Soul on Ice Festival features pioneering queer performance, 14 – 17 March.

Coco Butter Club will appear at Soul on Ice Festival.
The Cocoa Butter Club. Photo by Aimee McGhee (image supplied).

Soul on Ice is a new festival from Certain Blacks that explores identity, diversity, and improvisation through cabaret, music, and live art. The festival will take place at Rich Mix in East London between the 1st and 17th March. 

The festival takes its name from the 1968 book ‘Soul on Ice‘ by activist and Black Panther, Eldridge Cleaver. Initially shocking, the memoir challenged and changed forever the way in which America understood the Civil Rights Movement and the black experience. It is now regarded as a classic.

In Certain Blacks’ Soul on Ice, they want to challenge perceptions and provide space for the new. To this end they have programmed new work as well as presenting performances by established and pioneering artists. 

Soul on Ice will present five shows at Rich Mix, a welcoming arts space for the communities of the world in East London to create, enjoy and share culture. The Soul on Ice programme also features LGBTQ+ artists and performers. Queer cabaret comes courtesy of The Cocoa Butter Club (QX award-winners), and there is a live art commission from Bold Mellon Collective

Soul On Ice

The Cocoa Butter Club performs at Soul on Ice 

Friday 15 March 7.15 pm at The Stage. Tickets £15

The Cocoa Butter Club is a unique cabaret and theatre production who strive to ‘decolonise and moisturise’ the stages of London, the UK and abroad – redistributing the narrative of bodies of colour in a celebration of burlesque, circus, spoken word, live music, voguing, comedy and more!

Cassie Leon, producer, Cocoa Butter Club spoke to QX

“Soul on Ice is a really exciting festival for The Cocoa Butter Club to be involved in. The festival prioritises work from Black creators and it’s great to be recognised as a collective who are striving for the same thing. Certain Blacks has an amazing reach and track record of producing brilliant work across genres and have had an inspiring journey so far. It’s exciting to be a part of this festival and be a part of the important history of circus and cabaret.”
Sadie Sinner at Soul on Ice.
Sadie Sinner the Songbird

Sadie Sinner the Songbird  (She/They) As a velvet-toned songbird or powerhouse of a host, “a bad girl with a good voice and a lot of loving to give…”, Sadie Sinner is a creative force! Founder and curator of The Cocoa Butter Club, Sadie performs a seamless repertoire bursting with the RnB, Blues, Jazz, Motown, Funk and Neo-soul that raised her. Sadie brings entire rooms to their feet- her vocals and vibe, compelling them to dance the night away!

Zaki Musa  (He/Him) – is a multi-disciplinary circus and boylesque performer, exploring themes surrounding race, identity and masculinity through his acts. Originally from Singapore, he is now London-based, performing and coaching internationally. Pulling from a wide background in design and movement both on the ground and in the air, get ready to catch him in action for some spinning, sass and sparkle.

Jordan Charles (He/Him)  Jordan Charles is the Father of The Cocoa Butter Club guiding the collective through festival season and is the winner of Pride’s Got Talent 2023!. 

Symoné (image supplied).

Symoné (She/They) Symoné is an international circus artist with a Guinness World Record and reknown for her fusion of skills. Though based in London, her work has taken her to over 8 different countries. Most famously working with Omi and Machel Montano in their hit 2016 song, “Hula Hoop” in the Caribbean to the West End Theatre in London with La Soirée in 2018. Symonés feel good upbeat performances will have you clapping your hands and shaking your hips along with her!

Mimi Sugarpill (She/Her) is a neo-burlesque performer and singer with a voice like butter and the smile of an angel. Dangerously addictive, this petite powerhouse will captivate and tease the room with velvety smooth vocals and a tantalising roll of her hips.

Ezme Pumps – Ezme pump is a Burlesque performer with a flair for the dramatic and a wheeze for the tease. Asthma might slow her breathing, but it can’t keep her from taking yours away with her sultry moves and breathtaking performances. 


The Cocoa Butter Club performs at Rich Mix on 15 March at 3.45 pm.

