Slate World: House Party - Line-up

Amanda Huxtable, Artistic Director/CEO - Eclipse Theatre
Amanda Huxtable is Artistic Director and CEO at Eclipse Theatre. Prior to this, Amanda was Artistic Associate at Hull Truck Theatre and is Chair at RJC Dance in Leeds. With over 20 years directing and producing experience, she has built her portfolio across the UK, USA and Canada, having worked with Belgrade Theatre, Red Ladder, Proper Job Theatre, Yorkshire Women’s Theatre, Chol Theatre, Virtual Migrants, Tayo Aluko and Vanitas Arts.

Amanda’s other work includes co-Artistic Director at Hidden Gems (with writer Marcia Layne) a touring company that presents Black British stories. Together with Vanitas Arts she is also developing an immersive theatre piece based on Trumpet, the debut novel by Scottish Nigerian poet Jackie Kay.

Amanda is also on the steering committee of Huddersfield Literature Festival and was the Chair of governors at Birkby Junior School in West Yorkshire.

Image 1 - credit: Sharron Wallace

Marv Radio, Live beatbox and new album performance and sound healing meditation (UK)
Marv Radio is a ground-breaking musician, sonic scientist, beatboxer and uses the voice as a therapeutic tool. He has been hacking his own voice to use as a tool for music, art and therapy for over 18 years. Marv is known for his out-of-this-world live music and theatre shows where he combines beatboxing, live looping, singing and rap to make high energy motivational hip hop.

Performances include Glastonbury, First Direct’s Unexpected Tweet advert campaign, Bestival, Shambala, Lovebox, The O2, BBC Radio 4, Sadler’s Wells, Underbelly Southbank, The Barbican, The British Library, Camden People’s Theatre (4 star one-man-show Mantra). He is the co-founder and co-host of Hip-Hop Palace, which recently took Underbelly South Bank by storm.

He released his EP The Airwaves in November 2017. It can be streamed and downloaded from all good platforms.

Social Media: @MarvRadio

Image 2 - credit: William Smith @misterwillsmith

Melanie Abrahams, Slate World UK host
Melanie Abrahams is a curator, producer and mentor of Jamaican and Trinidadian parentage who has channelled a love of words and books into projects, businesses and escapades. As well as freelancing, she’s founder of independent organisations Renaissance One and Tilt, which make regular use of live events, tours and commissions to highlight the diverse canons of British and international literature and performance. Artists and organisations collaborated with include Miami Book Fair, Chris Ofili, The Space, Bocas Lit Fest (Trinidad) and the BBC. Her contribution has been recognised through a ‘Women To Watch’ Award, and curatorships and speaker commissions for Bluecoat, Carnival Village and Creative & Cultural Skills. Recent projects include Mentoring Three Ways, which offered industry panels, creativity talks and 50 one-to-one mentoring sessions to practitioners around England; and The Independence Project, which presented curated events on autonomy and independence, including a one-day festival at the British Library. 

She is the UK Enabler for Slate World. In 2019, Melanie curated of Black Arts World: Slate Weekender as part of the City of Ideas project led by Site Gallery and a number of Sheffield-based partners including Eclipse.

Image 3 - credit: Lyndon Douglas

Ella Mesma, Slate World UK host
Ella is a British born dancer and artist of mixed heritage living in Leeds.

She trained at Laban/LSCD (where she now has an MA), but her first love was Salsa, and she began her dance career with Afro Latin & Brazilian styles (touring the UK and internationally with shows and workshops) and breaking (breakdance). She also studied yoga with Abby Hoffman and at the Karam Kriya School in 2018. Some highlights of her performance experience include touring internationally with the Russell Maliphant Company (The Rodin Project), performing for Lea Anderson (Trying it On: The Chomondeleys), the Olympics Opening Ceremony and the WCMT and AIDF awards which took her to Brazil, Cuba and South Africa.

As the Artistic Director of Ella Mesma Company, who use a diverse range of folkloric dancestyles, inspired by director Ella’s background in Afro-Latin, Breaking and Contemporary dance (termed diaspora dance theatre to communicate this meeting of styles) to allow transformation and activism through art: telling personal and global stories to connect to our truest selves. The company has been commissioned by Sadler’s Wells (Wild Card), Dance City (as Associate Dance Artist 2016-2017) and the National Circus Centre (Papyllon). She has had her work performed at The ICA Festival in South Africa (Papyllon) and at the Women in Dance Leadership Conference in New York (Ladylike). Ladylike was also second place for best production for the Lukas awards (Latin UK Awards) 2018.

