Exclusively for Reasons To Be Cheerful, Blockheads Chaz Jankel and Derek Hussey collaborate with John Kelly for new song If It Can’t Be Right Then It Must Be Wrong

Reasons To Be Cheerful

Reasons To Be Cheerful

Pioneering disabled-led theatre company Graeae has been a proud standard-bearer for protest and disability rights for many years. In conjunction with the final tour of their smash hit musical Reasons to be Cheerful, set in 1979 Thatcher’s Britain, Blockheads  Chaz JankelDerek Hussey and cast member John Kelly have written a protest song for 2017, ‘If It Can’t Be Right Then It Must Be Wrong’.

From Kate Tempest’s incendiary government-bashing performance at Glastonbury through to the #Grime4Corbyn movement and the re-energising of the anti-Maybot politicised protest at the Cambridge Folk Festival, the summer of 2017 has seen music reclaim its status as a vehicle for protest and advocacy once again.

The song is a rallying cry against the current government cuts; specifically the austerity and cuts directed at the D/deaf and disabled community in the UK and the systematic disintegration of the NHS and the Welfare State. The lyrics of If It Can’t Be Right Then It Must Be Wrong’ reflect back to the era Reasons to be Cheerful is set, when Ian Dury and The Blockheads were dominating the charts. Full lyrics can be seen here.

Chaz Jankel said: This is one of the most timely and relevant songs I’ve ever been involved in. The funding cuts are atrocious. The lyrics Derek Hussey has written-with additional input from John Kelly frame the current crisis perfectly. It goes beyond being a pleasure to be part of this project, it’s VITAL!”

Derek Hussey said: “These issues should be at the top of the agenda in any fair minded democratic society. Allowing individuals to achieve and maintain independence, an element of self-esteem and dignity without suffering the ignominy of having to resort to a humiliating begging bowl mentality. ‘If It Can’t Be Right Then It Must Be Wrong’ highlights some of those points and, I hope, reminds us all that with the right kind of assistance anything is possible.” 

Graeae’s John Kelly said: “‘If It Can’t Be Right Then It Must Be Wrong’ is the fight back towards a society that respects equality, difference, human rights and that celebrates that we actually want to support each other through life. I hope that people come along to the show and join in the fun, anarchy and energy of it all, so we can have a right old sing-along every night during the tour.”

If It Can’t Be Right Then It Must Be Wrong will be available as a free download to everyone who buys a ticket for the Reasons to be Cheerful tour and will be performed exclusively at each show on the tour by the cast and band.

It has also been announced today that Tony Heaton OBE has been commissioned to create artwork for the new song If It Can’t Be Right Then It Must Be Wrong. A long-term Ian Dury and the Blockheads fan and close friend of Graeae, Tony will take inspiration from his landmark sculpture ‘Great Britain from a Wheelchair’. Working in his much-celebrated signature style he will work to reflect the song’s defiant protest message.

Nearly 40 years on The Blockheads’ chart dominating era in the late 1970’s, the UK is again undergoing massive change with shifts in global power and a new generation rising up, musicis once again becoming a way of channelling emotion, maintaining solidarity and demanding change.

As part of Graeae’s Reasons to be Cheerful extensive community engagement programme, protest songs are now being written across the country. Graeae is inviting all members of the community (regardless of their previous song writing experience) to create original songs with an accompanying video in any format accessible to them. These are available to view and listen to at www.graeae.org/protest-song-hub. To assist members of the public with their song writing, an exclusive guide has been written by lead vocalist and songwriter John Kelly which can be downloaded here. A selection of the songs will be given their first airings to the public at each of the venues on the Reasons to be Cheerful tour.

John Kelly (Lead Vocals) has completed five UK tours as well as many international performances.  John is Artistic Director of DaisyFest, National Associate Artist for Drake Music, musician with circus company ExtraOrdinary Bodies and Policy & Strategy manager at Merton Centre For Independent Living. John sang Spasticus Autisticus, live at the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games in London, and has also guested with The Blockheads.

Chaz Jankel and Derek Hussey are members of the iconic band The Blockheads. For more information, click here.

Tony Heaton OBE is a sculptor and performance artist, who worked in the field of disability, diversity and social justice throughout his career. He has worked as a Field Officer for RADAR (now Disability Rights UK), Development Officer for NACAB Citizens Advice, Director of Holton Lee and most recently as Chief Executive of Shape Arts, a disability-led arts organisation working with major cultural institutions and disabled people as artists and audiences. In 2012, he was commissioned by the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games to create sculptural lecterns for Lord Sebastian Coe and Sir Philip Craven, inspired by his landmark work ‘Great Britain from a Wheelchair’, which is now displayed year-round at Graeae’s offices. www.tonyheaton.co.uk

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Reasons to be Cheerful
Writer Paul Sirett
Director Jenny Sealey
Designer Liz Ascroft
Associate Director Daryl Beeton
Lighting Ian Scott
Sound Lewis Gibson
Choreography Mark Smith
Musical Director Joey Hickman
Musical Supervision & Arrangements Robert Hyman
Casting Sarah Hughes CDG

Friday 8 & Saturday 9 September
Belgrade Theatre Coventry
024 7655 3055

Tuesday 12  Saturday 16 September
Derby Theatre
01332 59 39 39
Press night: 13 September

Tuesday 26  Saturday 30 September
Nuffield Southampton Theatres
023 8067 1771

Tuesday 3  Saturday 7 October
New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich
01473 295 900

Tuesday 10  Saturday 14 October
West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds
0113 213 7700

Tuesday 17  Saturday 21 October
Liverpool Everyman
0151 709 4776

Tuesday 24 October  Saturday 4 November
Theatre Royal Stratford East
020 8534 0310
Press night: 24 October

Age recommendation 14+
All performances include creative British Sign Language, captioning and audio description.