Manchester is to show its solidarity with the people of Ukraine by celebrating their Independence Day with a whole host of “vibrant” events next week.
As 24 August 2022 marks 31 years since Ukraine declared independence from the Soviet Union, and as well as it being six months since the country was invaded by Russia, Manchester City Council has decided to support the Ukrainian Cultural Centre’s family fun day next Wednesday, and is inviting locals down to “immerse themselves in Ukrainian culture”.
People will get the chance to sample some authentic Ukrainian food, and dance to traditional Ukrainian music, while there’ll also be lots of entertainment for youngsters – with a special visit from children’s entertainer, Louby Lou.
On top of the family fun day, Manchester Central Library and the Tower of Light landmark are to be lit up in yellow and blue to show the city’s solidarity with the country.
Part of the ‘2022 Our Year initiative – which is all about amplifying the voices of children and young people across the city, and giving them opportunities they may missed out on due to the COVID-19 pandemic – the Council hopes the Independence Day festivities will also educate residents on the history and culture of Ukraine, as well as support the city’s international Ukrainian community.
“Manchester stands in solidarity with the Ukrainian community, and our thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones in the war and those still living through the conflict,” said Councillor Joanna Midgley – Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council.
“Manchester has a large Ukrainian community, and the city is proud to stand with them.
“Over the last six months, we have shown our continued solidarity with our Ukrainian friends by opening the MCR Ukraine Welcome Fund, hosting the #stopwar concert in March and many of our residents have generously welcomed Ukrainian refugees into their homes.
“Now, with Ukrainian Independence Day this month, we will continue to stand by and celebrate the community.”
Keen to show your support for Ukraine next week?
As well as heading on down to the family fun day, those wanting to support the Manchester Ukrainian community can donate to the ‘MCR Ukraine Welcome Fund’, which funds charities and voluntary sector groups providing assistance – such as small grants for essential items and advice – to families and individuals relocating to the city.
An impressive £68,000 has already been raised to date, and you can donate to MCR Ukraine Welcome Fund here.
You can also join in with people from right across the UK who will be showing their solidarity with Ukraine through the #SunflowersForUkraine campaign, which encourages the public to show their solidarity with Ukraine through growing, crafting, and sharing pictures of the country’s national flower on Independence Day.
“I’d encourage all residents to celebrate Ukrainian Independence Day and support the community,” Cllr Midgely concluded.
And what dancers they are – the English National Ballet have placed Fernanda Oliveira in the roles of Odette and Odile, while Ken Saruhashi makes a commanding Prince Siegfried.
There aren’t many moments on stage that come close to the Dance of the Little Swans, when four members of the company link hands and skip across the stage in perfect symphony.
Swan Lake is a giant of the stage and although visitors to the Palace Theatre are looking at almost three hours in their seats, the time flies past. What does time matter when you’re witnessing a ballet as timeless as this?
You can get tickets for Swan Lake – or any other of the Palace Theatre’s upcoming shows – here.
Featured image: Laurent Liotardo
Watch as the cast of The Lion King musical perform in a tiny Manchester bar
Earlier this week, and ahead of the return of one of the world’s biggest musicals, the cast of The Lion King performed inside a tiny bar in Manchester.
The stars of the theatre adaptation of Disney’s massive hit film took to the stage at Sonata Piano Bar & Cabaret Lounge, a hidden gem off an alleyway near St Ann’s Square.
They sang stirring renditions of hits like Can You Feel the Love Tonight, Circle Of Life, and He Lives In You, alongside a small orchestra.
Making appearances were Stephenson Ardern-Sodje (who plays adult Simba), Nokwanda Khuzwayo as Nala, Jean-Luc Guizonne (Mufasa), and Thenjiwe Nofemele (Rafiki), while Zazu’s Matthew Forbes acted as compère.
In just a few weeks’ time, these phenomenal performers will be up on stage in front of huge audiences at the Palace Theatre – but for one night only it was a much smaller audience treated to their talents.
You can watch video below, find out more about The Lion King’s lengthy Manchester run further down this page, and book your tickets here.