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The Sheffield culture guide written by in-the-know locals

Utopia Theatre Creative Hub

Utopia Theatre’s Creative Hub brings together over 40 African theatre professionals to offer free online workshops and masterclasses to people of African origin.

Utopia Theatre is a resident company at Sheffield Theatres, aimed at strengthening African communities within the arts. Some of the world’s leading African artists will share their knowledge and experience in directing, playwriting, dance, acting, storytelling, movement, sound, and more as part of the Creative Hub.

Launching on 29 June and continuing till December 2020, the events in the Creative Hub are for people of African origin aged 16 and above. The programme is all about supporting the development of a sustainable talent pool, giving black artists greater visibility, and inspiring the next generation of artists – strengthening black African communities within the arts.

As Utopia Theatre’s founder and artistic director Moji Elufowoju says: “The Creative Hub ensures black artists continue to have income and remain visible as they continue to develop their craft and enhance the lives of the people in our community. This outlet enables people to engage with art and learn from some of the leading professionals in our industry.”

See the full programme below, and visit the Utopia Theatre website for more details.

Bespoke Acting Masterclass

Multiple dates

Join actress Estella Daniels for a holistic approach to the world of acting. Using simple techniques and experiences drawn from her career, Estella will help build a simple toolbox to enhance your creative process. A two-part workshop or one-to-one.

Voice Coaching Workshop

Mon. 17 August 2020

Engage in practical exercises, giving you clear tools to develop your voice work independently, achieve support, core vocal strength, range and resonance. Led by actor, voice and dialect coach, director and singer Hazel Holder and actor Sarah Niles.

Let's Create Music Drama

Multiple dates

Musician, singer and composer Juwon Ogungbe leads an online participatory creative learning project that aims to create work with an African aesthetic, drawing influences from a diverse range of art forms and genres.

Set/Costume Design

Fri. 21 August 2020

Sadeysa Greenaway Bailey demystifies the role and responsibilities of a set and costume designer. She shares her experiences and career journey so far, from having started in the carnival arts and outdoor theatre sector in the UK and internationally.

Playwriting Workshop

Multiple dates

Discover the basics of the stage, structure of a play, the proper format of your work and how to prepare it for submission, in this workshop for writers of all levels. Led by British-Nigerian playwright and academic Oladipo Agboluaje.

Acting Technique (Action, Reaction, Thoughts And Choices)

Tue. 25 August 2020

Nigerian actress Kehinde Bankole leads an acting workshop looking at personal choices of selecting and balancing options that work as “your method.”

In Conversation: Karishma Bhagani & Lesedi Job

Fri. 28 August 2020

Kenyan producer, director and dramaturg Karishma Bhagani is joined in conversation with South African theatre director Lesedi Job, about her experiences and nuisances of being a young African theatre maker in the time of the digital age.

In Conversation With Ayan – Talking Drum

Mon. 31 August 2020

African cultural ambassador and talking drummer Ayan De First teaches us how to play the talking drum and talks about his journey as a musician into theatre, and how artists from different disciplines can collaborate. With Tchiyiwe Chihana.

Leadership And Strategic Development

Wed. 2 September 2020

Look at the challenges that black-led organisations face and explore strategic thinking, especially in the current turbulent climate in the arts and culture. With Maureen Salmon, a specialist in leadership, entrepreneurship, and cultural diversity.

In Conversation: Sile Sibanda & John Rwoth-Omack

Fri. 4 September 2020

Sille Sibanda chats to actor, writer and director John Rwoth-Omack about his experiences as an African student at drama school and how he got into creating his own work in theatre.

Introduction To Scriptwriting

Multiple dates

Poet, playwright and director Debo Oluwatuminu leads a workshop that introduces participants to the basics of writing a play, and gives them rudimentary skills and tools to write a 5-10 minute short play.

Creating Our Own Voice

Fri. 11 September 2020

James Henshaw leads interactive discussions from the perspective of a writer. Covering topics including responsibilities as a writer of African descent, motivations for storytelling, obstacles to telling your stories, and creating platforms.

Intensive Playwriting

Fri. 18 September 2020

Jennifer Farmer is a playwright, librettist and theatre-maker who writes with/for marginalised communities and underrepresented voices. Targeted at writers looking to revisit their work, Jennifer leads an advanced redrafting play writing workshop.

African Dance Choreography

Multiple dates

Angelina Abel of Mulembas d’Africa leads an African Fusion Dance class with a focus on movement, healing and well being.

Recording Found Sound

Wed. 23 September 2020

Composer, music producer and sound designer Lee Affen leads a workshop on the sounds around us – tuning into audio and how it can ‘place’ us. Looking at the value of listening, recording with phones, and layering sounds to create a unique soundscape.

