A new festival dedicated to art and creative projects by Oldham’s South Asian communities has been launched by Oldham Coliseum.

The festival is in partnership with Manchester Museum and the Women’s Chai Project.

The festival, Khushi, is named after the Urdu word for happiness.

Running at the Coliseum, Oldham Library and Lifelong Learning Centre and Oldham’s Parliament Square on Wednesday, August 24, Thursday, August 25, and Saturday, August 27, the festival will feature performances, exhibitions, workshops, food, and more.

Six exhibitions will run throughout the festival.

At Oldham Library on Wednesday and Thursday from 10am to 5pm, ‘A Pop Up Manchester Museum’ gives a special preview of the museum’s new South Asia Gallery ahead of the museum’s reopening in February 2023.

On Wednesday, Manchester International Festival presents ‘Factory Roadshow’ – which promises to give an insight into its forthcoming city centre venue The Factory.

At the Coliseum each day from 10am to 6pm, festivalgoers will find a range of exhibits including: ‘The Boishakhi Fish’ by Werneth Primary School Chai Ladies – a giant fish reflecting the Boishakhi Mela, a Bengali celebration of heritage, ‘Pottered Together’ by Roundthorn Primary Academy Chai Ladies, ‘Soul, Spirituality and Ceramics’ by Coppice Primary Academy Chai Ladies, and ‘Eid, Past & Present,’ curated by Coliseum Associate Alumni, poet, playwright, and producer Hafsah Aneela Bashir.

A major element of South Asian culture, complementary food will be served and celebrated at 1pm and 6pm each day in ‘Let’s Eat Together,’ presenting an opportunity for people to come together and share food and stories.

The action-packed first day of the festival closes with ‘A Conversation with Shobna Gulati’ on the Coliseum’s main stage. One of Oldham’s finest exports, Shobna discusses her life, career and her recently published book.

Thursday kicks off with the West Oldham Chai Ladies’ ‘Log Kya Kehengey?/What Will People Say?’ – a new piece written, produced and performed by the group working with artist Perveen Hussain, telling the story of one woman’s journey from her village in Pakistan to a new life in the UK.

The Oldham Times: Ri Ri Dance Academy. Photo: Oldham Coliseum.Ri Ri Dance Academy. Photo: Oldham Coliseum.

Thursday will also see performances of folk, contemporary and Bollywood Dance, as well as poetry and performances.

On Saturday, Greenhill Primary Chai Ladies present performances of poetry about their memories of Pakistan and England created in workshops with writer Zoe Iqbal, and there’s an opportunity to try your hand at writing with Kali Theatre’s Discovery Writing Workshop.

The Oldham Times: Kami Kane. Photo: Oldham ColiseumKami Kane. Photo: Oldham Coliseum

The festival comes to a close with Khushi Music Night from SM Music – a gig packed with singers, rappers and musicians performing Bollywood, Bhangra, Urban Desi and more.

The event features performances from both established and emerging musicians including: Hussnain Lahori, Joash Gill, Kami Kane, Luqy and Ri Ri Dance Academy, all hosted by actor and award-winning comedian Mani Liaqat.

The Oldham Times: Hussnain Lahori. Photo: Oldham ColiseumHussnain Lahori. Photo: Oldham Coliseum

All events, workshops and exhibitions are free to attend.

A full timetable and listing of events can be found on the Coliseum’s website.