Fifth Word presents a new podcast series and touring exhibition

In collaboration with Nottingham Libraries and The Space.

Lights Up: interviews with pioneering women in theatre

Lights Up is a living history project that aims to shine a light on inspirational women who have led the way in the theatre industry in the East Midlands, and inspire the next generation of young women growing up in the region.

The interviews were recorded on camera over February-March 2020 by young women aged 16-21.

This series of podcasts features 9 episodes interviewing pioneering woman in theatre. You can subscribe to listen to all episodes, or watch the filmed interviews directly in each episode page where you can also find images and details from the interviewees’ personal archives. Lights Up is a project conceived and delivered by Fifth Word in partnership with Derby Libraries, in association with Derby Theatre and supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

All Episodes

Listen to each episode directly on its page, download to your device or subscribe using your favourite service. Transcripts of each podcast are available on each Episode page.

Available here

Listen on Apple Podcast
Listen on Spotify
listen on Amazon Music

Episode 1.

Jenny Sealey
Read by: John Pfumojena and Kudzai Mangombe

Episode 2.

Indhu Rubasingham

Episode 3.

Alex Stafford
Coming soon

Episode 4.

Ava Hunt
Coming soon

Episode 5.

Sonali Bhattacharyya
Coming soon

Episode 6.

Sarah Brigham
Coming soon

Episode 7.

Emteaz Hussain
Coming soon

Episode 8.

Esther Richardson
Coming soon

Episode 9.

Amanda Whittington
Coming soon

Touring Exhibition


Touring Exhibition

April-July 2023

Touring to the following Nottingham Libraries and all theatre venues on the We Need New Names tour. 

24 April-8 June:  St Anns Library   St Ann’s Valley Centre 2 Livingstone Road, Nottingham NG3 3GG

9 – 22 June: The Dale Centre’s Library  206 Sneinton Dl, Nottingham NG2 4HJ

12 – 24 June: Bulwell Riverside Library Main St, Bulwell, Nottingham NG6 8QJ

26 June – 10 July: Strelley Road Library Strelley Road, Nottingham, NG8 3BJ

Admission Free

An interactive pop-up exhibition exploring migrant stories from Zimbabwean-born Nottingham residents, curated by Saziso Phiri and the young people who took part in We Need New Stories.

Featuring audio dramas, a gallery of portrait images and personal ephemera, the exhibition provides a snapshot of lived experiences of migrating to the UK from Zimbabwe from different generational viewpoints.

The exhibition will tour a select number of Nottingham Libraries and will be on tour nationally at theatre venues to accompany the We Need New Names touring production over April-June 2023.



In partnership with Nottingham City Libraries and funded by the National Lottery’s Heritage Fund, “We Need New Stories” is an intergenerational oral history project that runs alongside our new touring production of ‘We Need New Names’ by Mufaro Makubika, based on the book by NoViolet Bulawayo.

“We Need New Stories” saw us work with young people of African heritage in the Nottingham area from Autumn 2022 onwards. After undertaking training in oral history, photography, film-making and audio skills, the young people interviewed first-generation Zimbabwean migrants in Nottingham, using their new skills to gather the interviewees’ personal stories of migration. Professional playwright Zodwa Nyoni then dramatised these interviews into a series of audio plays. The audio plays are now available for free online.

Young people received first-hand experience of working in a creative environment and took portrait photographs of the interviewees under the guidance of a professional photographer. They shadowed professional directors, actors and sound designers during the recording process of the interviews and the audio dramas created from them. As well as being released online, the final audio dramas will be showcased in a pop-up touring exhibition that accompanies the tour of WE NEED NEW NAMES, along with a range of photography, and personal ephemera from the people that were interviewed.

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.

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