Shkembe Soup

A Love Letter to Tower Hamlets

Screening on Saturday 1 May | 10am | Finborough Theatre’s YouTube 

Valuing and defending community spaces that we love.

Captures the spirit of Shkembe Soup and our love for our area in the East End. Inspired by the ‘1921 Poplar Rates Rebellion’ and other campaigners who passionately and steadfastly stand up to authority. A wise woman with a pipe and the ancient Bethnal Green Mulberry Tree, look back at the past, and wonder about the present and future. The magic of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, The Canal Club Community Garden, Victoria Park and the Bethnal Green Mulberry Tree is there to be seen. We show the importance of protecting and fighting for our environment, heritages, and freedoms.

Collaborators and film locations

The Bethnal Green Mulberry Tree
This ancient tree’s life is threatened by redevelopment proposals.

After three years of campaigning a Judicial Review with a full public hearing at the High Court on the 5th and 6th May 2021 is taking place.
Read here for more info.

Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park
One of London’s Victorian Magnificent Seven cemeteries, it opened in 1841 and closed to burials and became a public park by Act of Parliament in 1966. It is owned by Tower Hamlets Council and the day-to-day care and management is carried out by the Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, a local charity. Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park is London’s most urban woodland and the only woodland park in the Borough and a designated Local Nature Reserve.

Victoria Park, London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Our beautiful park.

Canal Club Community Gardens
Belmont Wharf, Waterloo Gardens, London, E2 9HP
A small wildlife community garden built for food growing, wild-flowers and wildlife habitat. A seed station to share produce and plants with the local community overlooking the canal towards the park. A place of calm for all to share. Events such as art and pizza making in the outdoor clay oven will be taking place. Come and meet us and see if you would like to get involved in gardening, urban wildlife observation, art events and workshops held here in the garden.

This space is under threat. Read here for more info.

Sugarbay, Sally and Dominique’s boat

Performers – Anna, Caroline, Dian, Fiona, Linda, Mardi, Morgan, Rosy, Sally, Steph, Steve and Tom

Cameras – David Thomson and Shkembe Soup

Editors led by Charlie Sen with Tom and Sally

Soundtrack – Ciganka Stara, traditional Bulgarian song
New lyrics and narrative, Anna, Rosy, Sally and Mardi.
Additional music by Shkembe Soup

Photographs lent by – members of Shkembe Soup, David Thomson, Jaime Rory Lucy, Royal London Hospital Archives, Lucy Sigmund, Dr Dave and the Gentle Author, Spitalfields Life


About Shkembe Soup

Shkembe Soup is a troupe of ten musicians, singers and dancers who perform delicious live music and swirling dance. We perform songs from around the world (ancient and new) from many genres including Arabic, Folk, Rock n Roll, Balkan, Klezmer. We sing, dance, and play guitar, djembe drums, violin, mandolin and more. We are very much a community group, based in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.


 PREMIERES | Saturday 1 May | 10am

Poplarism!, Poplar Union, Finborough theatre, digital festival, may, Poplar Rates Rebellion 1921, Poplar, East London