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Everybody’s Talking about the South Yorkshire Cultural and Creative Industries Summit

‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’

To coincide with the red-carpet premiere of ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’, South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined AuthorityShowroom Workstation and Sheffield Theatres will premiere the Cultural and Creative Industries Summit and South Yorkshire Cultural and Creative Industries Network on Friday 17th September at Showroom Cinema.

The two-part summit will explore how the cultural and creative industries in South Yorkshire can build on Jamie’s success, contributing to the region’s economy, with a reputation for fostering creative skills, attracting skilled talent, and building communities.

Mayor of South Yorkshire, Dan Jarvis, will open the summit. A champion of the role that arts, culture and heritage will play in driving South Yorkshire’s economic renewal post COVID, he will discuss how the South Yorkshire MCA will support these sectors and the opportunities that the release of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie can bring to the region.

Host and creative coach and consultant, Auriel Majumdar, will introduce CEO of Creative England and the Creative Industries Federation, Caroline Norbury MBE as the Keynote speaker. As an industry that generated £115.9bn in GVA and 3.5 million UK jobs prior to the pandemic, Caroline will outline the importance of making creative and cultural industries a strategic priority for the UK to bounce back better after Covid. Caroline will then be joined by Chief Executive of Arts Council England, Dr Darren Henley OBE, to discuss the levelling up opportunities for South Yorkshire’s cultural and creative industries. 

The two-part event will feature two panel discussions. The first panel, facilitated by the BFI’s Head of UK Audiences, Ben Luxford, is a case study of the global success of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie with Dan Bates of Sheffield Theatres, Mark Herbert of Warp Films, Caroline Cooper Charles, Head of Creative at Screen Yorkshire and CEO of Arts Council England, Dr Darren Henley OBE taking part. They will discuss the journey of ‘Jamie’ from its creative roots in South Yorkshire, to becoming a global, commercial success. 

The second panel, titled Stepping into the Spotlight: Unlocking South Yorkshire’s Potential will represent the wider cultural and creative landscape. Participants include Emma Holling of Pure Records, Emma Cooper of Cooperative Innovations and Olivia Jones of Doncopolitan. Also joining are Deborah Bullivant of Grimm & Co, Nathan Geering of Theatre Deli and Sue Thiedeman, Head of Culture and Visitor Economy, Barnsley Council.  The panel will discuss the broader opportunities of the cultural and creative industries, including building creative skills and engagement and expanding on South Yorkshire’s visitor economy.

The summit will be closed by Project Director of South Yorkshire’s Arts, Culture and Heritage Sector, Kate Brindley. Appointed by Mayor Dan Jarvis, Kate works with South Yorkshire’s cultural sectors to attract investment, grow participation, and increase tourism opportunities for the region. Kate will be joined by Showroom Workstation CEO, Ian Wild, to discuss the future of South Yorkshire’s Cultural and Creative Industries Network and how creative practitioners can be involved in further events. 

The invite-only guest list includes creative practitioners, ambassadors, funders, freelance artists, musicians, and producers who work in South Yorkshire’s creative industries. Following the summit, guests will have the opportunity to view the first screening of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, which will be showing at Showroom Cinema.

Speaking about the hotly anticipated release of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, South Yorkshire Mayor, Dan Jarvis said: “South Yorkshire is proud to be home to a whole range of Creative Industries and a wealth of creative talent. In our Strategic Economic Plan, we highlighted the enormous potential within the arts, culture and heritage sectors in our region. They are a vital part of our recovery and renewal, contributing to healthy and sustainable communities, strong local identities, and vibrant places, as well as to our economic recovery.

“There is a real opportunity now to level up the North. If supported and nurtured, the Creative Industries can help drive growth and realise untapped potential that deserves to be unleashed.”

It’s a view shared by Creative England & Creative Industries Federation CEO, Caroline Norbury, who said: “We’re calling on Government ahead of its Comprehensive Spending Review for investment in creative industries to regenerate our places, drive job creation, economic growth, opportunity, and community cohesion.

“It is important that we get it right and for government and industry to take action now.  Investment in creative businesses, people and places will unleash innovation, level up all parts of the country, create opportunities and unlock entrepreneurialism, creativity, and sustainability throughout the economy. It will future-proof UK industries and jobs and strengthen our global competitive edge.”

Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England said: “As we emerge from the pandemic the creative and cultural sector will play a vital role in our country’s recovery. Culture is essential to our economic growth, as it revives our high streets, creates local jobs and most importantly builds a sense of belonging and pride in our communities. South Yorkshire is a hub of creativity and I very much welcome the opportunity to join the discussion about how we continue to nurture and grow the creative talent of the people living and working across the Sheffield City Region.

 “Over the past four years West End and international audiences have enjoyed a slice of Sheffield by watching the smash hit Everybody’s Talking about Jamie, a musical that, thanks to public funding, started out as a Sheffield Theatres’ commission and production. The film premiere will allow a global audience to see for themselves the creative talent that is radiating out of South Yorkshire.”

