FIRST LOOK: New Trailer for Pride & Prejudice* (*sort of) at Criterion Theatre

Pride & Prejudice* (*sort of) t

PRIDE & PREJUDICE* (*SORT OF) is written by Isobel McArthur after Jane Austen and is a unique and audacious retelling of Austen’s classic love story, where men, money and microphones are fought over in this irreverent but affectionate adaptation, which includes pop classics such as Every Day I Write the Book, Young Hearts Run Free, Will You Love Me Tomorrow, I Got You Babe and You’re So Vain.  Five actresses portray the young female servants who retell one of literature’s most famous stories, and these same five actresses play every other character, as well as singing and playing instruments.
The cast of the original Tron Theatre production will be reunited for the London and West End premiere. Writer and director Isobel McArthur will once again play Darcy and Mrs Bennet.  Also in the cast will be Tori Burgess as Mr Collins, Christina Gordon as Lady Catherine de Bourgh and Jane, Hannah Jarrett-Scott as Charlotte and Charles Bingley and Meghan Tyler as Lizzie Bennet.
PRIDE & PREJUDICE* (*SORT OF) will be directed at the Criterion Theatre by Isobel McArthur and Simon Harvey, with comedy staging by Jos Houben, design by Ana Inés Jabares-Pita, lighting by Colin Grenfell, musical supervision by Michael John McCarthy, sound design by Michael John McCarthy and Luke Swaffield for Autograph and choreography by Emily Jane Boyle.
Producer David Pugh presents Tron Theatre Company, the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh and Blood of the Young’s production of  PRIDE & PREJUDICE* (*SORT OF) with co-producers Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Bristol Old Vic, Leeds Playhouse, Northern Stage and Oxford Playhouse.

Winter Season 2021/22 at Chichester Festival Theatre

Chichester-Festival-Theatre-Winter-2021-22-season

A feast of visiting drama, dance, comedy, family shows and music for all tastes and ages is heading to Chichester Festival Theatre for the Winter 2021/22 season.

This year they offer a new home-grown production: the revival of one of the best plays of modern times, John Patrick Shanley’s Pulitzer Award-winning Doubt: A Parable, directed by Lia Williams and starring Monica Dolan and Sam Spruell in their Chichester debuts.

There’s a wealth of comedies from the classic to the contemporary, among which we’re delighted to include the Birmingham Rep/National Theatre anniversary production of Ayub Khan Din’s East Is East, alongside Noël Coward’s Private Lives, the stage adaptation of evergreen sitcom The Good Life, West End hit The Play What I Wroteand brand new comedy Two Cigarettes in the Dark.

Among the familiar faces making welcome appearances are Henry Goodman, Nigel Havers, Patricia Hodge, Rufus Hound, Preeya Kalidas, Penelope Keith, David Suchet and Issy van Randwyck.

There’s a great array of comedy, music and literary evenings, ranging from Omid Djalili andRussell Kaneto An Evening Without Kate Bush and the BBC Concert Orchestra; while seasonal favourites, the Christmas Concerts and Moscow City Ballet,return.

There’s also plenty of entertainment for families and youngsters, including new pop musical Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World, Michael Morpurgo’s Private Peaceful, Stick Man and Chichester Festival Youth Theatre’s Pinocchio for Christmas.

Drama, Dance and Music

EAST IS EAST                                                           Festival Theatre, 3 – 6 November

Ayub Khan Din’s comedy drama East Is East has sold out three London runs, been adapted into a BAFTA Award-winning film and become a modern classic. This 25th anniversary co-production from the National Theatre and Birmingham Rep comes to Chichester directly following its London run, directed by Iqbal Khan.

George Khan wants to raise his family the proper Pakistani way but hasn’t counted on the distractions of 70s Salford. Abdul and Tariq aren’t ready to be married off, Saleem is pushing artistic boundaries, Meenah’s skirt is too short and Sajid just wants to hide in his parka. Can mum Ella keep the family together?

The cast is led by Tony Jayawardena (Ackley Bridge, The Crown, Bend It Like Beckham) as George and Sophie Stanton (best known to a wide TV audience as DCI Jill Marsden in EastEnders) as Ella. The company also includes Rachel Lumberg, returning to Chichester where she last appeared as Sian in Me and My Family.

Patricia Hodge and Nigel Havers in

PRIVATE LIVES                                             Festival Theatre, 16 – 20 November

The Olivier Award-winning Patricia Hodge – last seen at Chichester in Travels with My Aunt (2016) and Copenhagen (2018) – and the ever suave and charming Nigel Havers star in Noël Coward’s classic 1930 comedy Private Lives. This new production is directed by Christopher Luscombe, whose work at Chichester includes Love’s Labour’s Lost, Much Ado About Nothing and Travels with My Aunt.

Elyot and Amanda, who were once married, find themselves on honeymoon with their new partners, admiring the view from adjoining balconies in the same hotel on the French Riviera. Their initial horror quickly evaporates and soon they are sharing cocktails. Who knows what the future holds for them now…

The cast is completed by Dugald Bruce-Lockhart, Natalie Walter and Aïcha Kossoko.

Rufus Hound and Preeya Kalidas in

THE GOOD LIFE                                            Festival Theatre, 30 November – 4 December

Tom and Barbara Good, suburban eco-warriors, and their next-door, status-conscious neighbours Margo and Jerry Leadbetter, are on stage for the first time in The Good Life, a theatrical reimagining of the TV sitcom that delighted countless millions. The cast includes actor, presenter and comedian Rufus Hound (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, One Man Two Guvnors, Present Laughter) as Tom; West End, television and film star Preeya Kalidas (Bend It Like Beckham, Bombay Dreams, EastEnders) as Margo; Dominic Rowan (Stepping Out, A Woman of No Importance, The Crown) as Jerry; and Sally Tatum (Pennyworth, Episodes, Gaslight) as Barbara.

Jeremy Sams’s new comedy, based on the television series by John Esmonde and Bob Larbey, leads the well-loved characters through uproarious adventures; some old, some new and often hilariously familiar. His directing credits include CFT’s Oklahoma!.

CHRISTMAS CONCERTS                             Festival Theatre, 6 – 11 December

For ages 7+

The soaring voices of Chichester Cathedral Choir, directed by Charles Harrison, and the exhilarating ensemble of The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Collingwood combine to offer the best possible musical start to Christmas. Guaranteed to get you in a festive mood, these Christmas Concerts offer an evening of traditional carols and perennial favourites, along with some enjoyable new discoveries and arrangements.

Christmas Concerts are sponsored by ITD Consultants.

Chichester Festival Youth Theatre            

PINOCCHIO                                                   Festival Theatre, 18 December – 1 January

A new adaptation by Anna Ledwich             Press night: Wednesday 22 December, 7.00pm

Music by Tom Brady

From the original novel The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi

For ages 7+

Chichester Festival Youth Theatre’s brand new version of this classic tale by Anna Ledwich had just 15 live performances in 2020 before it was streamed globally during lockdown. Dale Rooks’s darkly magical production now returns for Christmas 2021, with the revival directed by Bobby Brook.

