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The Windrush generation set to take centre stage

PIONEER GENERATION: Some of the new Windrush arrivals in 1948

THIS WEEKEND, theatre goers will get an opportunity for another glimpse of what the first generation of Caribbean immigrants experienced when they came to the UK during the 1950s and 60s, in the gospel musical production A Dream Across The Ocean.

These new arrivals, known as the Windrush generation, named after the ship the SS Empire Windrush, which brought 492 people from the Caribbean to the UK in 1948, marking the start of mass post war immigration.

The musical tells the fictional story of Jamaican born Winston Morgan who arrived in Britain in the 1960s, and chronicles his experiences in coming to terms with life in Britain, as well as talk about the role of faith and the black church in his life.

Cast

The exceptional cast includes former Eastenders actress Bumni Mojekwu and Layton Williams, the first black actor to play Billy Elliott.

A Dream Across The Ocean is directed by African-American actor/director Ray Shell who’s appeared in numerous West End Productions including Five Guys Named Moe and Starlight Express. Well known gospel musician Luke Smith serves as musical director while popular gospel singers Roger Samuels and Sharon McPherson make guest appearances.


BUNMI MOJEKWU: The former Eastenders actress is one of the stars of the show

The producers of A Dream Across The Ocean are Sam Facey and Dave Prince, members of gospel tribute band The Churchboyz. Over the years they’ve achieved great popularity performing the hymns and choruses that spiritually strengthened and sustained the first generation of Caribbean immigrants as they got used to life in the UK during the 1950s and 60s.

Sam Facey said, “We felt it was important to make audiences aware of the strength and resilience of the Windrush Generation, individuals from Jamaica and other Caribbean islands who immigrated to the UK during the mid 20th century. ‘A Dream Across The Ocean’ brings to life the struggles they experienced in an enjoyable musical production for all the family.”

Dave Prince shared, “Faith in God and the church has played a very important role in the lives of Caribbean people here in Britain, particularly during the early years of mass immigration. Although the first generation experienced major obstacles living in the UK, their faith and the church gave them the strength to overcome. A Dream Across The Ocean highlights both the struggles, and good times the Caribbean community experienced during those early years.”

He added, “A Dream Across The Ocean is an uplifting production that is not only enjoyable, but will bring to life an important era of the history of black people here in the UK.”

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