Category Archives: Theatre

On Immersion: Secret Theatre Comes to London

The CultureJukebox team have always had their finger on the pulse of new immersive experiences, so intriguing to hear about Secret Theatre coming back to the capital.

Secret Theatre: Project Mayhem

Project Mayhem follows a sell-out, critically acclaimed, immersive site specific production of “Hell Hath No Fury, From Dusk Till Dawn” in both London and Hong Kong, and this summer the team are back with a new secret show in central London.

The new show is an interactive adaptation of one of modern history’s most twisted tales of fraternity, violence and all-out psychological warfare. Project Mayhem will completely engulf its guests as part of the set and story, encouraging them along the way to interact with the characters and carefully-created surroundings.

Here’s the trailer to whet the appetite. Promising a wild theatrical ride..

It runs until August 21st. Organisers promise to transport audiences to an underground to a secret world, there’s more information (albeit suitably cryptic) and ticket details here:  https://www.secretstudiolab.com/home + there’s even a special Project Mayhem hotline too.. Call 07583465494

On Culture: the progressive new intersection of VR and promenade performance

The intersection of art and technology is one of the most interesting creative spaces – so great to hear about progressive new performance WHIST coming to London this month and then touring the UK.

‘WHIST’, created by dance company AΦE, is a new production combining VR with interactive promenade theatre. WHIST incorporates 360˚ interactive film, soundscapes and an architectural art installation to create an environment that blurs all boundaries – between consciousness and unconsciousness, reality and fiction, the physical and the virtual.

Inspired by Sigmund Freud’s dream theory, WHIST invites audiences on a journey into the unconscious mind, where instincts will be the guide through a narrative of surreal dreams and fears. And you, or your subconscious, choose your own path.

The performance incorporates 360˚ interactive film, soundscapes and an architectural art installation to create an environment that blurs all boundaries – between consciousness and unconsciousness, reality and fiction, the physical and the virtual.

Using interactive ‘triggers’ positioned in the virtual world by its makers, WHIST allows for a total of 76 narrative possibilities to exist, creating a unique experience for each viewer. No simple ‘red pill vs. blue pill’ format, WHIST implements interactive elements, subtly woven into the film to effect unconscious decision making.

According to the team behind the show, this puts the production at the very forefront of immersive storytelling innovation – leaving the strings that bind and pull at all times invisible. You, or your subconscious, choose your own path.

So, what are the upcoming dates?

  • Ugly Duck – London
    • 23-25 June 2017
  • Pavilion Dance South West – Bournemouth
    • 3-4 July 2017
  • Colours International Dance Festival – Stuttgart, Germany
    • 6 – 15 July 2017
  • Festival Theatre – Edinburgh
    • 21st July – 3rd August 2017
  • The Old Market – Brighton
    • 19-20 September 2017
  • (further dates to be confirmed)

Check the website for more information: http://www.aoiesteban.com/whist/

 

On Culture: HighTide Festival comes to Walthamstow

Fantastic news for East Londoners who love progressive new writing and theatre – HighTide Festival is coming to our capital.

The Suffolk festival celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2016, and later this year makes its debut in Walthamstow in a temporary theatre space in partnership with Waltham Forest Council.

Kanye the First: Photography by Helen Maybanks and Rebecca Pitt

HighTide Theatre will present two world premiere productions in 2017, Heroine by Nessah Muthy (Host) directed by the Festival’s Artistic Director Steven Atkinson and comic dramaKanye The First by Sam Steiner (Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons) directed by HighTide Theatre Associate Director Andrew Twyman. A co-production with Theatre Clwyd, Muthy’s devastating exploration of patriotism and nativism in modern Britain follows young ex-soldier Grace as she struggles to reassimilate into society following a medical discharge from the army. Steiner’s first commissioned, and highly original, play will chart the second coming of global pop icon Kanye West. The play takes a timely look at identity and guilt in contemporary culture. Kanye The First is a co-production between HighTide Theatre and Paul Jellis in association with The Marlowe and The North Wall. Alongside these productions Theresa Ikoko’s Girls, joint winner of the George Devine Award (2016), the Alfred Fagon Award (2015), is set to return. Telling the tale of three young friends who are kidnapped in Nigeria, Ikoko wrote Girls to highlight the stories behind the headlines that quickly become yesterday’s news. Girls is a co-production between HighTide Theatre, Talawa Theatre Company and Martha Rose Wilson.

