05 Fest in Lewisham — I AM History

Melissa Chemam
2 min readMar 11, 2022


05 Fest In Lewisham

With Lewisham being the Mayor’s London’s borough of culture this year, the award-winning playwright and performer Inua Ellams has teamed up with creative’s and producers to offer a line-up of poetry and spoken word, in collaboration with We Are Lewisham. 05Fest is to be held from 10th to 19th March in different local venues. I Am History talked to creative producer Deborah Yewande Bankole to find out more.


“Inua is a dear friend, and a creative kindred spirit,” says Deborah Yewande Bankole. “So it was a pleasure to think about collaborating again. First we wanted to celebrate the moment, finally coming out of the pandemic’s restrictions. Lewisham is where Inua lives and he has this weird obsession with the number 5, we both had a desire to work with friends again, so that’s where we started.”

The creative producer Deborah and Inua started by sitting down to discuss the best ways to represent Lewisham, as a place and as a community. They invited artists who had experiences and memories in their neighbourhood to contribute. “There is much history here; so we first explored it,” she says. “Many of the contributors and the obvious audience have lived here their entire life and have a lot to say to celebrate their home. A lot of events are also just a reason to have a big party! We’ve missed that so much. After our poetry reading, we’ll have DJ sets, dancefloors. We want to be together again and make it special.”

05Fest offers five different events in five different spaces. Some are already recurrent, like R.A.P. Party, which consists of some poetry reading, matched with the choice of a track. They other events make their debut and Deborah, who’s also a South East Londoner of a Nigerian background, hopes they’ll be performed again some day.

“It’s a marriage of the old and the new for us,” she adds. “We obviously want to appeal to some old allies from our communities, poets and performers, but also attract people who don’t know the borough. We want to present Lewisham as coming back big and bold after this pandemic.”

The acclaimed author of the Barber Shop Chronicles is himself bringing his new play, A Block of Flats, to Lewisham, for one night only, in the form of a rehearsed reading at The Albany theatre. “It has an incredible cast and director,” according to Deborah, “ look forward to the event as it’s a very intimate way for Inua to share his new work. It also deals with very current issues, from climate change to the need for more empathy and kindness.” All set on one night in London…

Originally published at https://www.iamhistory.co.uk on March 11, 2022.



Melissa Chemam

Journalist/writer, I’ve reported in 30 countries for the RFI, BBC, CBC, DW, magazines, on African-European relations, social change, arts, music & politics