Zimbabwean culture takes Wigan Pier by storm

A spectacular African show had the bragging rights of being the first to be hosted at the revamped Wigan Pier.
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For three nights more than 350 people attended the theatre performance Bunker of Zion at the former Way We Were Museum which is currently being transformed into something more akin to Altrincham Market.

This event was organised by The Old Courts who are currently the lead partner in a national collective of arts organisations called Collaborative Touring Network.

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Bunker of Zion at Wigan's The Old Courts.Bunker of Zion at Wigan's The Old Courts.
Bunker of Zion at Wigan's The Old Courts.
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The show featured music that had been masterfully created by artist John Pfumojena using traditional Zimbabwe Mbira and Marimba instruments while audiences enjoyed joyful, bouncing rhythms and powerful songs.

There was traditional as well as modern Zimbabwean dance, break dance and gumboot dance.

John Pfumojena created the show in collaboration with two other Zimbabwean artists, Tawanda Mapanda and Kudzanai Chikowe.

The three also worked alongside Wigan borough based charitable organisation Everything Human Rights and Wiganers: Esnath Sanangura, Joyce Josiah, Daria Florea, Nadine Mudzvova, Jayden Nyakudya, Tabeth Mabiza and Maria Lowe.

The Old Courts in Wigan.The Old Courts in Wigan.
The Old Courts in Wigan.
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Wigan Council’s cabinet member for communities, Coun Chris Ready said: “What a fabulous night!

"Great entertainment, well organised, and lots of smiles and laughter.

"Well done to everyone involved.”

The show has set out to encourage audiences to engage with the culture of Zimbabwe and aims to disrupt convention and focuses on the importance of places and communities embracing difference and will continue on a nationwide tour.

David Jenkins, managing director at The Old Courts said: “Bunker of Zion was such an amazing success and delivered a powerful message in the most vibrant and engaging way to audiences from near and far.

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“Hearing the fantastic feedback from audiences has been a great lift following on from the disruption in recent years.

“Credit above all to the artists, our community members and guest stars who made this show so special, we wish them all the luck with the ongoing national tour.

"I am sure there will be a powerful legacy of the show and its impact in Wigan and I, and the team, are looking forward to continuing the relationships galvanised through this process.”

Visitors also enjoyed an after party, including a live DJ set from Andy Shake'N'Fingerpop and traditional Zimbabwean food by Right Hand Sisters Kitchen.

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