This summer, Theatre Delicatessen will be leaving The Moor, where it has brought together so many creative people, new partnerships and projects.

Hopefully they’ll get a new Sheffield venue, although contrary to earlier plans, it won’t be that old bank at the bottom of The Moor. They’ll be bowing out of the old Woolworths’ building with a sweet pick’n’mix of performances, handling cutting-edge social issues.

Migration Matters Festival (20-24 June) will spread out like a diaspora from Theatre Deli across various venues. Started two years ago by Sarah Sharp and Sam Holland to celebrate Refugee Week, it brings together people, talks, exhibitions and performers from many communities. This is an inspired idea. Arts, like good food, can cross all borders and boundaries.

Look out for highlights including Nigerian-born, multi-talented Inua Ellams. A veteran of Edinburgh Festival and the National Theatre, he offers ‘an evening with an immigrant’. Socially-engaged theatre company PSYCHEdelight bring their new play, Borderline. This grew out of workshops with refugees in Calais and London, becoming a powerful transnational tragi-comedy with live music by a Syrian-UK duo. Joyful sounds will also be coming from SOSA-XA!, a Sheffield-based ‘intercultural choir’ singing songs of Southern Africa, and from the massive and amazing Rafiki Jazz. World Refugee Day (20 June) will see a lively line-up, including refugee-led dance groups One Way Belongings (Congolese) and Umoja African Dance (‘umoja’ is Swahili for ‘unity’).

Migration Matters welcomes all Sheffield’s communities to come and share these events. Theatre Delicatessen is partnered with numerous groups to offer these culture-crossing performances, celebrating Sheffield as a big, friendly, supportive city. Many people who aren’t familiar with the injustices of the asylum system say how important this festival is.

This is a time when grants and benefits are being cut, and the situation for asylum seekers seems most desperate. If this inspires you to action, a raft of charities would welcome your help. ASSIST, for example, has grown up supporting people left stranded by harsh UK policy. At the moment, when asylum seekers get refused, our government’s ‘honourable members’ instantly withdraw housing, benefits – everything. Thrown onto the streets, these people need the most direct form of solidarity – hand-to-mouth, survival-level stuff. Their suffering is just a side-effect, like blood oozing between the lines of legislation. ASSIST are seeking to recruit trustees. Contact them if you might be up for this. Or could you give some of your time at English conversation drop-ins? Give money? Help in a dozen different ways is appreciated and very much needed right now.

Welcoming and supporting migrants has always been controversial because a vocal minority raises loud protests against any newcomers. Yet as we meet and learn to understand each other we find we’re all just people, living in difficult situations which we didn’t create. Many asylum seekers are fleeing persecution from states which ‘we’ support, or wars waged with weapons made in the UK. Please step forward and give time, or money, or at the very least speak up for migrants. These are fellow humans transplanted into communities like Sheffield, scared and vulnerable, but often more vibrant, honest and ‘real’ than any loud-mouthed racists and fickle, cowardly politicians.

Hosted by Alt-Sheff

migrationmattersfestival.co.uk
assistsheffield.org.uk
alt-sheff.org

Sheffield Anarchist Bookfair
Sat 20 May | 10am-6pm | Showroom Workstation | Free

A lively mixture of anti-capitalist bookstalls, films, talks and workshops from the left-wing philosophical viewpoint called anarchism. Come and have your assumptions challenged by radical, anti-hierarchical organising at this annual event. Talking politics is definitely on the agenda, and so is a buzzing after-party.
sheffieldbookfair.org.uk

Sheffield Cycle Jumble
Sat 20 May | 9am-12pm | St Mary’s Church, Bramall Lane | £1
Probably the biggest and best selection of bargain bicycling bits and bobs in Britain. Get your bike kitted out for summer at tidy prices. Buyers and sellers come from miles around to this jumble sale, which runs twice a year.
sheffieldcyclejumble.wordpress.com

Hosted by Alt-Sheff