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Aberdeen launches new weekend festival Rise Up!

By Lewis McBlane

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A NEW festival in Aberdeen will celebrate north east Black and People of Colour (BPoC) creatives.

Ica Headlam, head of Aberdeen organisation We are Here Scotland.
Ica Headlam, head of Aberdeen organisation We are Here Scotland.

The first Rise Up! festival will take over two major Aberdeen venues this weekend (May 13-14) to stage insightful performances, talks and workshops.

The weekend will celebrate north-east and Scottish BPoC Creatives during events at the Lemon Tree and the Music Hall.

We Are Here Scotland, an organisation which aims to diversify arts in Scotland, is directing the project which is being commissioned by Aberdeen Performing Arts.

Aberdeen Performing Arts director of programming and creative projects, Ben Torrie said: “Providing a stage for emerging talent and creating space for all voices to be heard is so important for a thriving artistic environment, so Rise Up! is a hugely significant addition to Aberdeen’s cultural calendar this year.

"The sheer breadth of talent from the artists taking part is incredible and this festival is a fantastic opportunity to discover more about the diverse range of creatives here in the north-east and beyond.

“As well as the headline events there are plenty of free ticketed talks and workshops taking place on Saturday and we hope as many people as possible come along to check out what’s on offer.”

Headline events include Rise Up! In Our Own Words on Friday, May 13 in the Music Hall’s Big Sky Studio, and Rise Up! With Our Voices on Saturday, May 14 at the Lemon Tree.

In Our Own Words is an evening of performances by artists of colour, exploring and celebrating themes of identity, culture and a sense of place in Scotland.

Aberdeen's own 16 year-old singer-songwriter Aiysha is set to be a highlight, along with Aberdeen-based spoken word artist Noon Salah Eldin, Glaswegian performer Paix and poet Mae Diansangu.

The event aims to showcase "the power of art as a tool for social representation and change".

With Our Voices will unite up and coming and established artists who are changing the narrative within Scotland's music scene.

Celebrated Aberdeen rapper Chef joins Edinburgh singer-songwriter Danny Cliff on a line up including Glasgow rapper Clarissa Woods, songwriter and soundsmith Kapil Seshasayee and DJ and visual artist DIJA.

Hard hitting play One Mississippi will also kick off as part of the festival, at the Lemon Tree on Saturday, May 14 at 7pm.

Exploring the impact of childhood experiences on men’s adult lives, One Mississippi blends humour and storytelling with physical theatre to deliver uncompromising insights into what takes us to breaking point.

Free talks and workshops will also take place as part of the festival.

The Music Hall's Big Sky Studio, on Saturday 14 May, will host talks on topics including representation within Scottish creative industries, climate narratives, knowing your worth, and culture and identity as an artistic influence among others.

We Are Here Scotland Director Ica Headlam said: “We are pleased to be working in partnership with Aberdeen Performing Arts on Rise Up!

"We feel that it is a very important and unique opportunity to spotlight a variety of Black and PoC artists and performers from the North East of Scotland and further afield.

"With a variety of performances, free panels, and workshops, we hope these events bring new and diverse engagement for Aberdeen’s creative community.”

The Music Hall’s Coda Café will be open throughout for refreshments between events.

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