Punk Rock exhibition at Leicester Museum and Art Gallery

By Charlie Ramshall

One of the most rebellious music genres the UK has ever seen is being celebrated here in Leicester.

The Punk: Rage and Revolution exhibition is being staged at Leicester Museum and Art Gallery, New Walk from this Saturday, May 27, until Sunday, September 3.

The exhibition has been put together by the people at Soft Touch Arts and will focus on all the different aspects of 70s British Punk.

The exhibition will use information panels, original objects and ephemera to display the impact punk had on its audience.

“The chaos and creation of the 1970s British Punk scene.”

Entry for the exhibition is free all summer so you can visit as many times as you like.

This ties in nicely with the Punk Festival Weekend which is planned for Friday, August 18 until Sunday, August 20.

For more information on the event visit: www.rageandrevolution.co.uk

Nelson Mandela’s former ANC colleague speaks at Leicester Palestine Action protest

By Aiden Slattery

Protests have continued outside the Elbit Systems’ UAV Tactical Systems building in Leicester, occupying the road next to the factory.

Meridian Business Park saw its largest numbers in attendance on Saturday, May 13, with the arrival of prominent rapper and activist Lowkey, as well as Andrew Feinstein (a former ANC politician who worked alongside Nelson Mandela) and a convoy of protesters from Bradford.

Convoy of protestors from Bradford arrives outside the UAV Tactical Systems.

The protesters have been demonstrating over what they say are the company’s links with the Israeli military.

On its website, Elbit Systems’ corporate overview states: “We are an international high technology company engaged in a wide range of programs throughout the world, primarily in the defence and homeland security arenas.

“We develop and supply a broad portfolio of airborne, land and naval systems and products for defence, homeland security and commercial applications.”

With regards to the company’s Leicester operation and the protests, ITV News has previously reported a spokesperson for UAV Tactical Systems as saying: “To be absolutely clear, U-TacS does not supply the Israeli military or Israeli Ministry of Defence. Any claims to the contrary are completely false.”

A protester at the event who asked to remain anonymous said: “Elbit can deny that the systems produced at this factory are used against Palestinians, but I think that ignores the core function of their business, which is to profit from war and death.

“We simply do not consent to these weapons and drones being manufactured within our community.”

Speaking at the event, Mr Feinstein compared the apartheid struggle he himself fought against in South Africa to the struggle of the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation.

Speaking in solidarity with the Palestine Action movement, he said: “We were taught early on that all our struggles, were one struggle.”

It is unclear how much longer the Palestine Action movement plans to occupy the road in front of the factory, with protesters claiming they will do so until they get the factory shut down.

Muslim students head to Palestine for a summer of worship

By Amina Ali

Al-Aqsa Mosque in Palestine photo by Anjum Khan

DMU’s Islamic Society, in partnership with Al-Khaleel Institue, is heading to Palestine this summer.  

The trip is the biggest student retreat to the country with over 700 students from over 60 universities having registered to attend.  

Attendees will get to visit Masjid Al-Aqsa, the third holiest site for Muslims and experience historical tours and sightseeing. 

They will also learn about the history of the mosque through daily classes. 

DMU final year audiology student, Rukhsar, who is going this August said it is a: “Once in a lifetime opportunity to be able to go.” 

“Every Muslim has had Palestine close to their hearts since childhood, having heard stories about it.” 

“There are great rewards for us to pray there, as every prayer is multiplied by more than if we were praying at home.” 

Due to the popularity of previous retreats, this is Al-Khaleel Institute’s third retreat to Al-Aqsa Mosque with various Islamic Societies.

Review: The Wizard of Oz at Curve, Leicester. ‘Over the Rainbow, and above my expectations’

By John Perry

The Wizard of Oz has seen many iterations since its conception into a novel by L. Frank Baum, most notably the 1939 Hollywood classic starring the late Judy Garland. Moving forward the best part of a century, Andrew Lloyd Webber redefined the classic into a stage production in 2011. Now in 2022, Curve Theatre has once again redefined what The Wizard of Oz is with their contemporary take on the tale involving deviations in characters and story to create an important version involving environmentalism.

Stepping into the Curve is an experience of its own, a modern building near the heart of Leicester, but I was still not expecting the sheer scale of production, talent, and technological achievement once I took my seat to view this fantastical performance.

The Wizard of Oz creative director Nikolai Foster brought his vision to the Curve theatre and it’s simply breathtaking. Inspired by Route 66 and the American dream, this is a new rendition of a classic that is a must-see. We all are aware of Dorothy’s adventure through Oz, her meeting characters representing her family, friends and learning to understand the importance of home through a magical experience. Here, we still get that core story but with modern twists, comedy, and heart.

You are not merely transported there; you are part of Oz for the next two hours.

The boldest surprise to me was that in the blink of an eye, set pieces meld into the stage with brilliant light shows and 3D effects. Flashes of light, dazzling special effects and environments on stage evolving. You are not pulled into the world; you are immersed into it. You are not merely transported there; you are part of Oz and Dorothy’s adventure for the next two hours.

