· +44 (0)191 440 4124


Bangladesh Festival

270 The Bangladesh Festival was a celebration of south Asian arts that ran alongside the Bangladesh v England test match at Durham County Cricket Ground in June '05. It began in the weeks leading up to the match with arts, music and dance workshops in local schools and youth centres and ended in an all singing all dancing extravaganza of music, performance and carnival on the day.

Artists, dancers and musicians worked with schools and youth groups introducing them to different cultures through the arts. Indian artist Meera George worked with local children introducing them to Asian body decoration and teaching them about the origins of 'mehndi' (henna) and 'alpana' (ritual painting). They learnt when it is used and the importance of pattern and imagery in Asian ritual.

257 Seventy children at Blaydon West Primary School worked closely with Samba drummers and dancers. GemArts also worked in conjunction with bollywood dancers to provide six weeks of workshops to young people at Whitehouse Lane Youth Centre in Gateshead. Both sets of workshops culminated in a final peice which was performed to crowds at the cricket match.

268 On the day GemArts programmed a spectacular cast of performers which engaged and delighted the crowds. 'Walk the Plank' kick started the lunchtime entertainment by leaping out of an enormous Dhol drum onto the field. Scores of dancers in brightly coloured costumes spread across the pitch as Bhangra music filled the arena.

269 Outside of the pitch stilt walkers towered over supporters in Maharajah robes and colourful outfits. The 'Bollywood Brass Band' snaked its way through the crowds playing hit songs from well known South Asian films; setting the tone for the day and getting people into the festival feel.

If your feet needed a rest; henna artists were on hand to decorate you with traditional menhdi patterns. The performers brought the day together, they really engaged with the crowds whether they were queuing for food and drinks, watching the dancers or getting involved in a friendly game of cricket with one of our stilt walkers in whites.

Funding for this project was awarded by Culture10
Photographs courtesy of Culture10