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First Look: James Norton and Imogen Poots in rehearsal for Belleville at The Donmar Warehouse

Barbican January 2018 Highlights

Barbican January 2018 highlights

  • In the Barbican Theatre, 2018 starts with the London International Mime Festival. Award-winning Belgian company Peeping Tom bring the UK premiere of Mother (Moeder) which explores the archetypal matriarchal figure; Toneelhuis/FC Bergman make their Barbican debut with the UK premiere of 300 el x 50 el x 30 el which follows the inhabitants of a small village community gripped by the fear of an impending flood; Bêtes de foire – Petit Théâtre de Gestes brings its intimate circus tinged with nostalgia; Lift Off (Je brasse de l’air) is performed by Magali Rousseau , revealing exquisite metal creatures during this promenade performance and Barbican Cinema will screen a key work of German silent cinema, Variety.
  • In the Barbican Hall, Sir Simon Rattle conducts the London Symphony Orchestra in Genesis Suite and Orchestra of La Scala Milan and pianist Behzod Abduraimov both make their debuts.
  • Les Talens Lyriques present a half day exploration of the music of François Couperin in his 350th anniversary year at Milton Court Concert Hall.
  • Carleen Anderson presents Cage Street Memorial – a ‘tribal opera’, chronicling over a century of her own family heritage.
  • Creative collective Video Jam curates a night of audio/visual performances inspired by the life and works of American artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat to mark the finale of Basquiat: Boom for Realthe first large-scale exhibition in the UK of his work in the Barbican Art Gallery until 28 Janwhich brings together an outstanding selection of more than 100 works, many never seen before in the UK.
  • Commissioned especially for the Curve, British artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah’s new work Purple is an immersive, six-channel video installation charting incremental shifts in climate change across the planet. In the last in the series of films which have influenced John Akomfrah’s work, Barbican Cinema will screen a digital restoration of The Night of Counting the Years (aka The Mummy).

VISUAL ARTS

Basquiat: Boom for Real

Thu 21 Sep 2017–Sun 28 Jan 2018, Barbican Art Gallery

#boomforreal

Basquiat: Boom for Real is the first large-scale exhibition in the UK of the work of American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960­—1988). One of the most significant painters of the 20th century, Basquiat came of age in the post-punk underground art scene in Lower Manhattan in the late 1970s. By 1982, he had gained international recognition and was the youngest ever artist to participate in Documenta in Kassel. Basquiat’s vibrant, raw imagery springs from an impressive erudition, seen in the fragments of bold capitalised text that abound in his works — offering insights into both his encyclopaedic interests and his experience as a young artist with no formal training. Since his tragic death in 1988, Basquiat has had remarkably little exposure in the UK – where there is not a single work in a public collection. More than any other exhibition to date, Basquiat: Boom for Real focuses on the artist’s relationship to music, text, film and television, placing it within the wider cultural context of the time. Paintings, drawings and notebooks are presented alongside rare film, photography, music and ephemera in a design that aims to capture the dynamism of Basquiat’s practice. These exhibits are brought together for the first time in 35 years, allowing visitors to understand how Basquiat so quickly won the admiration of his fellow artists and critics.

John Akomfrah: Purple
Fri 6 Oct 2017–Tue 7 Jan 2018, The Curve

Free Admission

#JohnAkomfrah

Barbican Art Gallery presents a new commission by British artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah for the Curve. His most ambitious project to date, Purple is an immersive, six-channel video installation which charts the incremental shifts in climate change across the planet and its effects on human communities, biodiversity and the wilderness. As the follow up to Vertigo Sea (2015), Akomfrah’s standout work at the 56th Venice Biennale, Purple forms the second chapter in a planned quartet of films addressing the aesthetics and politics of matter. Symphonic in scale and divided into six interwoven movements, Akomfrah has combined hundreds of hours of archival footage with newly shot film and a hypnotic sound score to produce the video installation. Akomfrah’s Purple brings a multitude of ideas into conversation including mammalian extinctions, the memory of ice, the plastic ocean and global warming.

To coincide with Purple, John Akomfrah selects a series of films which have influenced his work and life over the years. On 4 January, Barbican Cinema will screen a digital restoration by Martin Scorcese’s Film Foundation The Night of Counting the Years (aka The Mummy).

Flying Trees and Sunken Squares

Fri 20 Oct 2017– Tue 20 Mar 2018Barbican Foyer, Ground level
Free Admission

Flying Trees and Sunken Squares is the fifth of the changing foyer displays. It explores the history and design of the Barbican Estate and Arts Centre through a number of different sources. A selection of books from founding architects Chamberlin, Powell & Bon partner Geoffrey Powell bring to light references from continental Europe and inspiration from the English garden. The selection of archival drawings and illustrations conveys the interweaving of artifice and nature and finally, at its centre, the Conservatory’s historical drawings and newly commissioned photographs of its species celebrate the glass and steel design of this botanical marvel and hidden garden.


Architecture on Stage: 
Adam Caruso and Peter St John
Wed 10 Jan, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm
Inspired by Louis Sullivan’s Kindergarten Chats, Adam Caruso and Peter St John will give a series of short talks on subjects ranging from new projects, the role of client and contractors, teaching, and problems of representation in architecture.

