Black History Month programme 2022

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in venues across Reading

October 2022

1st – 31st October 2022

Black History Month was established in the USA by Dr Carter G Woodson, a black American historian who created a month (February) for African American people to have the opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge themselves and their achievements.

In England, Black History Month was first celebrated in October 1987, in African Jubilee year, as part of a drive to improve racial harmony in London. It has since grown to encompass the whole country and to recognise and embrace the contributions and traditions of other black communities.

From 3rd September 2022

Free entry

Abstract art is about much more than imitating the world as we see it and it can be many different things. It can be an exploration of notions that all artists think about like colour, shape, space, composition, or materials. It can be an expression of emotion. It can seduce or repel us with optical effects, and it can be the result of experiment, chance, even accident. Often it demands our attention and always it repays our investigation.

The exhibition includes works by great abstract artists like Terry Frost, Steven Buckley, Prunella Clough and renowned black artist Sylbert Bolton.

Sir John Madejski Art Gallery Reading Museum Big, bold and colourful, the Abstract Art exhibition is a joyful display of paintings and sculptures from the Reading Museum collection.

1 – 5 October

Rivermead Leisure Complex, Richfield Avenue, Reading


The Bengali Cultural Society present their annual Autumn Festival popularly known as Sharad Utsav or Durga Puja (Dusshera). This festival is celebrated widely in all parts of India and abroad by a multi-cultural and an immensely diverse diaspora. Bengalis celebrate this festival all over the world by worshipping the Goddess of ‘Shakti’ (Durga) who is revered as the Female Form of the Supreme Being.

For more information visit

3 October, 1.30pm

Online with Reading Museum



For black history month Reading Museum will offer a free Black History Virtual Session. Designed in partnership with Culturemix Arts for KS2 and KS3 school groups, the virtual session is an introduction to black history and its importance for understanding our local history.

The free event for schools will take place on Monday 3rd October at 1.30pm. Booking is essential. Please email to book a place for your class. Visit our website at https:// schools/virtual-sessions for more information about our virtual sessions.

Passionate about Black History Month and about its place in Reading?

We are looking for people to get involved to help grow the programme of events during Black History Month and beyond. To get involved or register your interest please email

producer and bass guitar supremo Don Chandler. Sign up to perform or attend. Don’t miss this exciting evening of live reggae music, dancing, special guest performances with a Caribbean style bar. Tickets are £10 in advance via Eventbrite or more on the door. Friday 7 October, 7pm – 11.30pm CultureMix Arts & Music Centre, 7 Queens Walk, Reading, RG1 7QF REGGAE FRIDAYS –OPEN MIC NIGHTThursday 6 October, 6pm Council Chamber, Civic Offices, Bridge Street, Reading Come and join a lively debate and put your questions to a panel following a ‘Question-Time’ format, with free entry and refreshments available. This year’s panellists are; MC Naphtali, RG2 Radio, and CEO, GB Production Cllr Jason Brock, leader of Reading Borough Council Yvonne Yew, CEO & Chief Editor, Reading Caribbean Express News Tony Charles, Award Winning Entrepreneur & Personal Trainer Josh Wilson, Senior Pastor, also Chairman, Bethel United Football Club Keith Seville, Award Winning Publisher, Author, Mentor (Panel Chair) For more information contact 07932 900222 BLACK HISTORY MONTH 2022 –THE BIG DEBATE Young people up to 16 years old are welcome to come along to free steel band workshops courtesy of RASPO (Reading All Steel Percussion Orchestra). CHILDREN’S STEEL BAND WORKSHOPS Tuesday 4, 11, 18 & 25 October, 4.30pm – 5.30pm CultureMix Arts & Music Centre, 7 Queens Walk, Reading, RG1 7QF

Saturday 8 October, 3.30– 6.30pm

Reading YMCA, 34 Parkside Road, Reading, RG30 2DD


The Jamaica Society and Friends presents an educational and inspirational event. Presentations – Poetry – Music – Refreshments

Monday 10 October, 12noon – 4pm

Oxford Road Community Centre, 344 Oxford Road, Reading, RG30 1AF


An open day featuring a pictorial exhibition tracking the history of Acre, and its work with community partners.

Staff will be on hand to talk to you about the work of Acre and light refreshments will be provided.

Friday 14 October, 7pm – 8.30pm

Central Library, Abbey Square, Reading, RG1 3BQ

Live screening of Paterson

Joseph telling the story of Charles Ignatius Sancho

This free event will see acclaimed British actor Paterson Joseph draw from his highly-anticipated debut novel to tell the extraordinary story of 18th-century writer, abolitionist and composer Charles Ignatius Sancho - live from the British Library.

Charles’s story began with his birth on board a slave ship in c.1729, before being orphaned and sold into slavery. Transported across the Atlantic to Britain at the age of two before escaping enslavement and developing a career as a businessman, writer and composer who sat at the very heart of Georgian London, Charles became the first Black person to vote in Britain and led the fight to end slavery.

