Thursday, 28 May 2015

Festival Portraits II

Anne-Sophie Mutter will be performing in The Four Seasons at the Edinburgh International Festival 2015. 

Nicola Benedetti will perform Glazunov with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra at the Edinburgh International Festival 2015.

Festival Portraits

The Edinburgh International Festival is an annual gathering of some of the greatest creative minds of our time. To celebrate their presence at the heart of our programme, the Festival has commissioned video portraits exploring the artist’s experience from the point of view of five celebrated Festival artists.

The films present interviews with actors, musicians, writers and directors talking about the art that they love, and features Juliette Binoche, Simon McBurney, Nicola Benedetti, Robert Lepage and Anne-Sophie Mutter in a series of personal reflections on their art-form, the nature of live performance and the unique exchange they experience with an audience every time they take to the stage.

Highlights include:

- Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti takes a 
personal look at her own performance style, and the vulnerabilities and idiosyncrasies of a musician on stage

- Actor and director Simon McBurney reflects on the intensity of live theatre and the co-dependent relationship between audience and performer

- Actor, writer and director Robert Lepage champions the cultural benefits of the theatrical experience and the role he plays in delivering it

- Actor Juliette Binoche passionately describes the importance of actors fusing body and mind when performing on stage.

- Violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter discusses the
life-affirming importance of music as a way of bringing people together, and traces the influence it has had throughout her life

The video portraits build on the iconic portraits of Festival artists created by Scottish photographer Gavin Evans for the Festival 2015 programme covers, and offer audiences a greater insight into the creative talent and processes employed by great artists at the core of the Edinburgh International Festival.

The video portraits also mark a renewed commitment to develop and expand the Festival’s digital offering and increase year-round engagement with an online audience, producing rich and diverse content across multiple online platforms placing artists at the heart of Festival activity.

Festival Director Fergus Linehan said, “The role that artists and their creative talent plays is absolutely essential to what the Festival is, and we wanted to capture on film some of this year’s artists and find out why they’re so incredibly passionate about what they do. These videos give a rare glimpse inside the minds of five world-renowned artists, and I think will give Festival audiences a unique understanding of what they are thinking and feeling when performing for them this August’.

From New Zealand to your Gaze...

Performance trace, collected materials, lipstick lists, naked drawings, invented instruments,and selfies; all part of Virginia Kennard’s work You occupy my body by looking, a performance installation delving into how we look - at bodies, at women, at ourselves.

For daily performance details please refer Virginia's facebook page.

Please be aware that this exhibition contains nudity.

Image: Performance from to and fro, Artspace, Auckland 2014, Virginia Kennard, Photo by Peter Jennings.

Toi P┼Źneke Gallery
61 Abel Smith St, Te Aro, Wellington
Phone: 385 1929

Opening Hours:
10am – 8pm weekdays
10am – 4pm weekends
Closed public holidays.
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Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Bebe+Luna Present...

However, nothing goes to plan, and everything spirals into chaos and calamity. The show takes on a life of its own, and the result is an unforgettable evening (though perhaps not exactly the elegant one the girls dreamed of).

'Bebe+Luna Present' was conceived after two actor/singer/musicians, Amy Burke & Geri Allen, had a cheeky dalliance in the world of burlesque. Seduced by the shameless juxtaposing of glamour with comedy, and the reckless spirit of 'YES YOU CAN!', these two women emerged forever changed. 

They took their favourite elements of burlesque and threw them in a blender with a traditional cabaret, and something exciting emerged: The Cabaret Farce. Part jazz cabaret, part play-goes-wrong, The Cabaret Farce toes the line between the glamorous and the ridiculous.**
Momentum Studio @ St Stephens (Venue 166)
5-30 August 2015
22:00 (1hr) Tickets
5&6 August £5; then Mon-Fri £9.50, Sat/Sun £10.50

**Despite the burlesque roots, there are no nipples (tassled or otherwise) in this show.



Appeal against Licensing Board decision confirmed

The Arches met with stakeholders Creative Scotland and senior city officials yesterday (Tuesday May 26) to explore a number of possible avenues for the continuation of the venue’s cultural programmes and activity, following Glasgow Licensing Board’s recent decision to curtail its licensed hours.

Creative Scotland and Glasgow City Council have now agreed to provide an advance on their agreed 2015-16 funding to support The Arches in delivering its current programme in the short-term, and in gaining specialist advice to enable it to properly consider all future options.

At the same meeting, The Board of Directors for The Arches decided that, following legal advice, the venue will proceed with an appeal against the Licensing Board’s limiting of the venue to a midnight licence – a decision which would effectively close its club and have a devastating effect on its future as a cultural centre.

Lucy Mason, Artistic Director, and Mark Anderson, Executive Director of The Arches said: “The Board of The Arches is grateful for and has agreed to the funding package offered by Creative Scotland and Glasgow City Council, which provides for stability in the short-term as we look to find a more permanent solution in the weeks to come.”

“At the same time, having taken appropriate legal advice, we believe there are grounds to appeal the decision of the Licensing Board and will now proceed on that basis.”

All scheduled arts events between now and the end of June will go ahead as planned with club events moved to alternative venues.