Geppetto the boatmaker tosses aside a piece of wood; it’s only good for the fire. To his amazement, a voice answers him back. Geppetto picks up the wood and begins to carve – and a small wooden boy is revealed. A puppet, which he names Pinocchio.

And that’s when the mayhem begins. Pinocchio can’t stop getting into trouble, despite the best efforts of the Fairy and the Cricket to keep him on track. His intentions may be good – he truly wants to go to school like real boys and girls – but the temptation to discover the wonders of the world and make his fortune keep getting in the way.

Pinocchio encounters a host of fascinating characters, from Punch and Judy to the wily Fox and Cat and the strange Sea Monster, as he journeys to Wonderland and the world beneath the sea. But he discovers that it isn’t easy hiding the truth – especially when your nose gets longer with every lie you tell…

Anna Ledwich’s previous work at Chichester includes The Butterfly Lion (2019), Crossing Lines (2019) and Beauty and the Beast (2018).

With music by Tom Brady, Pinocchiohas set design by Simon Higlett, costumes by Ryan Dawson Laight, lighting by James Whiteside, musical direction by Colin Billing and sound by Gregory Clarke.

There will be a Polish-translated performance of Pinocchio on Wednesday 22 December at 2pm and a Relaxed Performance on Thursday 23 December at 2pm.

Pinocchio is sponsored by Henry Adams and Mercer.

MOSCOW CITY BALLET: THE NUTCRACKER     Festival Theatre, 5 – 9 January

For ages 6+

Moscow City Ballet returns to Chichester Festival Theatre to delight audiences with spectacular performances of one of the most popular classical ballets, The Nutcracker. Presented in classic Russian style, with full orchestra, this is a truly captivating production

The timeless story of Clara, who is whisked away on a fairy tale adventure by her Nutcracker Prince, is set to Tchaikovsky’s glorious score and offers a treat for the whole family. This enchanting tale is an eternal seasonal favourite and the perfect introduction to Russian classical ballet.

The Nutcracker is sponsored by Bishops Printers.

FANTASTICALLY GREAT WOMEN WHO CHANGED THE WORLD           

For ages 6+                                                                Festival Theatre, 12 – 16 January

A brand new kickass-pirational pop musical will burst into life this January as the Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World take to the stage to tell their stories.  Inquisitive heroine Jade breaks away from her class to take a peek behind the scenes at the not yet open Gallery of Greatness in the local museum. Along her journey she is surprised to meet the original and incredible Wonder Women: Frida Kahlo, Rosa Parks, Amelia Earhart, Marie Curie and Emmeline Pankhurst to name just a few of the explorers, artists, scientists and secret agents who really did change the world.

Adapted from suffragette descendent Kate Pankhurst’s award-winning picture book by dramatist Chris Bush and Number 1 hit songwriter Miranda Cooper (Girls Aloud, Kylie Minogue), Fantastically Great Women is the follow-up show from the producer of the international hit musical Six.

A Chichester Festival Theatre production

Monica Dolan and Sam Spruell in               Festival Theatre, 22 January – 5 February

DOUBT: A Parable                                        Press night: Thursday 27 January at 7pm

Winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play, John Patrick Shanley’s celebrated work later became an Oscar-nominated film.

St Nicholas Roman Catholic Church and School, the Bronx, New York, 1964.

Sister Aloysius Beauvier. School principal. Driven by fierce conviction and moral certainty. Unafraid of confrontation.

Sister James. Inspired by the joy of teaching; devoted to her pupils. Impulsive, chaste and impressionable. Eager to believe the best of everyone.

Father Brendan Flynn. Charismatic preacher and teacher; intent on bringing the Church closer to the community. Working class, basketball player, wears his fingernails long.

Mrs Muller. Mother of Douglas, 12-year-old pupil and altar boy.

Suspicion. Certainty. Judgement. And Doubt.

Monica Dolan makes her Chichester debut as Sister Aloysius. Her BAFTA and Olivier Award-winning stage and screen work includes TV’s W1A, Appropriate Adult, A Very English Scandal and Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads; recent theatre includes Talking Heads (Bridge Theatre), Appropriate (Donmar Warehouse), All About Eve (West End) and her own play The B*easts.

Sam Spruell also appears at Chichester for the first time as Father Flynn. He has starred in many films and TV series, most recently The North Water, Small Axe: Mangrove, Liar and Cold Blood. His theatre roles include Iago in Othello (Shakespeare’s Globe), Clybourne Park (Royal Court) and The Life of Galileo and The Alchemist (National Theatre).

Jessica Rhodes (Sister James) was nominated for The Stage Debut Award 2020 for the Best Performer in a Play and won the Off-West End Offie Award 2021 for Lead Performance in a Play for The Sugar Syndrome at the Orange Tree Theatre.

Director Lia Williams was BAFTA-nominated for her short film The Stronger which won Best Short Film at Raindance; other directing credits include Ashes to Ashes as part of the Harold Pinter Season in the West End. A multi award-winning actor, her recent roles include Wallis Simpson in The Crown, The Capture, May 33rd, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (Donmar Warehouse), The Oresteia and Mary Stuart (Almeida & West End).

Doubt will be designed by Joanna Scotcher, with lighting by Paul Keogan, music and sound by Melanie Pappenheim and Giles Perring, and casting by Charlotte Sutton.

The production is sponsored by Protozoon and Wiley.

THE PLAY WHAT I WROTE                         Festival Theatre, 8 – 12 February

Hamish has written a play, an epic set in the French Revolution called ‘A Tight Squeeze for the Scarlet Pimple’. Sean, on the other hand, wants to continue with their double act. He believes that if they perform a tribute to Morecambe and Wise, Hamish’s confidence will be restored and the double act will go on. But first Sean needs to persuade a guest star to appear in the play what Hamish wrote…

When The Play What I Wrote opened in London’s West End, every single review was a rave, every show a sell-out and it won every major theatre award. It is written by Hamish McColl and Sean Foley and, of course, Eddie Braben, with a mystery guest star at every performance.

The Play What I Wrote is sponsored by Genesis Town Planning.

Penelope Keith in                                                      Festival Theatre, 17 – 26 February

TWO CIGARETTES IN THE DARK                         

Bright, witty, and fiercely independent, Isabel is not ready to let go just yet. In a series of encounters with an old friend and her two sons, by turns funny, startling and poignant, home truths are exchanged, and her past begins to emerge. As Isabel confronts her own hidden regrets and family secrets, we learn what hides below the surface of this proud mother, wife, and friend. Finally, Isabel is able to make peace with her life and say goodbye.

Stephen Wyatt’s new play is a bitter-sweet comedy about facing the end. It reunites Dame Penelope Keith with director Alan Strachan who also directed her in Entertaining Angels (2006), Mrs Pat (2015) and The Chalk Garden (2018) at Chichester, where her other roles encompass The Apple Cart, The Merry Wives of Windsor and The Way of the World. The designer is Simon Higlett, whose Chichester work includes The Chalk Garden, The Norman Conquests and Amadeus.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

PRIVATE PEACEFUL                                               Festival Theatre, 1 – 5 March

For ages 9+

Michael Morpurgo’s award-winning book Private Peaceful was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, won the Red House Children’s Book Award and the Blue Peter Book Award. This thrilling new ensemble retelling by Simon Reade, directed by Elle While, explores the lengths a young soldier will go to, to fight for what is right.