As a choreographer, she has been a future Dance Leader (ABLE 2013); a Bench fellow (2015), a Casa Latin American Festival resident artist (2016); Associate Dance Artist (Dance City); and Associate artist at the Trinity Centre in Bristol. She is also the  the creator and curator of Roots of Rumba (a festival created in 2013 to showcase and celebrate artists who work with dances of the African Diaspora) that has toured the UK.

She has been passionately developing her Path For Series mentoring programme this year over at MayaGandaia.com She also enjoys social justice art, poetry, nature and languages.

Image 4 - credit: Samia Khatun

Alesa Herero, Slate World Portugal guest
Alesa Herero is a Black artist raised in Rome, Italy and now living in Lisbon, Portugal, since 2009. She is currently part of the Slate World projecting as Enabler for Portugal and also working as art curator for the Festival DiverCity that happens in Milan, Italy. 

As an artist, she explores herself through poetry, writing and performance focusing on topics as race, gender and body.  She has been interested in understanding the way the colonial experience and the concept of universality, create individual and collective identities that are subaltern and stand at the margin of the alterity. How these dynamics tend to be reproduced inside the oppressed groups and how we can invert this movement. More recently her research is centred on how Black people can develop practices of healing and reparation at an individual and collective level.In 2018, she has participated in the Bo.Ca. Biennial of Contemporary Arts, with the performance Gestuario II, directed by Zia Soares. In the same year, within the context of the 7th Afroeuropean conference, she has been part of the performance of Isaiah Lopaz, A History of Remembering, with her poem T(h)ree. In 2019, the italian editor effequ, has published her first short story Eppure c'era odore di pioggia, within the anthology Future. Il domani narrato dalle voci di oggi.

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NESS, performance set (Portugal)
NESS, born and raised in the suburbs of Sintra, tells her view of what it's like to live in a world where since little, had to learn the definition of self-reflection, emotional independence and forgiveness. With influences from R&B to Pop Electronic and Soul, NESS wants to affirm her restlessness through the lyrics and graciousness through melody.  

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Melissa Rodrigues, performance set (Portugal)
Born in Cape Verde, Melissa Rodrigues now lives and works in Porto, Portugal. She is a performer, art-educator, member of the Cultural Association RAMPA, the InterStruct Collective and NARP (Núcleo Anti-Racista do Porto) and is part of the team of curators of the Anuário 2020, invited by Galeria Municipal do Porto.

Melissa completed Postgraduate / Specialization studies in Performance, at the Department of Fine Arts, Universidade do Porto and earned an undergraduate degree in Anthropology from the Department of Social and Human Sciences, Universidade Nova de Lisboa. She also studied Contemporary Dance and Performing Arts at Centro em Movimento, Lisbon. She currently works for the Educational Department of Serralves - Museum of Contemporary Art, A Oficina - Educação e Mediação Cultural (Guimarães), Espaço SP620 - Salut au Monde! and collaborates with several interdisciplinary projects that relate to art, experimentation and activism.

As a researcher in the areas of Performance and Anthropology, she has developed research in Visual Culture, Image and Representation. Having co-created in 2017 with Coletivo Chá das Pretas the performance cabelo and in the same year by invitation of the choreographer Joclécio Azevedo conceived a lecture-performance in the scope of the Project Documentário that materialized in the performance-conference from submissive to political - the place of the black body in visual culture, a performance that has been presented in artistic and academic context.

As an Artist in Residence at ZK/U Berlin - Center for Art and Urbanistics from March to May 2020 for Magic Carpets Creative Europe Platform, Melissa conceived the video performance CORONAS IN THE SKY, Not a Manifesto!, an essay on Afrofuturism and Liberation.

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Priscilla Macintosh, Slate World Amsterdam host
Priscilla Macintosh is the owner of Studio Macintosh. Priscilla is a creative specializing in project management, concept development and education for the art, events and education sectors. I have been combining art, education and events in my work for about nine years now. For artistic, educational and entertainment purposes. From curating exhibitions, programming a live music evening to giving workshops.

Perry Gits, Slate World Amsterdam host
Perry is part of the Slate World team based in the Netherlands. Perry is a dancer, singer, and theatre director. His focus in his work is based on political issues concerning the LQBTQIA+ community and race. This was seen in his previous work such as Je lult, Ka ki ka nee nee nee and Bokoe.

Perry is part of the first generation of the ballroom/vogue scene in the Netherlands and continues to make statements decolonising gender and colour. ZO! Gospel Choir has also been part of his career and they sung with artists such as Mariah Carey and Kamashi Washington.

