Online workshops to throw the spotlight on race issues

Shoe shop owner Emily Jupp who runs Milly J’s in Tombland Norwich tells her story to the Rewriting Rural Racism team for...

Shoe shop owner Emily Jupp who runs Milly J’s in Tombland, Norwich tells her story to the Rewriting Rural Racism team for one of the project’s films. - Credit: Rewriting Rural Racism

Students will learn about race issues in Norfolk thanks to a pioneering project led by Sheringham Little Theatre.

Students from schools, mostly in north Norfolk and Great Yarmouth, will look at key figures in black history, discuss 'colour blindness', white privilege and how people identify themselves in a series of online workshops.

Tilda Fassih from Sheringham and Ashton Owen from Norwich will deliver the hour-long sessions, starting from February.

Sheringham Little Theatre volunteers Tilda Fassih, left and Katie Thompson decorate the venue's wind

Tilda Fassih, left, is co-delivering the workshops and Katie Thompson, right, is the project co-ordinator. Picture: SLT - Credit: Sheringham Little Theatre

Miss Fassih, 21, said:  “It’s the kind of workshop I wish I had had when I was at school, and will encourage young people to do more research into the issues.”

As part of the programme Mr Owen, 25, will perform a one-man show called Outskirts, which recounts real-life mixed race experiences, including hurtful words and animal noise chanting.

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He said: “We hope the workshops will start students on a journey into British history they are not normally taught in schools, see them having new discussions and encourage them to embrace their true identities.”

Ashton Owen is one of four young people involved in a project called Rewriting Rural Racism at Sheri

Ashton Owen will also deliver the workshops on race, and perform his one-man show called Outskirts as part of the project. Picture: Supplied by SLT/Richard Batson - Credit: Supplied by SLT/Richard Batson

The workshops are part of Rewriting Rural Racism, an Arts Council-funded scheme led by young performers based at the theatre.

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Part of the project will be to shoot a series of short films, which highlight the story of migration in the county stretching back to pre-historic times, Viking and Norman invasions, medieval Dutch 'Strangers' and wartime refugees.

Great Yarmouth’s Time and Tide Museum is supporting the films, and Thursford 23-year-old Daisy Winchester is also involved, carrying out research ahead of the filming.

Project co-ordinator Katie Thompson, 23, from Knapton, said: “Norfolk has mainly white schools, so we hope to spark discussion about issues that don’t happen naturally.”

A screenshot for a trial workshop, led by Tilda Fassih and Ashton Owen, over Zoom. 

A screenshot for a trial workshop, led by Tilda Fassih and Ashton Owen, over Zoom. - Credit: Rewriting Rural Racism

Little Theatre director Debbie Thompson said: “This has been really exciting and positive project during such a challenging time for theatre.

“The young people behind it had been amazingly motivated and creative, and showed a lot of flexibility in lockdown to achieve what they set out to do.”

She said she hoped the workshops would have a lasting impact for the theatre in terms of adding diversity to the venue's programming and the audiences it attracts.

Debbie Thompson, director fo Sheringham Little Theatre. Picture: Richard Batson

Debbie Thompson, director of Sheringham Little Theatre. - Credit: Richard Batson

Any school or theatre venues interested in the workshops should email

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