Sweet Like Cocoa Festival


Sweet Like Cocoa is a bold, new festival by BeaBop Productions in association with ZeN. Over three weekends, the Sweet Like Cocoa festival provides a vibrant forum for a celebration of cocoa and the fascinating history of our relationship with this bean.


The festival brings photography, carnival costumes, multimedia performance, interactive 'pods', food and more together in a blend of fun, exploration and nourishing provisions. Through this exciting collection of events, cocoa is used as a metaphor for the historical journeys and experiences of people of African and Caribbean descent.



From its captivating location in Derby's former chocolate factory, to an evocative programme of events and activities and of course glorious food, this is a unique, multi-sensory experience and metaphorical journey inspired by all things cocoa. Not quite Willy Wonka, Visual Artist Paul Barrand will be creating the look and feel of the space, using paintings that will dress the walls and encourage visitors to think about what cocoa is and was before it became chocolate.  Through interactive, exploratory pods, specially installed for the festival, visitors (including children) will be encouraged to look, feel, smell and think about the many uses of cocoa. 


Highlights of the festival include: a tap-dance class by master dancer and Got to Dance semi-finalist Lee Payne; multi-media performance ‘Journey Cakes’ by Michelle Vacciana, stand-up comedy by international comic sensation Gina Yashere and much more! 


All of these events have links to cocoa - the fruit, the bean, the manufactured end products and the people who have travelled in the wake of the trade. Prepare to be taken on an incredible journey of discovery!



Welcome to the Sweet Like Cocoa Festival!




Who we are... 



Welcome to the The Sweet Like Cocoa Festival, brought to you by BeaBop Productions in association with ZeN.


BeaBop Productions is an East-Midlands based arts and media company providing project and event management, evaluation and artist development. Headed up by me – the ‘funky protagonist’ – Bea Udeh, BeaBop delivers creative media and arts activities with a social impact, priding ourselves on inspired originality and collaborative exploration.


My vision is to create and project manage large – sometimes unorthodox – ideas which make lasting ripples. With a particular focus on sections of our communities with a limited platform or ability to tell their stories and indeed for those too, who have forgotten that they should speak out. It is important that we share our stories with the upcoming generations, pass on our insights and nurture their creativity! Beabop productions thrives on supporting the development of the many talented individuals coming through with genuinely refreshing ideas and, of course, adding my own to the mix! 


ZeN is a voluntary organisation bringing the community together through events and activities. Their focus on quality and edgy fun made them an obvious choice for this organic, debut festival. We have worked closely with them on delivery and with their support we have been able to keep most events completely free. Thank you ZeN!


The collaboration between ZeN's 'Me, We, Zen' ethos and BeaBop Productions commitment to powerful, culturally eclectic creative productions, is long overdue and one that we’re sure you will enjoy.


So, we welcome you to taste the sweet fruit of the cocoa and let your journey begin!


BeaBop Productions










QUAD has been working with Compendium Living on the redevelopment of the Castleward area of Derby as an urban village. Eager to encourage new activity in the area, Compendium Living has made available the Chocolate Factory on Siddal’s Road for use as a temporary arts centre.


The Chocolate Factory is being managed by QUAD until June 2018 for use as a place for artistic experimentation and research, working with promoters, artists and creatives with ideas for exciting activities and projects that could take place there.




With special thanks to:
Zen PR
Robert Lee

Nayo Hunt

Paul Barrand




With support from:


Derby Theatre

Derby University



...in association with Zen PR