Well I had to get cricket into the first para!!

Where to start…well probably makes sense to say what I’m up to! 

Phrased and Confused

Well the easiest way to describe P and C is to point you to the the Phrased and Confused video, which is here – www.phrasedandconfused.co.uk  As part of the project we commissioned four artists to create new work especially for the festival.  One of those artists is the ale loving, queen of dub Jean Binta Breeze.  Equally talented is her son Gareth, whose 121 for Durham against Kent helped Durham to win their first county championship but much more importantly ensured my beloved Yorkshire’s survival in the top tier.  Now thats what I call poetry.  (By the way cricket and literature go back a long way – and Jean’s prose poem ‘Sunday cricket’ is a fine contribution to the oeuvre ..check this out for an opening line…)

Look man, is a hard ting wen is Easter Sunday, West Indies battin, an yuh wife decide dat de whole family have to go to church.’

There’s a number of plans in the pipeline for Phrased and Confused next year – but nothing I can write about just yet (although its all very exciting…obviously). 

Phrased and Confused is a project run by the hub (see www.thehub.co.uk).  With the hub I’ve also co produced the Insulting Cabaret for International Pen at the National Theatre (fantastic gig to get when your just starting freelance life!) and co producing the Seas Club at Varna – more of Seas later.  And there could be news very soon about Insulting Cabaret II….

Tour Producing

One of the things I really wanted to do when I left Phoenix was to work more closely with artists I believed in again.  Its amazing how a building, and an organisation can just eat up all your time, energy and enthusiasm.  So I’m really pleased to be working on three brilliant production projects right now.

First up are Croatian theatre company – BADco – you can see a video of their work here http://dnevnik.hr/scena/zanimljivosti/premijerno-izveden-evergreen-memories-are-made-of-this.html – it’s in Croatian (they are performing in English in the UK!) but you’ll get the idea.  They arrive on the 7 November and leave on the 14th – and in between pack in 5 performances, 4 workshops and lots of travelling….by train.  It’s going to be a mad, mad week – but quite literally the company have been setting the European theatre festivals alight so it should be alot of fun.  See the main web site for tour dates and information – do try and get along if you can!  Right now Im buried under a mountain of technical detail, work permit stuff, travel and accommodation arrangements …and I thought I was freeing myself of bureaucracy by working for myself!

BADco are one of the SEAS artists – and if you dont know about SEAS check out the web site www.seas.se.  More importanly – if your in the UK – put 25 September – 4 October 2009 into you diary and book accommodation in Skegness.  During that period the SEAS road show will land in the UK bringing at least 14 new commissions from artists from all across Europe. 

I’ve spent most of today trying to finalise the SOMETHING BLUE tour by Jammy Voo.  The Jammys are five fabulous le coq trained clowns. The show is funny, beautiful and dark all at the same time.  And some of the puppetry is simply exquisite.  Its in cabaret format – racing from one scene to the next with a number of great set pieces – a choir of old ladies singing hymns (until you realise the lyrics are utter filth), five brides in a slow motion ‘bitch’ fight from stage left to stage right  where a wedding ring sits on a podium and Little Red Riding Hood who bucks the trend by falling in love with a wolf. The show starts its tour in Derby on  23 April and the new dates will be up on the main web site soon when all is confirmed.

Coming up in 2009 is Bloody Brits – a crime writing tour featuring among others Danuta Reah and Sue Walker.  More on that – and other projects in other posts.


Keeping my brain in top notch order has been a couple of consultancy projects.  Literally this morning I sent the final version of the feasibility study on the New Electric Picture Palace to Wolverton Unlimited – some 114 pages.  The Picture Palace is a 1911 cinema which is currently for sale, and the local community want to buy it and turn it back into an independent cinema – our job was to test whether this was feasible.  Our conclusion – just about, but in the current ecconomic down turn the capital is going to be very challenging.

There will be more on the web site about this fascinating project soon – in the mean time a piece of useless trivia.  The New Electric Picture Palace is over the road from the Wolverton Works which was once the home of the famous bloomer steam engine – Wolverton of course is the very first UK railway town and to this day it prides itself on having a very diffent feel to Milton Keynes.  Today the Works house a supermarket, car show rooms, housing and Rail Care which maintains train carriages to this day.

Since March Ive also been working with EM Media as ‘Film Audience Development Services Consultant’.  Its a role which has kept me in touch with Quad, Broadway and Phoenix as they work together to deliver specialised film services both within their own venues and throughout the region.  Through this role I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to work with many of my colleagues from my days at the Phoenix.  It’s been challenging at times – but always fulfilling and there is a real sense that all the partners are pulling in the same direction – namely to encourage and enable as many people as possible, wherever they are in the East Midlands, to access specialist film and film education.

And finally

The EM Media project takes me back to the East Midlands on a regular basis.  It’s great to see the DMC (Digital Media Centre) emerging rapidly out of the ground.  At the same time seeing a project you literally lived in and for,for five years of your life take on a life of its own with out you is a weird feeling.   But the list of things I’m not missing would go on far too long for a blog…and now I must go and chase the work permit people…again!


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