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UK Theatre Awards 2017: A blow by blow account

12.30pm I arrive at the Guildhall, London and head for the drinks reception in the Crypts. It’s quite posh. I have a glass of champagne and bump into theatre critic Mark Shenton. “Hello! I’m surprised you managed to fit this in between all your meetings,” he says, laughing. We have a quick gossip.

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Mark Shenton

12.45pm I mingle and bump into critics Lyn Gardner and Fiona Mountford, which is nice. “What on earth are you doing here!?,” Lyn says. I wouldn’t miss it for the world – congratulations, Mrs. I say. Bless.

12.55pm A man from Scottish Ballet asks me to take his photo around forty times – because the lighting is not flattering. I oblige. Great days.

1.00pm Everyone is having lunch. Here is the menu.

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(I was afforded a cheese roll, a banana and a Kit Kat. Beggars can’t be choosers.

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Guildhall, City of London: The Great Hall.

1.30pm The guy from Scottish Ballet appears. “I need somewhere to throw up my gum,” he says to me and the chap from UK Theatre. Words fail me. I suggest a bin around the corner.

2.00pm It’s starting. I think.

2.05pm Oh here comes Gemma Bodinetz who has won the Best Director award for artistic directorship of Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse’s new repertory season. “I’m looking forward to the whole thing now: I can get drunk,” she says. Amazing.

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Gemma Bodinetz

2.08pm “Yayyy Gemma!” Shrinking violet Sam Hodges is gate crashing my interview, which is a bit annoying. Oh well, he’s charismatic.

2.14pm Anyway, why is today so important to Gemma? “I’m absolutely thrilled…  It’s taken me 14 years to win this award. It’s a very important thing for us as an organisation,” she states.

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Samuel Hodges chatting away

2.16pm Let’s have a quick chat with Nuffield Southampton Theatres Sam Hodges then. He has just picked up the Renee Stepham Award for Best Presentation of Touring Theatre for Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox. Why is today so important for him and this production, I ask. “It’s a massive deal; it was a glorious show. We’d never done anything on this scale and arguably we shouldn’t have – luckily our board backed this decision fully and this is the icing on the cake,” he says, smiling.

2.18pm I lose the thread of what’s going on and before I know it along comes actor Joseph Millson who has won Best Performance in a Play. What is it about regional theatre that is sexy? “I am hugely devoted to the supporting of local and regional theatres; it saved my life when I grew up in the middle of nowhere,” he says. “Even if it hadn’t doesn’t make you an actor – it gives young people such an independence.” He continues. “There’s something so individual and so much expression. If everyone just bought one ticket a year at their local theatre then everybody could reap the benefits.”

2.25pm I have a glass of white wine. 7/10.

2.30pm Sharon Duncan-Brewster has deservedly won Best Supporting Performance for A Streetcar Named Desire at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre. “A lot of people do not venture out to do any work outside of London, so when I was asked to be in Streetcar I thought the only role I could play is the negro woman,” she says, candidly. What does this win mean to her? “Every city or town that I go perform in, there are people who look like me in the theatre and its time they saw themselves represented on stage,” she says. “I would love to see more of the amazing diverse work happening out in regional theatre coming into London,” she pauses and has a little cry. We have a hug.

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Sharon Duncan-Brewster

2.41pm I run to the toilet and bump into West End Producer Nica Burns(!) She looks fierce in a white gown- I am too scared to talk to her, which is a shame.

2.45pm Best Touring Production went to The Who’s Tommy, which was co-produced by New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich and Ramps on the Moon. The two organisations also received the award for Promotion of Diversity for their groundbreaking work in the inclusion and integration of deaf and disabled individuals. Here comes the Former Artistic Director of Theatre Royal Stratford East, Kerry Michael. What more needs to be done on the diversity front, going forward? “We need continue making inclusive show because they are so exciting – we’ve got to keep winning awards which aren’t just about inclusion but are about high-quality art,” he replies. Indeed.

3.00pm There is a break. Everyone has a chat, dessert and more wine.

3.25pm Sheffield Theatres’ production of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, which will open at London’s Apollo Theatre in November, wins Best Musical Production. John McCrea, who plays the eponymous role of Jamie, won the award for Best Performance in a Musical. Here come the boys.

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Everybody’s Talking About Jamie lads

3.30pm I have a quick photo with John McCrea who is wearing a rather fetching scarf indoors. ‘Trendy’.

3.34pm Personality vortex Freddie Fox appears with Playwright Sir David Hare. Hare is the recipient of the Gielgud Award for Excellence in the Dramatic Arts from The Shakespeare Guild. We have a photo (I’m really very shy) and I collar Freddie for a chat. “Stories need to be told everywhere all over the country and the world. Not just London. It’s a chance to be heard and seen and celebrated – it clearly means an awful lot to many people,” he says.

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Freddie Fox and Sir David Hare

3.40pm I decide to have another glass of wine. ‘Lol’.

4.00pm Lyn Gardner is this year’s recipient of the Outstanding Contribution to British Theatre award and so actual Emma Rice is here to introduce her. That’s pretty amazing. The whole thing feels quite exciting now.

