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Best Arts Project - Hearts for the Arts
N17 Hearts for the Arts Graphics 2021_Wi
N17RoughHouse Theatre
00:00 / 45:35


"A great idea to engage young people and teach them overlooked truths about the immigrant generations of the 50s and 60s”

Adrian Lester, actor and director

“I love the wide-ranging aspect to this project, from educating people about vital parts of little known history, to improving mental health during lockdown, to creating a compelling and informative radio programme, to engaging with different parts of the community. It’s great how schools were involved and could access the project across the country. A brilliant example of how creativity can bring people together in tough times, and can play a vital part in increasing wellbeing.”

Francesca Martinez: comedian, writer, actress

“This is a fantastic project, allowing younger people to develop and share a deep knowledge of their local community and history, all in the context of current societal issues. It’s also a very positive example of time during lockdown being used for constructive projects which benefit both the makers and their audience. The audience figures are very impressive. Congratulations to everyone involved!”

Helen Czerski, physicist, oceanographer, television presenter


“As we continue to navigate Britain’s multi-cultural identity, projects like these grow in their importance and necessity. History can’t be rewritten but it can be corrected with additional information that makes it more complete. Being of West African descent means I have an affinity with this project and its objective and it’s ability to pivot and meet the moment by presenting the material in radio format and sharing it outside the confines of N17 – to Bristol, West Midlands, other parts of London as well as schools.”

Le Gateau Chocolat, drag artiste and cabaret performer


“An ambitious project that showed adaptability and the ability to entertain and educate.”

Mariella Frostrup, journalist and broadcaster


“This sort of project is needed now more than ever, and the fact that it has been spearheaded by young people makes it doubly worthwhile. Young people taking the responsibility to take charge and do things their own way is such an important step in a person’s development. I think the fact that it switched from a live event to a radio broadcast because of COVID not only shows determination to get the project completed but has actually meant its reach was far wider.”

Paul Hartnoll, musician, composer, founder member of Orbital


“Threads Radio and Haringey Council have clearly given British young people a voice, who were born in this country and have not always been fully heard. Those young people have used the arts and the radio as a medium to share their experiences and to educate others about Black history and the Windrush Generation in the UK. A genuine project for young people, by young people – and impressive audience numbers”

Petra Roberts, Cultural Development Manager, Hackney Council (2020 Hearts for the Arts Winners for the Windrush Generations Festival)


“Given the shameful treatment of the Windrush generation and the disproportionate effect of COVID in areas with high Black population, this programme was obviously needed. The quick-thinking of the project organisers here has turned what might be a hindrance into a help. Radio has proved its worth in the pandemic as an affordable and effective way of “big room” discussion when we can’t meet in person. Here an important subject – perhaps the important subject of 2020 – was discussed in ways which made all involved feel proud, loud and heard. It obviously works; I can only hope that Haringey and Harris Academy continue their collaboration and Threads Radio gets to broadcast more of the results.”

Samuel West, actor, director, Chair of the National Campaign for the Art


RoughHouse Theatre, in association with Kick it Out is delighted to announce the launch of an exciting audio documentary designed to celebrate this year’s Windrush Festival and Black History Month UK.


With support from the Windrush Day Grant, we have been working with students and staff at Harris Academy, Tottenham to produce an audio programme entitled N17 to be broadcast on Threads Radio on October 2nd as part of Black History Month 2020.


N17 is an audio documentary focusing on the extraordinary contribution that descendants of members of the Windrush Generation who settled in and around Tottenham and Haringey have made to British society over the last forty years.


The programme includes interviews with David Lammy MP - Shadow Secretary of State for Justice - England cricketer Mark Alleyne MBE, BAFTA winning actress - Letitia Wright, , friends and family of the late, great Laurie Cunningham and the multi award winning musician and lyricist Mary Otumahana who performs under the name WondRWomN.


Troy Townsend - Head of Development at Kick it Out believes, “there is no more important time to celebrate the lives and contribution that successive generations of Windrush families have made to British society and to shout from the rooftops that Black Lives Matter.”


Chloe - one of the Harris Academy students involved in producing and presenting the programme - says that she has been “astonished at how many descendants of Windrush from my small area of London have done so much to make Britain a better and more interesting place to live.”


Fellow Harris Academy student Kane agrees: “there are so many stories to tell and sadly our programme only has time and space to focus on the lives of a few. What worries me though are the stories we are leaving out - and that’s what’s happened to black people all over the world - our stories haven’t been told - and that’s why we’re making this programme - we’re telling our stories in our own words.”

RoughHouse Theatre collected the audio clips and interviews and under the guidance and scripting of the Harris Academy team, are hugely proud to be able to co-produce this hugely important and necessary piece of work.  

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