The Peaceful brothers, Tommo and Charlie, have a tough rural childhood facing the loss of their father, financial hardship and a cruel landlord. Their fierce loyalty to each other pulls them through, until one day they both fall for the same girl. And then the Great War comes. Set against the epic backdrop of WW1, we join 18-year-old Private Tommo Peaceful in the trenches as he takes us on a journey through his most cherished memories and tells his story of courage, devotion, family and friendship.

Music, Performance and Comedy

RUSSELL KANE AND FRIENDS                             Festival Theatre, 8 November

An evening of fantastic comedy with multi-award winning comedian, presenter, actor, author and scriptwriter Russell Kane – best known for the BBC Sounds podcast, Evil Genius, and winner of Best Show in 2010 at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards – and two special guests. Ages 14+

DAVID SUCHET:                                                       Festival Theatre, 9 – 10 November
Poirot and More, A Retrospective

For over 25 years, David Suchet has captivated millions worldwide as Agatha Christie’s elegant Belgian detective. Beyond Poirot, this Emmy award-winning actor has been celebrated for his portrayal of iconic roles such as Lady Bracknell, Cardinal Benelli and Freud. This retrospective look at David’s career will have you witness some of his most beloved performances in a new and intimate light.

All proceeds from the first performance go to the UK charity, UK Harvest, to support their mission to eliminate hunger and food waste.

Elégie                                                                       Festival Theatre, 12 November

Internationally acclaimed concert pianist Lucy Parham returns to Chichester with Olivier Award-winning actor Henry Goodman to chronicle the life of composer and pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff in words and music. Exiled from his homeland in 1917, the narrative follows him from Russia to California, where he died in 1943, and features many of his best-loved works for piano, as well as works by Chopin, Scriabin and Tchaikovsky.

ROB BRYDON: A Night of Songs and Laughter   Festival Theatre, 14 November

Rob Brydon’s personal musical journey from South Wales to the West End and beyond, with hilarious tales from his distant and recent past.

OMID DJALILI: The Good Times Tour                    Festival Theatre, 22 November

Intelligent, provocative and entertaining, Omid Djalili’s legendary performance is a captivating comedy masterclass. He received rave reviews playing Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof at Chichester in 2017. Ages 16+

FAKE NEWS                                                              Minerva Theatre, 25 – 27 November

Written, performed and produced by Osman Baig, and a sell-out show at the Edinburgh Fringe, Fake News is the story of a young journalist who lands a dream internship at the country’s biggest news organization where he stumbles on an earth-shattering exclusive. There’s just one problem: the story is completely untrue. Fake News is a snapshot of what the news is really like. Because sometimes, the real headline lies between the lines.

BBC CONCERT ORCHESTRA                                Festival Theatre, 26 November

The BBC Concert Orchestra and Principal Conductor Bramwell Tovey bring an evening of classics and surprises, including Coleridge-Taylor’s Concert Suite and Principal Clarinettist Nicholas Carpenter’s concerto debut playing Weber’s great Clarinet Concerto No 2. Having enjoyed playing Ruth Gipps’ Symphony 2 recently, the BBC CO explore more of her work, and the show ends with two composers’ depictions of daybreak and morning – culminating in Grieg’s popular Hall of the Mountain King.

GILES BRANDRETH AND SUSIE DENT:               Festival Theatre, 28 November

Something Rhymes with Purple Live

Based on the Gold Award-winning podcast for Best Entertainment at the British Podcast Awards, Susie Dent and Gyles Brandreth bring their infectious love of words to the stage in a brand-new show. Uncover the hidden origins of language, understand how and why we use the words we use, enhance your vocabulary, and test your knowledge!

MIG KIMPTON’S TALE OF THE GOLDEN GOOSE:    Minerva Theatre, 30 November

A Floral Extravaganza

Combining his theatrical past with his floristry experience, multi award-winning floral designer Mig Kimpton provides an evening of flowers, feathers and wintery thrills. Watch him create stunning floral designs fit for any home, as he unfolds the tale of the Golden Goose.

AN EVENING WITHOUT KATE BUSH                     Minerva Theatre, 1 – 3 December

The acclaimed performer Sarah-Louise Young and theatremaker Russell Lucas explore the music of one of British music’s most influential voices. From releasing Wuthering Heights at 19 to selling out the Hammersmith Apollo nearly 40 years later, Bush has always confounded her critics. Young invites audiences to celebrate her songs with this mind-blowing show.

POSTING LETTERS TO THE MOON                       Minerva Theatre, 4 December

An evening of wartime letters between the actress Celia Johnson and her husband Peter Fleming, read by Lucy Fleming (their daughter) and Simon Williams, telling of her experiences during the war – from coping with a large isolated house full of evacuated children, to acting in the classic film Brief Encounter.

THE SONGS OF SONG OF SINGAPORE               Minerva Theatre, 8 – 9 January

Join Issy van Randwyck and Elio Pace, with the original cast members of Chichester Festival Theatre’s fun-filled 1998 hit comedy musical, Song of Singapore. Let them take you through the show’s wild jazz music, the potted plot and their personal anecdotes from that glorious summer.

BURNING BRIGHT                                                    Minerva Theatre, 12 January

Poet, painter, engraver and prophet, William Blake lived a life of obscurity and poverty amid accusations of madness. Using only Blake’s own words – from his letters, poems and prose – Ruth Rosen takes us on an inspiring journey through Blake’s visionary genius.

JUDY CARMICHAEL:                                               Minerva Theatre, 15 January

Sexy Songs, Swinging Standards and Lovely Laments

Grammy nominated American pianist/vocalist Judy Carmichael is one of the greatest interpreters of stride and swing piano in the world. She has played everywhere from Carnegie Hall to Castle Fraser and is frequently featured on radio and TV.

The Clay Connection presents VOICES FROM THE KILN

A solo by Vidya Thirunarayan                                 Minerva Theatre, 18 January

A visceral and evocative performance interweaving Bharatanatyam dance, film, text and clay, that echoes with stories of dirt, displacement, and toil, revealing our human need to belong. The show will appeal all ages 8+, and is followed by the chance to join in the interactive space Café Clay.

YUKON HO!                                                               Minerva Theatre, 19 January

Come to the Yukon! Cold, dark, lonesome, big animals, dubious men and dodgy liquor. It’s where ‘Intrepid’ Jen grew up and barely escaped. Join her cabaret-style guide to kicking your way out of Canada’s frozen North.

Daytime and community shows for Children and Families

STICK MAN                                                    Minerva Theatre, 10 – 24 December

For all ages                                                    See website for performance times

Touching, funny and utterly original, Freckle Productions’s delightful adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s Stick Man is packed full of puppetry, songs, live music and funky moves. What starts off as a morning jog becomes quite the misadventure for Stick Man: a dog wants to play fetch with him, a swan builds a nest with him, and he even ends up on a fire! How will Stick Man ever get back to the family tree?

