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Stories of ’71

By 8th July 2021Current Events

Stories of 71 Summer events: Celebrating Bangladesh50 at Toynbee Hall

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As part of Bangladesh 50 celebrations, we’re hosting two events honouring the powerful history of Bengalis (in the UK and Bangladesh) during the liberation struggle in 1971.

With lockdown finally easing and the sun making an appearance, Toynbee Hall is delighted to open its doors on Sunday 4th July – inviting you to two events honouring the powerful history of Bengalis (in the UK and Bangladesh) during the liberation struggle in 1971.

With storytelling and music as a powerful and important aspect of Bengali culture, we’ve been working with Swadhinata Trust, Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives and Shamim Azad to capture some of this heritage in an exciting and interactive way. So come join us on Sunday 4th July for a performative story & music walking tour around the East End in the morning or a community celebration in the afternoon – or both!

If you have questions about the events, please get in touch

Stories of 71: Performative Music and Storytelling walking Tour

Sunday 4th July – Meet at 10:45am outside Toynbee Hall, 11am – 13:30

Join local storyteller Shamim Azad,  musicians Paul Burgess and Amit Dey, and the Swadhinata Trust as we journey through the local area, visiting places that hold a connection to British Bengali Heritage and the 1971 War of Independence. At each location, Shamim will lead a short story & musical performance to capture some of this important heritage.  

This is a free event but booking is required as numbers are limited– please register on Eventbrite here

Stories of 71: Celebrating Bangladesh50 at Toynbee Hall

Sunday 4th July, 14:30 – 17:30

Come join us for an afternoon of music, food and community storytelling at Toynbee, where our historic halls were an important meeting site for Bengali activists during 1971.

Winners of the our Stories of 71 Short Story Competition we held back in March/April 2021 will also be performing their pieces.

This is a free event but booking is required as numbers are limited – please register on Eventbrite here

This activity will take place in accordance with the national and local COVID restrictions at the time. This will include wearing masks and adhering to social distancing rules. We will update you on the full procedures in place ahead of the event.


  • Ansar Ahmed Ullah says:

    Brilliant storytelling. Let’s hope the script can be of help to other projects of ’71 and young people.


  • Tony Haynes says:

    Thanks, Julie – it was a really lovely and heart-warming event, and I was really delighted to be there.
    Tony Haynes

  • julie786 says:

    well done and thank you to all the the volunteers on the day who were:-

    1. Anahita

    2. Zak

    3. Zahbia

    4. Lindsay

    5. Sarah

    6. Felicity

    7. Aklima

    8. Elizabeth (Ed)

    There was also be support from Emma who is the event coordinator for the day as well as the wider team who are involved in the story & music walking tour.

  • Shamim Azad says:

    Dear Julie and all
    As you can imagine,
    after the long day I was so exhausted, tired that I couldn’t say a proper goodbye to you all. But I was very happy to finish it without any major faults. Thank God for that. I feel I was privileged to have the opportunity to work with all of you. Thank you

    When i reached home, I realised- this was probably my last collective creative contribution to my community and the place of my birth Bangladesh.
    Certainly, I won’t be able to do such demanding project (purely for physical reason) in future. But I am so happy that my script is there and if we can train young storytellers we can carry on. It was such a good feeling when, after so many young people came to me and were singing our praise. Also, non Bengali audience form the walk were also full of appreciation.

    Credit goes to all of you and especially to Farha. Thank you Farha.
    With love

  • Congratulations on Sunday at Toynbee! It was a lovely event all round, and just the right number of people to make it intimate while retaining gravitas. A nice blend of the friendly with the informative, emotion and hard fact.

    I really enjoyed it, and from a selfish point of view loved seeing those two films come alive on big screens with such excellent sound. I’m grateful to you, and on behalf of the Company, for giving us that opportunity.

  • Shirley says:

    Dear Ansar,

    It was lovely to meet you all on Sunday. Thank you for your prompt emailing of the photos.
    You may not be aware since the first lockdown my father had not attended any in person exhibition or eaten outside. Sunday was such a fitting first event to do so.
    Do thank the collaborators on our behalf for creating an open and inviting event.
    Best wishes,


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