For information on talks programmed as part of Architecture on Stage and Magnum Photos Now, please visit www.barbican.org.uk/whats-on/art-design.

 

MUSIC

London Symphony Orchestra/Sir Simon Rattle: Genesis Suite

Sat 13 Jan 2018, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm  

Sir Simon Rattle conducts the London Symphony Orchestra in Genesis Suite, a musical interpretation of the first eleven chapters of the Book of Genesis. Consisting of seven movements, each written by a different composer, the work was conceived in 1943 by film composer/conductor Nathaniel Shilkret. Shilkret wished to create an impactful musical gesture – one which alluded to the horrors of the Second World War by means of Biblical analogies, while also breaking boundaries between musical idioms.

Shilkret approached some of the most famous composers of his time for this composite project, including Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Milhaud, Toch, Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Tansman.  Despite writing music in very different styles, these composers were all united in their experience of being European émigrés in America, displaced from their homelands by war and totalitarian regimes. Shilkret also asked Béla Bartók to take part but unfortunately Bartók was already gravely ill at that point and not able to participate. To acknowledge his planned involvement, the Barbican performance culminates with Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra. The production is devised and presented by creative director Gerard McBurney, with visuals by award winning projection designer Mike Tutaj.

Genesis Suite forms part of the Barbican’s 2018 Season, The Art of Change, which explores how artists respond to, reflect and can potentially effect change in the social and political landscape.

Les Talens Lyriques/François Couperin: lumière et ombre

Sun 14 Jan 2018, Milton Court Concert Hall, 2pm

Famed early music ensemble Les Talens Lyriques, under Christophe Rousset, will take up residence for half a day in Milton Court Concert Hall, for an exploration of the work of Baroque composer François Couperin, in the 350th anniversary year of his birth. The French ensemble, noted particularly for their performances of rare works which they consider to be missing links in Europe’s musical heritage, will perform two concerts, Lumière and Ombre, culminating with Trois leçons de ténèbres, performed by candlelight. Rousset will also take part in a panel discussion, delving into the imagination of the much-loved composer.  

Behzod Abduraimov plays the Liszt Sonata

Thu 18 Jan 2018, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm

Pianist Behzod Abduraimov makes his debut at the Barbican Hall in a concert of imposing romantic works that demonstrate his astonishing virtuosity. He has established himself as one of the forerunners of his generation, winning numerous awards for his recordings, and performing with leading orchestras worldwide. On the Barbican stage he will perform Liszt’s Sonata in B minor, a pinnacle of the composer’s oeuvre, alongside two transcriptions: Liszt’s transcription of Wagner’s Isolde’s Liebestod, and Prokofiev’s Ten Pieces from Romeo and Juliet, Op 75.

Carleen Anderson – Cage Street Memorial

+ special guests TBA

Sat 20 Jan 2018, Barbican Hall, 7:30pm

Mercury-nominated and Worldwide FM Lifetime Achievement Award winner Carleen Anderson takes to the Barbican stage to present Cage Street Memorial. Described by Anderson as a ‘tribal opera’, poetry and songs chronicle over a century of Anderson’s own family heritage, reflecting on multi-culturalism and the celebration of perseverance against the odds.

Original songs composed and arranged by Anderson drawn from jazz and soul, gospel and chamber music are enhanced by a backdrop of evocative visual images with Carleen on voice, piano and digital harmonizer complemented by an expert quartet led by the critically acclaimed multi-instrumentalist Orphy Robinson.  This performance is one-third part of a trilogy series also consisting of a theatrical production currently in development and a British Library registered book Cage Street Memorial – The Chapel of Mirrors.

Carleen Anderson’s Cage Street Memorial project is supported by Arts Council England and PRS for Music Foundation.

 

Orchestra of La Scala Milan / Riccardo Chailly

Wed 24 Jan 2018, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm

The prestigious Orchestra of La Scala Milan makes its first visit to the Barbican Hall, led by Principal Conductor Riccardo Chailly. The orchestra, founded in 1982 with the objective of developing a symphonic repertoire to add a further dimension to La Scala’s great operatic tradition, will perform a sparkling programme bringing together both of these musical worlds, with Rossini’s Overture from La Gazza Ladra,  Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No 4 and Grieg’s Piano Concerto. The soloist for this evening’s concert is Benjamin Grosvenor, whose previous appearances at the Barbican have been received to great acclaim.

 

Video Jam x Basquiat

Sun 28 Jan 2018, Barbican Hall, 8pm

Creative collective Video Jam curates a night of audio/visual performances inspired by the life and works of American artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat to mark the finale of Basquiat: Boom for Realthe first large-scale exhibition in the UK of his work.

Video Jam has programmed a selection of both established and emerging musicians, and filmmakers, from the UK and New York. Musicians will compose original scores to the specially commissioned moving image works which will be performed live. Confirmed for this collaboration are Mercury Prize winners, Young Fathers, Ibibio Sound Machine

and Seaming To.