BBC CONCERT ORCHESTRA FAMILY CONCERT 

For ages 7+                                                    Festival Theatre, 27 November, 2.30pm       

Travel around the world (and around the orchestra) with conductor Bramwell Tovey and the BBC Concert Orchestra. This family friendly concert will showcase the different instruments that make up the orchestra and samples musical delights from as far afield as Finland and Norway, Mexico and Argentina and even the Antarctic.

OVATION ROCK SHOW                               Minerva Theatre, 21 – 22 January, 7pm                                                                               Community show: 22 January, 2pm
Talented young musicians aged 10 – 18 from local schools, colleges, Chichester Music Academy and Ovation Music, return for their 5th anniversary concerts. Ovation Music is a Chichester-based charity providing music sessions and live performance opportunities for young people.

OI FROG & FRIENDS! Live on stage          Minerva Theatre, 22 – 24 February

For ages 3+                                                    Tue 2pm, Wed 11am, 2pm & 4.30pm,

                                                                        Thu 11am & 2pm

Based on the bestselling books by Kes Gray and Jim Field, join FROG, CAT and DOG in this Olivier Award-nominated West End production with original music, puppets and lots of laughs.

THE HUG: A Long Nose Puppet Show       Minerva Theatre, 25 – 27 February

For ages 2 – 8                                                Fri & Sun 11am & 2pm, Sat 11am, 2pm &                                                                               4.30pm           

Based on the heart-warming and funny book The Hug by Eoin McLaughlin and Polly Dunbar, set to Tom Gray’s beautiful and witty music, this tale of hope, empathy and acceptance stars a Hedgehog and a Tortoise both in search of a restorative hug.                                 

Events for all ages

Throughout the Winter season, activities, workshops, talks and festivals are on offer, ranging from Sondheim on Screen in partnership with Chichester Cinema at New Park to the winning Papatango Audio Plays. Disability led and learning disability focused company Separate Doors perform four newly commissioned plays with Writing Tomorrow’s Theatre; and there’s Dementia Friendly Singing in the foyer.

Pop-up Play Cafés and Family Fun before selected Minerva Theatre family performances will provide free crafts, colouring in and a reading zone. There’ll also be Half Term Fun from 25 – 29 October at CFT and The Lodge, Graylingwell Park, Chichester. See cft.org.uk/take-part for more details.

FUN PALACES                                              1 – 3 October, online

Fun Palaces is an annual event that puts culture at the heart of community, and community at the heart of culture. Join us online to engage in a series of Creative Challenges and learn more about the cultural hotspots around Chichester. FREE

WINTER WELLBEING FESTIVAL                Minerva Theatre, 9 – 20 November

A programme of talks, discussions and practical sessions for all ages, to support positive mental health, resilience and wellbeing.

ENDS

BOOKING INFORMATION

Priority booking for Friends of Chichester Festival Theatre opens:  

Saturday 11 September (online and by booking form only)

Monday 13 September (phone and in person)

Groups and schools booking opens:

Tuesday 14 September

Public booking opens:

Saturday 18 September (online only)

Tuesday 21 September (phone and in person)

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Fun Palaces 2021 launches, welcoming two new co-directors

The Fun Palaces

As communities and culture across the UK and the world begin to re-emerge, Fun Palaces launch their 2021 campaign online and announce a brand new pair of co-directors. Fun Palaces will continue to celebrate the strength, solidarity and creativity in communities, which has been so vital in the last year. Launching online in April, the weekend of action this October will welcome both online and offline Fun Palaces from Makers across the country and worldwide to share skills, connect communities and create tiny revolutions.

The team also welcome new co-directors – Bristol-based community worker and musician Makala Cheung working alongside former Fun Palaces producer Kirsty Lothian – with Stella Duffy and Sarah Jane-Rawlings stepping down after seven years founding and growing the organisation. Kirsty Lothian has been Fun Palaces’ Producer since it began in 2014. Before that, she worked with the theatre company Improbable, directed operas for Bury Court Opera and the Anghiari Festival and is also the Co-op Member Pioneer supporting her community in South London. Makala Cheung is a community worker and music artist (known as KALA CHNG) from Bristol. Makala has been working in her community Knowle West for nearly twenty years and currently works part time at Filwood Community Centre leading Filwood Fantastic, a creative community project supported by Creative Civic Change. She’s also one of the city’s first voted Happiness Champions, was named a culture ambassador by Bristol & West of England China Bureau and helped create new YouTube channel BESEA TV to celebrate East and South East Asian talent in the UK.

2021 will mark the eighth free annual Fun Palaces weekend of action, bringing together Fun Palace makers to lead their own local events. Fun Palaces are led by, and for, local communities, connecting people through arts, science, craft, tech, digital and heritage activities. This year will see events taking place both online and in-person in order to remain accessible both to those who have faced digital exclusion during lockdown as well as continuing to support those who are not able to attend in-person activities. Alongside an established team of regional ambassadors working with partnership organisations across the UK, three new ambassadors, made possible thanks to funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, will be recruited in Devon, Rotherham and Sage Gateshead.

Kirsty Lothian said, “I am delighted to be welcoming Makala Cheung to Fun Palaces, and to step into the role of co-director with her. Over the last seven years, Fun Palaces has grown from an idea to a movement under the stewardship of Stella Duffy and Sarah-Jane Rawlings. Theirs are big shoes to fill, and also big shoulders to stand on, and with thousands of Fun Palaces Makers to walk alongside, Makala and I could not have a more exciting start to our journey. Each Fun Palace is as unique as the community who creates it, and over the years Makers sharing their skills have taught me the most amazing array of things – from extracting my DNA with orange squash in Edinburgh, to embroidering blanket stitch on the Wirral, to riding a tandem bike between local landmarks in Pontypridd. One thing they all have in common is the incredible power to bring people together, to highlight the extraordinary skills, creativity, talents and expertise that we all have within us. As we get the measure of how the world has changed over the last year, one thing is for sure: we need that creativity and that connection more than ever.

Makala Cheung said, “Fun Palaces believes in the same things I do; that everyone has amazing talents, that by coming together, being creative, inventive and building on local culture we can make positive community change and live happier lives. To me when I read Joan Littlewood’s original vision of being in a Fun Palace it just sounds like my community centre! Fun Palaces are the places we come together to have fun, make connections, learn and try new things, and make things happen together. I can’t wait to work with the existing team and new people all across the UK and beyond to develop the next evolution of Fun Palaces together. All my life, all I’ve ever cared about is spreading joy, connecting with people, being creative, encouraging everyone to be their fabulous selves, and being part of a community. I’m just so excited to see how I can take that love of people, community and creativity and work with even more amazing people (everyone is amazing!) to change the world, for the better, together. ”

Fun Palace maker Miriam Storey (Eltham Library London) said “It’s been the hardest year and it was hard to see what one week looked like from the next …. then Fun Palaces comes along and reminds you that you do not have to do everything, that there is value in the small things, that they are still done with great commitment and purpose, and love. And that while Fun Palaces weekend is a weekend of action, it doesn’t stop there, we can carry that action through the rest of the year, we can connect, we can plan, we can discover, we can be there for each other. I have ended the day more hopeful than I started, and more energised than I expected.”