New work: Heroine, Photography by Helen Maybanks and Rebecca Pitt  

This year we’re focused on what HighTide Theatre is renowned for: commissioning bold and timely plays from the best new writers. We look forward to developing and previewing these world premiere productions in our beautiful home of Aldeburgh, and then for the first time bringing the whole festival to Walthamstow, alongside showcasing work by local artists. This new producing model for HighTide Theatre of two festivals allows us to take risks and continue to develop our productions with the input of our audiences in Aldeburgh. And then our new partnership with Waltham Forest Council and the National Theatre enables us to bring our fully formed productions all together to Greater London, where they can be seen by a wider and diverse community who would like a greater cultural provision in their area.” ~ Steven Atkinson, Artistic Director of HighTide Theatre 

It will be in Walthamstow town centre for 12 days after its Aldeburgh season, bringing an eclectic arts programme to an area of London. The programmes in both locations will include three headline plays (two of which are world premieres) and a programme of comedy, cabaret, talks and music.

HighTide 2017 Walthamstow Artist’s Impression, by SKA

The Walthamstow Festival will run 26 September – 8 October with Press Nights on 26 & 27 September.

“Waltham Forest Council is delighted to be partnering with HighTide Theatre for the first time this year.  Whilst the borough has a thriving cultural scene we do not have any bespoke theatres and a recent survey of residents showed that this was the cultural provision they felt was most lacking.  By bringing the Festival to Walthamstow Town Centre we are able to provide theatre right on residents’ doorsteps. Some of our talented local artists are included in the programme and a number of our young people will have the chance to gain first-hand experience of a professional theatre. We’re proud that our borough is home to one of the most diverse populations in the country and it’s of the utmost importance to us that our cultural programme reflects this diversity. We’re sure that the range of shows on offer will appeal to a wide cross-section of our residents. We also look forward to welcoming visitors from far and wide to experience Waltham Forest’s creative buzz.” ~ Lorna Lee, Head of Culture & Heritage, Waltham Forest Council

Free or discounted tickets will be available to those with a Waltham Forest postcode and HighTide Theatre will be working to help young people find routes into creative roles, in collaboration with local organisation Big Creative Training, hosting a traineeship and work experience placements. The full programme in Walthamstow will include a late night comedy and cabaret strand, a series of talks, a site-specific production,Mobile, and a strand of work showcasing and supporting local creative talent. The comedy line-up is set to include: Phil Wang, Suzi Ruffell, Dane Baptiste, Tez Ilyas and Jayde Adams. Cabaret and music artists include Joe Stilgoe who will perform Songs on Film, The Beatbox Collective and an exclusive preview of new music from Arthur Darvill.

More information is online.

On Culture: All We Ever Wanted Was Everything – “gig theatre” at Hull 2017

As regular readers will already know, the CultureJukebox team grew up close to Hull – so it’s been great to see the energy of the city be unleashed throughout this year. And a press release about theatre outfit Middle Child piqued our interest further..

All We Ever Wanted Was Everything opens at the wonderful Welly nightclub in Hull on 6 June 2017.  If you’ve never been to the Welly, it’s one of the city’s very best clubs. The home of a lot of indie, alternative culture and the odd lost night out or two.

So, whats the show all about? It’s “gig theatre”, which means it’s a fusion of live music, theatre performance and an immersive experience. It mixes original live music from James Frewer with bold new writing from Luke Barnes.


This three-act anthem, set across three decades, from 1997’s Cool Britannia to 2007’s Broken Britain and today’s Brexit Britain, is a story about the world we inherited and the one we’re leaving behind.

The story follows two young people from Hull over 20 years as they struggle to realise their hopes and ambitions, against the backdrop of an asteroid heading for Earth. Alice Beaumont performs behind a Daft Punk-inspired mask as The Asteroid in the production, using synths and drum machines to give the character a distinct electronic music sound, in contrast to the guitar-based music of the human characters. James Frewer also performs live on stage alongside the actors, playing guitar and keyboard.