Wed 3 – Fri 5 June: On The Verge 2015
Thu 4 – Sun 21 June: Being Human
Sun 7 June: STAND

The following events have changed venue:

Fri 19 June: Deviation: Benji B & Kenny Dope – Now at La Cheetah
Fri 26 June: Nervo – Now at O2 Academy
Sat 17 Oct: From The Jam – Now at SWG3

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Much Ado About Shakespeare

Much Ado About Shakespeare: Fascinating Book
Recounts Stratford Jubilee – the Event that “Saved” Shakespeare’s Reputation

Meticulously researched by Jimmy Hartley, ‘Much Ado About Shakespeare’ takes readers back to 1769, as David Garrick staged the first Stratford Jubilee, an event credited with saving Shakespeare’s dwindling reputation and solidifying his place as the world’s most-loved poet and playwright. But the event wasn't without its calamities and murder – as Hartley uncovers for the first time.

I knew it! I knew there was a time when Shakespeare did not rule the stage. And he needed a push, by a theatre-maker, not a literary critic, to get back at the big table.

After his death in 1616, Shakespeare’s reputation languished, with just a few minor rewrites of ‘King Lear’, ‘Romeo & Juliet’ and ‘The Tempest’ keeping his name alive. 

As I remember, these rewrites involved giving Lear a happy ending, or getting rid of big chunks of the script. Who hasn't wondered why Shakespeare's plays are so long (it is something to do with the Elizabethan audience's social mix and behaviour at theatre)? The rewrites made the plays accessible to later audiences, just like modern versions do now.

But one event in 1769 changed all of that, rebuilding Shakespeare’s reputation to its immense present day international status which will be emphasised next year by the celebrations for Shakespeare's 400th anniversary, an occasion that will be "the biggest opportunity to put UK culture on the world stage since London 2012," according to Sir Martin Davidson, Chief Executive of the British Council.

In ‘Much Ado About Shakespeare’ author Jimmy Hartley tells the astonishing story of the Jubilee that legendary actor David Garrick staged at Stratford-upon-Avon and which rocketed Shakespeare into global status as the world's greatest playwright. "Without the Jubilee," says author Jimmy Hartley, "next year's celebrations would not be happening.

Shakespeare's reputation was in decline at the time of his death. Fellow playwrights Ben Jonson and Francis Webster were buried in Poet's Corner. But Shakespeare gained no such distinction. His reputation continued to fall with one critic complaining that his plays "disgust this refined age." 

The one event that did most to reverse this downward trend was the Stratford Jubilee, staged by the superstar actor David Garrick (from who the Garrick Club gets its name). This is the story of that Jubilee, a tale of human pride, vaulting ambition, jealousy that catapulted Shakespeare's reputation into its present day stratosphere.

“This is the first major study of Garrick’s Jubilee in fifty years,” explains Hartley, a show business veteran. “I was able to make full use of original sources to uncover the truth about an event that was as dramatic, poignant and funny as Shakespeare’s work itself. As well as being a roaring success, it wasn’t without its problems – including an actor who literally killed another during an argument over a wig!”

Continuing, “It was a far cry from the comforts of the West End and my book demonstrates just how perilous it was trying to organize an event so far from home soil. Garrick thought that the production would come together as easily as they do in the Drury Lane Theatre; he quickly thought again when the river Avon unexpectedly overflowed as his ballroom was packed with Dukes and Duchesses, Ministers and the top brass of that generation. Miraculously, the entire thing was a roaring success and saved Shakespeare for good.”

As Hartley explains, Shakespeare is about to be more than thrust back under the public spotlight.

“The British Council has just announced a “global celebration” next year, to mark 400 years since his death. There’s going to be an international festival, new high-quality education resources and a mass-participation global digital project. There will also be celebrations taking place around the world, giving this book more pertinence than ever before,” he adds.

Readers have come out in force with positive reviews. Florence Wilson comments, “This is a remarkably readable and wonderfully gossipy and amusing account of the way that Shakespeare's reputation was revived. An unexpectedly enjoyable read for what could be a serious subject and one to indulge in.”

Belinda adds, “Superbly researched, you feel the atmosphere of the times and can believe you're in the crowd. Endless informative detail. If you're interested in Shakespeare, Garrick and/or PR this is a very good read.”

Much Ado About Shakespeare’ is available now:

About the Author:
Jimmy Hartley brings to this study a deep understanding of show business and public relations based on many years’ experience in the industry.

He was a writer and producer in ITV in London and Anglia. He is a former Exhibitioner in History of Hertford College, Oxford, and holds an MA in History from Oxford University.

Britain’s Got Bhangra

Photo Credit - David Fisher

Britain’s Got Bhangra
is written and directed by Pravesh Kumar of award-winning British Asian Theatre Company Rifco Arts. Rifco’s other productions include The Deranged Marriage, Happy Birthday Sunita and Break the Floorboards.

Britain's Got Bhangra is produced by Sell a Door Theatre Company, and was originally co-produced by Rifco Arts and Theatre Royal Stratford East in association with Warwick Arts Centre. Formed in 2007, Sell a Door creates touring productions aimed at engaging young adults in live theatre. Current productions include the UK Tours of Avenue Q, The History Boys and Jekyll and Hyde.

Britain’s Got Bhangra is written and directed by Pravesh Kumar, with music and Bhangra direction by Sumeet Chopra. English Lyrics are by Dougal Irvine with Punjabi lyrics by Bittu Denowalia.

David Hutchinson from Sell a Door Theatre said: "We are delighted to be opening our autumn season at Manchester Palace Theatre with this critically acclaimed smash hit musical. The writers have created a fantastic celebration of dance and culture within the modern narrative of a talented artist aspiring to fulfil their dreams. In the reality TV age, his story taps into the aspirations of so many, against the colourful backdrop of the British Asian community. We look forward to reaching out to new and returning audiences across the UK with Britain's Got Bhangra."