Ambassadors Programme

In 2019, thanks to National Lottery players, Fun Palaces was awarded £1.5 million from The National Lottery Community Fund. Over a five-year period, the £1.5m grant supports the work of Fun Palaces Ambassadors in 9 locations, working with local partner organisations. Current Ambassadors continue their work in Cornwall, Northern Ireland, North Wales, Sheffield, Scotland (Inverness and Central Belt) and this year they will be joined by three new Ambassadors in Rotherham at Rotherham Council, Devon at Libraries Unlimited, Gateshead at Sage Gateshead.

Fun Palaces Ambassadors are all local people, already-connected in and working with their own communities. The funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, supports the Ambassadors to do even more on a local, grassroots basis. In addition, Ambassadors will share and develop learning with the individuals and communities with which they work, and more widely with the many other organisations across the UK who understand that local people are the heart of our campaign towards a cultural and community life that is truly inclusive and welcoming to all.

Central Fun Palaces Team

Co-Director: Kirsty Lothian                                 Co-Director (until July 2021): Sarah-Jane Rawlings

Incoming Co-Director: Makala Cheung

Fun Palaces will be recruiting in Summer 2021.             

For further information on how to sign up, please visit: www.funpalaces.co.uk/register 

 

RSC announces BBC broadcast of The Winter’s Tale & live theatre returns to Stratford

Royal Shakespeare Company

With the one-year anniversary of theatres being forced to close in sight, the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) is pleased to announce that audiences will now get the chance to see The Winter’s Tale and The Comedy of Errors, two of its postponed 2020 major Shakespeare productions.

A filmed version of The Winter’s Tale, directed by Erica Whyman, RSC Deputy Artistic Director, will be broadcast on BBC Four around Shakespeare’s birthday in April (transmission date TBC), and will then be available on BBC iPlayer.  The Winter’s Tale film adaptation forms part of BBC Lights Up, an unprecedented season of plays for BBC TV and radio, produced in partnership with theatres across the UK and continuing BBC Arts’ Culture in Quarantine initiative. The RSC will also stream the production to Subscribers, Members and Patrons based outside the UK following the BBC broadcast.

In the Summer the RSC will restart live performances in Stratford-upon-Avon for in-person audiences, opening with an outdoor production of The Comedy of Errors, directed by Phillip Breen. The Company will stage the production in the Garden Theatre, a specially constructed outdoor performance space located in the Swan Gardens, flanked by the River Avon and overlooked by the Swan Theatre.  A full performance schedule and Box Office details for The Comedy of Errors and further programming will be announced in mid-April.

Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale and The Comedy of Errors were both due to begin performances in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in March and April 2020 respectively, and were preparing to open when the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.  The 2021 productions of The Winter’s Tale and The Comedy of Errors are both sponsored by Darwin Escapes.

Directed by Erica Whyman and featuring the entire cast due to appear in the postponed 2020 production, The Winter’s Tale has been re-rehearsed adhering to strict safety measures. It has been adapted for the television broadcast by the original creative team, with screen direction by Bridget Caldwell. Set across a 16-year span from the 1953 coronation to the moon landings, this production imagines a world where the ghosts of fascist Europe collide with horrors reminiscent of The Handmaid’s Tale, before washing up on a joyful seashore. With set design by Tom Piper, costumes by Madeleine Girling, and music by Isobel Waller-Bridge, the cast includes Ben Caplan as Camillo, Andrew French as Polixenes, Amanda Hadingue as Paulina, Kemi-Bo Jacobs as Hermione and Joseph Kloska as Leontes.

Phillip Breen will reconceive The Comedy of Errors, one of Shakespeare’s earliest and arguably funniest plays, for outdoor performances to open the newly created Garden Theatre.  Phillip’s previous RSC directorial credits include The Merry Wives of WindsorThe Provoked Wife and The Hypocrite.  The production is designed by Max Jones.  Full casting and creative team details, alongside further details about the Garden Theatre, will be announced in April.

Gregory Doran, RSC Artistic Director, said:

“As we approach the anniversary of the temporary closure of theatres due to the pandemic, it is fantastic to announce future plans and look ahead to audiences returning to Stratford in the summer.

“Our doors closed as The Winter’s Tale and The Comedy of Errors were preparing to open.  Both productions will now be seen by audiences one year on – The Winter’s Tale on screen into people’s homes via BBC Four and BBC iPlayer, and The Comedy of Errors opening our new Garden Theatre, where audiences can return to Stratford and see Shakespeare in the open air.

“It has been an incredibly tough year for all in the industry, including our freelance colleagues who make this industry tick.  Despite having to postpone and cancel productions, we have continued to share Shakespeare online and outdoors, and support young people and teachers throughout the pandemic.

“These have and will continue to be challenging times, but we look forward with optimism.  The outdoor theatre gives us the security that we can perform to good sized audiences as we emerge from the pandemic and prepare for news on the government roadmap’s ‘no earlier than’ dates.

“We’ve had extraordinary support, generosity and patience from our supporters and audiences, which has been a great source of encouragement as we have navigated the ups and downs of the year. Alongside our colleagues across the industry, we will play our part in the recovery of our towns and cities and the wellbeing of our communities, and we cannot wait to welcome audiences back”.

Erica Whyman, RSC Deputy Artistic Director and director of The Winter’s Tale said:

The Winter’s Tale is the most perfect play to be rehearsing as we begin to believe in recovery.  It speaks with profound insight of the abuse of power, of the need for truth and justice, of the central importance of family, and of how long it can take a nation to forgive and to heal.  Then it transports us across ‘a wide gap of time’ to a place of joy, of community, of love and reconciliation.  We have been working on this play for 15 months – with our own wide gaps – and we have learned so much about what the play means.  It is now filled with our collective understanding of what it is to find our world suddenly stopped in its tracks, and of Shakespeare’s compassion for lives changed forever.  It is a huge privilege to be bringing it back to life at last.”

Jonty Claypole, BBC Director of Arts, said:

“BBC Lights Up is a major broadcast season celebrating the creativity and resilience of UK theatre in its darkest hour.  It’s that seemingly impossible thing: a theatre festival in the midst of a pandemic, consisting of eighteen original productions from theatres and producers right across the UK.  Central to that mission is the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of The Winter’s Tale.  The plans the Company has – with a cast and creative team second to none – are astonishingly ambitious. In their hands, Shakespeare’s late masterpiece about hope and renewal will speak directly to a country emerging from the worst winter in living memory.”

NY Popsup flexible venues to open, including select Broadway Theaters

NY PopsUp

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced today the long-awaited return of live indoor performance across New York State will commence April 2, 2021 with the reopening of a significant number of Flexible Venues (“Flex Venues”) as part of an ongoing systematic effort to help jumpstart New York’s struggling live entertainment sector. NY PopsUp, the new festival of pop-up events overseen by producers Scott Rudin and Jane Rosenthal, was established to help revitalize the spirit and emotional well-being of New York citizens through the energy of live performance set over 100 days throughout New York City and State. New safety protocols developed by NYPopsUp in coordination with the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and Empire State Development (ESD) will also serve as the pilot program to re-open Flex Venues. These Flex Venues — established performance spaces that are able to be adapted for social distancing guidelines – include such important culture hubs as The Apollo, Park Avenue Armory, St. Ann’s Warehouse, The SHED, Harlem Stage, La MaMa, National Black theatre, and The Glimmerglass Festival’s Alice Busch Opera Theater. In April, select Broadway theaters, beginning with the Music Box on 45th Street, will open their doors to audiences for the first time since March 12, 2020, with a series of special NY PopsUp programs, and will put in motion safety protocols that will eventually be employed for Broadway’s return.

