Supporting documents for When The day
When The day met the night and the night met the day:Pilot 2022
Commissioned for Hastings Last Thursday
When The Day Met The Night And The Night Met The Day
This co-created community devised promenade piece was commissioned by Hastings Last Thursday part of the government initiative to get people back out and onto the high streets after covid lock downs. Hastings Last Thursday was a collaboration between Fat Tuesday CIC and Home Live Art. We were asked to make a community co-created offering on public land in St Leonards.
Working from our co-director Anna Maria Nabirye's and associate artist Darragh O'Leary's artistic practice and Afri-Co-Lab community members sharing the desire for more performance opportunities the idea to create a co-created community performance arose.
We had an open call and anyone who responded was invited to become part of the company. Hastings Last Thursday gave us the theme of Spring Equinox. We lead the company through a period of research asking what does the spring and spring Equinox mean to them. Then through multiple rehearsals and devising processes we created a multi layered response to the coming of Spring. Working with sound artist Ted Barrow, who Afri-Co-Lab had previously supported through its artist shop and mentoring. We created a sound walk to accompany the performance pieces placed around the streets surrounding Afri-Co-Lab. This audio piece was made up of all our community cast and featured text created by them, poems written and spoken by them both in English and their native languages, as well as music score created by other members of the local community.
We struggled with loosing community company members to covid, but managed to weave them back into the work, in other ways such as stewarding, costume and design- this was important in holding people through a difficult time.
The resulting case study is a snap shot of the 40min production which ended with the audience looking out to sea and partaking in a group mediation. After the performance all audience members were invited back to Afri-Co-Lab for free tea and an opportunity to gather and meet others.
Case study film:duration 2:17mins
Gallery: Making and Creating
Afri-Co-Lab Is a community dreaming space.
We seek to provide space for artists and community to co-create, dream experiment and gather. We are a multidisciplinary space working through and across all mediums.
We're an inclusive space founded on anti-racist, community-led principles. We deeply understand the complexity of poverty, racism, and displaced trauma. We also understand and have experienced the power that community and creativity can have in overcoming obstacles.This is the why at the heart of everything Afri-Co-Lab does!
Lillian Babirye, Afri-Co-Lab Co-Artistic Director is a creative artist with a focus on textiles, fashion, storytelling and interactive educational experiences. Co-directing two organisations, Lilly also leads a public engagement team at the Science Museum, creating youth-focused careers events and programmes and curating out-of-hours events such as Lates and Astronights. Co-founder and co-creative director of AfroRetro Lilly heads this company alongside Anna Maria Nabirye Manyhisa, creating ethical and upcycled garments, accessories and homewares inspired by the culture found between her Ugandan and British identity. Building on the work participation of AFRORETRO, Lilly co-founded and co-leads Afri-Co-Lab. This community interest organisation has taken on the social practice, creatiive participation and story-telling work. Lilly studied fine arts and then moved into Fashion, graduating from Westminster University. Through Lilly’s 17 years of public engagement, Lilly has devised, coordinated, and produced public engagement projects that bring communities together in creative and engaging events. Lilly has collaborated with Black Cultural Archives, Victoria and Albert Museum, Brighton Museum, De La Warr Pavilion, Hastings Contemporary, South Bank Centre, Barnet primary Schools, Fab Lab, Pop Brixton, Pupil referral units and many more cultural and community groups.
co-lead artist: darragh O'Leary
I’m a choreographer, movement director and educator with a passion for discovering and celebrating the potential in all types of storyteller - from professionals to volunteers, community participants, young people and everyone in between. Music features in all of my work, whether that’s front and centre in a musical or simply as a soundscape to add emotional texture. I’m at my happiest collaborating in a playground of other theatre makers: figuring out creative solutions to new theatrical challenges, usually with just a bench and two boxes but sometimes with Danny Boyle in an Olympic Stadium.
My interests mainly lie in new writing and unconventional projects with one of my favourite projects to date being Passport to Pimlico; the promenade actor/musician musical which animated the streets, gardens and public buildings of Pimlico with the audience transported on Routemaster buses between locations - "With an ensemble cast that boasts not one weak link, and a production team that co-ordinates the afternoon with military precision, they achieve the impossible".