Meanwhile, participating filmmakers include Topher Campbell, Victoria Keddie and Haley Elizabeth Anderson. Further musicians to perform include Tombed Visions, RootsRaddix and Danalogue (Live) featuring Sarathy Korwar, Leafcutter John and Idris Rahman. Further commissioned film makers include Gabrielle Ledet & Jack WedgeScout Stuart and Ephraim Asili. Following Video Jam’s recent artist residency in New York, filmmakers have been carefully selected by the Video Jam curators, taking into consideration the exhibition’s focus, including Basquiat’s relationship to music, literature, film and television, placing him within the wider context of the time. Their work covers a diverse range of genres – hand drawn animation, essay film, narrative, video art and more. The musicians chosen reflect Basquiat’s diverse musical tastes – contemporary classical, bebop, jazz, hip hop, electronic and experimental noise.

Additional highlights

 As part of the ECHO Rising Stars concert series, Percussionist Christopher Sietzen will perform a new ECHO commission by American musician (and former drummer of The Police)  Stewart Copeland, alongside one of Sietzen’s own works, and music by Xennakis, Pärt and others (Fri 5 Jan 2018, LSO St Luke’s). Another ECHO Rising Star Ellen Nisbeth, comes to LSO St Luke’s on 19 January to perform works by Vaughan Williams, Saariaho, Rebecca Clarke and a new work titled Tales of Lost Times written especially for her by Stockholm-based composer Katrina Leyman (Fri 19 Jan 2018, LSO St Luke’s). At Milton Court celebrated baritone Christopher Purves performs a recital of works by Handel, accompanied by the ensemble Arcangelo (Sun 7 Jan 2018, Milton Court Concert Hall). EUROPALIA and the Barbican continue their series, presenting an exploration of gamelan music in a special project Planet Harmonik by Aloysius Suwardi, based around the Pythagorean concept of the music of the spheres (Thu 18 Jan 2018, Milton Court). Renowned Irish fiddler Martin Hayes (The Gloaming) and the eclectic quartet Brooklyn Rider will join forces for an evening of music grounded in the Irish tradition, drawing material from their upcoming collaborative album (Thu 25 Jan 2018, Milton Court). The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain will celebrate the life and influence of founder member Kitty Lux, who sadly passed away in 2017, with a special concert at the Barbican (Fri 26 Jan 2018, Barbican Hall). At LSO St Luke’s, two Bernstein enthusiasts, journalist Edward Seckerson and Tony Award-nominated arranger, composer and musical director Jason Carr, will be joined by Olivier Award nominee Sophie-Louise Dann to explore the life and music of Leonard Bernstein in a cabaret performance Bernstein Revealed (Sun 28 Jan 2018, LSO St Luke’s). This event forms part of the Barbican’s season-long celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s centenary, Bernstein 100. The intimate setting of Milton Court will play host to a concert of principally Estonian choral works with the celebrated Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, in the year that marks 100 years since the proclamation of Estonia as an independent, democratic republic (Tue 30 Jan 2018, Milton Court Concert Hall).

BBC Symphony Orchestra highlights

Total Immersion day will focus on the music of Leonard Bernstein in his centenary year (27 Jan) – dedicated as much to his concert and choral works as his jazz and cabaret talents, Bernstein the Renaissance Man is celebrated in film, conversation and performances, including popular choral works, as well as a rare chance to hear his Songfest.

 

London Symphony Orchestra highlights

The LSO launches the new year with a collaboration between Sir Simon Rattle and international opera star Magdalena Kožená (11 Jan), followed by a performance of Genesis Suite, as detailed above (13 Jan). François-Xavier Roth, the LSO’s Principal Guest Conductor, takes charge of a major celebration of the century of Claude Debussy’s death in 2018. The series will survey Debussy’s career, those who influenced him and his successors across three concerts, beginning with two in January, featuring cellist Edward Moreau (21 Jan) and pianist Cédric Tiberghien (25 Jan).

THEATRE

London International Mime Festival 2018
Petit Théâtre de Gestes – Bêtes de foire
Tue 16–Sat 20 Jan 2018, The Pit
Press night: Tue16 Jan 2018, 7.45pm

Bêtes de foire is an intimate circus, tinged with nostalgia, where artistry, puppetry and object theatre combine. Surrounded by old clothes, mannequins and bric-a-brac, a seamstress tinkers with assorted fabrics in her workshop, reassembling materials of all kinds while her antiquated sewing machine provides musical cues for her fellow performer’s routines. He, a little down-at-heel but clearly talented, launches into an eccentric dance, juggling precariously with hats and disappearing props. A supporting cast of mechanical characters, including tightrope walker, acrobats and one-man band, adds to the mystique of an itinerant fairground show.

Elsa De Witte and Laurent Cabrol performed with French street theatre and travelling companies before founding their own miniature circus universe. With echoes of Tadeusz Kantor and Alexander Calder, and the sensibility of silent film, this is a feelgood performance of surprise, wonder, offbeat humour and exceptional skill.