Following the year-long shutdown, these coming performances will mark a major moment in New York’s recovery efforts, signaling that the arts in New York are coming back in force. And especially, these events will also mark a significant step in the long process of getting tens-of-thousands of arts professionals around New York State back to work.

The New York State Department of Health and NY PopsUp are collaborating with Broadway theater operators to create specific safety plans for each participating building, in advance of April’s first performances. This thorough process will serve as Broadway’s own pilot program that will increase audience size over time as the Department of Health allows, and will put select protocols into action as New York prepares for Broadway’s complete re-opening.

Producers Scott Rudin and Jane Rosenthal said, “In just two weeks NY PopsUp has become the engine that drives the safe re-opening of the arts throughout our State. It’s a wonderful bonus to the opportunity to present 300 shows in 100 days, and to the enormous satisfaction in bringing artists back to work here. It’s incredibly exciting to see what the arts community and the state can do, together, when we all row in the same direction.”

In a statement, Founding President & Executive Producer of Park Avenue Armory, Rebecca Robertson, said, “Park Avenue Armory is delighted to be working with the State on providing a truly safe pathway to the re-opening up New York’s performing arts sector and getting our artists back to work. We thank the Governor for letting the Armory and other flexible spaces welcome back audiences in a responsible way. I also applaud the NY Forward initiatives and NY PopUps program headed up by Jane Rosenthal and Scott Rudin for working so creatively to revive the arts sector at such a critical time.”

Sade Lythcott, CEO of National Black Theatre and Chair of Coalition of Theatres of Color, said, “The reopening of these venues will provide the much needed light at the end of this long, dark tunnel. This is how we begin to bring our workforce back, enliven the streets with the power of live performance, and chart a measured and strategic pathway towards the full reopening of our sector. Above all, these performances will be medicine for the soul of New York.”

NY PopsUp is an unprecedented and expansive festival featuring hundreds of pop-up performances (many of which are free of charge and all open to the public) that will intersect with the daily lives of New Yorkers. The programming for NY PopsUp is curated by the interdisciplinary artist Zack Winokur, in partnership with a hand-selected council of artistic advisors who represent the diversity of New York’s dynamic performing arts scene and artistic communities. NY PopsUp launched on Saturday, February 20 and will run through Labor Day. The Festival will reach its climax with the 20th Anniversary of the Tribeca Film Festival and The Festival at Little Island at Pier 55, bringing the total number of performances to more than 1,000. NY PopsUp is being coordinated in lock step with state public health officials and will strictly adhere to Department of Health (DOH) COVID-19 protocols. NY PopsUp’s model for delivering safe performance experiences is also providing a roadmap for New York’s preeminent cultural institution, Lincoln Center, in the planning of their new outdoor performing arts complex, “Restart Stages.” “Restart Stages,” boasting a total of 10 outdoor performance and rehearsal spaces, is set to open April 7.

Per New York State’s Department of Health, attendee capacity of any performance must be limited to the lesser of 33% of the maximum occupancy for the particular area or 50 people; exclusive of performers, crew, and other staff who are necessary for the event. Effective April 2, 2021, the number of attendees may exceed the social gathering limit of 50 people, up to a maximum of 150 attendees, within a 33% maximum occupancy limit for the particular area so long as all attendees receive an appropriate negative diagnostic test result prior to the event.

Please note that, given the impromptu nature and surprise element of the pop-up format, not all performances will be announced in advance. Please follow @NYPopsUp on Twitter and Instagram for the latest.

NY PopsUp, the Tribeca Film Festival, and The Festival at Little Island will together bring a total of more than 1,000 performances to New York State between February 20 and Labor Day, signaling an event unmatched in scale and unrivaled in scope.

Nottingham Playhouse Coronavirus Statement – Private Peaceful to move to February 2022

Nottingham Playhouse

Stephanie Sirr, Chief Executive at Nottingham Playhouse, said: “Due to the ongoing pandemic and lockdown restrictions, Nottingham Playhouse is very sad to announce that performances of Private Peaceful have had to be deferred once again and will now take place 12 – 26 February 2022. We will be in touch with all ticket holders as soon as possible.

 “Theatre is still facing a difficult and troubled future. As a charity, we are relying on the kind support of the general public now more than ever before. We hope to reopen the doors of our auditorium soon and cannot wait to welcome audiences back. However, in the meantime, people can donate to our curtain up appeal and buy tickets for future productions as a way to help keep us producing bold and thrilling theatre and supporting our community and local creatives.”

Morpheus launches children’s show Winter Rescue

WINTER RESCUE

Winter Rescue is the fourth hit show from the pioneering virtual immersive theatre company Morpheus and is open for bookings now. Suitable for children aged 9 to 13, this new show transports children to an icy world of kidnapped elves and fearsome yetis, where they must work together throughout a time-twisting adventure to save the day!

For families with teenagers aged 13-17, Spymaker is also booking into January and beyond, as is espionage thriller Undercover which has been created specifically for adult audiences. Both Undercover and Spymaker immerse participants into an exhilarating, hilarious and unique world of secret agents, mysterious strangers and mindboggling encounters.

The critically-acclaimed Locked Down is also still playing into the new year. Dystopic and nightmarish, this show for grown-ups is perfect for fans of horror and science fiction. Locked Down challenges its audience to save the day as a deadly virus wreaks havoc throughout society and civil unrest threatens to destroy civilisation.

This is a theatrical experience like no other. Hosted online by live actors, audiences are invited to close their eyes and let Morpheus take control as they are guided on an entertaining and extraordinary sonic adventure. Groups of up to six people – each wearing headphones and a blindfold – are invited to join a sensory escapade via Zoom. Participants don’t need to have the latest gadgets or be IT experts, they simply need a stable internet connection and desire to see the unseen.

With Covid-19 restrictions currently in place throughout the world, the family-friendly shows offer a unique and innovative way to entertain children and teenagers who are now unable to attend school. For the adult shows, Morpheus offers the ultimate ‘night out at home’ for groups of friends or families looking for a unique and memorable party idea. As England enters a third national lockdown, these shows allows individuals and groups to virtually meet and make new friends. They are also the perfect team-building experience for workplaces whose employees are working remotely.

LISTINGS

Undercover and Locked Down

Aged 18+

 Spymaker

Ages 13-17

 Winter Rescue

Ages 9-13

Booking now open

Performances are ongoing

For timings please see website

Tickets available to book from http://morpheus-show.co.uk

From £39 with discounts available for groups of 6

To participate in any of Morpheus’s productions you will need a computer/tablet/smartphone with access to Zoom, a stable internet connection, headphones and a blindfold.

The show may not be suitable for anyone who is pregnant or who suffers from epilepsy, claustrophobia or anxiety.