Beginning with a dramatic reading from his new book, Paterson Joseph shares Charles Ignatius Sancho’s incredible life story and explores what it meant to be a Black Briton living at this time, and how historical fiction can help to breathe fresh life into real historical figures.

Supported by Berkshire Community Foundation Tickets: Adult £6.00 Children (under 12) £3.00 Pay at the door

Concert Hall, Blagrave


Jeneba Kanneh-Mason, Piano

J.S.Bach | Prelude and Fugue in C# minor

Debussy | Estampes

Scriabin | Piano Sonata No.2 Coleridge Taylor | Collection of Works

Liszt | Vallee D’Obermann

Liszt | Hungarian Rhapsody No.2

Jeneba Kanneh-Mason is nineteen years old and holds the Victoria Robey Scholarship at The Royal College of Music, studying piano with Vanessa Lalarche.

Jeneba has won numerous prizes, including Keyboard Category Finalist in BBC Young Musician 2018, winner of the Murs du Son Prize at the Lagny-Sur-Marne International Piano Competition in France 2014 and The Nottingham Young Musician 2013.

Tuesday 11 October, 7.30pm
Street, Reading JENEBA
Featuring three full soundsystems, DJs and vocalists “inna roots n dub style”: JAHREVELATIONMUZIK with Cecil Reuben from Brixton AFRICAN ROOTS from Reading MANDINKA WARRIOR from Swindon (full crew) Plus Caribbean food and stalls. All tribes. All humanity welcome. One Love. Dance for freedom and equality. Up you mighty race onward and forward! £7 entry before 11pm. £10 thereafter. For more information call 07765 501687 Reading Dub Club presents… A BLACK HISTORY MONTH CELEBRATION Saturday 15 October, 9pm – 2am The Atrium, Scours Lane, Reading, RG30 6AY Friday 21 October, 7.30pm – 9.30pm Reading Minster Church, St Mary’s Butts, Reading, RG1 2LS Reading Minster Annual Lecture presents Mpho Tutu Van Furth


I Belong

Sasha Davina stars in this 50 minutes

social issue play about the challenges of a Black student attending a predominantly White learning institution and trying to fit in.

After a public confrontation with a lecturer, the Black student gains allies who vow to fight racism, discrimination and injustice at their university and the world over. One conversation at a time.

Running time: 50 minutes

Age Guidance: Suitable for all ages

Saturday 22 October, 5pm South Street, 21 South Street, Reading

Monday 24 October, 6.30pm – 8.30pm

Council Chamber, Reading Borough Council offices, Bridge Street, Reading, RG1 2LU

Annual General Meeting –

Thursday 27 October, 6pm – 8.30pm

Council Chamber, Reading Borough Council offices, Bridge Street, Reading, RG1 2LU


Acre and Utulivu Women’s Group are celebrating community volunteers with awards in order to amplify the communities’ voices and inspire and empower them to continue with the valuable work they do.


The hard road to gaining recognition & Equality - tracing the origins of Acre and its previous iterations with guest speakers Jane Lane (educationist & founding member) and Joe Williams (Alderman of Reading Borough and the first black Councillor at Berkshire County).

The awards will be under different categories based on the issues we continue to address in the community in order to amplify the communities’ voices, inspire and empower them to continue with the valuable work they do.


Live! is a celebration event for RASPO’s 25th anniversary. The show features the award winning orchestra’s latest repertoire and a Caribbean style drinks bar. Tickets are £10 via Eventbrite, or £30 for a family of four. Free entry for children under 12. RASPO Live! Friday 28 October, 7.30pm – 10.30pm CultureMix Arts & Music Centre, 7 Queens Walk, Reading RG1 7QF An exhibition of work by artists and refugees featuring fabric art pieces made with members of the Reading refugee community working with fabric artist Ravinder Kaur. EXHIBITION OF FABRIC ART Sunday 30 October, 11am – 4pm The Rising Sun Arts Centre, 30 Silver Street, Reading, RG1 2ST


Organised by Reading International Development Forum. The Forum aims to celebrate Reading’s diverse communities and action groups. The programme highlights the many international activities, twinning links and solidarity in Reading. The theme highlighted this year is:

hungry for change

Let us act together to:

Create a food system that respects food sovereignty

Protect biodiversity by healing the soil and air for life on earth

Protect all human rights

Prevent the displacement of people caused by land theft, war, environmental injustice and climate change

Create an economic system that serves the needs of people and planet The Festival includes Black History Month.

Monday 10 October – 11 November 2022

The Pavilion, 143-145 Oxford Rd, Reading RG1 7UY


A new exhibition at the Lifespring Church at the Pavilion, in West Reading. The exhibition uncovers the hidden stories of the people who are the ‘life’ of the Oxford Road. The exhibition celebrates ‘Lifespring Stories’ through audio and visual media.

