Promo: Fifth Word seeks young people of African heritage for New Stories project

Fifth Word, one of the East Midlands leading theatre companies for new writing, is seeking young people of African heritage who are living in Nottingham, to take part in a series of workshops in October Half Term.

From photography and filmmaking to training in interview techniques and oral history, these young people will use their training to interview first generation Zimbabweans and document their rich stories and experiences, which will then be dramatised by a professional playwright.

Not only will these young people receive training and first-hand experience of working in a creative environment, they will also assist with filming of the interviews and will take portrait photographs of the interviewees under the guidance of a professional photographer.

In early 2023, the young participants will have the opportunity to shadow professional directors, actors and sound designers during the recording process of the interviews.

Once completed, a pop- up digital installation will be produced showcasing the audio plays  born out of the interviews, alongside a range of photography, and objects and letters from the project.

This installation will launch at five of Nottingham’s Libraries, across March 2023, and will then tour nationally over Spring/Summer 2023 with Fifth Word’s new production ‘We Need New Names’ (an adaptation by Mufaro Makubika of the Booker-shortlisted novel by NoViolet Bulawayo)

Laura Ford, Artistic Director of Fifth Word, said: “We are delighted to launch this project to uncover stories of migration from people who have moved from Zimbabwe and made a new home for themselves in Nottingham. These stories will celebrate the integral contribution of people from the African diaspora to Nottingham’s social history and will be part of a permanent collection held at Nottingham Libraries for future generations to access. To further amplify these stories, we are excited to be working with a playwright to dramatise each interview that will be released online as audio plays and will accompany our new production ‘We Need New Names’ next Spring 2023.  The young people’s training is at the heart of this project, and we are thrilled to offer the opportunity to develop creative skills that will open up pathways to arts and heritage in the future.”

Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis, Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Culture and Planning at Nottingham City Council,said: “We are excited about the opportunity to link with Fifth Word Theatre on the We Need New Stories project, as it aims to explore, document and preserve a valuable and underrepresented part of Nottingham’s heritage, specifically the impact of the African diaspora to Nottingham”.

The workshops will take place during Half-Term week- 17th– 28th October at St Ann’s Library and Nottingham Playhouse.

To register (for free), and to find out more about the workshops or to register as an interviewee to share your story of migrating from Zimbabwe to Nottingham please contact Fifth Word’s Participation Producer, Saziso Phiri, on

The recorded interviews and accompanying material will be stored in Nottingham City Libraries archive so that future generations can access them; and will be made available online via Fifth Word’s and Nottingham Libraries websites. The project will help to share personal migrant experiences and will celebrate the integral contribution of people from the African diaspora to Nottingham’s social heritage.

To find out more about the ‘We Need New Stories’ project, visit-

‘We Need New Stories’ is in partnership with Nottingham City Libraries and is a flagship intergenerational living history project funded by the National Lottery’s Heritage fund.


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