This March, the Shifting the Dial Partnership will take over Birmingham Rep with a day of activity to mark the culmination of three years of discussion, workshop, performance and action to support young Black men's mental health resilience and address inequalities
On 25 Mar, Fix It: The Celebration will take place in spaces across The Rep with a host of events that look back on the Shifting the Dial project, reviewing the impact the project has made to the young men who have been part of the last three years and celebrating the end of the Lottery funded project in its current form.
Samina Beckford, Project Producer for Shifting the Dial said; “Over the course of the past three years, we have been able to lead the way in addressing some of the key issues that are affecting, and truly matter, to young Black men in Birmingham and the West Midlands. This special event will celebrate the launch of the Centre for Mental Healths evaluation report of Shifting the Dial and its impact.
“This three-year long project may be reaching its end, but it is certainly not the end for this kind of systems change work. It is also not the end for The Rep’s work in this field as projects such as Lightpost Theatre Company go from strength to strength. We know that the multi-agency approach to shifting the dial for young Black men works and has pathed the way for more targeted work of this kind.”
The day will feature keynote speakers from the likes of First Class Foundation, Birmingham Rep, Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust, talking through their experiences with the project and beyond. A number of panel discussions will also feature the young Black men who have benefitted from the project, discussing how their lives have been impacted by Shifting the Dial and its output.
Lightpost Theatre Company, the theatre company set up by The Rep to explore and aid with the mental health of young Black men, will also preview their brand-new production. Members of Lightpost will also lead a selection of practical music and movement workshops. The Black Pounds Project, led by Lightpost Lead Artist, CJ Lloyd Webley, will host a Marketplace in the venue showcasing a selection of black businesses from around the UK exhibiting products and services.
Previous Shifting the Dial “Fix it” events have included industry professionals and change makers coming together with young black men to lead an open, solutions-focussed conversation around a range of issues affecting young Black men from healthcare to education to employment. Shifting the Dial is a ground-breaking project to strengthen the mental health and wellbeing of young African Caribbean men led by The Rep, Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust, First Class Foundation and Centre for Mental Health.
Lightpost Theatre Company will also collaborate with South Africa’s award-winning Isango Ensemble with performances at The Rep from Thu 12 –Sat 14 May. Colliding the ensemble approaches of the two companies, this unique production invites intergenerational African-Caribbean participants from Birmingham and the West Midlands to explore Isango’s Ubuntu theatre making: multi-lingual, musical, human, spectacular.