Coventry UK City of Culture launches ‘The Future Show’

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TODAY SAW Coventry, UK City of Culture 2021, launch a specially commissioned podcast/audio series The Future Show Coventry 2020.

How can young people feel free when their movements, ambitions and prospects seem at threat of being restricted

Titilola Dawudu, Programme Manager

The series features the work of 12 young writers from the city who offer their creative views of their future and of their home city.

Recorded remotely during lockdown, the series of audio chapters offers insight into the lives, hopes and fears of the 12 young writers – passing the baton on from one another as the story moves on far into the future.

As the future unfolds, they explore what their imagined future might have in store, including the mundanity of lockdown, relationships with family and friends, dystopian predictions of the effects of social media, and forecasts of final moments on this earth.

The series reflects the resilience and creativity of young people in the face of enormous challenges, locally, nationally and internationally. 

‘The Future Show’ was originally written and performed by theatre-maker and playwright Deborah Pearson.

She took the audience through her own imagined future from the minutes after the performance ended to her eventual death decades ahead.

The Future Show originally premiered in London at Battersea Arts Centre and went on to tour the Edinburgh Festival and venues and festivals across the world.

These 12 young creative had the opportunity to collaborate with Pearson using the score from the original performance, to create a new version of ‘The Future Show’ to reflect their own lives.

The Future Show Coventry 2020 featured writers are:

Snya Riaz – from the beginning of the recording Snya examines the many different ways she will connect with the outside world, through the comfort of her room.

Nadira Sultana – Nadira boldly addresses the audiences directly by delving into the many different futures they will lead, all connected through listening to the podcast.

Angela Mhlanga – from taking the bins out to making a cup of tea, Angela analyses the mundane moments if of everyday life with an invasive detail and description.

Riya Parshad – Riya starts by taking the listeners on a step by step journey of a trip outside the home, focusing on the repetition of the commute, thoughts and behaviour.

Esther Adesanoye – Esther starts off by creating a vivid picture of the day after the recording, using rainy weather and the warmth of home toportray comfort and unease in both settings.

Malizah – Malizah’s future begins with light hearted dialogue with housemates accompanied by music, dancing and laughter, soon the conversation begins to unveil deeper and more serious emotions as they speak on the impacts of lockdown and home life.

Mafalda Nunes – Mafalda bounces through the calendar using specific dates to determine how life progresses financially, emotionally and mentally.

Sam Colby – in the darkness of his room Sam is acutely aware of his solitude and the surroundings silence, Sam’s future-self listens out for suspicious noises and fears the presence of an intruder.

Awandiswe Mkwananzi –Awandiswe explores life a year on from now and speaks on the continuing plight of an unjust society.

Lanaire Aderemi – in Lanaire’s rendition of the future Twitter has been taken over by an elite few creating a dystopian online world that enforces control on society online and offline.

Lewis Goode – Lewis shares a personal story about life, death and family, Lewis predicts an enlightening moment that results in a powerful change in perspective.

Chrissie Okorie – Chrissie gives many examples of how thefuture will be very similar to the past ultimately to consider how the world will continue as normal after her own death and the listener’s death.

Riya Parshad, who contributed to the podcast, said: “I found being on The Future Show project very inspiring.

“The entire concept is so brilliant and abstract that you can’t help but be fascinated by it. Working alongside others on this project was truly amazing and I’m glad to have been a part of it.”

Titilola Dawudu, Programme Manager for Young People and Youthfulness for Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “The restrictions we have faced in recent months fly in the face of what it means to be youthful.

“How can young people feel free when their movements, ambitions and prospects seem at threat of being restricted?

“The Future Show demonstrates that even at a time of uncertainty and trepidation, the creativity and imagination of young people breaks through these barriers.”

Claire Doherty MBE, Director of Situations says: “This is an imaginative leap into an uncertain future from the confines of lockdown.

“As the minutes, then hours, years and decades ahead unfold in this tale, we can’t help but think of what our own futures hold and to be reminded of the chance we have to change the story ahead.” 

The Future Show Coventry 2020 is a collaboration between Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 and Situations, an arts production company that specialises in public arts projects (situations.org.uk) and the writer guides were Deborah Pearson, Andy Smith and Ira Brand.

The publication of The Future Show Coventry 2020 coincides with the start of Coventry UK City of Culture’s Youthful Cities programme, a major international programme for young adults to creatively respond to important, urgent and youth-focused issues in their cities.

The launch will be marked with the publication of a new report, and the announcement of Coventry’s international partner cities.

Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 has placed young people at the heart of its way of working, and forming a central part of the creative process. Coventry is a young city, seven years younger than the national average and Coventry 2021’s programme works with young people to empower them to co-create across the programme and actively engaging their voice in shaping the city they want to live in.

Through co-creation and participation, young people are playing a key role in democratising culture across the programme, and making the positive changes in society that they want to see.

Coventry City of Culture will officially commence its year-long programme in May 2021.

The year-long programme will reflect Coventry as a youthful, diverse, modern city, demonstrating that culture is a force that changes lives, moving Coventry and the region forward.

Co-created with national and local partners, and grassroots organisations across the city, the programme will include major international artistic events, world premieres and commissions across theatre, music, dance, literature, comedy and visual art.


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