A barbershop at Stetford Mall is to be transformed into the set of classic TV sitcom Desmonds for a special pop up social hub event to celebrate Black British comedy.
Shoppers will be offered free haircuts while they watch episodes of the hit 1990s show, at Future Cuts hairdressers in Stretford Mall, next weekend on January 19 & 20.
The Comedy Cuts Barbershop is part of a project commissioned by the British Film Institute to raise awareness of British comedy and Black culture in the UK, as part of the BFI’s Comedy Genius season.
Barber Jermaine Stewart who runs Future Cuts at Stretford Mall has teamed up with events company We Are Parable, who were commissioned by the BFI to stage the event.
His shop will be decorated in the style of the barbershop that featured at the centre of the iconic comedy “Desmond’s”, which celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2019 and remains Channel 4’s longest running and most popular comedy show.
The show, created by Trix Worrell captivated audiences young and old from 1989 to 1993 with stories and adventures from the Ambrose family, who ran a barbershop in Peckham, South East London.
Centering around Desmond Ambrose, a first generation Guyanese expat, the sitcom gave the UK a unique insight into black British life and how it was constantly adapting and evolving with the times.
The event at Future Cuts in Stretford Mall will be open to the public from 10am until 7pm on Saturday January 19, and Sunday 10am until 5pm on Sunday January 20.
In addition to episodes of Desmonds being shown, visitors will also be treated to a double bill of film screenings of hit movies Friday and Next Friday, starring Ice Cube and Chris Tucker.
Barber Jermaine and his Future Cuts team will be cutting people’s hair free of charge while they watch and chat. The 44-year-old barber has been cutting hair for 25 years.
He moved to the UK from Jamaica almost a decade ago. He worked as a barber in Middleton, Moss Side, Manchester city centre and Altrincham, before opening opened Future Cuts in Stretford five years ago.
Jermaine said: “I’ve been in the community for five years now in Stretford so I couldn’t let an opportunity like this go past. It’s good to be a part of giving back to the community who have been very supportive of my business over the years.
“It fits really well, “Desmond’s” kind of reflects what we are all about and the vibe we have at Future Cuts. Also, he was a barber who came over from the Carribean and so am I.
“It’s about celebrating Desmonds which I’m sure for a lot of people around now, maybe their parents used to watch it a lot, it’s about bringing back a sense of togetherness, thirty years after it started.”
“As a barbershop at the heart of the community we still have that type of vibe in the shop with people coming in and talking about their lives, and what sports they’ve been up to, football and things like that.
“It’s always a good feeling when people come to Future Cuts and get a good haircut and good vibes.
“It’s good to be a part of this event. I’m excited to see the shop being transformed. We are hoping to see lots of new and old faces coming out to enjoy the event.
“I’m really looking forwards to serving people on those days with free haircuts, seeing people coming out and enjoying themselves and having a good time.”
Gareth Wilkins, centre manager at Stretford Mall said: “We are delighted to be hosting the BFI and We Are Parable event here at Future Cuts in Stretford Mall.
“We’re looking forward to seeing lots of people coming along to join in the fun and celebrate some wonderful British comedy memories, in the heart of their community”
We Are Parable is headed by co-founders Anthony and Teanne Andrews. They have been touring with the Desmonds barbershop for the last few months including events in appeared in Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool and London.
Teanne said: “When Desmond’s came on a Monday night,” “it felt like such an event because you could recognise and resonate with all of these characters – because you knew people just like them in your own community.
“Trix Worrell created a real window into what it was like to be Black and British in the 90s, and we wanted to celebrate that with this project.”
“Not only was “Desmond’s” an important cultural moment in the Black British experience, it was also an extremely funny sitcom, with the late, great Norman Beaton’s facial expressions always guaranteed to raise a smile,” said Anthony.
“It was important to make sure that this pop up space, in addition to being a fully functional barbershop with professionals cutting visitors hair for free, was also an environment where we could make people laugh.”
We Are Parable have been touring the barbershop as part of the Comedy Genius season, and have established a great sense of awareness of the films they are screening alongside the shop, but have also introduced a significant amount of young people to a classic show.
“This project represents a new era for our organisation,” Anthony says. “Because we’re originally from London, we take it for granted how many great events there are for people who look like us.
“When you go outside of the M25 you realise, after speaking to only a handful of people, how underserved Black audiences are outside of the capital. Therefore, we want to work and collaborate with local organisations on this project to create memorable experiences – a bit like how Desmond’s did, almost thirty years ago. We can’t wait to bring the Comedy Cuts barbershop to Stretford.”