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4.03pm “A critic being honoured by the theatre industry? John Osborne once suggested most of you are supposed to feel towards people like me the way: “a lamp-post feels about dogs.”” Gardner says, which gets a big laugh. She continues. “If you want to see theatre’s future, then get on a train.” The whole place erupts into applause. Inspirational.

4.10pm Lyn Gardner walks up to me clutching her award. I ask her how would she describe her state of mind? “Discombobulated,” she says. Why is this annual event so significant for the sector, I enquire. “Quite simply, too often regional theatre is not as celebrated as it should be. Regional theatre is a thing in itself – it is not simply a training ground or somewhere where people begin their careers until they move to London. It’s where the vast majority of the population live,” she says, emphatically. She’s got a point. Also, Surely she should get an OBE soon – Billington has one.

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Emma Rice and Lyn Gardner

4.12pm Emma Rice looks uncomfortable and our eyes meet. As someone who is moving forward with a regional company (Wise Children), why do you think regional theatre should be celebrated, I ask quickly. She smiles, enigmaticly. “At Kneehigh – we lived by the Joan Miró quote “To be universal, you also have to be local” – you find communities with stories to tell and friends that they want to tell them with. That’s integrity and that’s the real deal,” she says.

4.15pm What a day. The ceremony concludes and I go and find somewhere to eat a burger.

The end.

Find out more about UK Theatre at UKTheatre.org

UK THEATRE AWARDS 2017 WINNERS

The Renee Stepham Award For Best Presentation Of Touring Theatre

Nuffield Southampton Theatres for the world premiere touring musical production of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox

Best Show for Children and Young People

The Snow Queen, New Vic Theatre

Best Director

Gemma Bodinetz, Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse new repertory season

Best Touring Production

The Who’s Tommy, New Wolsey Theatre and Ramps on the Moon

Best Supporting Performance

Sharon Duncan-Brewster, A Streetcar Named Desire, Royal Exchange Theatre

Best Performance in a Play

Joseph Millson, The Rover, Royal Shakespeare Company

Best New Play

Narvik by Lizzie Nunnery

Theatre Employee Of The Year

Jane Claire, English Touring Theatre and Liz Leck, Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre Trust

Clothworkers’ Theatre Award

Derby Theatre

Best Design

Jon Bausor, The Grinning Man, Bristol Old Vic

Achievement in Dance

Scottish Ballet for the European premiere of Crystal Pite’s striking one-act ballet Emergence

Promotion of Diversity

New Wolsey Theatre and Ramps on the Moon for their groundbreaking work in the inclusion and integration of deaf and disabled individuals

Achievement in Opera

Scottish Opera, Pelléas And Mélisande

Gielgud Award

David Hare

Best Performance in a Musical

John McCrea, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Sheffield Theatres

Best Musical Production

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Sheffield Theatres

UK’s Most Welcoming Theatre 2017 with Smooth Radio

The Mill at Sonning

Achievement in Marketing/Audience Development

Scottish Ballet for its Digital Season in April 2017

Outstanding Contribution To British Theatre 2017

Lyn Gardner

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Five key shows opening in London in the next four months 

Here are five important shows opening in London between now and the middle of November. (Please note that I am open to doing regional shows and Fringe shows but thought it would be fun to start with the ‘big ones’ – just humour me for the time being)

Jesus Christ Superstar (11 August)

Tyrone Huntley and Declan Bennett both have a natural luminescence so intense that it would shine bright in a Vantablack theatre dungeon. This revival is perfectly at home at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s rock musical could raise the Titanic from the sea bed. Enjoy!

Five Guys Named Moe (29 August)

How do you think this will do?

It doesn’t exactly feel as if the world of theatre is ‘battening down the hatches’ in anticipation of an unstoppable Clarke Peters musical tsunami. At the same time: you can’t go wrong with a bit of Clarke Peters. (Unless you happen to be the person who designed the poster, who ‘went wrong’ on an epic scale.) Anyway, the cast are extremely talented and it’s on at this new pop-up theatre in Marble Arch. So, ‘Let the Good Times Roll’, etc.

Footloose (12 September)

At this point we are so far into ‘will this do’ territory that you might as well watch the 1987 film.  It’s always difficult to say that a movie musical is entirely pointless, especially when there are audiences enduring it on tour around the country. However, this show, literally a frame-by-frame recreation of the movie, does make you wonder

The Toxic Avenger – (28 September) 

This show is a JOY. Joe DiPietro and David Bryan’s cult rock musical lands at the Arts Theatre following a storming month-long run at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Watch and learn, lesser theatre entities. This is how you do it.

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie – (6 November)

This show is a really exciting thing, isn’t it? The new musical by Dan Gillespie Sells and Tom MacRae premiered at Sheffield Crucible last year and transfers to the Apollo Theatre. John McCrea is brilliant, and ‘Everybody’s Talking’ is a super-smart musical. If you enjoy it, buy the concept album.  

N.B. There are two plays (‘Ink’ and ‘Labour of Love’) by up-and-coming scribe James Graham opening this Autumn in St Martin’s Lane, apparently.