RSA report provides interesting reading about the value of arts education

Here’s a really interesting report from the esteemed Royal Society of Arts on the findings of a number of research initiatives to assess the value of the arts in education.

The last in a series of reports entitled Learning About Culture finds encouraging evidence that the arts can have a positive impact on pupils’ social skills, self-efficacy and ideation.

Find out more and read the full report here


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Developments at “Theatre at Risk” Hulme Hippodrome

Hulme Hippodrome is unlikely to last much longer without major interventions.

Those in Manchester City Council responsible for protecting listed buildings have written to the unresponsive owners of Hulme Hippodrome insisting on urgent repair works. If repairs are not carried out then the Council has powers to do the works itself, charge the owners, and has powers to start proceedings for compulsory purchase, which would be a good thing all round in my opinion.

Meanwhile, the lively and committed campaign group Save Hulme Hippodrome have been doing some interesting research on the building’s architect.

Here’s what they found. Manchester-born multi-talented John Joseph Alley began his architectural career in his mid-50’s & was 70 before he described himself as architect. He received little architectural training. Working exclusively for WH Broadhead he designed 12 theatres in Manchester, including the Hulme Hippodrome.

Born in Chorlton-on-Medlock, JJ Alley son of John Alley, decorator & his wife Mary. Jobs inc. Lecturer of Polygraphy (printing multiple colours simultaneously); sign-writer; consulting & practical decorator & sign-writer; topographical antiquarian & scientific draughtsman, librarian & book seller, journalist, Lecturer and Public Reader, Topographic Antiquarian & Scientific Draughtsman & Modeller; journalist; illustrative journalist. He gives “Architect” as his occupation in the 1911 census, taken a year before his death.

Whatever his passions or qualifications, he produced many fine buildings of which Hulme Hippodrome is one of the last remaining examples, and should be brought back into public use as soon as possible.


It’s nearly time for the Big Give Christmas Challenge!

It must be nearly Christmas as the Big Give Christmas Challenge is here again!

Every year, donations that you give to a chosen charity’s projects will be doubled when made through the Big Give website. This is made possible by a large pot of match funding being given by large charities and other donors. A number of causes are nominated by Champions, and a number of these are finally selected to take part in the match-funding scheme.

Another reason so many charities need your help right now is that they are all battling the Covid restrictions which has impacted their operation, making their work universally more difficult to achieve, but ever more important in the fight to tackle loneliness and social isolation. This year, more than ever, your support is vital.

This year the pot of funds available to be matched is over £10million! The Challenge runs for 7 days, from midday on November 30th until midday on December 7th.

Here are some of the charities you can support which are theatre-related. If you feel able to help, remember your gift will be doubled!

CARDBOARD CITIZENS works with homeless people to allow them creative expression.

THE LITTLE ANGEL THEATRE‘s Puppets for All scheme provides free tickets to disadvantaged children and families so that they can experience the joy of theatre.

BRISTOL OLD VIC YOUNG SIXSIX group put on a play and use it to effect outreach about social issues to disadvantaged or isolated communities.

WASSAIL THEATRE COMPANY are Somerset-based and support aspiring performers from the area which is very poor in arts provision and opportunities.

HEAD2HEAD SENSORY THEATRE provides accessible and sensory theatre for children with disabilities

LYRIC THEATRE HAMMERSMITH asks for your help to provide more free and subsidised places to our drama, music & technical classes for all 7-25 year olds facing hardship.

POLKA THEATRE asks for your support for their Access Programme which provides tailored support and opportunities to ensure children can experience the magic of live theatre and creative workshops regardless of their disability.

BIRMINGHAM HIPPODROME EDUCATION NETWORK asks for your help to support 25,000 disadvantaged young people in the West Midlands left behind by Covid in their education and personal development, through their schools project.

GOSFORTH CIVIC THEATRE is a fringe theatre in Newcastle, opened by a group of people with learning disabilities. Their theatre shows are for the whole community to enjoy, brings people together, and shows what people with learning disabilities can contribute to society.

