Thursday, October 29, 2009


Arts Council Annual Review

Each year we are called to check in at the Arts Council Offices to talk through our annual return, how what we did last year matched with what we said we would do and then to set out what is happening this year and what future prospects look like.

Nick, Charlotte and I rocked up for it on Thursday and it was as uneventful as ever, which is probably no bad thing, drama in these meetings would probably only ever be bad news.



Kindle @ A E Harris

Kindle open their new show Eat Your Heart Out @ A E Harris today. A previous blog said their set was vast, well it's grow considerably since then. The caterers have now moved in too (the show feeds you into the bargain), they have brought with them an impressive amount of very impressive looking catering kit. If there's any justice in the world their enormous hard work should be rewarded with sell-out crowds.

There is now a video trailer for those who are intrigued.



Artists Taking The Lead

I had to go to the Arts Council website to find who had got the Artists Taking The Lead awards.
Does this mean I was out of the news-loop when they were announced, or has journalistic 'outrage' been exhausted where contemporary arts are concerned? Anyway, it was interesting to see who has chosen to do what where.

I was pleased to see that both Lone Twin and The Pacitti company have come up trumps, good luck to them. It's a challenging spin on the fund's terms that The Quay Brothers are coming over to collaborate with artists in Leeds.

To save this from becoming the blandest blog in the UK I have to say the West Midland's project, a Giant puppet of Lady Godiva leading a participatory performance with a cast of thousands, doesn't spark my interest, but then I'm just me, I'm sure others are excited by it.

Follow the link to make up your own minds.



Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Barter Economy

The barter economy lives on. Today the Power Plant team met in our offices whilst we were all variously away and in exchange Jony Easterby fixed our dodgy door handle, ideal.

Where’ve we been? We can’t tell you because:

1: Charlotte is on holiday and we don’t want the paparazzi getting to her.

2: Craig and I have been working on a Steps Series installation which must remain secret until half-term is up in Leicestershire (there's a clue there for the tenacious).



Monday, October 19, 2009


Things to See and Do

A massive set has been constructed @ A E Harris by Kindle Theatre for their production Eat Your Heart Out. At first glance the casual observer may think the tickets quite dear but there is an insane amount of stuff in the plus, live music and food plus they've been working manically hard for ages on it, so essentially it's three nights out in one go and thus good value I would imagine. The show opens on 29th October and runs until 8th November (no show on 2nd November). Follow the link for tickets.

If the good folk of Birmingham value @ A E Harris as a venue then it would be great to see a good crowd turning out for that show and making it a success.

Whilst @ A E Harris has Kindle installing and devising their vast new show in one area, Little Earthquake are quietly working away devising their new touring show, The Houdini Exposure in a smaller corner of the space. Earlier this year I enjoyed their previous production and expect more magic (literally and perhaps figuratively) in Wolverhampton’s Arena on 30th & 31st October.

Finally: time is running out to get my life logistics sorted for seeing Action Hero perform at Warwick Arts Centre. I saw their piece A Western in Edinburgh and liked it very much. It was very simple, engaging and nicely judged. It will be interesting to see how this piece relates to that one.



Another Award

Late last week our collaboration with A E Harris won The Clark Associates Arts and Business Cultural Branding Award. The trophy was a glass sculptural item, quite heavy and delicate enough for us to be relieved it’s going to live in a cabinet somewhere in Harris HQ.

The evening was quite snappy. Craig in his Stan’s Cafe Award Suit appeared to be providing the nights glitzy celebrity sheen until it turned out Patrick Stuart was on hand dish out the glass sculptural items. Previous awards ceremonies have used recorded snatches of famous TV theme tunes to welcome people on stage, here the music was incomparably better, being provided live by the Hot House Big Band. In a further impressive innovation the organisers had booked Stage 2 Youth Theatre to run the technical aspect of the show, which was all very slick. All the awards were ripped through at a brisk pace and we were off into the night, for a small celebratory beer – slightly over-dressed for the pub, but who cares.



Tuesday, October 06, 2009


Ford-ist Approach

It's always interesting to learn how things work on the factory floor. It sounds from Graeme's blog entry, linked to here, that there's something Ford-ist about the process of delivering The Cleansing of Constance Brown.



Friday, October 02, 2009


Constance Brown In Montpellier: Nearly Over

Constance Brown has nearly done its thing in Montpellier. The show is in good shape. We’ve been deploying the British Cycling Team’s principle of constantly trying to find marginal improvements in every aspect of the show to make the whole show better. To the mock chagrin of Ray Newe I now particularly like a moment after The Mirrors scene in which all the doors are closed and there’s no one in the corridor. The corridor is a powerful presence in the show and this moment, with lights on full behind the doors and thus the corridor criss-crossed with needle thin lines of light, although it carries no intrinsic meaning, is powerful and seemingly important nonetheless. Nina after a extended period of negotiations with the mixing desk has perfected a very pleasing way of getting to silence following the exit of ‘the orange billowing mass’. Where previously she’d always been disappointed having to fade the music out (the duration of orange mass billowing is notoriously variable), now she is delighted to cut the source of the music dead and with swirl of reverb.

Of All The People In All The World is still looking good in Montpellier and one presumes, in Aberystwyth where Jack is gearing up to give his first Stan's Cafe talk. Go Jack go!



Welcome to the new Fierce.

Laura McDermott and Harun Morrison made a sure-footed debut as co-directors of Fierce this evening. In the back bar downstairs at The Big Peg an impressive crowd of ‘faces’ from Birmingham, London and elsewhere were gathered for their welcoming. After Alan Rivett, Chair of the Fierce, gave a brief introduction the pair shared a short presentation in which they read what was part travelogue/part low key manifesto over a series of slides taken on an orientation trip around Birmingham.

The presentation was well judged, unusual without being flash, poetic without being self-congratulatory, modest in that they hid them behind their text, yet also open in their willingness to ‘be arty’ and put themselves on the line in that way. The crowd were behind them and appreciative. It’s a long journey for them but all seems set fair.

An interesting aspect of the evening was the number of people who were up from London. Laura and Harun have most recently been working at Battersea Arts Centre and seemed to bring a fair crowd of followers with them. The mingling of local and London talent was provocative. With the Fierce pair intending to live in Birmingham this will hopefully be a step towards a further opening of the boarders between the two cities.

It was a good evening to catch up with, and meet for the first time, many people who should be known. In particular I was pleased to meet Geraldine Pilgrim, whose former company Hesitate and Demonstrate scholars of British Physical/Visual Theatre will be familiar with by name if nothing more. She was great to talk with and so, taking a wild punt, I presumed she must know the excellent Alan Dix, who we met properly for the first time a couple of weeks ago in Montpellier. I guessed they must have been part of the Leeds Performance axis in the early 80s. Sure enough they know each other well and I’m left marvelling what must have been kicking off in Leeds around that time, knowing that ‘our very own’ Andy Watson/Walker speaks fondly of it and was inspired by that whole scene. Maybe contemporary Birmingham can emulate that same urgent vibrancy in some small way…



This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?