London International Mime Festival 2018

L’Insolite Mécanique – Lift Off (Je brasse de l’air)

Tue 23– Sat 27 Jan 2018, The Pit

Press performances: Tue 23 Jan 2018, 6.30pm and 8.30pm

In this mysterious world of shadow and light, mechanical installations come alive, illuminating Magali Rousseau’s childhood dream of achieving flight. An enigmatic yet charismatic artist tells her story of a little girl wishing to escape by becoming a master of the air. As she leads the audience to different parts of the atmospherically lit stage, her simple words become a symbolic force for this promenade performance in which exquisite metal creatures emerge. Some small, some very large, each is an actor, a work of art in its own right, set into action through steam power, flame, time or weight, all playing their part in this ingenious theatrical tale.

Rousseau’s astonishingly engineered machines are born out of a career working in set and prop design. Collaborating with musician Stéphane Diskus, whose live clarinet playing heightens the unusual ambience, she relates a most personal memory: how trying to fly became an act of resistance. A journey into the imagination, then, for all the dreamers, young and old alike.

London International Mime Festival 2018

Peeping Tom – Mother (Moeder)

Wed 24 – Sat 27 January 2018, Barbican Theatre

Press night: Wed 24 Jan 2018, 7.45pm

Peeping Tom evoke a dreamlike universe, at once disturbing and oddly humorous, to explore the archetypal figure of the mother, in a production of astonishing physicality that defies characterisation.

Taking audiences into a series of recognisable spaces, including a museum, music studio and maternity ward, this non-narrative work draws on the memories of the show’s director Gabriela Carrizo and those of her performers to trigger disquieting reflections about motherhood.

Suffering, desire, fear, life and death are unexpectedly intertwined in Mother (Moeder), which shies away from neither the subconscious nor nightmares, reflecting the unstable atmosphere of a David Lynch film. The soundscape has a cinematic quality, sometimes amplified to disconcerting effect. It is matched by surreal visual imagery and imaginative choreography where bodies bend, flip, isolate and contort.

Peeping Tom’s 32 rue Vandenbranden, seen at the Barbican in 2015 as part of the London International Mime Festival, won the Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production.

London International Mime Festival 2018

Toneelhuis/FC Bergman – 300 el x 50 el x 30 el

Wed 31 Jan–Sat 3 Feb 2018, Barbican Theatre

Press night: Wed 31 Jan 2018, 7.45pm

Theatre and film are ingeniously interwoven in a wordless production that follows the inhabitants of a small village community gripped by the fear of an impending flood.

Six humble dwellings sit in a wild forest clearing. At first, only their exteriors are visible. But when joined by a live camera crew, surreal, peculiar and humorous slices of life are captured and revealed on a big screen. From the mundane to intimate, sinister to absurd, a symphony of symbolic and unsettling images emerges.

Young Belgian theatre collective FC Bergman is creatively experimental and daring, devising visual and poetic work with an anarchic edge. The story of Noah’s Ark – the show’s title alludes to the vessel’s dimensions – is the starting point for this production, which touches upon hidden desires, the search for life’s meaning, the beauty of human failure and, finally, hope. With a cast of thirteen actors, 300 el x 50 el x 30 el unfolds to a soundtrack that includes Vivaldi, The Persuasions and Nina Simone.

CINEMA

 John Akomfrah Presents: The Night of Counting the Years (aka The Mummy) (15*)

Thu 4 Jan 6.15pm, Cinema 2

Egypt 1969 Dir Chadi Abdel Salam 102 min Digital presentation 

Presented here in a digital restoration by Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation, this Egyptian classic was recently voted the greatest ever movie from the Arab world. 1881, Thebes – burial place of the Pharaohs. The Horabat mountain tribe have lived for generations by stripping artefacts from a tomb known only to themselves, and selling them on the black market. When the current chief dies, his two sons learn for the first time about the trade, and are thrown into moral chaos: reveal the secret to the authorities, or preserve what the tribesmen consider to be their natural heritage?

The film casts this story in terms of the search for an authentic, lost Egyptian national identity, while leaving open questions about desecration, veneration, and what exactly our debt should be to the past. Unusual camera angles, striking colours and an unsettling score contribute to making this what Scorsese has called ‘an entrancing and oddly moving experience.’

Silent Film and Live Music: Variety  (PG)

with live musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne and Martin Pyne

Sun 21 Jan 4pm, Cinema 1

Germany 1925 Dir Ewald Andre Dupont 94 min

A key work of German silent cinema and an international smash on its release, E A Dupont’s movie is an audacious melodrama, filmed in the legendary Berlin Wintergarten Theatre. Starring two of the era’s biggest stars, Emil Jannings and Lya De Putti, the film immerses us in a world of acrobats, clowns, jugglers, dancing girls and barkers of the period.

The screening features a live musical accompaniment by acclaimed multi-instrumentalist Stephen Horne and vibraphonist/percussionist Martin Pyne, who perform Horne’s original score for this classic of both the silent and circus genre.

Part of the London International Mime Festival

 

Umanoove announces ‘The Knot’ by choreographer Didy Veldman for 2018

The Knot – Dane Hurst and Madeleine Jonsson.
The Knot – Dane Hurst and Madeleine Jonsson.

