Created by Medway African and Caribbean Association (MACA) and commissioned by Theatre31, the HipHopera project tells the stories of the Windrush generation through song and dance, celebrating the rich music culture of this movement.

Through a blend of hip hop, gospel, jazz, Caribbean, and afrobeat, Windrush: the struggle continues explores how historical events influenced music and dancing today.

With a core company of eighteen young people from Medway and Sheppey, Ola Owolabi, a local music producer, and Lexi Maize, choreographer, co-created a soundtrack, narrative and choreography that not only represents the young people involved, but brings to life the Windrush story as it happened here in Kent.

In March 2020, the UK went into a national lockdown due to the global COVID-19 pandemic – just as the team started working on this ambitious musical project. After gathering online and in open spaces as restrictions momentarily lifted, the group were eventually able to reunite in the dance and music studio once again.

Though the team at MACA had originally intended to create a full theatrical play, Theatre31 supported creatives to work alongside their young artists to make a short film instead. The film offers an exclusive look behind the scenes, that explores the creative journey and showcases a musical number performed by its cast of young people.

All activity shown in this film has been created following the UK Government COVID-19 secure guidelines at that given time.

A Medway African and Caribbean Association project
Commissioned by Theatre31

78% of the participating young people said they were more confident and had more friends as a result of the project
β€” Six Ways To Wellbeing, young people's wellbeing project
'Theatre31 did a great job of making the children feel comfortable and you could see their confidence grow within the session!'
β€” Year 5 teacher, Queenborough School and Nursery, Sheppey
β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… β€˜It is easy to take for granted the acting skills of a top theatre company. But when actors embody characters as superbly as this, you can’t help but notice.’
β€” The New Statesman
'Icon has been ahead of the curve in understanding that the arts have a role to play in bringing people together, helping them be heard by telling their own stories in their own way, and in the process creating a sense of pride in place and space.'
β€” Lyn Gardner, Theatre Journalist
'It helps you learn, it helps you grow and become more of what you want to become.'
β€” Ruby - Icon Youth Theatre (Medway)
'It was the first time I got to see drama as something for myself and something I could actively participate in and enjoy.'
β€” Tef - Icon Youth Theatre (Medway)

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