Blog

New Film Slate

We’re developing an exciting slate of new film projects,  building on partnerships formed at several international film festivals.

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TIFF Toronto International Film Festival: Sept 8-13, 2016

 

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ZIFF Zanzibar International Film Festival: July 9-17 2016

 

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DIFF Durban International Film Festival | Durban Film Market (S Africa): June 16-26, 2016

TIFF this year includes Nigerian films via the Lagos City to City Focus.

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TIFF Lagos programme

 

 

A Wonderful Award from Sheffield University

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University of Sheffield Distinguished Alumni 2016 – me!

Humbled  – and extremely honoured – to be the recipient of the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Sheffield.

It was very moving going back to my old campus this week for the award ceremony, which took place in the  very same hall I originally graduated from many (many) moons ago!

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The Professor Robert Boucher Distinguished Alumni Award

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The Professor Robert Boucher Distinguished Alumni Award is awarded to former students as an acknowledgement from their University of their achievements and success.

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Sheffield is a member of the Russell Group of leading UK research universities. Its outstanding performance for excellent teaching and research, as part of a genuinely global community, is consistently confirmed by international independent assessments. 

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Firth Court

 

My sincere thanks to the Award Committee for this amazing compliment in selecting me for this prestigious award. Huge thanks, also, to the Alumni Office (especially Claire Rundstrom, Head of Alumni Relations) for the wonderful hospitality I enjoyed on the day.

It was a  beautiful experience, and brought back many fond memories. Studying English Literature was the foundation of my writing life and, even through it was during the 1980s, we even had a professor who discussed all sorts of writing in English, not just that from England. So I had some access to exciting and diverse worlds of writing early on.

So I’m thrilled – and motivated. Much more to do! Thank you, University of Sheffield.

 

Dazzling Mirage London Premiere

Sold-out screening at the Ritzy Cinema, Brixton, at Dazzling Mirage’s long-awaited UK premiere on Saturday Nov 7th.

Part of Film Africa 2015!

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Director: Tunde Kelani Country: Nigeria Year: 2015 Running time: 124 mins Colour: Colour Language: English

An inspiring story of love, perseverance and hope in the face of adversity from one of Nollywood’s bright stars, Tunde Kelani. A talented young advertising executive is in the prime of life – she’s bright, her career is in overdrive, and she has a supportive and loving boyfriend. There’s just one problem: she suffers from sickle cell disease. Kelani’s film gets to the root of the stigma associated with this increasingly common illness, suggesting that it doesn’t have to define or restrict life. Written by Yinka Egbokhare and adapted by Ade Solanke, this powerful drama provides a much-needed platform for the sickle cell community.

See trailer here

Followed by a Q&A with the director Tunde Kelani.

Excellent post-show discussion which I joined TK for, along with Iyamide Thomas from the Sickle Cell Society.

ABOUT FILM AFRICA

Film Africa is the Royal African Society’s annual festival celebrating the best African cinema from across the continent. Launched in 2011, Film Africa is now the UK’s largest festival of African film and culture. Every year, Film Africa brings London audiences a core programme of fiction and documentary films alongside a vibrant series of accompanying events, including director Q&As, panel discussions, talks, workshops, master classes, family activities and Film Africa LIVE! music nights.

Find out more about the festival here

Special BHM performance for Law Society’s NOTICED network at Reed Smith

We had a wonderful time tonight, Thurs 22nd Oct, at the plush London HQs of law firm Reed Smith, where we performed East End Boys, West End Girls as part of a special BHM event.

Our hosts were the Law Society’s NOTICED Diversity Network. And their members certainly appreciated our play about African-heritage people going into white spaces! The q&a afterwards was excellent, with people sharing their experiences of the issues the play raises. Having taken part in several BHM events with Spora shows, we’ve now got a good overview of the similarity of the issues around diversity and equal opportunities in different sectors. It’s one struggle with varying degrees of effort being made to improve things in each arena. It seems that there is now progress being made in the legal sector.

The post-show discussion
The post-show discussion

The cast included a new cast member, Amy Tobias. She played Bali as Jennie was away, and did a fantastic job with just a few rehearsals. Amy trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts after reading English Literature at Warwick University. She recently played the Jailer’s Daughter in ‘The Two Noble Kinsman’ at the White Bear and the title role in ‘Winky’ at the Soho Theatre and Underbelly, Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Thanks, Amy!

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The cast with ‘hostess supreme,’ Carole Megihan of Reed Smith.

The show was supported by Aso Gobal and Nilare, two leading Africa-inspired design companies, who kindly donated items from their stunning collections. Check out their work via the links below.

Carole Megihan, Reed Smith’s Responsible Business Co-ordinator EMEA, was an exceptional host and we’re so grateful to her for the terrific hospitality we enjoyed. Her colleagues, Antonia Munro (Events Manager) and Abi Adams-Orme (Marketing Officer) were also so generous with their time. So was Reed Smith associate and NOTICED member, Shaunee James. Absolute stars, all of them!

