Sonia Sabri Company presents Lok Virsa, a one-day arts festival or ‘mela’ of free arts activities and pop-up performances for all the family.

Lok Virsa means ‘heritage of the people’ and for the whole afternoon, the Hippodrome will be filled with the aromas, sights and sounds of the Indian Subcontinent.

Some of the highlights include:

Dhol & Dance Procession (1.10pm)
Lok Virsa will begin with a colourful procession of Dhol drummers and dancers in vibrant costumes to launch the afternoon of events. There will also be pop-up folk dance and music performances throughout the day.

Mehndi Hand Art Decoration (1.30 – 5.45pm)
Families are invited to come and experience Mehndi, temporary henna tattoos. Come and get a mehndi tattoo from our talented artists.

Rangoli (1.30 – 5.45pm)
A colourful temporary expressive participatory art form using natural ingredients such as chalk, sand, rice, flowers, lentils and spices. Simply walk in and have a go.

Ajrack Block Printing (1.30 – 5.45pm)
Ajrack is a traditional form of block printing from Sindh, Pakistan. Families can have a go at printing their own design inspired by the traditional techniques.

Book Binding (1.30 – 5.45pm)
Using an authentic style of book binding from the Indian Subcontinent, families can craft their own book by assembling the pages using traditional techniques. Bind pages at the start of the day and fill with artistic flair from the arts and crafts workshops throughout the day or simply create a decorative journal. It’s yours to take home as a keepsake!

Calligraphy (1.30 – 5.45pm)
Get to grips with the art of calligraphy using reed pens and soot ink to transcribe letter shapes in different styles of Arabic/Persian script on ornamented paper to create your very own masterpiece!

Folk Dance Workshops (2.15pm & 4.30pm)
Learn the upbeat steps and moves of vibrant dance styles leaving you feeling nothing short of joyous!

Kalia – Interactive Storytelling (3.15pm)
Using storytelling, dance, music, mime, spoken word and glorious fabrics, children and their adults are invited to join the artists in the retelling of a fun old fable which has a significant relevance today.

Dastaan with Sarvar Sabri Performance (3.45pm)
Dastaan is a silent film of emotionally charged dance featuring internationally-renowned Birmingham Royal Ballet Associate Director Marion Tait CBE, who dances alongside traditional Persian calligraphy known as Nasta’liq. The film is accompanied by exquisite live music played by an ensemble of musicians from different musical genres, backgrounds and faiths, playing together in harmony and featuring music from around the world. The music is composed and structured in some sections and improvised in others,  responding to each musician’s artistry, as well as the visuals, making it a unique and stunning performance.

Hum Kalam (5-6pm)
A beloved part of the culture of Northern parts of the subcontinent, greatly admired by participants as a forum for free self-expression. In this intimate interactive session, visitors can hear some of the UK’s finest poets share their spoken word and later performed in a musical composition known as Ghazal or Geet.