SHEFFIELD THEATRE TRUST aim to create new choir to allow people of all ages with dementia, from schoolchildren to pensioners, to experience the joy and community of singing within their own choir.

CLEAN BREAK work with women caught up in the criminal justice system or at risk of entering it. Offering theatre activities and support services alongside, their aim is to empower women to reach their potential and thrive.

FUEL THEATRE asks for your support for its programme of performance and engagement, producing and amplifying inspiring stories by under-represented performance makers for under-served audiences and participants across the UK.

UNICORN THEATRE is the UK’s leading theatre for younger audiences. They ask for your support of their project which will focus on giving inspiring creative experiences to young people who face significant barriers and hardship.

THEATRE PECKHAM ask for your help to enable them to subsidise or provide free course and activity places to young people from disadvantaged background in the local community.

MONTAGE THEATRE ARTS ask for your support to provide free and subsidised places for their activities for Lewisham’s disadvantaged children and young people, one of the most deprived boroughs in the UK. Funds support their Saturday School and Holiday Club activities.

Whichever charity you choose to help, I know that they will be enormously grateful as they strive to help their communities through the extra hardships of the legacy of Covid.

THANK YOU for whatever you can spare to help others enjoy being creative, who otherwise would not be able to access a sense of community, achievement and hope. Every pound you give makes a difference to someone’s life.

Find out more about the Big Give Christmas Challenge here


Winners announced of the Black British Theatre Awards 2021

The winners of the 2021 Black British Theatre Awards were announced on Sunday 21st November at a reception at Old Finsbury Town Hall, London.

Hosted by Cynthia Erivo (Wicked) and Danny Sapani (Black Panther), the event welcomed guest presenters including Miriam-Teak Lee (Hamilton), Jason Pennycooke (Moulin Rouge!), Dawn Hope (Follies), Kenneth Olumuyiwa Tharp (Interim CEO at Eclipse Theatre Company), Mzz Kimberley/Kim Tatum (Straight White Men), Matthew Xia (Blue/Orange), Brenda Emmanus (arts, culture, entertainment correspondent), Nadine Benjamin, Layton Williams (Everyone’s Talking About Jamie) and Ahmet Ahmet (director of Get Into Theatre).

Those with multiple wins were Miranda Cromwell’s production of and breathe… at the Almeida with four awards, and Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s Romeo and Juliet also won four awards.

The winner for each category is highlighted in bold type in the list below.

CREATIVES GROUP
BEST DIRECTOR AWARD FOR A PLAY OR MUSICAL
Anthony Simpson-Pike, Lava, Bush Theatre
Miranda Cromwell, and breathe…, Almeida Theatre
Tinuke Craig,The Color Purple – at Home, Curve, in association with Birmingham Hippodrome

BEST MUSICAL DIRECTOR
Femi Temowo, and breathe…, Almeida Theatre
Ian Oakley, From Here, Chiswick Playhouse
Nadine Lee, Bagdad Cafe, The Old Vic

BEST PRODUCER AWARD
and breathe…, Almeida Theatre
Chris Steward and Shanay Holmes, West End Musical Celebration at Palace Theatre
Tanisha Spring, A Killer Party

BEST CHOREOGRAPHER AWARD
Dannielle ‘Rhimes’ Lecointe, The Sun, The Moon and The Stars, Theatre Royal Stratford East
Ingrid Mackinnon, Romeo and Juliet, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
Sarah Golding, Cruise, Duchess Theatre

BEST DANCE PERFORMANCE IN A DANCE PRODUCTION AWARD
Joseph Sissens, The Statement, The Royal Ballet

BEST DANCE PRODUCTION AWARD
And Still We Dance!, Afro Dance Xplosion
Far From the Norm, BLKDOG
‘Like Water’, Ballet Black

BEST USE OF INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY
Chris Steward and Shanay Holmes, West End Musical Celebration at Palace Theatre
Ryan Carter, The Secret Society of Leading Ladies, Barn Theatre

