Watch Now for Families: Little Angel Theatre’s THE WORLD OF SOUND SCRIBBLES

The ever-popular theatre for younger audiences, the Little Angel Theatre, has released another show for younger viewers through its YouTube channel.

Babies are always curious about sound, they make a lot of sound in their daily lives too! Have you ever thought that these sounds they make are actually music? Let Little Bean bring you to the sensory world of Sound Scribbles – babies’ explorations of sound, accompanied with original music.

It is a Little Bean Production, supported by Little Angel Theatre and Chinese Arts Now (CAN) as part of CAN Festival 2021.

This film is now available to watch for free on the Little Angel Theatre YouTube channel until 28th February 2022.

The show lasts approximately 10 minutes and is available for one year.

Although this show is free to watch, please consider making a donation to the Little Angel Theatre which does vital work in helping younger children to access the joy of theatre.

Credits:

A Little Bean Theatre production. Music by Gigi Lam Puppetry and visuals by Jessica Andrews, Bonnie Chan and Cynthia Cheung; Little musicians are Zac Adeyemi, Sebastian Brookham, Luca Garofalo, Luna Lun.

Little Bean is the first and only Cantonese speaking family theatre company in the UK. Founded in 2018 by a group of London-based theatre, music and multi-arts practitioners and artists mostly from Hong Kong, they make interactive children’s/ family theatre that involves music, movements, puppetry and sensory elements for children and adult audiences.

CAN – Chinese Arts Now was founded in 2005 as a not-for-profit arts organisation (formerly Chinese/Chinatown Arts Space) to develop, commission and present to the public work exploring contemporary Chinese perspectives and art forms, and work that blends Chinese and other contemporary art forms. In 2019, CAN launched a new annual festival, CAN Festival, the first arts festival across London dedicated to showcasing to the public performing arts that explore contemporary Chinese themes, perspectives and art forms. CAN Festival 2019 showcased a diverse range of art forms (music, drama, live art, dance, films, digital arts) with over 60 events across London.

Watch SOUND SCRIBBLES here


Catch up with great theatre in the Virtual VAULTS Festival 2021

In normal times, the Vaults underneath Waterloo Station would be heaving with a non-stop festival of shows which runs from the end of January into March.

The Festival, a kind of winter EdFest down South, started in 2012 and has grown each year to become London’s largest arts festival.

Until of course, the pandemic forced the 2020 season to conclude early, and the 2021 season to disappear entirely in terms of live events with an audience.

However, the enterprising VAULT producers have come up with a way in which we can still enjoy quality theatre experiences through the ever-evolving technology available to us.

The VAULT VIdeo Club brings you award winning shows and audience favourites from past VAULT festivals, captured by LIVR, right into your own home.

LIVR technology allows you to watch a 360-degree immersive video of your chosen shows from “the best seat in the house”. Use your mouse to look around the stage while you watch. It’s the closest thing you can get to actually being there-without being there!

Each Show Video is available to view for a limited “run” of a Weekend, which, like all weekends (in Lockdown), starts at 7pm on Thursday and ends at 11pm on Sunday.

To get access to a show, you’ll need a ticket, but YOU pick the price – whatever you can afford to pay (minimum £1.00). There is a suggested amount of £10, but whatever you pay goes towards supporting the Artists, VAULT Creative Arts and covering the costs of making VAULT Video Club available.

Once you’ve got your ticket you’ll get an email with instructions on how you can watch the show. If you really like it, you can make top-up donations to increase your contribution.

LIVR Player is cutting-edge technology and certain older browsers won’t support it. To make sure you get access to the full features, please enjoy VAULT Video Club with Chrome, Firefox, Edge or Opera. Safari is not recommended as subtitles are not supported. Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator are not compatible with this technology.

Take a look at what’s available and enjoy some of VAULT’s highlights direct to your own home. You can even join the Watch Party at 7pm each Thursday night and Tweet along, if that’s your thing. Not mine, but there you are. Takes all sorts…

See what’s available in the VAULT Video Club here


Heart of London Business Alliance flags danger to London’s arts and culture

London’s arts and culture are a major draw for visitors from around the country and around the world, and play a huge part in the interconnectedness and viability of London’s businesses.

With the decline of the City as a financial centre, post-Brexit, Amsterdam is the new London in terms of the financial world. Therefore the arts and culture assume an even more important part of the UK economy. A sector which is currently neglected to the point of criminality by our incompetent UK government.

Why do most people come to London? To shop, eat, drink and see a show.

All of these sectors are experiencing unparalleled disruption, and the support has been practically non-existent.

The Heart Of London Business Alliance issued a Call for Urgent Support for the Arts & Culture Sector in a letter co-signed by 17 of their partners.

They wrote to The Rt Hon Oliver Dowden CBE MP Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, asking for urgent support for the arts and culture sector, eleven months after theatres were forced to close their doors with no expectation of reopening soon.

Their key demands were:

An extension of the Theatre Tax Relief Scheme.

A Government-backed insurance scheme for theatre and arts and cultural institutions
similar to that which has been given to film and TV.

