Wolverhampton Project

Wolverhampton Project

Home From Home

In the late 40s and early 50s as more and more people traveled from the Caribbean to Britain in search of a new life, many inhabitants of one Jamaican parish found themselves a new home in Wolverhampton. Hannover, in the north west of Jamaica saw several members of it’s community come and settle in Wolverhampton and before long a large Hannovarian community had formed across the ocean from their original home. As those who originally formed this community sadly become fewer and fewer the Hannover Project was formed to collect the stories of these people, celebrate their achievements and ensure that their communities history would not be lost.

For the last year they have been collecting stories and now the Touring Consortium, Pilot Theatre, Wolverhampton Grand and Gazebo Arts are uniting with the Hannover Project to turn these stories into a performance that will see a mixture of community and professional actors take to the stage of the Grand Theatre, as a curtain raiser for to To Sir, With Love, to celebrate the achievements of those who left their homeland to start a new life but ensured that each Hannovarian who came to Wolverhampton found a home away from home.

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HOME FROM HOME was a successful audience development project which reached out into Wolverhampton’s black community, many of whom are not regular Grand Theatre goers.  We worked with a group of approximately 20 young people from a BME background to create stories of Wolverhampton people who were new to England, from Hanover, Jamaica in the 1940’s/1950’s.

The Hanover Project, a charity based in Wolverhampton, helped support this work by providing real oral histories of inspirational black role models from Wolverhampton such as Dr Lyseight and Neil Prendergast. The young people then created a 20 minute drama performance on the Grand Theatre stage exploring the stories of Wolverhampton’s black community in 1940’s- 50’s which linked effectively to the historical context of TO SIR WITH LOVE, directed by Pam Cole Hudson of Gazebo Theatre Company, Wolverhampton.

The show was attended by 365 audience members, the majority of these from BME backgrounds and over half of these audience members stayed to watch To Sir With Love afterwards at a special reduced ticket offer.

The project and performance was both supported and highlighted in Wolverhampton’s Black History Month’s programme and celebrations.
Louise Bent, Education Officer, Wolverhampton Grand Theatre

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