Preview | Phoenix Dance Theatre's Windrush.

The internationally-acclaimed, Leeds-based Phoenix Dance Theatre are presenting the first ever contemporary dance to commemorate Windrush at the Curve Theatre in March. Windrush: Movement of the People is a major new dance piece that marks the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the SS Empire Windrush. This is the ship that brought the first large group of immigrants from the Caribbean to the UK.

Windrush was the ship that famously began the post-war immigration boom that was to radically change British society. Phoenix Dance's Artistic Director Sharon Watson wanted to "capture both the excitement and upset of this significant event. Windrush will highlight not only the struggles but also the good times that the Jamaican community experience during those early years." Sharon highlights the important era in history for black people in the UK but also wanted to create an uplifting dance production too. 

Windrush begins in Jamacia showing the response to the adverts in the newspaper for the SS Empire Windrush. Busy and excited scenes are paired with personal stories - the farewells to family and the people they've left behind. 492 immigrants are invited by the UK government but were not always welcomed and the production draws attention to the daily exclusion and racism that these newcomers encountered. 

Sharon explains that "we know people were excited to come to the UK on the promise of work and a better life but we also know that this wasn't the case for everyone. Britain was recovering from the war and needed help to rebuild the country. The stories they told were a bittersweet experience". 

The dancers within Windrush will create unforgettable characters that take the audience from Jamaica to the UK. They will celebrate how the Windrush generation began to create their own opportunities, setting up churches and introduced their own music and dance. Windrush will also present how these people established a 'black British culture'. 

Composer Christella Listras will support the production with an original soundtrack to the lives of the Caribbean British people and wider Black British communities. The fusion of music and dance will create an unforgettable inspiring production. The use of multi-cultural cast will tell an international story to celebrate a culture that is now very much part of our country's fabric. 

Windrush will be presented alongside Shadows by Christopher Bruce and Calyx by Sandrine Monin. Windrush will be touring around the UK and heads to the Curve in Leicester on Fri 9 and Sat 10 March. 

You can find out where Windrush is being performed by heading to their website

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