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ChocFest is an exciting community mini festival, proposed for Summer/Autumn 2022 as part of the Commonwealth Games Culture programme. The project is led by Birmingham (UK) based theatre company The Bone Ensemble. It will be made in collaboration with communities and organisations from the Stirchley and Bournville areas of Birmingham, and cocoa-growing communities in Ghana. Working alongside us are experts in African History and Responsible Business from the Universities of Birmingham and Bath, with Birmingham production company, OPUS, supporting the project’s realisation.

Collaborating with local communities living and working in the vicinity of the Cadbury’s factory, as well as communities in Ghana, The Bone Ensemble will create new music and performances to get people meeting, talking, thinking about – and yes, eating! – all things chocolate. Reigniting and celebrating Bournville’s historic connection with Ghana – the Commonwealth country where Cadbury’s cocoa originates – ChocFest will tell the stories of working people across continents, who all have a hand in the journey from cocoa pod to Dairy Milk.

We are currently working on a feasibility study for the project. As part of this we want to research possible artistic collaborators for the project. Given the link between Bournville and cocoa growing communities in Ghana, we are keen to celebrate this musical and artistic heritage through the project.

We are looking for a Composer to co-create music with our own Co-Director and Composer, as well as Musicians/Performers. Ideally the Composer would be based in Ghana, but the Musicians/Performers would be Midlands based. We are interested in meeting artists who:

  • Have West African and, in particular, Ghanaian heritage
  • Use traditional and/or contemporary musical approaches
  • Have experience of voice-based work (this is an area of focus for us)
  • Enjoy working collaboratively
  • Have knowledge of creating music for or working with choirs/chorus of voices

We are also interested in connecting with Visual Artists/Designers who:

  • Have West African and, in particular, Ghanaian heritage
  • Have experience of working with communities through their practice
  • Enjoy creating work in/for outdoor settings
  • Enjoy working collaboratively
  • Live in or have connections to the Midlands

We’d love to meet for some informal Zoom coffees with artists or organisations to learn about who you are and your artistic practice, and share our work and who we are with you. We are looking eventually for artists who will come on board as part of the core artistic team for the 2022 project, but equally we are simply interested in expanding our network of peers and knowledge of artists working in the region. 
We’re aiming to have these chats over March and April, so please get in touch with us at [email protected] by Friday 23April if the project sounds of interest, or if you know someone who you think we should be connecting with.