Soul City Arts have been working hard on its Commonwealth Games Commission.
The name of the performance is Waswasa, an Islamic concept meaning the mental distractions people experience when praying.
Waswasa is described as an immersive show that will run at the Hippodrome between August 25th and September 3rd.
The performance incorporates music, theatre and film and will feature a large installation of prayer mats that have been inscribed by local people with their own prayers at a series of workshops.
Mohammed Ali, Soul City’s Artistic Director, says we live in an age when such distractions are ever more present.
“In yoga or meditation, or even making music or art, we are all striving to find that pure state of focus and it’s increasingly hard in the modern world.
“Technology is a form of Waswasa. It’s a form of distraction that pulls us away. These things that buzz in our pockets. We’re always kind of charged.”
Raidene Carter, Birmingham 2022’s Executive Director, described Waswasa as a seminal project for the city.
“Mohammed is a proud Brummie and Muslim and this project emphasises that people from across the Commonwealth are connected through their faith.”
Soul City are as interested in what comes after the games as they are in the games themselves.
Their move to a much larger premises to enable this project was facilitated by Birmingham City Council. Mohammed says it is vital that support continues once the games are over.
“Legacy is quite an abstract concept. What does it even mean? It’s about building and continuing to build,” says Mohammed, adding that he and his team have transformed the somewhat rundown warehouse in the few months they have been tenants.
“We’re not one-hit wonders. We’re not one-trick ponies. We’re here for the long haul and transformation - especially community transformation - happens over a period of time. We have to be persistent and patient.”
Waswasa will run at the Hippodrome between August 25th and September 3rd, but Soul City’s intention is that its impact on Sparkbrook will last much longer.