Wandsworth Arts Fringe marks Windrush Day

7th June 2023

 A programme of special events celebrating black history are planned as part of Wandsworth Arts Fringe (9-25 June) to mark the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the HMT Empire Windrush to the UK.

Windrush Day, 22 June, marks the arrival at Tilbury Docks in 1948 of people from the Caribbean travelling on the ship Empire Windrush. They came at the invitation of the Government to work in vital industrial and public sector jobs, including the new National Health Service, in order to help repair the war-ravaged British economy. 

woman in a blue sparkling dress with her arms in the air singing

On 9 June Pegasus Opera presents a Windrush 75 Anniversary Concert at the National Opera Studio featuring top classical singers and music by composers of African, Caribbean and Asian heritage with gospel, spirituals, opera, musical theatre and songs inspired by the black diaspora. 

Battersea Arts Centre will host a play on 22 June from the Black Heroes Foundation about Flip Fraser, who arrived in England from Jamaica aged 15. He was the first editor of The Voice newspaper and creator of the ‘Black Heroes Hall of Fame’ theatre production. Find out more. 

 two people dancing holding hands

Other WAF events celebrating Black history include The Story of John Archer exhibition, performance, Q&A and open-mic session at Battersea Arts Centre on June 17. John Archer was London’s first Black Mayor, elected Mayor of Battersea in 1918. And Alison Ray Dance Company share an extract of their new show ‘The Unknown Soldier’ at the Royal Academy of Dance, which charts the journey of Black British war veterans from WWI and WWII.  

Alongside Windrush Day and October’s Black History Month events, this year Wandsworth Council’s Arts and Culture Service have launched Black History 365 to celebrate Black history, community and culture all year round. In February 2023, the new fund was opened for artists and cultural organisations to develop programming for Black History 365 to happen locally over the coming year. Seven brilliant projects were selected, each receiving up to £2000 to develop and deliver their ideas.

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