The Knot – Dane Hurst and Madeleine Jonsson. Photography by Tom Rowland

Umanoove, under the artistic direction of Dutch-born choreographer Didy Veldman, has announced The Knot, a brand new dance production for 2018.  The Knot receives its world premiere performances at Jerwood DanceHouse, DanceEast in Ipswich on 9 February and G Live, Guildford on 14 February, ahead of a UK tour in autumn 2018.

Veldman, a former Rambert dancer, left the company in 2000 to pursue a choreographic career.  In 17 years she has become a highly sought after choreographer both nationally and internationally and has created work for Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, Cedarlake (New York), Cullberg Ballet (Sweden), Introdans (Netherlands), Gothenburg Ballet, Iceland Dance Company and the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

In the UK, Veldman has been commissioned by Rambert, Northern Ballet and Scottish Dance Theatre and in 2019 she will create a new work for Birmingham Royal Ballet with composer Gabriel Prokofiev.

The Knot follows Veldman’s critically acclaimed The Happiness Project that launched her own company Umanoove in 2016.  The highly anticipated work examines the social and personal significance of marriage in contemporary Western society.

The audience is invited to a wedding party in The Knot. Performers take on the roles of the bride, groom, best man and bridesmaids as the work unfolds and explores familiar scenes of tying the knot – the authenticity of the vows, the formidable wedding speeches and the photography.

The Knot examines what a wedding means and how it feels. The role of ritual, doubt, religion and gender will be scrutinised and the romanticised ideas of Walt Disney will challenge our perceptions of matrimony.

Veldman shapes her Umanoove company of dancers to suit each work.  For The Knot, seven exceptional performers will interpret the theme of marriage through the choreographer’s extremely physical and theatrical movement style.

Dancers Dane Hurst (Rambert, National Dance Company of Wales, Phoenix Dance Theatre and Company Wayne McGregor) and Mathieu Geffré (Dansgroep Amsterdam, Noord Nederlandse Dans, National Dance Company Wales, Theo Clinkard) return to Umanoove having both performed in The Happiness Project.  For The Knot they will be joined by Oihana Vesga Bujan (Richard Alston Dance Company), Oliver Chapman (Henri Oguike Dance, National Dance Company of Wales, Icon Dance) and Sara Harton (erSa Danse, Les 7 doigts de la main, PPS Danse, ezdanza) and Angela Venturini (a post-graduate student at The Place) and Jacob Lang (Rambert School).

Stravinsky’s masterpiece Les Noces (The Wedding) is intertwined with new music by London and Paris-based British composer Ben Foskett (work has included commissions for CBSO Youth Orchestra and London Children’s Ballet).

Lighting design is by Ben Ormerod, a regular collaborator of Veldman’s, and set and costume design is by Joana Dias.

Commissioned by DanceEast, with support from Studio Wayne McGregor through the FreeSpace programme and funds from Arts Council England, Linbury Trust, The Master Charitable Trust – The Marina Kleinwort Trust, Beth Krasna and an anonymous donor.

Umanoove presents Didy Veldman’s The Knot in 2018 #TheKnot2018

Friday 9 February at 7.30pm (WORLD PREMIERE and National press night) ON GENERAL SALE ON 1 DECEMBER

Jerwoood DanceHouse, DanceEast IPSWICH

Tickets:  01473 295230 // www.danceeast.co.uk

Wednesday 14 February at 8pm

G Live, GUILDFORD

Tickets: 01483 369 350 // www.GLive.co.uk

Please note The Knot will tour extensively across the UK in November 2018 – details to be announced.

Age Guidance: Recommended 12+

Running Time: 70 minutes (no interval)

 

Bristol Old Vic Ferment and The Leverhulme Trust to once again offer four Leverhulme Arts Scholarships for local artists in 2018

Bristol Old Vic Ferment  have teamed up with The Leverhulme Trust once again to offer four Leverhulme Arts Scholarships in 2018.

The Leverhulme Arts Scholarships are a financial stipend for artists over the period of one year to explore their own artistic practice with the support of Ferment whilst being financially supported by the award. Artists can apply for Leverhulme Arts Scholarships of up to £5,000, which are awarded towards the costs of having a research year on attachment to Ferment.

During this year, there will be opportunities to engage in Ferment activity – from sharing a piece of work in Ferment Fortnight to spending time away on a retreat. The offer is to encourage artists to think about their own creative development, and what they might need over the course of a year on attachment to Ferment, which would enable them to explore, experiment and try things out.

Ferment Producer Emma Bettridge said: “Bristol Old Vic Ferment is committed to supporting artists living and making work in the South West, and we understand that sometimes the best way to do this is to support the artists to live. Ferment believes in the importance of time and space around the process of making work. We are driven by the artists who inspire us and we strive to enable them to make the best work they can, through conversation, practical help and advice, dramaturgical support and creative development.”

There are four Leverhulme Art Scholarships available – two will be for recipients that Bristol Ferment invite to submit a proposal, and two will be awarded to artists who apply as part of an open call out.

