Your Local Arena

Celebrating Carnival with Your Local Arena

We are kicking off our Digital Autumn programme by partnering with Your Local Arena, a project revisiting the BBC Arena documentary archive, to celebrate ‘Carnival’. 

Made in 1986, the BBC’s Calypso, Carnival and Steel Pan and Three Kings of Calypso were part of a special series of Arena films entitled Caribbean Nights. Celebrating all things Caribbean just a few short years after riots had highlighted the country’s racial tensions, the programmes informed the UK about the rich cultural life of its citizens of West Indian heritage, connecting people through music and dance, traditions and stories.  

Host Darcus Howe chairs a lively discussion with Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes, publisher and activist John La Rose and Trinidad’s 1986 Calypso King David Rudder, with performances from The Mighty Bomber, Arrow, The Renegades and David Rudder himself. Alongside this, Three Kings of Calypso celebrates top music pioneers Sparrow, Kitch and Roaring Lion.

Watch these ground-breaking documentaries for five days only at ilkleylitfest.org.uk. The accompanying new short film has academic Emily Zobel Marshall, literature producer Melanie Abrahams, sociologist Max Farrar and author Anthony Joseph responding to these Arena archives and talking about the resonances they have in an era of Black Lives Matter.  

Enjoy exclusive new poems inspired by the film from local poets Khadijah Ibrahiim and Michelle Scally-Clarke and learn how to start your own personal writing journey with a masterclass from noted non-fiction author Colin Grant, whose West Yorkshire Playhouse-commissioned play Queen of Chapeltown told the history of Leeds, the oldest UK Carnival. 

The films will be available to watch here from 10am on Tuesday 6 October 2020 to 10pm on Saturday 10 October 2020.

Your Local Arena is a Lucy Hannah & Speaking Volumes co-production featuring BBC Arena’s film archive. Funded by Arts Council England.