RECOGNITION GROUP (BODY OF WORK)
LIGHT AND SOUND RECOGNITION AWARD
Tony Gayle

COSTUME DESIGN RECOGNITION AWARD
Jodie-Simone Howe

BOOK AND LYRICS RECOGNITION AWARD
Annabel Mutale Reed
Benedict Lombe
Yomi Sode

MUSICAL DIRECTOR RECOGNITION AWARD
Ian Oakley
Sean Green

CASTING DIRECTOR RECOGNITION AWARD
Chandra Ruegg
Isabella Odoffin

ACHIEVEMENTS GROUP
LGBTQ CHAMPION AWARD
Alex Thomas-Smith
Jay Perry
Nicole Raquel Dennis

BEST TEACHER OF PERFORMING ARTS AS A SUBJECT AWARD
Ashley Campbell, British Theatre Academy
Hakeem Onibudo, Impact Dance
Kamara Gray, Artistry Youth Dance

BEST RECENT GRADUATE AWARD
Georgina Onuorah, Arts Educational Schools
Kayla Carter, Royal Academy of Music
Natasha May-Thomas, Urdang Academy

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Derek Griffiths MBE

PLAYS GROUP
BEST MALE ACTOR IN A PLAY
David Jonsson, and breathe…, Almeida Theatre
Michael Balogun, Death of England, National Theatre
Omari Douglas, Constellations, Vaudeville Theatre

BEST FEMALE ACTOR IN A PLAY
Isabel Adomakoh Young, Romeo and Juliet, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
Ronkẹ Adékoluẹjo, Lava, Bush Theatre
Tia Bannon, seven methods of killing kylie jenner, Royal Court Theatre

BEST SUPPORTING MALE ACTOR IN A PLAY
Andrew French, Romeo and Juliet, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
Ola Ayofe, After Life, National Theatre
Stephen K Amos, My Night With Reg, Turbine Theatre

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE ACTOR IN A PLAY
Anoushka Lucas, After Life, National Theatre
Aretha Ayeh, Romeo and Juliet, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
Rosalind Eleazar, Uncle Vanya, Harold Pinter Theatre

BEST PRODUCTION PLAY
and breathe…, Almeida Theatre
J’Ouvert, Harold Pinter Theatre
Lava, Bush Theatre

MUSICALS GROUP

BEST MALE ACTOR IN A MUSICAL AWARD
Ivano Turco, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella, Gillian Lynne Theatre
Liam Tamne, The Prince Of Egypt, Dominion Theatre
Tyrone Huntley, Jesus Christ Superstar, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

BEST FEMALE ACTOR IN A MUSICAL AWARD
Lucy St Louis, The Phantom of the Opera, Her Majesty’s Theatre
Marisha Wallace, Hairspray The Musical, London Coliseum
Shanay Holmes, Disenchanted

BEST SUPPORTING MALE ACTOR IN A MUSICAL AWARD
Ashley Samuels, Hairspray the Musical, London Coliseum
Caleb Roberts, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella, Gillian Lynne Theatre
John Pfumojena, Carousel, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE ACTOR IN A MUSICAL AWARD
Gloria Onitiri, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella, Gillian Lynne Theatre
Natasha May-Thomas, Carousel, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
Tanisha Spring, The Prince Of Egypt, Dominion Theatre

BEST MUSICAL PRODUCTION AWARD
The Color Purple – at Home, Curve, in association with Birmingham Hippodrome
The Last Five Years, Minack Theatre
West End Musical Celebration, Palace Theatre


Archives and preservation matters free online event is worth joining

During Explore Your Archive Week, on Wednesday 24 November, you’re invited to join the ABTT and the University of Bristol Theatre Archive as they host a discussion about how to care for Theatre and Live Art records, which will be useful for anyone with archival, library or record-keeping duties of any kind.

Paul Roberts, member of the ABTT’s Historical Research Committee and members of the University of Bristol Theatre Collection will all speak about how to look after your records.

Starting at 2.30pm, the free online event will cover how to preserve paper-based & audiovisual documentation as well as conversing about the Records at Risk project.

The main session will be followed by time for a Q&A session, and is scheduled to finish by 4.00pm

You can book your free place here