In July 2019, Queen Katharine Academy in Peterborough held an International Evening, supported by Language Acts and Worldmaking. Queen Katharine Academy is a truly multicultural setting, with students speaking over 40 different languages. The Academy prides itself on its strong international ethos and its commitment to creating successful global citizens of the future. The International Evening therefore provided an ideal platform to promote the school’s global outlook and to celebrate Queen Katharine’s diversity. Moreover, it offered a unique opportunity to showcase some of the different traditions and cultures that enrich the school and the Peterborough region.
The event involved students and staff from Queen Katharine Academy, as well as members of the local community. Performances reflected a range of global art forms, traditional and contemporary, and were delivered in different languages, including Lithuanian, Polish, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Russian, Czech and Romani. Parents, students, governors and local figures within the community were among those invited to attend the event and the turnout was high.
The event commenced with a performance from local Reggae band, Tallawah, fronted by a member of Queen Katharine’s English department, which proved a huge success. They were followed by dance performances, inspired by traditional dances across the African continent, and a Translation Bee performance from Year 10 student, Kelly, who is the double national Translation Bee champion for Spanish. The next act, comprising of Erasmus+ participants, took inspiration from our previous Erasmus+ project, From Symbols to Symphonies. They moved the audience with poignant poetry readings in 5 different languages depicting the struggles and successes of migration and global mobility. This performance was followed by a rendition of well-known Lithuanian songs, sung by local Lithuanian singer, Eglé, who has performed across Lithuania and the UK. Next was the turn of QKA’s Slam Poetry club, who performed their own poetry and rap in English, Russian, Czech and Romani. Performers wowed the audience with their unique compositions, which touched on the themes of cultural identity and belonging. Following on from a second performance by QKA’s dancers, the stage came alive with music from QKA’s Sixth Form band The Black Vynes. They performed their own multilingual songs, written as part of the Erasmus+ project From Symbols to Symphonies, as well as some well-known favourites. The event concluded with a further set from Tallawah and drinks and nibbles, inspired by traditional foods from Spain, Poland, India, Pakistan and Turkey.
The International Evening was a huge success and was praised by attendees as a vibrant celebration of the different cultures and languages, which make up our community. Not only was it an opportunity to celebrate and raise the profile of the wealth of cultures that enrich our community, but among our students it ignited a strong sense of pride in their different cultures, linguistic backgrounds and identities. At a time when many areas of the world are deepening divisions between ethnic groups and segregating minority communities, this event triumphantly affirmed the joys of living in a multicultural and multilingual society and endorsed the importance of tolerance, empathy and equality.