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Compass Festival 2021 

ZU-UK’s Pick Me Up (& hold me tight)

A portable museum, pop-up pub and dynamic audio experience in which every Leeds telephone box rings in unison are the first projects announced as the biennial interactive festival returns to Leeds  from Friday 19 – Sunday 28 March 2021.  

Across Leeds

  • Items from Leeds collectors including cats’ whiskers, drum-kits and models of hands have been re-fashioned into a set of artworks for Museums in People’s Homes. Looking at how collectors engage with the world, audiences can register for a museum tour to take place in their home later in 2021. 
  • Part of a national project to make the 34,000 payphones across the UK ring at once, audio experience Pick Me Up (& hold me tight) explores how we listen to each other and will see all of Leeds’ public phone boxes ring at 11am each day during the festival.
  • Four-sided, fully operational 12ft x 12ft pop-up pub The Yorkshire Square will come to Leeds’ iconic Kirkgate market. Looking at the enduring importance of the pub in our lives, the project holds an unexpected urgency as we navigate lockdown closures and includes the opportunity to vote to recreate a lost Leeds pub. 
  • Further performances, installations and podcasts to be announced in January will explore a breadth of enlightening and topical themes such as the politics of Blackness and Black hair, anxiety and the future of queer spaces.

The interactive festival’s fifth edition offers its largest commissioned body of work to date with eight thought provoking, moving and playful projects. The first three works are announced today (Tuesday 17 November) with all projects taking place in a range of covid safe settings including bridges, shopping centres, purpose built spaces and the city’s streets.

The participatory projects will allow audiences to further explore their localities and rediscover culture, heritage and community within their city. In a time of political upheaval, climate crisis and global pandemic, the carefully curated programme includes projects with culturally relevant themes that resonate collectively and personally. Rooted in the here and now, they feel increasingly relevant and necessary as we contemplate the future.

Over 13,000 people participated in the 2018 festival – since then, the landscape of culture has changed. Compass, like many of its contemporaries, was presented with the challenge of how commissions would reach audiences in a post lockdown environment. In August, Compass announced the postponement of the festival from its original November 2020 date, to March 2021. Since lockdown, the festival has been working closely with artists fully supporting them as they progress and adapt the commissions to meet the challenges of work being staged around local rules and restrictions.

Festival co-director Annie Lloyd said“Among the many qualities we’ve seen in this dreadful year are the power of community, our resilience and adaptability, and our care for each other. Themes that run through 2021’s edition of Compass Festival. For the last two years we have supported the most amazing artists firstly to develop their projects and then to adapt them in response to the changing conditions. We are proud of the work they have achieved and can’t wait to share it with the people of Leeds. Amidst all the uncertainty we feel we have a responsibility to carefully encourage people to be creative and playful again in public spaces when the time is right, for the sake of our cultural life, for the sake of art and artists, and for everyone’s mental wellbeing.

“Whether you are out and about or staying home, we have created many entry points from which to enjoy the festival so you can be inspired and remain safe at the same time. Now more than ever we are indebted to the imagination of artists as they bring joy and remind us of our common humanity.”

Joshua Sofaer has been working in Leeds for the last year with 14 collectors of strange and marginal things, including North Korean medals and cats’ whiskers. For Museums in People’s HomesJoshua has re-fashioned and created artefacts, using a variety of materials, including precious metals. He will house them within a portable museum complete with a tiny gift shop and cafe, designed and created with craftsman/designer Matt Kelly from Plaey. The project can be booked to visit your own home later in 2021, where visitors will be treated to a personal tour of the museum and hear some of the amazing stories of the collectors of Leeds; who they are, what they collect and why.

The people and stories include a Leeds based NHS paramedic who collects models of hands. Joshua has cast her life-saving hand and created a copper glove. Copper is known for its antioxidant life-saving properties. Or there’s the professional drummer with a house full of drums whose collection has inspired a matchbox artwork depicting a scene from forties screwball comedy Ball of Fire and the collector whose uncle was gifted a ‘garish’ oriental tea set which, now in her care, has been re-cast as an urn in commemoration of the gifts we inherit that we’re not sure we want to keep.

ZU-UK’s Pick Me Up (& hold me tight) is a national project intended to make all the 34,000 public phone boxes in the UK ring at the same time. When you pick up the phone you will be able to participate in a gentle, thought-provoking audio experience that explores contemporary loneliness, and exposes the edges of our humanness. This warm, generous work is inspired by ZU-UK’s research into occurrences of suicide. While not a suicide prevention project, it is an invitation to us all to think about how we listen. For those who can’t be at a public pay phone, Pick Me Up (and hold me tight) can also be experienced online via an audio-visual map that will track – in real time – which phones have been picked up and which ones are still trying to make a connection.

Since 2017 Katie Etheridge and Simon Persighetti (Small Acts) have been working with Leeds brewers, publicans, campaigners and individuals to explore the future of social landscapes by investigating the enduring role of pubs as places of community, intergenerational exchange, entertainment, (hi)story-telling and activism. The project provides a platform for engagement and discussion. If the pub isn’t your community space, what is?

The unprecedented closure of the UK’s already endangered pubs during this year’s lockdown has highlighted both the fragility and the importance of the public house. Modelled on the dimensions of the unique fermenting vessel made famous by Tetley’s Brewery, the Public House – The Yorkshire Square installation has been reimagined as a four sided pop-up-pub serving brews and views from across Leeds. Visitors will pick from a menu of tap talks and heritage tours from guest presenters, self-guided trails, podcasts and family activities.

Compass 

Compass commission and present interactive live art projects in Leeds. They run an artist residency programme, present standalone projects and exhibitions and artist development initiatives. Compass is also the driving force behind the biennial Compass Festival.

Since 2011 Compass has been animating the city with brilliant interactive live art projects in which they invite the public to join them in playful enquiry, silent contemplation, astonishing feats of madness, hospitality and communality within and beyond the theatre or the gallery, in the places where we live, work and play.

They believe that everyone can enjoy the very best of contemporary live art and work closely with partners around the city and beyond to present thought provoking, entertaining and moving projects in a range of settings including libraries, markets, museums, shopping centres and the city streets.

They take time to work with artists and communities making sure the projects they commission are considered and fully engaged with their surroundings.

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Derby Theatre announce new city-wide project DERBY RISES

Derby Rises at Derby Theatre Photo credit Antonio Ancora.

Syndicated interview with Artistic Director and CEO of Derby Theatre, Sarah Brigham 

An overview of Derby Rises 

Can you describe what Derby Rises is? 

In simple terms, it’s a series of participatory community events which combine the popular pastime of baking with some in-depth and inclusive conversations around our future. This is all put into the hands of performance makers who will transform our dreams into newly commissioned short pieces of theatre. 

It marks the city easing out of lockdown. I say “easing”, because that’s what’s happening. I think back in March, we all imagined this would be over in a few months and we’d have a big spectacular show with all the trimmings (and fireworks…I definitely imagined fireworks!) to celebrate us returning back to ‘normal’. The curtain would rise, the audience would flood in, and it would be standing ovations in every theatre in the country. But that’s not how it’s working is it? It’s not about “celebration”. There is a lot of loss and grief for us to get over as a community, there’s a need to heal and there is still lots of uncertainty. Lockdown has slowed us down. And whilst sometimes that’s been a difficult thing to come to terms with, there is also a benefit in that: in pausing, in reflecting and in considering what we want this “new normal” to really look like. 