Sound For Film

Wed. 30 September 2020

Led by Lee Affen, this workshop will explore the relationship between sound and film. You will look at how sound can change the meaning of a piece of film, and create your own mix using sound clips and film provided.

Set Costume Design Workshop

Fri. 2 October 2020

Set and costume designer Emma Williams leads a workshop discussing design process, with models and drawings from the designer’s studio as visual aids.

How To Get Away With Directing: A Director's Anatomy

Mon. 5 October 2020

Olusola Oyeleye is a writer, director, dramaturge and producer working in opera, music theatre, visual arts, film, dance and education. She'll explore the skills required to approach a career in directing, across live media.

Sound For Stage

Wed. 7 October 2020

Composer and sound designer Lee Affen talks about the main uses of sound in a theatre show – music, atmospheres, transitions. Participants will put atmospheric sounds to text, and learn the basics of Qlab.

Theatre Arts And Activism

Fri. 9 October 2020

Tchiyiwe Chihana British-Zambian creative, activist, writer and speaker who identifies as a womanist and currently the operations manager at Utopia Theatre. Here she discusses using art for social change.

Ritual Theatre Talk + Performance

Mon. 12 October 2020

Playwright, filmmaker and poet Zodwa Nyoni gives a talk on ritual theatre with reference to Home has Died (2012), a one-woman performance about migration, death and displacement.

How I Became An Actor & Some Of The Challenges/Obstacles Along The Way

Wed. 14 October 2020

Ayo-Dele Edwards is an actor, singer, and songwriter whose art combines British and Nigerian influences expressed through songs and stories. Here she gives a 40 minute talk on her career, plus Q&A.

The Concept Of You

Fri. 16 October 2020

How well do you know yourself as an actor? Nigerian actress Kehinde Bankole leads a workshop exploring the process to begin a growth in self understanding.

Making African Theatre out of Poetry

Multiple dates

Warda Yassin is a British born Somali poet and teacher based in Sheffield, and winner of the 2018 New Poets Prize. Here she talks about making African theatre out of poetry. Plus Q&A.

Acting For Film (Tools Of The Trade)

Wed. 21 October 2020

Kehinde Bankole has played roles in Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, blockbuster films in Nigeria, and ia Netflix Original series by Akin Omotoso. In this workshop she equips aspiring and upcoming actors with skills that have enabled her success.

African Oral Storytelling Techniques

Multiple dates

Fun, interactive and creative workshops with IROKO Theatre's Alex Oma Pius. Exploring various expressive art forms – drama, movement, music, songs, dance, etc., as means to introduce participants to African oral storytelling performance techniques.

Activism And The Arts In Light Of Black Lives Matter Movement

Mon. 26 October 2020

Utopia Theatre's Tchiyiwe Chihana is joined in conversation with Aar Maanta, a Somali-British musician whose activism, work and creativity has led him to become a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

How to Apply For Arts Council Funding

Wed. 28 October 2020

This workshop is designed to support UK based artists who are considering applying for project grants for the first time or those who have been unsuccessful in the past. Led by Utopia Theatre's Mojisola Elufowoju.

The Hot Seat With Director Mojisola Elufowoju

Mon. 2 November 2020

Mojisola Elufowoju is an award-winning theatre director and workshop facilitator of Nigerian descent, and the founder and artistic director of Utopia Theatre. Join her in a conversation moderated by British-Nigerian playwright Dr. Oladipo Agboluaje.

Digital Communication For Leadership Success

Wed. 4 November 2020

Annalisa Toccara looks at defining your leadership brand, using social media, creating/curating engaging content, collaborating, and more. Annalisa is an award-winning cultural producer, creative director, digital strategist, and founder of Our Mel.

African Dance Workshop

Fri. 13 November 2020

The founder of Mulembas d’Africa dance classes, Angelina Abel brings you an energetic dance workshop. Angelina is a believer in the power of dance as ritual and a medium for personal change, solidarity and social bonding.

Presentation

Fri. 27 November 2020

Utopia Theatre presents a biographical film on Michael Henry, ahead of the musical director, vocalist and composer’s In Conversation event taking place on Friday 4th December.

Francesca Amewudah-Rivers in Conversation with Michael Henry

Fri. 4 December 2020

Musician and actor Francesa Amewudah-Rivers is joined in conversation with vocalist, composer, educator and music director Michael Henry.

Final Presentation

Sat. 12 December 2020

Participants and creatives from across Utopia Theatre's Creative Hub Online 2020 programme come together to give a final presentation. Utopia Theatre will be inviting industry professionals to this showcase.

Zoom Party

Fri. 18 December 2020

Utopia Theatre celebrates the end of its huge Creative Hub Online 2020 series of talks, workshops and events with an end of programme party.