The show is from the creative minds of Hull-based theatre company Middle Child. Check out the website for more on the music, the story, and to buy tickets (they start at £8, and there are concessions too).

The All We Ever Wanted Was Everything EP features original electronic music written by James Frewer and arranged with Alice Beaumont. The EP is a great idea, introducing the audience to the characters and themes from the show.

James said: “One of the sole reasons you go to a gig is to hear the band or DJ’s big tunes and so we thought we’d get on it and release some of the tracks from All We Ever Wanted Was Everything before the event. “The character of The Asteroid in this show has her own techno vibe so we thought we would release the majority of her songs as a concept EP, detailing the journey of her view on humanity, from the euphoria of its possibility to her broken hearted execution of the planet. “We want people to play this EP loud, have a dance to it and then come along to hear it live at Welly this June.”

This sounds awesome, check out the show website here.

 

On Culture: Songs For The End Of The World

The CultureJukebox team are huge fans of the Battersea Arts Centre’s creative and forward-thinking programming, and it’s great to hear about a brilliant sounding new show – Songs For The End Of The World.

The production is unique blend of sci-fi, comic-book thinking and concept album; all inspired by Philip K Dick’s post-apocalyptic novel Dr.Bloodmoney and the futuristic star-gazing world of Ziggy Stardust

A link to more information on the show is here. And here is what the flyer has to say:

Welcome to New Albion, a near-future post-brexit, austerity Britain, owned and controlled by mega-corporation New Global. While some predict a Biblical Armageddon, many are simply preparing for the end.

When the apocalypse arrives, hapless astronaut Jim Walters is suspended in orbit on his journey to another life on Mars, broadcasting his songs for the end of the world back to a silent Earth, in the hope that someone might hear…

Promising a music gig meeting epic theatre, it’s from the genius mind of theatre-maker Dom Coyote and his high-octane band the Bloodmoneys.

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Dom Coyote has written and performed music for some of the UK’s most exciting theatre companies. A long standing collaborator with Kneehigh Theatre, he performed in Battersea Arts Centre’s Grand Hall in the epic Don Jon as well as in Cymbeline (RSC) and  A Matter of Life and Death (National Theatre).

The Bloodmoneys have toured and recorded with Scissor Sisters, Beth Orton, Gary Numan, Goldfrapp and Tinie Tempah. Check out the trailer and book tickets on the BAC website here.

On Storytelling: London Stories project is looking for participants

Have you had the experience of coming to live in London from another part of the UK or Europe, or another part of the world? Or do you have a story to tell about a friend or family member who came to live in London – whether recently or in the distant past – and how that has had an impact on your life?

The Battersea Arts Centre team is looking for people from all backgrounds and of all ages to participate in a new project on the theme of migration to London. It will culminate in a festival in November in which members of the public will tell their personal stories to small audiences, in different rooms across it’s beautiful South London building.

No experience of performance is necessary, this opportunity is open to everyone. Whether you’ve moved to London for work, to study, or seek refuge from war – if you have a story to tell, then they want to hear it.  More details and an application form are online here.

Our Neighbourhood: Audio Tour And Dance Fusion in Wanstead Park

Imagine a walk in the park where memories float around your ears and dancers animate the landscape… Memento: Wanstead Park is a world premiere – a unique mix of dance, exploration and storytelling taking place in East London this July.

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East London’s spectacular hidden treasure Wanstead Park is the location for a new immersive experience, bringing dance into its wonderfully green open spaces together with a blend of untold stories and dream­like music. Memento: Wanstead Park­ is part of an East London trilogy of the sound walk series by creative producers ScreenDeep.

As a self guided experience wearing headphones, each walk is unique and an alternative way of getting to know a location with Redbridge Council having supported the initiative through their arts grants scheme.

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Park stories come alive as locals are interviewed about their connection to this parkland and now dancers interpret moments from the soundtrack in a new, one-­off event. The dance event is free and takes place as part of the 2016 Big Dance week on Sun 10 July with choreographer Hannah Anderson­-Ricketts | Hannah Meraki Dance leading the visual experience.

“Site­-specific work is always an exciting experience as a viewer and choreographer, you never know what random events may happen on the day! This is a great chance to bring dance to the sound experience ­ fusing different art forms to create a unique event” ~ Hannah Anderson­-Ricketts, Hannah Meraki Dance.

