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In Conversation: The UK Drill Project

HighRise Entertainment

The ensemble, wearing Hoodrich clothing stand on and around a wall.

Join youth worker, author and executive research consultant, Ciaran Thapar, as he hosts a panel discussion about the development and themes of HighRise Entertainment's 'The UK Drill Project'.

Drawing from a range of expert voices from across youth work, criminal justice and the music industry, the panel will discuss the highs and lows of UK drill's musical evolution, its roots and risks as a form of expression for young people in the city, and its continued criminalisation in British courts.

Host Ciaran Thapar will be joined by HighRise Entertainment's Artistic Director Dominic Garfield, barrister Elena Papamichael and community advocate and artist Franklyn Addo.

This event will use The UK Drill Project as a launchpad to hold a stimulating and urgent conversation. 

Unfortunately due to personal reasons Kenny Allstar will not be able to join this in conversation event.

1 hour, 30 mins

This in conversation event follows performances of HighRise Entertainment: The UK Drill Project which runs in the Pit theatre from 3 - 12 Nov.




Ciaran Thapar (host)
Ciaran Thapar is a youth worker and author based in London. He has nearly a decade's experience working with young people across secondary schools, PRUs, youth services and the criminal justice system, and regularly delivers writing workshops for those who are at-risk of permanent exclusion. Since 2020, he has consulted defence teams as an expert witness in criminal trials involving 'gangs evidence', social media content and music lyrics. He has written extensively about British multiculturalism, social inequality and London music for publications including The Guardian. His debut nonfiction book is called Cut Short: Why We're Failing Our Youth — and How to Fix It.

Dominic Garfield
Dominic Garfield is a writer, director, rapper and actor from North London. He is Artistic Director of HighRise. Writing and directing work includes Lil.Miss.Lady at the Roundhouse, with HighTide; The Concrete Jungle Book at artsdepot and The Pleasance; My Generation at the Orange Tree Theatre; Penny Lane at The Yard; Merryville at Camden People’s Theatre and Latitude; Saturnalia at Contact; Big Foot for Tara Arts and Black Theatre Live; and Big Smother at Brixton House. As a facilitator and young people’s director he has built programmes and delivered work with the National Theatre, Royal Exchange, Manchester, Shoreditch Town Hall, The Place, Cambridge Junction, Talawa, Cardboard Citizens and Coney. His work has taken him across the world. He uses a unique practice of blending playful, immersive and thought-provoking theatre with hip hop and grime music to connect and inspire young audiences and participants. With his experience in UK musicology, youth work and politics, Dominic leads the creative process on The UK Drill Project, bringing together some of the most exciting multi-talented artists and researchers to debate, devise and design this unrelentingly-honest and enlightening event. 

Franklyn Addo
Franklyn Addo is a community advocate and artist. He is one of the expert witnesses working to challenge the misuse of music as evidence in criminal proceedings and the blanket mischaracterisation of young people as gang members. Franklyn has spent years on the frontlines helping to socially rehabilitate survivors of violence and has written about issues like police brutality in platforms like The Guardian and Independent.  His non-fiction debut A Quick Ting on Grime is forthcoming on Jacaranda Books in 2023, and his latest single ‘Ghetto Angels’ is out now on all digital streaming platforms.

Elena Papamichael
Elena Papamichael is a criminal defence barrister, dealing with serious violence, drugs, robbery and public order. She has successfully opposed drill music evidence and gang evidence being introduced into criminal trials. She has experience with gang injunctions and criminal behaviour orders seeking to prohibit the publishing of music. She has written about Anti-Black racism, policing and drill music, and is most recently on the Advisory Board for the Racial Bias and the Bench report about judicial racial bias.

Kenny Allstar
Unfortunately due to personal reasons Kenny Allstar will not be able to join this in conversation event.

Frobisher Auditorium 1