Jade Williams – Pablo Fanque’s Fantastic Fair: For the Benefit of Pablo

A culmination of workshops with young people exploring Black British History with multidisciplinary artist Jade Williams. Supported by Oldham Coliseum Micro Commissions 2021


Multidisciplinary artist Jade Williams worked with young people aged from 9-30 in schools and organisations across Manchester to explore Black British history, with a focus on Pablo Fanque, born in 1810.

Pablo was a Black British circus owner, who toured his circus all over England, Scotland and Ireland. He specifically toured in the North of England and Greater Manchester. Pablo was known to host benefit nights with the proceeds going to members of the community in need, for instance – the famous Fair in Rochdale, February 1843 was for the benefit of Mr Kite who had fallen on hard times. The flyer for this event also inspired the popular Beatles song Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite!

Jade’s tour of schools and organisations was a way to reignite Pablo’s Fair across Manchester and inspire pupils to create their own circus in Pablo’s honour. The focus is on being as creative as possible using the art forms of dance, music, drama, craft and more, allowing young people to express themselves and improve their well-being and confidence.

All Oldham Coliseum Micro Commissions 2021 are free to access. If you would like to help the Coliseum to support more great artists to create work please consider making a donation to the theatre.

Your Coliseum Needs You to help keep theatre alive in Oldham. We need your help to protect the Coliseum’s great history and continue to serve Oldham and its communities for generations to come.

To learn more about how you can support Oldham Coliseum Theatre, contact John Edwards, Development Manager, at johnedwards@coliseum.org.uk

How your gift can help:

  • £5 Pays for a young person to participate in two youth productions
  • £10 Subsidises a ticket for a young or older person to enjoy the magic of theatre
  • £20 Pays for a 6 week course for a young person as part of our Pathways programme
  • £50 Buys any number of props for our productions
  • £250 Builds a set for a children’s community production
  • £2000 Would support a young person through our entire theatre skills programme

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