – 3 December
The Crude Apache Theatre Company will be performing a striking adaptation of Shakespeare’s bloodthirsty Richard III at the Shoe Factory Social Club in Norwich. A post-industrial dystopian world awaits audiences, as the Company prepares to throw them into this sinister tale of the power-mad and murderous.
by Laura Aghassi and Lisa Mikaiel
A 76 years young Norwich Grandma is aiming to raise enough money to purchase an electric wheelchair for Reid Manson, by having her hair shaved off. The event is taking place at the Forum on Saturday 18th June at 2 pm.
Anne Dupon, a Norwich Grandma was moved by the story of Reid, a young man in her local community, whom she met through her involvement in The Big Local (a lottery funded community project). Reid suffers from several debilitating conditions. He has epilepsy, fibromyalgia, M.E. (Myalgic Encephalopathy) and FND (Functional Neurological Disorder). The FND has left him with left sided weakness and leg paralysis, equivalent to having had a stroke.
by Chris Jarvis
February 12th saw the release of St Lucian born musician Taj Weekes’ fifth full length album Love Herb and Reggae – a collection of fourteen bouncing, mellow reggae tunes with his band Adowa. In 51 minutes, Taj’s lyrics cover the full assortment of reggae’s lyrical history, touching on politics, human rights, marijuana and love. And yet from the opening hook, to its final, fading gasps, it never slips into cliché or stereotype, proving itself to be original and unique and without doubt their strongest record to date.