One thing the last few months has highlighted, is that our community is strong, as are its ideas and hopes for the future, and that maybe there could be new ways of doing things. So rather than just ‘bang out’ the same type of show to reopen the theatre, we knew we wanted to put the voices of our community front and centre, and especially celebrate those voices that are so often ignored and not given centre stage. 

Can you explain how it aligns with Derby CAN, its ambitions, aims and objectives? 

Derby Creative Arts Network is hoping to develop a whole city way of working which puts the artist, the audience member, the venue and the community participant all on an equal platform. We want to interrogate what words like “co-creation” mean and put the community at the heart of the work. This is just the first step – we are trialling lots 

Sensitivity: Internal 

of things – especially in terms of how the partnership works – but it’s the first step on an interesting journey for the city. 

How does Derby Rises involve the theatre, partners, artists and members of the community? 

All of the city’s performing arts NPOs are involved – whether that’s by nominating artists, developing the graffiti wall element, ensuring the digital streaming happens or producing the event. Our partners are involved in the recruitment and hosting of the workshops they identify with and the artists are borne from those communities, and working with them to produce their final product. 

What significance and impact do you think Derby Rises will have on Derby Theatre, the partners and the communities of Derby? 

I think this is just the first step in a conversation. We are doing things differently in Derby and this is the first baby step towards that.

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Barbican Cinema in September: In the Cinema, On Demand, In Leytonstone

Barbican Cinema 1, image by Max Coulson
  • Barbican Cinema One reopens on 4 September
  • Cinema On Demand features Inner States: A series of first-person films including a free-to-stream programme of shorts made by international filmmakers during lockdown.
  • Leytonstone Loves Film 2020 returns with reimagined programme, small-scale film screenings, online Watch Parties, talks and workshops.

This September, Barbican Cinema will present a wealth of cinematic excellence in Cinema One, on Cinema on Demand, and at Leytonstone Loves Film, which is produced by the Barbican in partnership with local residents and organisations and the London Borough of Waltham Forest.

On Friday 4 September, the Barbican’s Cinema 1 is reopening its doors to the public with a 35mm presentation of Christopher Nolan’s widely anticipated Tenet. Audiences will be welcomed back to one of London’s most popular cinemas in the knowledge that safety and enjoyment are at the heart of the experience. Reduced seating will allow audiences to socially distance at two metres and fewer screenings overall will enable a regular deep-clean of the auditorium. All audiences must wear a face covering in all areas of the Barbican. Cinema tickets will be available to purchase through the Barbican website and must be shown to staff at Barbican Silk Street entrance. Cinemas 2&3 are currently undergoing refurbishment work and will reopen later in the year.

Gali Gold, Head of Barbican Cinema said: “We’re delighted to be welcoming audiences back to Cinema 1 in September to rediscover the thrill of experiencing film on the big screen in the company of others,. The safety of our audiences and staff remains our top priority and we know from the feed-back left by visitors to the Barbican Gallery and Conservatory that audiences are happy and secure with the measures we’ve put in place. Alongside our Cinema 1 programme, we’re continuing to bring our rich film programme to audiences through our newly launched digital platform and through our continuing collaboration with Beyond Barbican for Leytonstone Loves Film,working closely with local residents and organisations.”

Additional safety measures in place at the Barbican include one-way routes through the building and sanitisation points. Access to all venues will be via the main entrance on Silk Street with lifts available for those who need them.

Detailed visitor information will be available on the Barbican’s website.

To support the Barbican in reopening and offering the widest possible audience access to culture and creativity, donations can be made at https://www.barbican.org.uk/join-support/support-us.

Audiences will continue to be able to access Barbican-curated films from home or on the go through the recently launched Cinema On Demand programme. From 11-24 September the streaming service will include Inner States: A series of first-person films, featuring five pivotal documentaries each expressing an interiority rarely achieved on film, plus Lockdown States an extraordinary set of short videos made by international filmmakers since the beginning of the pandemic.

All the films in this series, co-curated by Gali Gold, Head of Cinema, Barbican and Alisa Lebow, Professor of Screen Media, University of Sussex, offer a journey to the inner sanctum of the self: be it the experience of isolation, displacement, confinement, mental illness, creativity amidst political censorship, or just the simplicity of keen observation from a unique vantage point.

In David Achkar’s exquisite and rarely seen Allah Tantou (God’s Will) the filmmaker imagines his father’s experience in 1968, when he was disappeared and imprisoned in Guinea’s notorious Camp Boiro prison; in Là BasChantal Akerman limits herself to the tiny interior of a rented apartment in Tel Aviv, restricting her view almost entirely to what she can see through the matchstick window blinds; Raed Andoni’s probing Fix Me is an extended meditation on what it means to be an individual—let alone an artist with a distinctive vision—in the midst of a collective struggle. Jonathan Caouette’s psychedelic, one-of-a-kind Tarnation could rival any experimental fiction film and yet, its destabilising power resides in its firm grounding in lived experience of a dysfunctional upbringing; and, in This Is Not A film, filmmaker Jafar Panahi channelled his creative drive inwards when he was placed under house arrest and banned from filmmaking, to create a personal and cinematic declaration of dissent.

The free to stream programme of shorts, Lockdown States features work from Beirut based filmmaker Carol Mansour who reveals both sides of lockdown, with its liberating and its devastating effects, and Kashmiri filmmakers, Shahzaib Naik & S M Seraj Ali, who consider the restrictions of lockdown alongside the military crackdown they’ve experienced since August 2019. For acclaimed documentarist, Brett Story, the most unexpected aspect of this unusual time is the way it has prompted people to internalise official and medical restrictions to the point of being moved to police others’ behaviours. New York student and call-centre worker, Taylor-Alexis Gillard emphasises the absurdly humorous aspects of the mind-numbing isolation produced by lockdown, and from Canada, a broad range of filmmakers have been invited by veteran film programmer Stacey Donen to participate in a capsule collection of short films, Greetings From Isolation.

From Wednesday 16 September to Sunday 4 October 2020, Leytonstone Loves Film will celebrate film culture and Leytonstone’s exciting cinema community through a reimagined programme of small-scale film screenings, online Watch Parties, talks and workshops.

The free community-powered programme will bring people together through movies and storytelling in a safe and enjoyable way and provide a platform to showcase the work of filmmakers, industry creatives and cinema enthusiasts in the local area.

Some highlights of the programme include smartphone filmmaking workshops with E17 Films, a local filmmaking project with Stow Film Lounge; a collection of 20 short films programmed by Women Over Fifty Film Festival (WOFFF), Cheap Cuts Doc Fest and Forest Film Club; a series of family-friendly digital workshops produced by Barbican Family Film Club; as well as a series of online Watch Parties hosted by We Are Parable, Sign For All CommunityLast Frame Film Club and many other partners. Since not everyone will be able to attend in person, Leytonstone Loves Film plans to work with local film exhibitors to bring a series of small film screenings to care homes, residential homes, community centres and neighbourhood locations to share a cinematic moment in some unexpected places.