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Ancient Futures’ Afrinauts landed in Newbury Market Place for an impressive outdoor spectacular

The Corn Exchange Newbury and 101 Outdoor Arts first free outdoor event of the year landed in Newbury's Market Place on Wednesday 24 May as Upswing and Unlimited Theatre's Afrinauts staged a visually striking outdoor show as part of our free outdoor arts programme.

The sunlit evening set the scene as the afrinaut characters in dazzling costumes and make-up took their positions on a towering stage. The afrofuturist inspired production was a prodigious, high-voltage show layered with exhilarating music, circus, acrobatic chorography and captivating spoken word, all woven into a lively visual and audio spectacle.

The show, which drew on themes of West African folklore and sound system culture, followed five beings as they shed their past lives in their ascension into a higher realm. The performers donned an array of vibrant and eye-catching costumes including a giant, rainbow coloured straw piece that brought squeals of delight from the children in the front of the audience as it danced, bounced and cartwheeled across the space.

Ancient Futures was performed to an original set of grime music by Afrikan Boy, which got audiences moving and brought the Market Place to life.

Afrikan Boy said: ‘I never thought I would be composing for an Afrofuturistic circus theatrical performance, it has been a dream bucket list [item] that has officially been ticked off in so many ways’.

Image Credit: Adam Hillier

Ancient Futures previewed in Newbury ahead of its official premiere at Brighton Festival this coming weekend (27 & 28 May), and, having been developed at 101 Outdoor Arts over the last month, the people of Newbury were treated to the debut of this energetic event. A crowd of approximately 500 onlookers of all ages gathered to enjoy the performance and show their support for the companies.

Alex Buhler
, Project Coordinator at 101 said, ‘Having Unlimited and Upswing in residency at 101 has been great, everyone from the production has been so appreciative of the space and it’s been a pleasure to work with the team… we feel privileged to have been able to assist them in delivering this fantastic event to our town centre and the people of Newbury’.

One performer commented, ‘We loved that Newbury felt like such a community… and that we could bring all these people together’.

Ancient Futures
was directed and conceived by Vicki Dela Amedume (Upswing) and J Spooner (Unlimited) in collaboration with Quantum poet Oneness Sankara. Ancient Futures was presented by the Corn Exchange Newbury and 101 Outdoor Arts as part of our free outdoor events programme, which is funded by Greenham Trust and Arts Council England.

For more information about future Corn Exchange and 101 Outdoor Arts' free outdoor events programme visit here.

Image Credit: Adam Hillier