Jade Williams

In Search of Pablo

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Updated 8 February 2024

Presented by Word of Warning + Contact in Works Ahead 2023

“Black, brilliant, and Manc” — born in 1810, Pablo Fanque was the first Black circus owner in Britain. Come & delight in tales of Pablo’s Fantastic Fair as I channel his story to explore my own journey to being Black, brilliant, & Manc.

An exploration of belonging and Black identity in the diaspora. Jade responds to the question “No, where are you really from?” and unapologetically provides you with the answer. So, roll up to the fair and enjoy the show…


Jade is a Black, Queer, multi-disciplinary artist and experienced teacher from Manchester working in dance, poetry, writing, performance, and creative facilitation. She has worked closely with Community Arts North West, Curious Minds, and DIY Theatre on projects for young people in Greater Manchester.

You are most likely to find her dancing in the streets of Manchester with her headphones on, connecting with her mind, body, and soul. Jade created Dance or Die to challenge herself and others to respond to music instinctively and connect with their inner creative spirit.

Jade has previously been commissioned by Blaze Arts and Oldham Coliseum to explore forgotten Black British figures and honour their memory.
She particularly celebrated Pablo Fanque and reignited his famous circus through the forms of movement, poetry, and spoken word performance.


Pay What You Decide: £15/£10/£5/£0
Book: Thursday/Friday via Contact or call 0161 274 0600

Times: Thursday 18 + Friday 19 May 2023, 7.30pm
Duration: event lasts up to 2 hours including interval/s.
NB Jade presents alongside Christian Asare & Kellie Colbert in Works Ahead 2023, with all three works shown in the same order each night.
Location: Contact, Oxford Rd, Manchester, M15 6JA


Age Advisory: 16+ (parental/guardian discretion).
Content Warnings: some works may disturb, please click here.
Features: three contemporary performance works with varied content.
Queries: please call Contact on 0161 274 0600 or email BoxOffice@contactmcr.com


Works Ahead is a project developed out of the old Method Lab & SeedFund schemes which hÅb ran with greenroom until 2011. Since 2012 it has offered over thirty-five small, supported, work-in-development commissions for artists selected from the previous year’s Emergency platform and/or other events. Support includes mentoring and a public showing of the next stage of the work, in partnership with Contact… Jade is presented alongside two other artists.


Music: Save my Life by Tiwa Savage.
Works Ahead 2023 commissioned by hÅb + Contact; produced by hÅb.
Project Mentor: Peader Kirk · Thanks to Keisha Thompson & Tania Camara.


Insta dance_or_die_with_jade · @Danceordiejade
WorksAhead.org · #WorksAhead

NB Contact’s website changed on 9 May & links to their site have been updated.

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Performance Programme 2023

Fri 10 Mar, 7pm. PWYD | Contact
Turn 2023
Wed 3 May, 8pm. PWYD | The Lowry
Unnatural Cycles
— A Ghost Story
Thu 18 + Fri 19 May, 7.30pm. PWYD | Contact
Works Ahead 2023
Sat 22 Jul, Noon-3pm. FREE | Z-arts
Haphazard 2023
Sat 30 Sep, Noon-10pm. PWYD | Contact
Emergency 23