WORKSHOP INFORMATION

We are offering a range of workshops on Sunday morning. Most workshops will run for 1 hour and are based in or near The Octagon Centre. The exceptions are the two walks, which will last 90 minutes.

The full details of all the workshops are below. Please read these carefully then click on the workshop registration button to fill in the form with your choices. Please note that we will do our best to give you your first choice of workshops but may not be able to do so.

Workshop 1 – Qigong Session

Chris Moore –  Qigong Practitioner

The sessions will include self-massage to invigorate the body, breathing practices to relax and connect with the present moment, healing sounds to heal the body and meditative movements from the ancient Daoist traditions of qigong. 

Workshop 2 – Songs Of Unity

Faida Mike – Singer/songwriter
Emer McKay – Leader of Sheffield One World Choir 

Faida and Emer will teach “Songs of Unity” featuring “Umoja Ni Nguvu”- unity is power. Uplifting and joyous, this is a call and response song which builds from two to four-part harmony. It is an original song written by Faida who is also a member of Sheffield One World Choir. It is written and sung in Swahili. 

Workshop 3 – Boomwhackers

Steve Rivers (Percussionist)

Boomwhackers are coloured percussion tubes that create different harmonic tones. Steve will facilitate musical patterns to create a unique and powerful musical beat. As participants start to identify how each colour creates a harmonic tone, they are given simple rhythms to play in groups.  Each of the rhythms is layered in to create a six-part tune. An amazing piece of music will be created that lifts the mood and is guaranteed to put a smile on everyone’s faces.

Workshop 4 – Songs for Palestine

Janet Wood – Leader of Tadhamon Singers and Sheffield Socialist Choir 
San Ghanny Choir (Edinburgh)

Songs for Palestine –  Janet and members of San Ghanny and Tadhamon Singers will be teaching songs of solidarity with the Palestinian people. 

Workshop 5 – Seeds of Hope: A Feminist Requiem

Penny Stone – Song-writer, choir leader of Protest in Harmony

Penny will teach a small taster of her songs from her recently premiered Feminist Requiem, a large-scale piece of community music that brings together women’s words from all over the world and throughout history. There will be space for joy as well as tears, and building a sense of connection to those we bring into the room with us, as well as those singing beside us. All genders are welcome.

Workshop 6 – We Were Seeds

Kate Thomas – Song-writer, choir leader of Body of Sound and co leader of Purple Cats.
Helen Lyle – Leader of Purple Cats 

Kate and Helen will teach a song written by Kate called “We Were Seeds”. This is a punchy and uplifting song about the power of resisting oppression. 

Workshop 7 – Songs of the Mountains

David Burbidge – Leader of Lakeland Voices and Bentham Voices

David will teach songs that are sung on the many singing walks he leads over the Lake District, Scottish and Slovenian mountains, about protecting the right to roam, and about the camaraderie that all walkers find when meeting others in the mountains. 

Workshop 8 – Songs of Southern Africa

Lucky Moyo – Leader of Uzambezi Arts, a UK based song and dance ensemble that specialises in songs from Southern Africa. 

Lucky will teach three songs Banhu Bebu Kalanga, Mbonu Baba and Ndakati Ndiyenda.  He will also provide explanation of the songs and phonetics for learning the language. 

Workshop 9 – Mini Folk Club

Violet Denniff – Musician and Arts Practitioner from Whitby

Join Violet for a mini folk club session. You’ll be talking about folk music and the history of ballad singing, learning a traditional folk song and looking at how to bring traditional songs into the modern world through rewriting lyrics and exploring the meaning of what is “folk”. You will have the opportunity to do a floor spot so come along if you have a song you want to bring and sing. 

Workshop 10 – Environmental Rally Songs

Ryan O’Riordan – Leader of the Greenpeace workplace choir and co leader of the London Climate Choir.

Ryan will be teaching three powerful and catchy songs, Earth’s Child by Emily Roblyn, Let us Stand by Kate Thomas and an original song called Dirty Water.  As an optional extra you can join the Sheffield Rivers Walk after the picnic (further details below and on our programme page.

Workshop 11 – Love Songs for Trees

Rebecca Denniff – folk singer, composer and choir leader from North Yorkshire

Rebecca’s songs are filled with uplifting and powerful harmonies and a sense of solidarity with the natural world. 

Workshop 12 – Get Your Hands Dirty from musical Gwenda’s Garage

Val Regan – Song-writer, leader of Out Aloud

Get Your Hands Dirty is a call to action and a celebration of all the ways we can make a difference. It’s an uplifting, quick-to- learn song which would be great for demos or street singing. Gwenda’s Garage is a musical by Nicky Hallett and Val Regan, set in 1980’s Sheffield in a real-life, women’s car repair workshop. It explores the politics of Thatcher’s Britain, feminist activism and a daring protest against Clause 28, declaring Sheffield The Lesbian Capital of The North. Gwenda’s Garage will be touring in 2025 and you can find out more at www.outofthearchive.co.uk

Workshop 13 – Little Mermaid Tears

Ray Hearne – Writer and singer of songs and poems

Ray will teach this completely new song which laments the state of the planet’s oceans and is yearning for its first performance.

Workshop 14 – Sheffield Radical Histories Song Walk 

Tegwen Roberts – industrial archaeologist, social historian, song writer and folk singer

Tegwen has been part of the Sheffield folk scene for over 25 years and has a particular interest in industrial histories and the songs connected with them. She is also inspired by the opportunity to sing songs in unexpected places. This song walk will bring these things together to paint a unique picture of Sheffield Crofts in the late 18th and 19th century through songs, poems and people of the time.

Notes: The walk starts 10:00 at the old fountain, just above the Co-op on Broad Lane (What Three Words ref freed.herb.thanks) and is shown on the map in this brochure. This is about a 12 minute downhill walk from The Octagon Centre.    The walk will involve some uphill walking, cobbled streets and crossing roads.   The walk will finish at 11:30 leaving participants plenty of time to get back to the Octagon.

Workshop 15 – Secret Sheffield Walk 

Calvin Payne – Heritage Project Co-ordinator, Community Activist, Local History Writer, Walks Guide

The walk will look at the buildings and stories to be found in the city centre and search for the less obvious parts of the hidden town which we can still see today. 

The walk will start and finish on Norfolk Street, behind the Town Hall in the City Centre and runs from 10:00 – 11:30, leaving enough time for participants to return to the Octagon Centre. The walk is mostly on the flat. 

An optional extra for festival participants will be the Rivers Rally, a local event to celebrate Sheffield’s Five Rivers, the Don, Porter, Loxley, Rivelin and Sheaf. Organised by the South Yorkshire Climate Alliance, participants will walk or cycle from starting points on each of the tributaries and also upstream along the Lower Don, to converge at Castlegate near the confluence at about 4 pm, for a mass sing. Further details are on our programme page