The next Leverhulme Arts Scholarships will run from Jan 2018, with dates to be discussed with the Ferment team. To apply, please submit an expression of interest by emailing [email protected]rg.uk – telling Ferment why you would like to receive a Leverhulme Arts Scholarship. For more information on how to apply, visit: www.bristololdvic.org.uk/leverhulme-arts-scholarships-2018.

Applications now open, deadline Wed 20 December 2017.

Full Cast announced for Theatr Clwyd and Paperfinch’s co-production of The Snow Queen

The Snow Queen
The Snow Queen

The Snow Queen

Artistic Director of Theatr Clwyd, Tamara Harvey, today announced full cast for Theatr Clwyd and Paperfinch’s co-production of The Snow Queen, based on Hans Christian Anderson’s classic fairy tale. Joe Bunce directs Josh Sneesby in the titular role, and he will be joined by Matilda Reith (Ripley Pockets) and Robyn Sinclair (Gerda). Opening on 18 December, with previews from the 15th and performed as a promenade in 15 specially created spaces in the building, the production will see more than 30 members of the community come together to join the company.

When a mysterious mirror is uncovered within the walls of Theatr Clwyd it opens a portal into an idyllic fairy tale world. But when a storm shatters the Christmas bliss, will you brave the ice to reunite two best friends?

Josh Sneesby returns to Theatr Clwyd to play The Snow Queen. His credits for the company include The Nutcracker. Other theatre credits include The Hypocrite, Birthday Bash (RSC), One Man Two Guvnors (Theatre Royal Haymarket) and The Comedy of Errors (National Theatre).

Robyn Sinclair plays Gerda. Her stage work includes Much Ado About Nothing (Oxford Stage Company) and for film her credits include Fledgeling.

Matilda Reith returns to Theatr Clwyd to play Ripley Pockets – her credits for the company include The Nutcracker. Other theatre credits include Daniel(Theatre Delicatessen, ZOO Theatres) and Picnic Apocalyptic (Edinburgh Fringe Festival). For film her credits include, Red Wine Teeth.

Joe Bunce is Artistic Director of Paperfinch – he has adapted the book for the stage, and also directs. His playwrighting credits include Departures: A Song Cycle for which he won The Sunday Times Playwriting Award and Cameron Mackintosh Award. Credits for Paperfinch include The Nutcracker (Theatr Clwyd, Bank Street Arts), Beatrix Potter’s Garden (Theatre Delicatessen), Curiouser and Curiouser – in collaboration with SlungLow Theatre, and The Steadfast Tin Soldier.

The Snow Queen                                                                                                                                             Listings

Emlyn Williams Theatre

Theatr Clwyd

Raikes Lane, Mold CH7 1YA

Friday 15 December – Saturday 6 January 2018

Tickets: £12 – £8

 Box Office: 01352 701521

Online booking (no booking fees): www.theatrclwyd.com

Twitter: @clwydtweets

Facebook: /TheatrClwyd

The Comedy About A Bank Robbery, Chris Pizzey: “Have I ever committed a crime? Apart from hunting for my Christmas presents as a kid… no.”

Chris Pizzey

Mischief Theatre was founded in 2008 as an improvised theatre group on the London and Edinburgh fringes, they have grown into one of the UK’s leading theatre companies, winning the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy for The Play That Goes Wrong, which began in front of four people above a pub. Their latest show, The Comedy About A Bank Robbery is currently running in London’s West End. 

Chris Pizzey

Chris Pizzey

The company has had a meteoric rise of Mischief Theatre, with three productions being performed in the West End, one of which is due to be a highlight of the Christmas TV schedules

 It’s been a hell of a month, so, I thought it might be good to have some light relief and have a chat with cast member Chris Pizzey. Chris is an Actor, writer and a Director and he just so happens to currently be playing Officer Randall Shuck in The Comedy About A Bank Robbery.

Hi Chris, how is it all going?
Busy but good. Instead of having a day off I’ve been recording a voice over for a brand new TV show coming out next year. Sadly In not allowed to say what it is. And then today I was back on stage making people laugh.

You are part of quite a brilliant cast for The Comedy About A Bank Robbery aren’t you. 
Thank you very much you are very kind. The cast is indeed a talented bunch. As also is the whole creative and behind the scene crew. Everyone works hard to make the show run like a well oiled machine.
Do you think we care too much about what other people think nowadays? 
 Some people do. I think it’s very liberating when you reach a point in your life when you feel strong and sometimes brave enough to follow your own path. Be that at 5 or 50 Year’s old.
Do you agree with the statement that the best kind of theatre is jovial with a slight undercurrent of menace? 
 No. I think there are many different types of Theatre that strive to achieve different things. Some want to teach us, others want to open our eyes to a different view point and some just want you to escape into another world for just a few hours. All are equal in my mind and magical in their own way.
Is there one thing you wish someone had told you when you were starting out about this industry?
 Yes. Don’t be scared to be yourself.
Have you ever committed a crime? 
 Apart from hunting for my Christmas presents as a kid… no. 
You have done a lot of work for television including The Basil Brush Show & The Sarah Jane Adventures. Do you prefer performing for theatre or screen? 
They are such different mediums you can’t compare the two. Theatre gives you that immediate reaction that can send shivers down your spine as you listen to the audience laugh or gasp. On the screen sometimes you know after a take you’ve been apart of something special but then have to wait sometimes months to see the results. But in that time the scene can be made even better with clever editing and atmospheric music. I feel lucky to have experienced both.
Comedy About A Bank Robbery