Reading Council’s High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) commissioned the project from artists Baker Street Productions Ltd in partnership with community researchers from the Human Geography Department, University of Reading, as part of its ongoing cultural project, funded by Historic England.

The free exhibition, housed in the foyer of the Lifespring Church, is open to the public 4 days a week, Tuesday – Friday from 10 am to 2 pm –no need to book.

Photo from Gab Gibek, website

A unique community newspaper, celebrating the diverse and rich culture of the Oxford Road is now available from ‘The Oxford Road Times’ is a oneoff, limited-edition, free newspaper, telling the stories, and highlighting the creativity, of the Oxford Road. It has been distributed in newsagents, shops, libraries and outlets along and near the Oxford Road in West Reading.

Within its pages is documentation of a range of happenings, events and workshops that the artists delivered with various community groups in the area during the summer of 2022. Highlights include ‘Bearing Witness to Grey’ a study of the colours found in between the IDR and West Reading Bridge, and ‘Mango rains’, seven stories from seven local people delving into different voices and personal histories. It also includes an insert inside the paper: Postcards from the Oxford Road.

Reading Council’s High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) commissioned the project from visual artists Lisa-Marie Gibbs and Philip Newcombe, as part of the ongoing cultural project, funded by Historic England. For more background on the project visit The Oxford Road Times instagram @oxfordroadtimes




Monday 7 November, 7.30pm
Bash 2022 The Hexagon, Queens Walk, ReadingThe BIG
Bash 2022 Slapstick Festival’s annual comedy fundraiser is back at Reading’s Hexagon theatre for a fifth year running with yet another outstanding series of top comedy performers lining-up to help raise funds for Bristol’s Classic comedy festival*. You can expect a rare comedy set from none other than the brilliant comedian and actor ALAN DAVIES along with other comedy legends including Mock the Week star and comedian ED BYRNE and Stand up comedian and television personality STEPHEN K AMOS. With The Last Leg’s ADAM HILLS and NABIL ABDULRASHID just added to the line-up. With new additions to the line up announced soon ~ book now to avoid disappointment. Join us for this unforgettable night of laughter and fun, for one night only. * Slapstick Festival is a not-for-profit silent/classic comedy festival that’s been celebrating the finest in vintage comedy for almost two decades Featuring Alan Davies + Stephen K Amos + Ed Byrne + Nabil Abdulrashid + Adam Hills + more to be announced

Interactive theatre. 16+ by JAMAL HAREWOOD

Wednesday 2nd November, 8pm


They’re pretty special. They give a person the opportunity to express themselves. They can be read. They can be heard. They can be spoken. They allow us to communicate. I was always told that it’s not what you say, but how you say it - is this true? Become the contestant or host in an audience-led gameshow that put the words we use under a magnifying glass.

WORD is a 2016 Spring Festival co-commission recipient with additional support from Battersea Arts Centre, Theatre Delicatessen in Sheffield, Stratford Circus Arts Centre, the University of Chichester & Arts Council England National Lottery fund.

Running Time: 60 mins + post show discussion (audience interactivity can impact on time)

Age guidance: 16+ whats-on/word-jamal-harewood

Friday 4th November, 8pm


Have you ever seen a polar bear in the flesh? Been close enough to notice just how white these magnificent mammals are? Here is your chance to get up close and personal - remove your shoes, coats and bags, as you are about to encounter the Arctic’s whitest predator, with black skin.

Join a well-trained member of staff as we enter the polar bear’s natural habitat and experience this animal like never before. Be one of the privileged few to say they have pet, played with, and fed a polar bear.

This is an audience-led participatory performance that uses the excitement of a polar bear encounter to explore race, identity and the community.

Running time: 60 mins + A post show discussion (audience interactivity can impact on time).

Recommended: 16+ whats-on/privileged-jamal-harewood

South Street, 21 South Street, Reading

Howling Wind is a portrayal of the Windrush story, starting in the 1950s when British institutions began to actively recruit Black British subjects in the West Indies to come to help rebuild the “Mother Land” following the devastation caused by WW2. Mya and her siblings are left behind with relatives for several years.

Reconciliation is challenging for 14-year-old Mya, but she excels in school amid racism, discrimination and family challenges.

The play outlines both the struggles and the many successes and achievements of the Windrush generation and their descendants.

Written by Noa Abraham and produced by Steve Macauley, Howling Wind is a must see for the entire family.

Running time: 70 minutes

Age Guidance: All ages

Every effort was made to ensure that details in the diary were correct at the time of going to press. However Reading Borough Council cannot accept responsibility for any changes, amendments and cancellations of any events or activities listed, nor any inaccuracies which may have been printed in error. @EventsinReading eventsinreading Throughout October