“I come from quite a musical family, I started learning piano aged four and have sung for as long as I can remember. My parents were into a mixed bag of music, so I grew up listening to everything from the Beatles to Grieg. I started off studying classical music, both for piano and voice and then moved towards folk and jazz. I was gigging from the age of 15 and have worked as a professional musician since then. Music has always been an integral part of my life.”
This is how comedy generally, and most particularly political satire, works: the people with no power lampoon, satirise, or rip the proverbial out of those who actually hold the power. It is a ‘punching up’ from below. The powerless show up the foibles, the hypocrisies, the failures of the powerful who have such influence and even control over their lives. The humour is found in the release of tension. The powerful are rarely, if ever, hurt by this – and when they are it’s usually because they are engaged in a practice so egregious that history will never be their friend anyway.
The UK government has chosen not to renew or continue its relationship with the Creative Europe programme after the end of the calendar year. This is a move that is viewed as a retrograde step on both sides of the channel and doesn’t fit with the government’s own narrative about a close relationship with our nearest neighbours nor its tub-thumping global Britain rhetoric.
“You are not alone” How do you feel about going back to school? That’s a question mainly for children but also for parents, teachers, carers. It’s been around five months since many of us were at school. You may feel excited, nervous, anxious and a whole range of emotions. Last week the Customs House set […]
“How do you deal with writer’s block?” This question is often asked of authors, screenwriters and playwrights but what exactly is writer’s block? According to Wikipedia. writer’s block is: “a condition… in which an author loses the ability to produce new work or experiences a creative slowdown.” I am an author of a published novel, […]
One of the world’s most famous self-portraits [The Two Fridas by Frida Kahlo] will be brought to life from the canvas to the stage through an intriguing mixture of storytelling, dance, music and live performance.
There is that excited buzz that you always get in a theatre before a show. La vie en Rose plays on the sound system which seems strangely appropriate and people settle into their seats to enjoy the show. The difference tonight is that the seating is very spread out: one or two people and then […]
Years ago (in the last century) I attended a conference at Lancaster University on arts and the environment where I met ‘artivists’ from Platform, a London-based collective of artists, educators and researchers who were undertaking extraordinary projects such as ‘Unravelling the Carbon Web’, which partly consisted of Platform members walking around all BP establishments including […]
A review of Jane Eyre (2011 film) I must confess to being something of a Jane Eyre fan and so I was surprised that I had missed this film adaptation at the time when it came out. I first read the book aged 12 when I was at school. I remember the book: a rather […]
Thoughts on the first August since 1947 without the Edinburgh Fringe.
There is a play – in fact, there are, no doubt, many plays – to be written about England during the pandemic but writing something now would be a bit like ending Romeo and Juliet with the balcony scene. Sadly there is so much more to play out.
A contemporary review of Alan Bleasdale’s 1982 television series. Is it relevant today?
The culture and hospitality sector is in danger. Many theatres have a limited number of months, or weeks before they completely run out of funding. Pubs that employ musicians to draw in punters are struggling badly and some are closing for good. People who work in the arts sector are finding themselves with little or […]
If you enjoy The Crown, a show with an impressive scope, spanning decades and revealing insights to recent British history, then this is an alternative for you during lockdown. Our Friends in the North may not have had the same budget and gloss, but it is a powerful creation that focuses on ordinary people. A 1996 miniseries, […]
This is a fantastic site with plenty of potential. We’ve waited 20 years for this development. We believe in a better Gateshead Quays, let’s make sure it’s worth the wait.
The Mirror & The Light is a triumph. It may win awards for the whole trilogy, but at 875 pages long, it suffers most when Mantel’s imagination overrides history.
Pandemic Python have been a great success and in the words of one Jesmond resident: “Niceness breeds niceness”
Working in the Performing Arts is not a career but a way of life. It’s not what you do, but what you are.
many local stories were going unreported in traditional media channels. I decided that by using video and social media these stories could be told in a new and engaging way.
Before Covid, I might have been out of a job, but I was secure in the knowledge that the industry supporting me was carrying on existing, producing wonderful work, contributing almost £13 million to the UK economy every hour. I could expect future work. In short, I had hope.
Sourdough produces the most fantastic bread and once started you’ll love the results so much you won’t want to stop. (Recipe)
It started in March. As lockdown started and panic began to take hold, I could not get flour anywhere. Every supermarket had been stripped clean, no wholemeal, no rye, no plain white, nothing. I have always made bread for my family in a bread machine (which, by the way, is awesome and nothing to be ashamed of […]
A nation state and its international relations are in many ways as complicated as the workings of our modern mobile phone, perhaps even more so. The interactions of one policy may have far-reaching consequences for other branches of government not directly related to the original policy.
If someone had told me four months ago that Absolute Cabaret would be putting a show together without actually seeing each other in person until the day of the show, rehearsing everything online and then not being able to get closer than two metres to each other on the day of the show, I would […]
I’m an actor, writer and director. How has the coronavirus pandemic affected me? I lost two national tours and four productions at a local theatre. I was worried about my financial situation; I think like most self-employed creative people, my whole life has been living from job to job with nothing much in the savings […]
It’s the Friday before the next episode of ‘Sixteen Million Rising’ (the Pro-European radio show I make) goes live and I’m checking my inbox for submissions. Once I have sorted out the emails which inevitably elude my spam filter – one which must have been designed by the same team responsible for the UK’s “world […]