An extension of the VAT cut for arts, cultural and hospitality businesses

An extension of business rates relief until at least March 2022

Grant funding to help make cultural venues COVID-19 secure and to enable their reopening.

Commitment to the publication of a roadmap out of lockdown with clear timelines for cultural organisations to plan towards.

And ongoing support for the entire sector as they work steadily back towards normalisation of trading.

You can read the letter here


OFFIES winners 2021 announced in online ceremony

The Offies Awards Ceremony 2021 was held online on Sunday 21 February 2021 and broadcast via Scenesaver.

In a shift from the usual ceremony, prompted by the Coronavirus pandemic, the event went online and focused on the creative activity of the year both in-person and online.

The online event was peppered with filmed messages from distinguished friends and supporters including Dame Judi Dench, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Julian Bird (CEO of SOLT and UK Theatre), Sir Nicholas Serota (Chair of Arts Council England), producer Sonia Friedman, Chair of the National Campaign for the Arts Sam West, as well as actors including Sharon D Clarke, Maureen Lipman, Paterson Joseph and Stephen Fry.

The ceremony announced winners for each of the following awards – click on the name of the award below to find a list of finalists & winners for each award

Offies – for live theatre

OffFest – for theatre in festivals

OnComms – for online theatre

The 2020 awardees for the OffComm award (for short run live shows) were acknowledged at the ceremony – click HERE for details.

The 2020 recipients of the OneOff (special award) were also acknowledged at the ceremony and, in addition, some new OneOff awards were announced – click HERE for details.

The ceremony also included selected clips / trailers from live and online shows in 2020.


In my view, I was most excited to see Jessica Rhodes win the Lead Performance Award for her work in Lucy Prebble’s THE SUGAR SYNDROME at The Orange Tree in Richmond. This was a hugely deserving win, with an incredibly detailed and nuanced performance signalling a new talent to watch. Even more incredible to think that it was her professional debut, though! The whole cast (3 of 4 were OFFIE nominated) did excellent work under excellent direction by Oscar Toeman. (Read my four star review of THE SUGAR SYNDROME here)

Good too to see hard-working producer Katy Lipson be rewarded for her shows RAGS and THE LAST FIVE YEARS, at Park Theatre and Southwark Playhouse respectively.

The challenging play SCROUNGER was a joint winner for Best Play, written and performed by Athena Stevens. The show’s supporting actor Leigh Quinn also won for her performance in the play. (Read my three and a half star review of SCROUNGER here).

As I mentioned before, the only major disappointment is that Temi Wilkey, author of the brilliant THE HIGH TABLE, was not eligible to win Most Promising New Playwright, a title which she eminently deserves, owing to there not being enough competition in the category. In my books, Wilkey won. Read my four star review of THE HIGH TABLE here.


The free to view ceremony can still be watched online until the end of March 2021 by visiting the Scenesaver website and searching for “Offies“.

Congratulations to all nominees and winners!


Stars sign open letter warning government about the perils of loss of touring as National cancels EU tours

As the full impact of the disastrous Brexit becomes apparent, with jobs and businesses forced to relocate in the EU to stand any chance of survival, high-profile figures in the theatre and entertainment worlds have joined forces in supporting acting union Equity’s letter to the government warning them of the huge financial consequences of failing to put any genuine effort into finding a solution to the current EU touring access crisis.

As reported in the Guardian, the actors’ union letter of 16th February states “Before, we were able to travel to Europe visa-free. Now we have to pay hundreds of pounds, fill in form after form, and spend weeks waiting for approval – just so we can do our jobs,”

The rapidly increasing prevalence of advertised work requiring an EU passport as part of the qualifications needed means that “the cost and bureaucracy that now comes with hiring British talent” has created “a towering hurdle” for UK artists and technicians in earning a living after one full year of receiving zero support from the government’s poorly-constructed and dangerously flawed Culture Recovery Fund.

The letter is signed by such luminaries as Sir Ian McKellen, Julie Walters and Patrick Stewart.

It comes at a pivotal moment for touring, as on February 17th the National Theatre announced that all its EU touring plans were to be put on hold indefinitely until some resolution appears to the EU visa crisis.

A National Theatre spokesperson said “We hope to resume European touring. However, we’re currently unable to make firm plans because of Brexit legislation; the potential additional costs for visas and current uncertainty around social security contributions mean regrettably it is currently not financially viable……We hope that in future we’ll return to tour in Europe. However, that will not be possible until we have further clarity on these points.”

As described in an earlier article on this blog, the fault of this lays squarely at the feet of the UK government. The EU offered a 90-day visa free artists exchange reciprocal agreement as part of the Brexit deal which the UK turned down flat because it did not wish to reciprocate, thus destroying the possibility of tens of thousands of talented artists, musicians and technicians starting to earn a living again after the Coronavirus hiatus. Unparalleled incompetence from an amateur government who cannot even understand the fact that the arts bring over £10billion into the economy annually, bringing far more to the UK economy than many other sectors including fishing and car manufacturing.

What an utter failure this government is.