Comedy About A Bank Robbery
©Tristram Kenton

Would you say you are an ambitious person? 
Yes. Ambition I think is a wonderful thing as It drives you on even when things aren’t going your way.
Mischief Theatre is on a roll at presentwith three shows in the West End. It must feel quite good to be a part of that family. 
Yes it does. I think Mischief Theatre has a fantastic energy. It’s great to work for a company that thinks anything is achievable. 
Andrew Lloyd Webber: man, or God? 
 He’s a man but a very talented one.
Why should people come and see The Comedy About A Bank Robbery
If you want to go for a night out and genuinely laugh until your cheeks ache. Our play is for you. Don’t believe me? Come and prove me wrong.
Right you are. If you could ban anything from city centres what would it be?
Nothing comes to mind… I’m quite a tolerant kind of guy.
Is there anything you would like to add?
Thanks for your questions if you have others you can find me on Twitter @chrispizzey. 

Image result for chris pizzey comedy about a bank robbery

The Comedy About a Bank Robbery is at the Criterion, London, until November 2018. 

Light Night celebrates biggest ever opening weekend for Edinburgh’s Christmas!

George Street was the place to be on Sunday 19 November when thousands gathered at Light Night to celebrate the beginning of Edinburgh’s Christmas, one of the biggest and most popular Christmas celebrations in the UK which runs until 6 January 2018.

Stretching from St Andrew Square in the East to Festival Square in the West and into community hubs outside the city centre, 2017 sees the biggest, brightest and best programme of Christmas events and entertainment across the city to date!

This weekend Edinburgh’s Christmas has welcomed over 370,000 people into attractions across the centre of town; the ice rink in St Andrew Square, the Festival Square Spiegeltent for La Clique Noël, Princes Street Gardens and the George Street attractions including Ice Adventure: A Journey Through Frozen Scotland.

Light Night’s host, Forth 1 Breakfast presenter Arlene Stuart, was joined by Edinburgh’s Lord Provost Frank Ross, and the star of BBC’s Call the Midwife and Shrek the Musical Laura Main to mark the beginning of Edinburgh’s Christmas with the traditional switching on of the city’s lights followed by a stunning fireworks display.

The Christmas Tree on the Mound, a gift to the City of Edinburgh Council from Hordaland County Council in Norway, was also lit as part of the Light Night switch-on.

Light Night also saw fantastic performances from Little Voices Big Stars, Edinburgh Rock Choir, Edinburgh Ballet and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra Junior Chorus plus a special performance of ‘I’m a Believer’ from Shrek (Steffan Harri) and Princess Fiona (Laura Main)!

Edinburgh’s Christmas partnered with the NSPCC this year – National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children is a leading children’s charity fighting to end child abuse – with collectors the length and breadth of Light Night and across Christmas attractions it is hoped that visitors will be generous in supporting this cause.

Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam, Directors, Edinburgh’s Christmas, said“We were delighted to see so many locals and visitors gathered on George Street today enjoying the fantastic performances and spectacular fireworks display, all heralding the start of Christmas in the Scottish capital. Light Night is always a wonderful community event which gets everyone into the Christmas spirit! Here’s to another great festive season!”

The Royal Court Theatre releases Series 2 of The Playwright’s Podcast

Alice Birch & Simon Stephens
Alice Birch & Simon Stephens

Alice Birch & Simon Stephens

Today the Royal Court Theatre releases the first episode in Series 2 of the Playwright’s Podcast, S2: E1 Simon Stephens talks to Alice Birch.

Royal Court Associate Playwright Simon Stephens talks to some of the world’s leading playwrights about their lives and their work, their approaches and their careers, and their relationships with the Royal Court. A new episode will be released every Friday for the next 15 weeks. The podcast can be listened to at www.royalcourttheatre.com/podcasts and is also available to subscribe and download via iTunes here

In Series 2 Simon talks to playwrights Bola Agbaje, Mike Bartlett, Alice Birch, Alecky Blythe, Howard Brenton, Leo Butler, Anupama Chandrasekhar, Emma Crowe, Nat Martello-White, Abi Morgan,  Nick Payne, Penny Skinner, Chris Thorpe, Timberlake Wertenbaker and Roy Williams.

Commenting on the podcast series Simon Stephens said;

The response to the first series of Royal Court Playwright’s Playwright Podcasts took me completely by surprise. The enthusiasm they engendered was so energising that we decided, fundamentally, to do the exact same thing again. 15 times. Over the course of the past four months I have sat in the sound studio at the Royal Court and talked to playwrights about how they write, how they live, what they do with their days, what they read, what they watch, what they think and why they do, read, watch or think it. And when the first time was that they ever went to the theatre. Not all of them said “it was probably the panto.”  I hope people find these conversations with these remarkable people as inspiring as I did. We’ve also added a new bit. At the end of each one. I hope you like our new bit too.”

