Robin Hood

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Classy panto shenanigans: Ashley Campbell (King Richard) and Michael Bertenshaw (Prince John). Photo credit Robert Day

Theatre: Theatre Royal Stratford East
Play: Robin Hood
Writers: Trish Cooke and Robert Hyman
Director: Kerry Michael

Review by Patsy Antoine

It’s panto season (oh, no it isn’t, oh yes it is…) and the team which created the Olivier Award-nominated Dick Whittington takes Robin Hood’s well-worn tale, adds a fictional East End district and injects it with urban cool.

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Arnolfini’s writer-in-residence


Applications for a writer-in-residence, to accompany an exhibition of John Akomfrah’s film installation Vertigo Sea from 16 January to 10 April 2016 is open. Vertigo Sea, a three-screen film, first seen as part of Okwui Enwezor’s All the World’s Futures exhibition, is a sensual, poetic and cohesive meditation on man’s relationship with the sea and exploration of its role in the history of slavery, migration, and conflict.
Fusing archival material, readings from classical sources, and newly shot footage, the work explicitly highlights the greed, horror and cruelty of the whaling industry. This residency allows a writer to spend time at Arnolfini working in response to the ‪‎exhibition‬. The writer-in-residence is expected to provide an independent perspective and response through which our audience’s engagement with the exhibition may be enhanced.

For more information and an application form visit here and email

Deadline: 5:00pm on 11 December 2016

Image: John Akomfrah, Vertigo Sea 2015 © Smoking Dogs Films.

Applications wanted for Sheffield Doc/Fest Youth Jury

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The Sheffield Doc/Fest Youth Jury, which celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2016, is now open to anyone aged 18-22 living in the UK who is passionate about documentary film and wants to be part of next year’s Sheffield Doc/Fest, which takes place from 10-15 June. Since its introduction in 2006 this free, nurturing scheme has every year given five documentary enthusiasts aged between 18-22 unprecedented access to industry professionals at a ‘‪‎hothouse‬’ event, as well as the opportunity to view eight festival docs and shortlist five for the Youth Jury prize. The initiative is free of charge for participants. Last year 3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets was awarded the Youth Jury prize. Past winners include The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz (2014), God Loves Uganda (2013), Photographic Memory (2012) and We are Poets (2011).

For more information and an application form visit here.

Deadline: Friday 15 January 2016

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

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Black Panthers from Sacramento, Free Huey Rally, Bobby Hutton Memorial Park in Oakland, CA, 1969. Photo courtesy of Pirkle Jones and Ruth-Marion Baruch

Film: The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
Director: Stanley Nelson
Genre: Documentary
Producers: Independent Lens and Firelight Films
Distributed by: Dogwoof Films

Review by Patsy Antoine

Award-winning director Stanley Nelson is well known for films which delve into the controversial nature of African American history.

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Here We Go

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Dying with dignity: Patrick Godfrey (Old Man), Hazel Holder (carer). Photo credit Keith Pattison

Theatre: Lyttelton Theatre, National Theatre
Play: Here We Go
Playwright: Caryl Churchill
Director: Dominic Cooke

Review by Esha Chaman

Caryl Churchill’s latest work contemplates death in the most tedious manner. Unfortunately even the odd spark of cracking humour can’t save this short production from offering anything other than a disappointingly dull watch.

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The Reluctant Dead

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Book: The Reluctant Dead
Author: Nuzo Onoh
Publisher: Canaan-Star Publishing
Price: £9.99

Review by Ronke Lawal

The Reluctant Dead is a unique collection of six spine-chilling ghost horror stories set in Nigeria. Each story is more terrifying than the next with a lesson about the intricacies of human nature in each one.

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Book: Americus
Author: Michael Datcher
Publisher: Safkhet Publishing
Price: £9.99

Review by Barbara Grant

Spanning the ‘long depression’ in post slavery America, between 1873 and 1927, Americus is the name of a black family of male funeral directors based in East Street Illinois.

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Vinnie Got Blown Away

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Book: Vinnie Got Blown Away
Author: Jeremy Cameron
Publisher: Hope Road Publishing
Price: £7.99

Review by Catrina Walters

Set in Walthamstow, north east London, Vinnie Got Blown Away is a brilliant and humorous crime murder mystery about Nicky Burkett, a nineties cheeky chappy and wide-boy who has been in and out of prison for theft and various misdemeanours.

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As You Like It

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Fighting for love: Centre Joe Bannister (Orlando) and Leon Annor (Charles). Photo credit Johan Persson

Theatre: Olivier Theatre, National Theatre
Play: As You Like It
Playwright: William Shakespeare
Director: Polly Findlay

Review by Esha Chaman

William Shakespeare’s pastoral comedy is transported to the digital age in Polly Findlay’s contemporary adaptation, where banishment, sibling rivalry, love and romantic complications drive the cast to take refuge in the Forest of…Furniture.

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Anita and Me

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Bad influence?: Mandeep Dhillon (Mandeep) and Jalleh Alizadeh (Anita). Photo credit Ellie Kurttz

Theatre: Theatre Royal Stratford East
Play: Anita and Me
Writer: Meera Syal
Adapted by: Tanika Gupta
Director: Roxana Silbert

Review by Esha Chaman

Tanika Gupta’s musical adaptation does justice to Meera Syal’s coming-of-age novel and tells the story of a British Asian teenage girl who wants to swap “rice and dhal” for “fish fingers and chips” with comedic ardour and horrific honesty.

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The Silent Striker

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Book: The Silent Striker
Author: Peter Kalu
Publisher: Hope Road Publishing
Price: £6.99

Review by Angela Howell

Marcus is 14 years old and from the local council estate. His school football coach considers him a genius, but in class he is considered a disruptive student. Marcus sees school as a waste of time and feels that his teachers, especially Miss Podborsky (who teaches geography), are out to get him.

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