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Theatre group fears for future of family project, as it holds Redbridge launch

PUBLISHED: 08:00 12 November 2012

An enthusiastic audience sampled the rhythm and beat of the Iroko Theatre Company during the launch event

An enthusiastic audience sampled the rhythm and beat of the Iroko Theatre Company during the launch event

Archant

A family project run by an African theatre company was launched for the fourth consecutive year in Redbridge on Thursday, but it will be its final one if funding is not found.

The Iroko Theatre Company uses African arts, theatre and music to encourage interaction between family generations.

An enthusiastic audience of 48 people sampled the rhythm and beat of African culture with a fun-filled activity session at Redbridge Central Library, Clements Road, Ilford which included batik making and story-telling.

Further events will be held in Fullwell Cross Library, High Street, Barkingside; the Keith Axon Centre, Grove Road, Chadwell Heath and Wanstead Library, Spratt Hall Road, Wanstead.

It was awarded £45,000 from the Big Lottery Fund to continue for a fourth year but its artistic director Alex Oma-Pius is looking for funding opportunities to extend its lifetime. He said: “It will be a shame, we’re sad that it’s coming to an end.

“Our hope is the feedback will demonstrate the need for the workshops and someone will be able to recognise the quality of the programme.

“[Thursday’s event] was fantastic, the early feedback is that it was magnificent.”

He has submitted an expression of interest for further funding to the Big Lottery Fund but if that is not successful, Mr Oma-Pius is considering approaching Redbridge Council. He said: “The Big Lottery Fund wants to share the money around to other projects so it sort of becomes a disadvantage even though we’re tried and tested.

“We’re approaching other people and telling them what we’ve done, but in this climate, it’s whether they listen to us.”

Batik is a cloth made of dyeing techniques and participants drew designs on fabric before adults applied hot wax and children used crayons to fill them in. Paints were then used.

The Stratford-based theatre company also performed the story of How The Leopard Got Its Spots using dance and singing.

The session at the Keith Axon Centre is on December 8 with the other two sessions to be held next year and a showcase to take place at Redbridge Central Library on June 13.

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