House of AMAU Ltd (the ‘mau’ syllable is pronounced as in the Kenyan Mau Mau) is an Afrikan heritage arts focused voluntary organization. The letters A,M,A &U represent: ‘AMBA Publications’ – literature & publishing; ‘Morningside Music’ – recording & production; ‘Anansi Dramatic’ – stage, film & TV productions; & ‘Ultra Promo’ – entertainment management; the four semi-autonomous elements (or rooms) of the organization. All AMAU projects and activity are delivered through one or other of these units, with the principal function of ‘Ultra Promo’ to promote and manage live events initiated by the other three rooms.
In 1986 a group of Hackney based Afrikan Caribbean artists disillusioned by the lack of mainstream support available to them set up a self-help initiative. The project was called The Artist and Music Promotion Service (AMPS). With its slogan “Come Forward” and its vision of, ‘the higher aspirations and attainment of Afrikan Caribbean artists’, AMPS created opportunities for artists to develop their art and integrate more effectively with artists from other communities. In 1988 AMPS in partnership with BASCO (Black Arts, Sports and Cultural Organization) combined to publish ‘Black I Am – an Anthology of Poetry and Prose. In 2000 the organization was rebranded as House of AMPS (H-AMPS) and then again in 2011 as the House of AMAU. The AMBA room is in acknowledgement of this partnership. In 2015 the organization was registered as a Limited Liability Company under the leadership of its first directors Ngoma Bishop and Pamela Williams.
From its inception and regardless of name, the organization has been successfully delivering cultural arts projects and has remained at the forefront of campaigning for the recognition, by statutory and strategic agencies, of the value of Afrikan heritage led arts organizations – all this without any significant or core funding. House of AMAU as ever, is about combining talent with the pursuit of excellence and the determination to succeed. It is also about ensuring that artists and those responsible for producing art are rewarded for their efforts. To this end the organization will work with any individual, organization or group with the same or similar objectives or interests.
Directors: Ngoma Bishop & Pam Williams
AMBA Publications Lead Pam Williams (temp)
Morningside Music Lead Ngoma Bishop (temp)
Anansi Dramatic Lead Shirley Mason
Ultra Promo Lead Douglas Williams
The company objective is:
the carrying on of a business involved in trading, production, promotion and training in a broad range of art forms and arts administration
The company aims are to:
- support the development of Afrikan heritage and other artists
- produce and market work created by Afrikan heritage and other artists
- support the work of organisations involved in the production of work by Afrikan heritage and other artists
- plan, organize and promote events, projects, conferences and other activity that benefit Afrikan heritage and other artists
- represent the interest of Afrikan heritage and other artists by engaging with; appropriate local and regional structures, strategic partnerships, and with other bodies, institutions and individuals whose activities impact on the arts
Projects delivery mechanism
The House of AMAU operates as four semi autonomous ‘rooms’ through which all projects are delivered. There are currently about half a dozen projects at various stages of development.
- AMBA Publications (literature & publishing)
- Morningside Music (productions and recording)
- Anansi Dramatic (theatre & drama)
- Ultra Promo (live events)
The House of AMAU team is currently made up of four staff. We are in the process of recruiting Leads for AMAU ‘rooms’ as well as volunteers. Please contact us if you are interested in learning about staff and volunteering opportunities.
Merville Ngoma Bishop aka Dee Two-Four Carat Silver
Managing Director and Lead for Morningside Music
Ngoma is the author of Spread Your Wings and Fly, a biographical fiction novel, published by Tamare Press; and co-author of The Whole Story, a book of poetry and anecdotes also published by Tamare. In 2011 he produced a paper for the Arts Council England identifying key issues hindering the development of African Caribbean and African art, artists and arts organisations, and outlining recommendations to tackle those issues.
Currently Chair of AMAU and of BEMA, he has combined creative, performance, promotional and campaigning work in the voluntary sector for over thirty years. In addition to being a recipient of the Mayor’s Award for Services to the Community (Islington, London) he has received similar acknowledgements from LB Hackney and from the Mellow-Mix community arts project.
Career highlights include the following: experience as a Performance Poet, Song Writer, Theatre Director, Events Promoter and Arts Campaigner.
Pam Williams aka Susie Dread
Director and Lead for AMBA Publications
A graduate of London’s prestigious St Martin’s School of Art (with a BA in Fashion journalism) Pam’s highly successful career as a fashion writer and stylist has spanned two decades. She has worked on and for a number of leading women’s titles writing shopping and fashion news pages as well as fashion features and celebrity interviews; and held the position of Fashion Editor on PS, Shape, She and Now Magazines.
Pam also spent several years as a freelance fashion stylist, fulfilling bookings for advertising, retail and catalogue clients, before bowing out of the industry to work with vulnerable children – first as a foster carer and now as a Teaching Assistant at a special needs school in London.
Creative writing is a long held passion and she joined African Heritage Writers Group late in 2014.
As well as pieces for the groups planned anthology based on the experiences of African and Caribbean World War 1 military personnel, she is currently compiling a collection of her poetry and has three novels “ready to be aired and published”.
Shirley E Mason aka Cuban Redd* and ‘Sister Shirley’
Lead for Anansi Dramatic
Shirley is passionate about the Arts. She has performed three times at Edinburgh Fringe with the Performance Poetry club Big Word; written and performed in two one woman shows ‘Who Feelz It Knows It’ and ‘Utopia’ and was the Artist -in – Residence at Millfield Arts Centre. She was also the Participation Manager for Face Front Inclusive Theatre which she co-founded.
During this period she also developed Ghetto Youth Transformation Theatre (GYT) which ran for five years and produced local classics: ‘ShankTown 1 and 2, examining the effects of gun and knife crime on the community, ‘Friends for Life’ –looking at relationships and anti-social behaviour and Cybermissive – examining the role social media has in the lives of people, particularly the young.
Shirley moved on from Face Front Inclusive Theatre In October 2014 to consolidate ‘Cuban Redd Enterprises’ and develop as an Arts Practitioner and a Creative Producer in her own right.
She has since written, directed and managed the production of ‘Collateral Insanity – No Shame No More’ which explores the contemporary issues of Mental Health Dis-ease. The show played to packed houses in April 2015 at Enfield’s Dugdale Centre and returned in September 2015 due to public demand.
Shirley is currently hosting “Cruisin’ With Cuban Redd”, a weekly live internet show on www.inclusivefm.co.uk. ‘CWCR’ is a mixture of Poetry/Music/Current affairs/Afrikan Ourstory etc
Lead for Ultra Promo
Douglas was a member of the north London sound system ‘7 Warriors’ back in the day. His keen ear for sound quality made him the natural choice to be their sound engineer and wireman.
His career background is in computing having worked as an IT lecturer and spent several years running his own shop, Tower Letters, building and repairing computers. He has a love of photography and design and is an absolute perfectionist; all qualities that he uses in his current role working for printing firm Igma Imaging.
Douglas is responsible for technical direction at our live events, design and printing of promotional material and website development and communications.
In addition to our staff, House of Amau contributors are:
Mark Boisson – Finance Management
Secorro Green – Marketing and Social Networking