The cast of the Wizard of Oz at Curve, Leicester. Photograph by Marc Brenner

The acting and vocal talent of the entire cast is brilliant but particularly in Dorothy (Georgina Onuorah), Scarecrow (Jonny Fines) and Glinda (Christina Bianco), phenomenal voices reverberate around the theatre space. They truly know how to pick artists here; the production team is a character of their own too. As is the band hidden beneath the stage – a live orchestra that many wouldn’t even believe was there. To the naked eye it’s simply a musical track playing unless you have the opportunity during the interval or a lucky seat at the front to peer below the stage into a pit of experienced musicians bringing Oz to life.

West End quality without the need for a trip to London is how best to describe it what is witnessed here. It features genuinely funny moments. Hearing a cast member saying “I’m a friend of Dorothy” – we all know the connotations – made the adults erupt in laughter, while Scarecrow simply leaping, falling, and rolling around the set during his introduction had the kids giggling like a pack of hyenas. An addition I did not expect was a puppet version of Toto that was handled entirely by a single crew member on stage, practical to avoid a real dog.

Aesthetically, it deviates heavily from the original to be in line more with its environmentalist take and contemporary vision, which includes Munchkin land being an industrial and dilapidated town, Emerald City representing a New York landscape and the witches of Oz riding motorcycles instead of brooms. It could have done more in terms of altering the narrative to fit this, but I expect it was a creative choice to stay truer to the original in its script.

Ben Thompson (Toto) and Georgina Onuorah (Dorothy). Photograph by Marc Brenner
Charlotte Jaconelli (The Wicked Witch of the West). Photograph by Marc Brenner

As the second half began it truly showcased more of the time and money that went into this daring new take on the classic. The production value and realism they went for was breathtaking: Emerald City having small Easter eggs on the large LED screen at the back, parodies of McDonald’s, Starbucks and even a nod to Garland herself in a Times Square-like billboard. The little things were not ignored.

The pinnacle of the entire performance must be Onuorah’s rendition of Over the Rainbow as Dorothy. A bright, positive, and soulful take on the theme to the original movie. It gave us goosebumps, and earned a standing ovation from many of the audience.

It’s for everyone. A modern take on a classical tale. A fantastic musical, with amazing vocal talent, technical expertise, music that just engulfs the audience in the moment. It was also wholesome to see a sign language interpreter present on stage for accessibility of disabled audience members. Inclusivity is important to Curve.

This production is incredible. After a pandemic delay, to find its feet like this and still be a powerhouse of entertainment. It is special. A true five-star experience and a must see for all the family this Christmas. It certainly went over the rainbow and above my expectations.

The Wizard of Oz runs at the Curve Theatre in Leicester until January 8.

Culture Kick: Judith Okoh

Students on De Montfort University’s Arts and Entertainment Journalism module pick the films, plays, music, TV shows and books that shaped them.

My favourite film 

I don’t think I have ever been able to choose just one favourite film because they keep changing over time but one thing I am sure about its that it has to be a romantic film.
I think one of the main reasons I love this type of film is because they are so far from my reality. I mean I cannot relate at all, but it is nice to see people being deeply in love and having a happy ending. 

The first time I went to the theatre 

The first time I went to the theatre was when I was in primary school for a school excursion. I remember me and my friends being so excited about it but left so disappointed, I cannot tell you much about it because I fell asleep halfway through. I promised myself I will give the theatre another try someday but it’s never happened. 

The TV show I’m currently binging  

I am completely obsessed with TV shows, I can go as far as watching Spanish TV shows that have maybe 40/50 episodes, like the one I am watching right now, called La Reina del Flow. But I’m also very strict when it comes to TV, if I do not completely love a show from the jump, I will not give it a chance, like I would if it was a film.

The first song I adored 

The first song I adored was the High School Musical song Breaking Free, it made me fall even more in love with the show and the main characters, I remember singing it along with them and felt like I was part of the musical. 

My karaoke tune 

Any old R&B love song like If I Ain’t Got You by Alicia Keys or Mariah Carey’s We Belong Together I will completely sing it word to word till my lungs collapse.
Also, I should mention I wholeheartedly believe that I can sing, even if my friends might disagree. 

The lyrics I love 

I love songs that have lyrics with a deep meaning, the ones that keep you thinking. I love the ones that have a play with words and you need to rewind it to understand it better and the ones you wish you could hear again for the first time.
For me, these lyrics have such an important impact once you realise what is truly going on in society.

The book I couldn’t put down 

I remember five years ago when I was completely obsessed with reading. I could finish a book in a day and there was this specific series that was so popular at the time – After by Anna Todd – and my mum used to tell me she couldn’t afford to buy all of them for me, so I had to content myself with reading them online. My phone was with me 24 hours of the day, so I would start reading them from the moment I woke up until I fell asleep. I couldn’t tell you how many times my phone fell on my face while in bed because I was sleepy but also too invested in the book so I always had to finish the chapter.


I think some UK shows like Too Hot to Handle are very hyped up, the concept of the show makes no sense at all and it’s ridiculous. I don’t know who is worse, us, the viewers who watch it and give them the ratings, or the people who actually apply to go on to these type of shows.

My guilty pleasure 

Although … if I had to choose a guilty pleasure it would be Love Island. It’s a show I watch every night when it’s on, but also a show I will criticise every time I get a chance, but there is just something about it that makes it so entertaining. Maybe watching other people’s drama distracts me from my own or perhaps I’m actually a messy person who enjoys drama…