Monday, 31 March 2008

Stratford theatre piece wows Barbican audience


If you’re looking for a cocktail of reggae and ghetto action you might want to check out Theatre Royal’s most popular play, The Harder They Come, based on the 1972 Jamaican film.

Produced in East London, the production has now moved to the Barbican Theatre and has impressed folk there.

It tells the story of Ivan, a country boy who leaves the Jamaican countryside to seek fame and fortune in Kingston through his music, but the harsh reality of the music scene drives him into a fast and furious life as an outlaw.

The show features many returning cast members from the Theatre Royal Stratford East production, such as Rolan Bell as Ivan and Joanna Francis as Elsa.

Monday, 24 March 2008

Does peace stand a chance in Hackney?


This weekend residents in Hackney held a Palm Sunday Ecumenical march, commemorating Jesus’s entrance into Jerusalem.

They prayed along the streets as they marched.

Leading the march alongside church clergy was Councillor Faizullah Khan, who said: ‘As a borough, we have achieved peace and harmony through tolerance and understanding, and we can all help to develop and expand this.’

This is a borough with one of the highest number of gangs in London and serious crime figures.

Even the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has admitted she wouldn’t feel safe walking alone in Hackney.

We remember victims like Stevens Nyembo-Ya-Muteba, a father who was killed by teeangers in his block of flats for asking them to keep the noise down.

This same weekend of this march, a store manager
Jamie Simpson was knifed to death by three youths while cashing up.

But Cllr Khan still finds this a peaceful and harmounous place to live.

Is it that he is not aware of the bloodier side of the borough or that the march simply wasn’t the place or time to raise such gruesome issues?

Neither is likely to be true.

Regardless of that, the 150 local people and the various leaders who walked and prayed in the streets are proof that locals believe that peace can still be achieved.

They have not given up that hope.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Cash injection for prostitutes struggling to get out


Does life in East London force women into prostitution or is it that these women simply find it an easy way to make money?

Do you sympathise with prostitutes or not?

The London Councils has just set aside money to help organisations in places like Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Newham answer such questions and rescue women from prostitution.

Eaves Housing for Women has been allocated over £440 000 to investigate and tackle the root causes and pathways into trafficking and prostitution across all the London boroughs, including East London.

The scheme will also help provide outreach services, advice, training, and access to supported housing for women seeking to escape from a life of prostitution.

The New Horizon Youth Centre will receive around £170 000 to help towards outreach advice workers and the Women and Girls Network will provide counselling to women involved in prostitution to help them seek a new way of life.

A 2004 Home Office consultation on prostitution estimates that 115 women are on the streets in London on any one night.

Additonally, the findings of a London Assembly report on Street prostitution in London from 2005 says there are as many as 5,000 women working in around 800 saunas, massage parlours and escort agencies across the capital providing sexual services.