To listen to S2: E1 Simon Stephens talks to Alice Birch see here

Gecko extends the tour of its most ambitious show to date, The Wedding, into spring 2018

Ipswich-based physical theatre company Gecko extends the tour of its most ambitious show to date, The Wedding, into spring 2018. The tour includes 8 venues around England: Bristol Old Vic, Watford Palace Theatre, Nottingham Playhouse, Derby Theatre, Cast in Doncaster, Oxford Playhouse, Nuffield in Southampton and Liverpool Playhouse and is one of Gecko’s longest consecutive tours since the company began in 2001.

The Wedding is set in a dystopian world that imagines we are all brides, wedded to society and bound by a contract. Inspired by the complexities of human nature, the show brings these contracts and issues of social cohesion within communities into question. What are the terms of this relationship? And can we consider a divorce?

With the support of the Strategic Touring Funding from Arts Council England Gecko is able to bring an experimental, mid-scale theatre show to the main regional stages around the country and therefore help diversify their programmes, at the same time appealing to and nurturing young and more diverse audiences, inspiring them to be both the artists and audiences of the future.

The Strategic Touring Funding also allowed the company to develop an audience engagement programme that encourages social cohesion between local and migrant/refugee communities through participation as well as increasing audience attendance among these groups at each venue on the tour.

This ambitious outreach programme includes, for example, 3-day training course with one associate artists from each venue (27-29 September 2017), a 2.5-3 residency co-delivered with the associate artists and aimed at young people of migrant or refugee background, free half-day workshop for audiences at each venue and a post-show panel discussion.

Through workshops, residencies, free ticket offer and more, Gecko will actively engage 750 participants around England, some of whom might not be able or inclined to engage in such activity otherwise. This will not only strengthen Gecko’s reputation as an inclusive company with a strong educational status but also foster the development of more diverse audiences around England.

Amit Lahav, Gecko’s Artistic Director saidFor me, The Wedding started as a battle between anger and love. Played out around the complex ideas of belonging, state, exclusion and a longing for community, all set within the excitement and ceremony of marriage!”

“In Spring 2018 we will tour The Wedding to 8 UK venues and there are many reasons why this is particularly exciting tour for us.  Most of the venues we’ll be visiting are new to the company, or venues who we have only recently begun a relationship with.  This is significant because touring mid-scale devised work is notoriously difficult, more so in the last two years, and for us to have so many new relationships shows a real step change in the national excitement around Gecko’s work.  We have also put together a deep reaching participation project around inclusion, exclusion and community, some of the central ideas in the show, which will see the company working in the towns and cities of the touring venues with local young adults, refugees and asylum seekers.  It has become increasingly important for me to find ways to engage communities and certainly to try and reach into the more marginalised areas of society. Enriching the tapestry of the shows content, furthering our understanding of some of the questions raised within the show and bringing some of those human beings into the theatre to celebrate our shared journeys, whilst encouraging more empathy within all of us.”

Spring tour 2018:

Bristol Old Vic / 17-20 January / tickets available here.

Watford Palace Theatre / 23-25 January / tickets available here.

Nottingham Playhouse / 1-3 February / tickets available here.

Derby Theatre / 8-10 February / tickets available here.

Liverpool Playhouse / 21-24 February /tickets available here.

Cast in Doncaster / 27 February / tickets available here.

Oxford Playhouse / 1-3 March / tickets available here.

Nuffield Southampton Theatres / 6-9 March / tickets available here.

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PINOCCHIO makes its world premiere at the National Theatre

Pinocchio
Pinocchio

Pinocchio

Visit the alpine forest this winter as Pinocchio makes its world premiere at the National Theatre

On a quest to be truly alive, Pinocchio leaves Geppetto’s workshop with Jiminy Cricket in tow. Their electrifying adventure takes them from alpine forests to Pleasure Island to the bottom of the ocean.

This spectacular new production is brought to the stage by an extraordinary team including John Tiffany, the director of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Dennis Kelly, the writer of Matilda the Musical.

Featuring unforgettable music and songs from the Walt Disney film including ‘I’ve Got No Strings’, ‘Give a Little Whistle’ and ‘When You Wish upon a Star’ in dazzling new arrangements, Pinocchio comes to life as never before.

Director John Tiffany said: “The story of Pinocchio sits in the European tradition of the Grimm Tales and Aesop’s fables. It is about a character who is on the cusp of something, a character who is frozen. It explores what it means to be real, to be a human being. It’s wonderful to be able to bring this story to life at the National Theatre and to bring Pinocchio to new audiences as a world-first in theatrical terms. ”

Joe Idris-Roberts will play the title role, with Aubrey Brisson as Jiminy Cricket and David Langham as the Fox.

Pinocchio is for brave 8-year-olds and above as certain themes, characters and events in the story may be a bit scary for children of eight and under. Tickets for families – Half-price tickets for under – 18s for all performances (excludes £15 tickets).

Previews start in the Lyttelton Theatre from 1 December with Press Night on 13 December, running until 10 April 2018.

Pinocchio is presented by special arrangement with Disney Theatrical Productions under the direction of Thomas Schumacher.