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Matters Outstanding

July 30th, 2018

This weekend saw the return of Lunar Festival after a year off. Having worked the 2015 as The Commentators it was a pleasure to return not working but as the punters. Although cloud cover prevented us from seeing Friday night’s Blood Moon phenomena in the sky the Lunar stages presented plenty of alternative phenomena to gape at in awe.

Amadou and Mariam were a stirring joyful feelgood revelation to get lost in. They were set up by Basement Jaxx who got and kept a whole field of people jumping with their DJ set. In turn they were set up by zestful fun from The Go! Team

Saturday’s more overcast weather was adroitly mirrored by a darker musical programme that opened with Matters, my pick of the festival. Although I absolutely loved Amadou and Mariam ultimately they are a bit too cheerful and exotic to be my pin-ups, driving epic paranoia from Birmingham has to carry the day for me.

I looked after bags while lots of people went to hear Ed Miliband do whatever he does now. We caught Untied Artists blowing cobwebs from their Acorn Emporium children’s show before it arrives at mac in August. Barbara Nice was audible in the distance running a version of Blind Date. I caught what looked like a dad and two very young sons played a punk set and Ouse Valley Singles club playing a pugnacious skiffle set. We ate Persian food, didn’t feel the need for any of the ‘healing’ or craft activities on offer, slept past the 8am kids cinema showing on offer by Flatpack and sheltered from the rain. Blackash concluded their intense set with cheerleaders and a gorgeously back lit Goldfrapp wrapped Saturday-up with an rich and assured performance.

A triumphal return for Lunar, next up, in early September comes the Moseley Folk Festival for which The Commentators return.

Recruiting a Re-lighter for The Capital

July 4th, 2018

We are recruiting a Re-lighter for the tour of our new show The Capital at the beginning of 2019.

Dates:
To be available for 2 days between 23 -27 October 2018 in Birmingham to learn
the show’s requirements from the lighting designer at Birmingham REP.

The production will undertake a UK tour for 2 or 3 weeks during the period 28 January to 17 February 2019; exact tour dates to be confirmed.

Deadline for Submissions: 24 July 2018 by 5pm

Read more about the requirements and how to apply below:

Continue reading “Recruiting a Re-lighter for The Capital” »

BE judged

July 2nd, 2018

REVOLT ATHENS by Elli Papakonstantinou/ ODC Ensemble from Elli Papakonstantinou/ODC on Vimeo.

BE Festival starts tomorrow (Tuesday), so that makes it a year since I was on the judging panel. I don’t really agree with art prizes (perhaps because I’ve never won one) so it was a bit hypocritical to agree to be a judge on an art prize panel, but I’m emotionally beholden to BE and find it difficult to refuse them anything.

In the end I had a great week. It was lovely to have an excuse to clear my diary see all the productions at BE – the first time I’ve done this. Being a judge meant complimentary food in the fabulous ‘on stage’ BE restaurant and the biggest treat was meeting the other judges and arguing and agreeing with them.
Naturally there were shows other judges loved for being profound, moving or clever that left me cold or disinterested. There was a show I loved but others felt lacking in some way and no argument I could make would persuade them otherwise. There was the show I expected to not like that I loved and acted as cheerleader for. There were shows we felt too slick, others too knowing.
Each day we met before the first performance to reflect on the previous day’s shows. A chance to tune into each others aesthetic, to gauge the field, to clarify our own thought by hearing the thoughts of others. Continue reading “BE judged” »

Of All The People In Salzburg

June 19th, 2018

Of All The People In All The World - Salzburg

We have just returned from spending ten days at the Sommerszene2018 Festival in Salzburg where we performed Of All The People In All The World in the beautiful setting of the Kollegienkirche.

Around 7,000 people saw the show during our time there, people from all over the world. Below are some observations on some members of the audience, collected over one hour on the final afternoon (16th June 2018) …

People looking down at piles of amber rice.
People looking up at white Baroque domes.
A boy with a pirate T-shirt and a girl with a top that says Love.
A couple with rucksacks, a guitar and a neatly rolled tent.
A woman with a crutch, a couple holding hands.
Three women with heart shaped biscuit necklaces with the initials S and F spelled out in icing.
A pregnant woman with her hand on her back.
A man with shoes but no socks.
Continue reading “Of All The People In Salzburg” »

Why Buy Now?

June 11th, 2018

Tickets are on sale for our new show The Capital that opens in October and although I love the purity of turning up on the night of the performance handing over folding money in exchange for a ticket and walking into the show, here I expound five brief arguments as to why this is a terrible idea. Continue reading “Why Buy Now?” »

We Can Remember It For You Wholesale

June 3rd, 2018

Birmingham Wholesale Market occupies a huge site, 28 acres of prime real estate a mere apple’s throw from New Street Station. It seemed inevitable that redevelopment and the commercial imperative would catch up with the vast 1970s concrete warehouses and that time has finally arrived; the traders have moved out, the bulldozers are on the horizon and squeezed in between, to conduct the last rites, are Friction Arts with their performance event Everything Must Go. Continue reading “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” »

Kenesh Dramaturge

June 1st, 2018

Last Thursday I was holed up in the Stan’s Cafe kitchen with Keisha Grant, Artistic Director of Keneish Dance, looking at a video documenting an early draft of their new show Hi I’m…. For this piece Keisha is interested in including some narrative elements and thought it may be helpful to talk about this with someone who devises theatre shows. Continue reading “Kenesh Dramaturge” »

Casting

May 24th, 2018

You’ve heard it here before any other source, we’ve just opened casting for our brand new studio theatre show THE CAPITAL. As usual we are devising the show between us all, so we’re looking for actors who have good experience of working in this way. We’re seeking performers who are skilled at visual story telling as the show will be wordless. This doesn’t mean years of mime training, but it does mean knowing how audiences read images and how as an actor you make images. The show is about life in a modern diverse city, so we are encouraging applicants from all sectors of society. All the details are in a PDF document here.

Please spread the word.

Catalogue d’Emoji

May 21st, 2018

Should you be planning on drawing up a list called “The most playful, iconoclastic and talented artists currently working in Birmingham” we can help you out with a name… Michael Wolters.

“But surely” you protest “Dr. Wolters is Deputy Head of Composition at the Royal Birmingham Conservertoire and therefore, inevitably, a boring deadbeat”. “Wrong!” we cry “That shows how much you know about these things – nothing!” Continue reading “Catalogue d’Emoji” »

Inspired Illustration

May 21st, 2018

Thursday evening started five weeks ago, maybe two months ago. Thursday evening started when I sent a speculative message to our friend/collaborator Mr. Courage. It started when I first thought that publishing all Stan’s Cafe’s old scripts would be a fun thing to do, but only if they appeared in a set of 22 very slim volumes.

“[Gareth] If you were teaching design at university would it be an interesting / useful / mutually beneficial / noteworthy undertaking for Stan’s Cafe to ‘commission’ you and your students to design the set”

On Thursday evening @ A E Harris over forty first year illustration students from Birmingham City University exhibited their response to our front cover design challenge. Each book in the series was allocated to two students who were furnished with scripts, essays and notes on influences from music, film, the visual arts, history and science. They had five weeks to explore, experiment and deliver a cover inspired the something in that content. The results were spectacular. Continue reading “Inspired Illustration” »


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