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Musical theatre gives children an opportunity to express themselves, be exposed to difficult situations and learn how to manage these situations in a creative way.  Through the arts of dance, acting and music they learn new forms of communication in a range of unique ways.  Exposure to the arts can help improve children’s academic achievement and develop their self-expression and social skills.

At Sing a Book we are passionate about musical theatre and recognise that it is a powerful platform to tell stories that are not always easy to tell without judgement or offending.  It allows participants to form a connection with people and impact upon their lives by conveying the message in a very subtle way through the emotion of the songs.

Dido Elizabeth Belle 1761-1804 Artist: Ebun Culwin

Our productions celebrate Black historical characters that have made significant contributions to British history who come into contact with the main protagonist, Dido Belle who travels through her looking glass and was one of Britain’s first Black aristocrats from the 18th century. We encourage cast members from the community aged 7 – 18 and 55+ that have been historically underrepresented in theatre.

Dido Through the Looking Glass – The Musical

Artist: Tricia Palmer

By popular demand from parents, teachers and community members we are doing it again! The project will take place at  Goldsmiths Community Centre, SE6 1QD and will deliver a Boot Camp for performing art, African drumming and animated music video production:

  • 2 – 13 August, drama, singing, dance, script and African drumming workshops
  • 13 August, parts are allocated 
  • week commencing 16 August, creating animated music videos, which will form part of the show  
  • 16 – 27 August, Goldsmiths Music Studio, Phoenix Summer Event and rehearsals for the live show (4 & 5 September)
  • week commencing 23 August, recording of production for Black history educational resources and international viewing
  • 27 August, Supporters’ Night Reception – 6pm – 9pm
  • 4 & 5 September, live shows
  • 5 September, awards ceremony 

In this production, Dido is transported through her looking glass to Jamaica and meets one of their National Heroes who played a significant roles in the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.

If you are aged 7-18 or over 55 and would like take part in the production as a performer, narrator, volunteer or working behind the scenes, please get in touch with Evadne on 07719 131934 or email at info@singabook.com

COVID-19 precautions are in place as part of our Health & Safety policy. As a result, numbers of participants are limited and can only be accepted in advance on completion of the registration form and £5 deposit. Completed forms can be returned via email or dropped off to Goldsmiths Community Centre, London SE6 1QD on Mondays or Tuesdays 10am-2.30pm or anytime on Thursday. Once received we will advice you of how to pay the deposit. Please note, we are unable to accept walk-in bookings once the project starts.

If you have more than one child or need support with the daily fees, please give us a call and we can work something out.

The 2021 production is funded by Arts Council England, Community Waves, Crowdfunding Supporters, Arnold Clarke Community Fund and supported by Holiplay, PT Rose, Scone Palace, Goldsmith Community Centre, Sunflowers Florist, NEU Bromley & Bexley and delivered by a dedicated team of volunteers. If you are want to join our team of volunteers please get in touch.

Dido Through the Looking Glass – The Musical

Illustrator: David Hyman

After the success of Fern Meets Dido – The Musical in Croydon (October 2018), Sing a Book brought Dido Belle to Lewisham as part of the Festival of Creative Ageing (September 2019).  Dido Through the Looking Glass – The Musical was another brand new musical featuring Dido Belle, who goes through looking to meet Mary Seacole, a British-Jamaican nurse who set up her own hotel to help the soldiers during the Crimean war and Samuel Coleridge -Taylor the great English composer of African descent.

Fern Meets Dido – The Musical

A brand new musical celebration the presence of people of African decent living in Britain as far back as the 18th century
A brand new musical written by Evadne Bygrave inspired by the book ‘Fern and Kate Meets Dido Elizabeth Belle’ by David Gleave. Artist: Amy Browne

The musical took place at The Shoestring Theatre, South Norwood on 3rd and 4th November 2018.  It presented Dido Belle and raised awareness that there were wealthy aristocrats of African-enslaved descent living in England during the 18th Century.  Dido Belle grew up in Kenwood House in north London and enjoyed many privileges of wealth, but not all due to her mixed heritage.

Fern Meets Dido was an intergenerational Community Cohesion project involving local businesses that supported the project financial and in-kind. The cast was from the BME community of Croydon and aged 7 – 82. The young members began to develop skills in performing arts during the two week Boot Camp that took place in the summer holiday.  Along with our more senior members, they were totally committed to the production in preparation for their musical theatre debut.

All  4 shows, including press night, were completely sold out!  The vast majority of participants were BME,  female and from communities and groups that have been hard to reach for theatre and massively under-represented in their access to the arts as participants and audience.

By bringing the two generations together in a positive environment with a shared goal we provided opportunities to break down barriers and build a stronger community.

What did the paper say?

The Thornton Heath Chronicle