Photo- Jacob Sam-La Rose

LOST and FOUND: An exploration of ritual and tradition through spoken word theatre

The term “ritual” covers a broad range of acts usually inferring the repetition of a prescribed activity which has a deeper meaning that extends beyond the activity itself. Where properly observed, rituals have positive effects on an individual’s pysche, consciousness and identity, in a family or wider communities. Rituals can make change manageable; facilitate the transmission of values and beliefs or provide support for or help with the containment of strong emotion. Tradition serves to enshrine and pass down cultural practices and customs.

The idea of rituals and traditions can also carry negative connotations; perceptions of primitive behaviors, inferring a kind of skepticism that the modern mind reserves for superstitions and outmoded beliefs and practices.

Jacob Sam-La Rose, Poet and PAL Lab Director plans to bring together 20 artists, working in different art forms from the African and Caribbean diasporas, to explore the spaces left behind from cultural practices once observed by generations before us. His Lab will be created through the medium of spoken word theatre (as defined by Lemn Sissay, a piece of theatre by a spoken word artist, more likely a poet, scripted and directed with theatrical sensibility maintaining the poet’s integrity). Older established artists (the eldest in his 80’s) are invited to collaborate with younger emerging talent connecting generations of artists working across a continuum of black arts.

By investigating complex working relationships between text, movement, music, and other art forms, participants will explore how new rituals and traditions might be authored, practiced and shared.

It is not enough to look towards the past and mourn what’s lost. Culture is a living, breathing thing. It grows and shifts. Evolves. As one generation replaces another, some things will inevitably be left behind. As noted in the excerpt above, that’s a natural process. Some things are also gained, however, and I’m keen to explore both sides of that dynamic - what it is that’s changed and what’s remained the same. Jacob Sam-La Rose
Poet / PAL Lab Director