Fazle Shairmahomed, performance set (Amsterdam)
Fazle Shairmahomed is a performance artist and dancer, who mainly creates decolonizing rituals, in which he transforms the relationship with the spectator, and challenges understandings of inter-sensoriality. Often, he refers to problematics concerned with the politicization of his body as a Dutch Surinamese-Hindustani Muslim queer man. This experienced reality creates an urgency that shapes his artistic choices leading to themes such as death, rebirth, ancestry, belonging, colonial histories, and healing.

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Chocolate Swirl, performance set (Amsterdam)
Some combinations are iconic. Just as Bonnie and Clyde or Peanutbutter and Jelly, that’s how Franny and Shammah join their forces as Chocolate Swirl.

They feel and complement each other like no other strong duo. Their music is dynamic and different as their personalities. From contemporary soul/hiphop mixed with the sounds of their motherland. They play the music of and for the world. 

It’s more than music, it’s more than a feeling it’s a whole energy. By spreading love through music they are defined as Music Evangelist. So, get ready to dip into their swirl x Saa Na Wop3.

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Khadijah Ibrahiim, DJ and My Grandmother’s Garden wellbeing session (UK)
Khadijah Ibrahiim was born in Leeds of Jamaican parentage. Educated at the University of Leeds, she is a literary activist, theatre maker and published writer, who combines’ inter-disciplinary art forms to re-imagine poetry as performance theatre. Hailed as one of Yorkshire’s most prolific poets by the BBC, her work appears in university journals and poetry anthologies. Her collection Another Crossing was published by Peepal Tree Press 2014. Khadijah has performed and produced art programs in the USA, Caribbean, Africa and Asia. In 2010 she was writer in residence for El Gouna writes, Egypt, the same you she travelled to South Africa as part of the British council Verbalized sustained theatre program. In 2017 and 2019 she was short listed for the Jerwood Compton poetry Fellowship. In 2018 she was shortlisted for the Sue Rider ‘Yorkshire Woman of the Year’ for her contribution to the arts. She is the Artistic director of Leeds Young Authors, and executive producer of the award-winning documentary We Are Poets. In 2017, she was creative associate for the production Ode To Leeds at the Leeds Playhouse. Khadijah is an associate artist with the Geraldine Connor foundation ‘GCF’ and co-coordinator for inscribe readers writer’s development program for Peepal Tree Press.

Khadijah recent commissioned work Dead and Wake featured part of Word in the City and ‘Sorrel & Black cake’ A Windrush Story, a Heritage Lottery funded program as part of GCF. Khadijah is part of Collections in Verse, Poet in the City and the British Library the commission that celebrates poets to create new work inspired by British Library exhibitions and local histories, stories and experiences. She is the recipient of Arts Council England Developing Your Creative Practice funding.

Image 12 - credit: Khadijah Ibrahim (Self portrait: The Blk Series)

Yinka Esi Graves, films and Q&A (Spain/UK)
Yinka is a British flamenco dance artist whose work increasingly explores the links between flamenco and diasporic forms of expression. A journey that has taken her from ballet as a young girl and afro-cuban dancing to studying Flamenco in Spain for over 10 years in the world renowned school Amor de Dios in Madrid and later Seville. Yinka’s maestros include La Lupi, Manuel Reyes and Juana Amaya amongst others. Graves also has a first-class degree in Art History (Sussex, 2005). 

Having performed extensively in both the UK and Spain, Yinka co-founded contemporary flamenco company dotdotdot dance in 2014. Most notably the company presented Yinka’s work I come to my body as a question, a reimagined Guajira with spoken word artist Toni Stuart, in SAMPLED 2017 at Sadler's Wells and The Lowry, following their Wild Card at the Lilian Baylis.  In 2015, Yinka began a collaborative creation with former principal Alvin Ailey dancer Asha Thomas: CLAY, this work has participated in various European festivals including Dance Umbrella’s Out of the System in 2017 (UK). Yinka was also featured in Miguel Angel Rosales’ documentary film Gurumbé: Canciones de tu Memoria Negra (2016) the first Spanish film to highlight the influence its African population had on Spanish culture, particularly Flamenco. Yinka has subsequently performed alongside the film on its tours to the US, Africa, Latin America and Europe. Yinka is currently touring Spain in Chloé Brulé and Marco Vargas’ production Cuerpos Celestes. Later this year, she will be collaborating with Dorothée Munyaneza on her latest work Mailles. Graves is also developing her first solo work The Disappearing Act.

Image 13 - credit: Femi Odufunade