Join Sheffield's former (and first ever) poet laureate Otis Mensah as he curates a free evening of poetry and sound in the Samuel Worth Chapel at Sheffield General Cemetery. The performances will celebrate the beauty, rich influence and presence of the Black diaspora in poetry and sound across Europe, past and present.
Blue Fire is named after Otis's poem on Samuel Morgan Smith, an African-American Shakespearean actor who settled in Sheffield in the late-nineteenth century. The event will centre themes of surviving stories and artistic migration. The term is derived from the blue light (typically produced by igniting a mixture containing sulphur) formerly used on Shakespearean stages. It created an unearthly or ghostly atmosphere, or conveyed the effect of supernatural happenings, and came to be attributed to sensational or spectacular performances.
Hosted by Sile Sibanda, Blue Fire will include special performances from artists working across Europe and the UK with language, music, sound and the space where these worlds meet.
Otis Mensah – writer and performing artist exploring the intersection of poetry and experimental music(s).
Sile Sibanda – spoken word performer and workshop facilitator, BBC Radio Sheffield presenter and host, who's been involved in creative and community projects for many years.
seigfried komidashi – artist, musician and poet hailing from the Yoruba tribe, engaging in afrofuturist discourse on time, space and nostalgia in a neocolonial information age.
Alexander – spoken word performance artist based in the Netherlands, currently researching facets of Blackness in regards to ecology and voice.
okcandice – writer, artist-curator, poet and musician based between Birmingham and Berlin, exploring grief, love, queer identities, and oration in Black cultures through archival materials.
SheBeKeke – SheBeKeke turns her poems into songs, with previous works showcasing a mixture poetry and sound.