Give or Take by Bold Melon Collective

Saturday 16 March 3.45 pm at Rich Mix.

A new live art commission from exciting emerging practitioners.
Tickets £7-10 including entry to the performance and panel discussion.

Emilia Nurmakhametova is a queer, migrant, multidisciplinary artist of Tatar descent. After graduating from ArtsEd in 2020 (mid pandemic) Emilia co-founded Bold Mellon Collective in response to a lack of alternative queer performance spaces for emerging artists in London.  Emilia believes that artists at the start of their career are in dire need to experiment, try out new things and develop their practice – which comes from performing and generating creative work.

In just three years, Bold Melon have been artists in residence at Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, Above the Stag Theatre, Stanley Arts, Kings Head Theatre and Ugly Duck. Alongside producing and devising original performances for stage, Bold Mellon Collective also put on cabaret, scratch performances, live music, club nights and curate visual art events – providing a platform for emerging queer artists to collaborate and express themselves! 

Bold Mellon Collective. Photo by Rodion Kolomiichenko (image supplied)

Since the full scale invasion of Ukraine, Emilia’s performance work has been greatly influenced by themes of grief, opposition and the intersections of queer & migrant identities.

Queer Faces of War

Last year, Emilia wrote and produced ‘Queer Faces of War’ a series of monologues and a short film about the lived experience of queer people from Ukraine and ethnic minorities living in Russia during the war. Her most recent project ‘Give or Take’ celebrates the rich history of Tatar diaspora with a focus on resistance and community, incorporating references to ‘gifts’ offered to ethnic minority groups in Russia to aid mobilisation.

Annie (they/them) is a queer, trans interdisciplinary artist and Dance Movement Psychotherapist who uses dance, music and spoken word to weave binary-melting stories with autobiographical beginnings.

Alongside performing and sharing their creative work internationally, they work across numerous healthcare settings. With curiosity to the sensations our bodies can both express and engender, they affirm difference to trouble ‘normal’. ‘Normal’… what is that? Annie is constantly curious about the ways that sociopolitical systems inform our own narratives, fixedly define ‘normal’ and in turn shape our relational lives. They want activism, mess and movement; agency to explore new ways of being a body, with others.

“GIVE OR TAKE celebrates the rich history of Tatar diaspora with a focus on resistance and community” – Bold Melon

Annie didn’t always plan to work in healthcare (previous career hopes flitted between palaeontology and witchcraft whilst working irl as a clown) but after years of volunteering on an emotional support helpline, they followed a want to give more time and space to care.

For Annie, dance is a pivotal means of discovery in their own gender-journey, and they believe that creativity cultivates care as an integrated aspect of community, in supporting expansive expressions.

Whether transgressing or transcending expectations, Annie’s work dissolves boundaries both in form and theme, as they traverse imaginal spaces that feel raw in their simultaneous grit and glamour.

The Bold Melon Collective talks to QX

Bold Mellon Collective. Photo by Rodion Kolomiichenko (image supplied)

“GIVE OR TAKE is an interactive live art performance that combines physical-theatre and live electronic music, exploring gift-giving as an act of celebration, alongside unpacking moments when ‘gifts’ are employed as a contract and a transaction. The piece is devised and performed by Emilia Nurmukhamet and Dear Annie from Bold Mellon Collective and co-directed by Theodor Spiridon from TAKDAJA. 

GIVE OR TAKE celebrates the rich history of Tatar diaspora with a focus on resistance and community, while offering a queer critique of oppressive and imperialist bargains. The show begins as a game played with the audience, before becoming an emotive ritual for consent and accountability fusing dance, poetry and live electronic music. Soul on Ice is a Festival of daring works that take risks, with a nurturing multidisciplinary approach and a celebration of difference, identity and culture – we can’t wait to be a part of it!”


Give or Take by The Bold Melon Collective is at Rich Mix on 16 March at 3.45 pm. The performance is followed by a panel discussion with the artists and producers which will explore how artists address and express issues of diversity, inclusion and identity.

Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Grn Rd, London E1 6LA, UK



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here