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Two Manchester-based artists, Cheryl Martin and Darren Pritchard, have founded a new arts Festival bringing together established and emerging black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) artists from dance, theatre, film, live and performance art. The Black Gold Arts Festival (BGAF), funded by Arts Council England, is filled with new work, critically acclaimed pieces, and some stuff just for fun. A new force, led by artists, working for artists.

BGAF, which takes place in Manchester at Contact and STUN Studio at Z-arts, is totally unique in the UK and is proudly 100% BAME- and LGBTQ-run. What’s more, in this year’s Festival, 97% of the artists are BAME women.

Black Gold Arts Festival gives vital opportunities and profile to artist-led diverse work from the North; the opportunity to reach venues, promoters and critics; to tour nationally and internationally; to be artistically ambitious.

Artistic Directors Cheryl Martin and Darren Pritchard explain the importance of the festival:

Cheryl: “For me, individual success is pretty meaningless without context. All of the excellent Black artists in the North need to thrive to create a living community: one that grows; that helps us not only support each other, but push each other to greater artistic heights; to take risks and to learn from each other. That’s what this Festival is for.”


And for Darren: “I thought it was about time we as artists did something about our situation in theatre. For years we have been waiting for theatre, festivals, programmers, buildings and promoters to change the situation in theatre and the creative industries as far as BAME representation is concerned, but still in 2016 theatre does not reflect wider society.”

Matt Fenton, Artistic Director of Festival venue partner Contact weighs in: “Black Gold Arts Festival is an important new development as an artist-led initiative to raise the national visibility of the rich diversity of talent in Greater Manchester.“

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