I've a keen interest in working with and motivating young people, having worked with companies such as Company Three, National Youth Music Theatre, Stagebox and JAM Theatre. I also thrive on inspiring volunteer performers and working with those who have little or no movement experience on projects such as the large-scale ceremonies of Olympic and Commonwealth Games and particularly with the prisoners of HMP Erlestoke on Pimlico Opera’s production of West Side Story. I am currently working as movement Director on 24 (Day): The Measure Of My Dreams at The Almeida Theatre by Annie Jenkins and directed by Jack Nurse. This is the first in a trilogy of plays bringing together local artists, community performers and professional creatives to explore what it means to live, work, love, pray, celebrate and mourn in Islington. This Follows the success of The Key Workers Cycle, in which i was the movement director across all 9 shows.
Praise for The Key Workers Cycle:
“A life-affirming, entertaining and affecting one-day wonder”
co-lead artist: aNNa maria Nabirye
Anna Maria Nabirye is co-founder and co-director of Afri-Co-Lab.
Outside of this role Anna Maria is an actor, director, writer, film maker and visual artist.
Social Practice is at the core of the work that Anna Maria creates independently and through multiple collaborations. Her most recent work Up In Arms is made in collaboration with multidisciplinary artist Annie Saunders, it is an Artsadmin project and was commissioned by the De La Warr Pavilion. This work
Other collaborations include work with Jess Mabel Jones under the name Motherhoody. They have created inter-experiential workshops around motherhood commissioned by The Albany Theatre & Canada Water Library. One Prick At A Time was an experimental documentary centring the voices of those with lived experience of Gestational Diabetes for King's College London. This production won an engagement and participation award. Motherhoody is currently working with Rivelinco in developing a project for unlikely hikers working with learning disabled adults and members of the elder Black and PoC community.
Anna Maria has coached actors, directed productions for LAMDA and Mountview Academy and created performance workshops for non performers for Afri-Co-Lab, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Half-moon YPT and many other organisations.
Anna Maria and Darragh worked closely on the pilot production of When The Day Met The Night And The Night Met The Day as well as through various other projects within Afri-Co-Lab.
The Funnest Room In The House - Afterword.Whitstable Biennale 2022
One Prick At A Time: Motherhoody for Kings College London
Up In Arms
The Funnest Room In The House - Afterword.Whitstable Biennale 2022
This sound piece was made in response to the fire that destroyed my installation piece. It speaks to the work I was making and also explores the community participant responses that was at the core of the work.
Taking inspiration from the kitchens of Anna-Maria’s childhood and those of her diaspora peers, The Funnest Room in the House invites visitors to travel through time and space to explore a Black British kitchen collected from many pasts. These intimate spaces were individual to each family’s life but were also a performance of collective culture, containing expressions of ancestral homelands and nostalgia for back home, mashed up with British culture.This slice of social history is quietly disappearing, for the most part unrecorded, with kitchen renovations filling skips around the country and links to homelands feeling further and further away as elders pass on to become ancestors. The Funnest Room in the House joyfully brings these kitchens into the spotlight, with playful interventions that track the changing roles that have always taken residence in the kitchen from the 1980s to during the lockdowns of the last two years. If visitors linger and make themselves at home, the kitchen will reveal surprises that give space for celebration, joy and healing through nourishment, dance and movement.
One Prick At A Time Motherhoody
An experimental documentary made during the lockdown amplifying the voices and experiences of folks who have experienced Gestational Diabetes.
Up In Arms: Anna Maria Nabirye an Annie Saunders
Up In Arms De La Warr Pavilion presents a major new multimedia commission by artists Anna Maria Nabirye and Annie Saunders, exploring friendship, anti-racism and feminism. Removing the boundaries between process and outcome, artists Anna Maria Nabirye and Annie Saunders bring together social practice, visual art and performance in their interdisciplinary project, Up in Arms, to create meaningful dialogue amidst the complexity of interracial friendships.
Up In Arms is an ongoing collaboration initiated by Nabirye and Saunders in 2016. In each new context the artists start with a series of sessions in which they extend an invitation to Black women to bring a friend of a different race and together re-create and re-embody the iconic 1971 portrait of activists and friends Dorothy Pitman-Hughes and Gloria Steinem. This process becomes a ritual that opens up the space for transformative conversations around female friendship, feminism and anti-racism. As part of their latest iteration of Up in Arms, commissioned by De La Warr Pavilion, Nabirye and Saunders have invited Black women with a friend of their choice from across the local area – Bexhill, Hastings, and St. Leonards – to participate. The resulting documentation will be incorporated into an expansive exhibition comprising photography, film and archival material in DLWP’s First floor gallery, and will be the most ambitious presentation of the project to date.
The Rooftop Foyer space will be transformed into a space for gathering, where visitors can engage in conversation, reflection and explore further reading and audio materials.