The local reverend, the girl who grew up there, the historical enthusiast ­ all kinds of voices guide you through this tucked away green space, once a garden for Wanstead House and its charismatic owner.

“The history and local connections to the park will further come alive through this event. We’re always exploring new ways to make all kinds of places cultural and memorable” ~ Olivia Bellas, ScreenDeep.

The Event is free and lasts 1.5 hours including a walk back to the start point (Wanstead Tube Station). Equipment will be provided, and comfy shoes are recommended. More information is here, and ticket are available from here.

This is a a chance to explore a hidden corner of East London – put on your headphones and switch on your senses.

 

On Cycling: Five-star show “Lance” comes to Spin festival

Edinburgh Comedy Festival award nominated show Lance is coming to next week’s Spin festival in East London.

The show is just one of the highlights of a real celebration of our cycling culture. Spin features the latest innovation in cycling technology, expert talks on the future of cycling, the best of the capital’s coffee scene, street food, craft beers, live music and much more.

Anyway, as someone who has grown-up loving both cycling and comedy (here’s a cycling comedy thing we made a couple of years ago) this Lance show immediately got me interested.

Here’s the blurb: “In 2003, Lance Armstrong won his fifth Tour de France title, and a young boy in West Yorkshire believed in him. Now a character comedian, he (the boy) comes to Spin London with a heartfelt and hilarious story of growing up, betrayal by professional athletes, and redemption..”

The show was nominated for Best Show at the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards, and its star Kieran Hodgson starred in BBC2’s Making Dad’s Army over Christmas, and even featured in the movie Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa.

Lance was The Guardian’s Number One Comedy Show 2015 “An absolute gem of a comedy show – about teenage cycling, sullied dreams and migrating from the north. Every line of his script is wired for laughter”.

Kieran is performing Lance at Spin LDN on Friday the 20th of May at 3pm. Some further show highlights are here: http://spinldn.com/spinldnhighlights/

Spin returns to The Old Truman Brewery (near Brick Lane) on May 20th until May 22nd.

 

 

On Film: 28 Days Later Secret Cinema coming to London

Secret Cinema is about to get a lot darker, as it takes its first steps into the horror genre with Danny Boyle’s 2002 British cult classic 28 Days Later.

The film is a CultureJukebox favourite, so really looking forward to this one. The Secret Cinema show opening in a (secret!) location in London later this April and runs until the end of May.

The post apocalyptic thriller reinvigorated the zombie genre. 28 Days Later stars Cillian Murphy as Jim, a bicycle courier who awakes from a coma to find that a virus has spread amongst the populace, all but resulting in complete societal collapse. The narrative then unfolds to follow the journey of Jim as he struggles to come to terms with what has happened and, ultimately, survive in a London that has been torn apart by the infected.

The 28 Days Later show will also act as the nationwide launch of Secret Cinema at this scale. Alongside the shows in London, another secret city will also be home to the experience. Watch this space!

“Secret Cinema is excited to step into the world of horror with Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, a true British horror classic – we look forward to creating a suitably frightening and exhilarating experience. Secret Cinema’s expansion over the last nine years has been remarkable, we’ve now created experiences in New York and Berlin, as well as the many in London. But this will be a turning point for us as we embark upon our very first UK nationwide production.” ~ Fabien Riggall, Founder and Creative Director of Secret Cinema

Secret Cinema will return from 14th April 2016 to 29th May 2016. Tickets are available via the Secret Cinema website.

 

 

On Culture: London’s underground theatre festival

Get ready for six weeks of underground adventure, exploration and performance at the brilliant VAULT Festival.

Since its inception four-years-ago VAULT Festival has hosted more than 250 productions, from outrageous comedy acts to hard-hitting political theatre and experimental new work from Britain’s most exciting emerging artists.
I’ve been to the festival a few times. The shows are not always polished or slick; but they’re always exciting, courageous and real.
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Particularly impressive is the Mini VAULT, a season of productions for children – it looks eye-opening, inspirational and very creative.
The festival fun starts on January 27th, with tickets starting at a wallet-friendly £5 – so, here are five festival highlights I put together for The News Hub.