The event was organised by Rashida Abdulai (Senior associate at Hogan Lovells) and Siddharta Shukla (associate at Herbert Smith Freehills), co-chairs of NOTICED.

To them, and all of the above who helped make it happen, a big THANK YOU from all at Spora for inviting us to be part of your inspiring network and this special event.

INFO:

NOTICED is the UK’s first inter-firm diversity network aimed at promoting networking opportunities to integrate, celebrate and educate on diversity across the legal sector. Its objectives are: 1) To encourage diversity in the legal profession and amongst member firms with a view to making the profession more accessible to individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds; 2) To raise awareness about issues faced by ethnic minorities, not just in accessing the profession but also in their progression within the profession. Contact: committee@NOTICED.org.uk. NOTICED

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REED SMITH represents many of the world’s leading companies in complex litigation and other high-stakes disputes, cross-border and other strategic transactions, and crucial regulatory matters.With lawyers from coast-to-coast in the United States, as well as in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, Reed Smith operares across a broad array of industry sectors. Reed Smith counsels 13 of the world’s 15 largest commercial and savings banks; 25 of the world’s 35 largest oil and gas companies; and the world’s three largest pharmaceutical distribution and wholesale companies.  http://www.reedsmith.com/

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NILARE is a lifestyle brand offering stylish and contemporary handcrafted accessories and gifts, whilst showcasing African artistry to the world.We create elegant, ethically traded, high quality pieces. Our products are beautifully handcrafted by local craftsmen using local natural resources. Contact: info@nilare.com. Nilare

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ASO GLOBAL is a new brand of African-inspired t-shirts for men, and t-shirts, vests, and t-dresses for women. All products are produced sweat-shop free. Contact: info@aso-global.com. http://www.aso-global.com.Aso Global

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AMY TOBIAS

AMY TOBIAS

WEST AFRICA EXHIBITION -BRITISH LIBRARY Now on!

The West Africa:Word, Symbol, Song exhibition is now on at the British Library,  Oct 16-Feb 16 2016!

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Looking forward to event for primary school teachers re how they can help kids see Africa more positively – Thurs Nov 5th, 4.30-8.00 at the British Library!

http://www.bl.uk/events/teachers-private-view-of-west-africa-word-symbol-and-song-for-newly-qualified-teachers

Thank you!

THE END OF THE BEGINNING!

A wonderful end to our London tour with two packed-out shows at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre in Tottenham. Two excellent, animated post-show discussions with Audrey West and Sharon Massey from Kids’ Company and Juliet Alexander from The Amos Bursary on Fri, and Diane Abbott MP on Saturday.

Thanks you to all our audiences, venue partners, Arts Council England, The Royal Victoria Hall Foundation and Peggy Ramsay Foundation for making the show possible. Next stop: UK tour! Watch this space!

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Audience feedback

WHAT OUR AUDIENCES ARE SAYING:

“I absolutely loved this play. Brilliant acting, dialogue, characters, I was spellbound for the duration. Well done everyone 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾  ”  Sola Ott (via Facebook)
“A play that understands teenage angst. Not to be missed.”
– @imjussayin2

“Brilliant incisive writing and great performances”
– @NMTAutomatics

“Inspired by Spora Stories”
– @Genevieve_Dunne

“Thank you so much. You opened up debate about what race means for Spora Stories, for London, and beyond. I hope through your play people consider more viewpoints and think about society in a new light.”
– @RosieCappuccino

“We saw your play last Friday. Really enjoyed it. Raises some serious issues but funny as well. The young cast was brilliant! congrats.” – Ifeoma

“I was thinking about it more…in the discussion afterwards all the focus was on Toby and his difficult decision -but I was also interested in Bali -because she was beginning to question her privileged background and to look at other options…….it’s all fascinating stuff!” – Pat

“Really enjoyed the play and will be coming back for second helpings at Bernie Grant – as usual you hit on subjects that so many of us are having conversations about in our kitchens and front rooms – which is what I especially love about your work.” – Deborah

“Saw Ade Solanke’s East End Boys, West Girls with Ellen Thomas. Great script. Reminding us of the pressures that are put on the young not only from parents but also from their peers. Beautifully executed by a young and relatively new cast members. Well done Ade.” – Anni Domingo

“East End Boys, West End Girls is a success because it deals with the challenges our young people face when choosing between schools, friends, dreams and opportunity. I went expecting belly laughs especially after the fab “Pandora’s Box” but instead I was moved and educated by the performances of the talented young cast (19 – 23) about the world they live in, which although similar, has many differences to the world I grew up in. If you are a parent, uncle, aunty or someone interested in raising youth aspirations, this family play (I took my wife and children, as did many others) is the one for you.” – Toyin Agbetu