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Community comes together for Black History Month musical


TO CELEBRATE Black History Month, the community came together to see FERN MEETS Dido – The Musical, an intergenerational drama project with a cast aged from 7 to 70 that has created a caring and collaborative relationship between young and old.

The play features Dido Belle who was one of the first aristocrats of African descent during the 18th Century, as told in the 2013 film, Belle and the BBC Fake and Fortune series.

“Our older members have been brilliant role models for the young performers. The project has given them an enhanced sense of purpose and significantly reduced isolation and loneliness amongst the elders.” said executive producer, Evadne Bygrave.

"By bringing the generations together in a positive environment with a shared goal we have broken down barriers and built a stronger community in working with local business, including The Portland Arms and CYTO."

The project has given young people an opportunity to take part in performing arts and be part of a production that they have helped to produce that reflects their own history. The participants have developed skills in collaboration, critical thinking and self-presentation.

“The children have learnt to present themselves in front of an audience and developed the ability to converse with adults in a mature manner. Being part of this project has helped raise the self-worth and self-confidence of young people who would not normally engage in the arts,” said Pete Tidy, theatre-in-education director.

Cast member, 10-year-old Amna, said of the play: “I’ve made lots of new friends and I found out I can sing really well and that racism is terrible. I like the fact that everyone has come together and I love my character, Mrs Grainger.”

61-year-old Trevor added: “I like how the workshops enable you to come out of yourself and adopt another character. I love working with kids on an equal basis and discovering how to interact with people from other backgrounds with a common purpose and to be pushed outside my comfort zone.”

The play takes place at The Shoestring Theatre, Oakley Road, South Norwood SE25 4XG. Opening night for the general public at 2pm and 7.30 pm on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 November 2018.

Tickets available from Eventbrite or for further information about the production please contact Evadne Bygrave: or

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