Discover poetry, streamed theatre, visual art and more during Refugee Week 2020

As Coventry Welcomes Festival returns next week, coinciding with Refugee Week 2020, and as a Theatre of Sanctuary, we’re excited to be joining the celebrations once again with a packed programme of online activity including poetry, theatre, visual art and more from 15-20 June.

On Monday 15 June, we’ll be introducing an original poem, Imagine Kindness, composed especially for the festival by Ethiopian poet Biruk Kebede. At 12.30pm, we’ll be sharing a video of Biruk reading the original poem in his native Amharic language, followed by an English translation read by Lew Hackleman. Lunchtime poetry readings will then continue throughout the week, with new translations of the poem in different languages read out at the same time each day.

Also on Monday, at 8.30am, Roma and Dance Historian Rosamaria Cisneros will be taking over our regular #CityWarmUps slot. A member of the Roma Project and researcher at Coventry University’s Centre for Dance Research, Rosa worked closely with the Belgrade Theatre on our Generations exhibition, shining a light on families from Coventry’s Roma community.

Join her bright and early to get your week off to a healthy, happy start as she takes you through a warm-up she uses to get herself ready for dancing. At 2.30pm on Tuesday, she will also be running our Storytime session with a story for children.

At 7.30pm on Tuesday, our 2017 production Made in India will receive its online premiere. Tune in via our Facebook page or via Tamasha’s YouTube channel to watch online.


Co-produced by the Belgrade Theatre and Tamasha in association with Pilot Theatre, Satinder Chohan’s Made in India is a powerful exploration of motherhood and India’s commercial surrogacy industry. Formerly seen as the world’s commercial surrogacy hub, India’s laws around the practice changed in 2016, shortly before the play was staged in Coventry.

The play was an important stepping stone in the career of our Co-Artistic Director Corey Campbell, who served as its Assistant Director through the Regional Theatre Young Directors Scheme. The play will be available to watch online for free until Tuesday 30 June.

On Thursday 18 June, we’ll be showcasing a documentary project by Ayesha Jones, a local photographer and videographer now working as Audience Development Officer at the Belgrade Theatre.
Created with Counterpoint Arts and Open Generation, her 2015 short film “Where do you come from?“, exploring her family’s history and experiences of racism, won Best Film in the “Our Voices” competition. The film will be shown on our website alongside a collection of family photographs taken in the Midlands and further afield.

On Friday 19 June, we’ll be sharing of a short film combining visual art and audio from refugee and migrant women living in Coventry. Titled Translated: Imagine, the video is the culmination of an ongoing collaboration between the Belgrade Theatre and Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre, which builds on our earlier Translated project.

The film will be shared publicly via our Facebook page and YouTube channel at 1pm on Friday 19 June, following a Zoom discussion about the project with a small invited audience.

Finally, from 2-4.30pm on Saturday 20 June, our Springboard company Maokwo will present Imagine My Reality, an online conversation and artistic showcase inviting audiences to imagine the realities of life as an asylum seeker, refugee, migrant and/or person of colour in this current time of crisis.

Run in collaboration with Slanguages, the event will feature guest speakers including Coventry South MP Zarah Sultana and Birmingham City University’s Professor Rajinder Dudrah. The event is free to attend, and you can sign up now to join in via Eventbrite.

Embedded Community Producer Krysztina Winkel said: “Bringing people together in these strange and difficult times is certainly a huge challenge, but with everyone facing extraordinary struggles during lockdown, it also feels more important than ever to stay connected. So while the doors to our building remain temporarily closed, we’re delighted to be working with a diverse group of artists and participants to unite people online in a celebration of our shared humanity.”

Theatre Practitioner Kim Hackleman added: “Theatres and the arts in general are vital in our communities – offering inspiration, entertainment and moments of joy to get us through dark times. We’re very proud to have been officially recognised as a Theatre of Sanctuary and our mission to provide an open, welcoming and creative space for all ties in perfectly with the spirit of Coventry Welcomes and Refugee Week.”