TROUBLE IN MIND cast talking on Instagram this Friday

This Friday 21st January at 1.00pm GMT you can catch an Instagram Live talk by two of the stars of the National Theatre’s production of TROUBLE IN MIND, the incomparable Tanya Moodie and Rory Keenan.

They will be talking about the show, their roles, and giving insights into the actor’s life, as well as taking some of your questions.

This talk is, like many others from the National, a free to attend event but they do ask that those who are financially bale make a contribution which they feel is affordable. This helps towards funding future events.

You can find the donation page here

You can find the National’s Instagram page here


Music Hall entertainer Fred Barnes finally gets a blue plaque

On 18th October, a very special Blue Plaque unveiling ceremony occurred . Even rock star Chrissie Hynde turned up!

Organised by The British Music Hall Society, the event honoured Fred Barnes, an unjustly-forgotten star of Music Hall. In honour of the event, actor Christopher Green, who has played Fred Barnes in a recent tribute, sang a few songs connected with Barnes.

You can still listen to a lovely tribute to Barnes, HOW SUCCESS RUINED ME, with Christopher Green and the late Roy Hudd , here and read my earlier piece about it here .

The BHMS event information is listed below, needing no titivation from me. Enjoy!

L to R, Alison Young, Paul O’Grady, Christopher Green, Adam Borzone, John Orchard

“The British Music Hall Society is delighted to announce that today at 12 noon a blue plaque commemorating Fred Barnes, the music hall singer, was unveiled at 22 Clifton Villas, Maida Vale, London W9 2PH by President of the Society Mr Paul O’Grady.

This event was organised by Alison Young & John Orchard.

Fred Barnes was hugely popular on the Music Hall stage and was known as ‘the wavy haired, blue-eyed Adonis’, lauded for his looks, talent and charm. He is chiefly remembered for his signature song, ‘The Black Sheep of the Family’ which he first performed in 1907 and made him an overnight success. He composed the music and wrote the lyrics for this song, a rarity at the time as music hall performers usually employed songwriters to write for them.

The son of a butcher, Frederick Jester Barnes was born in 1885 in Saltley, a working class area of Birmingham. He became interested in performance when at the age of 10, he saw the male impersonator Vesta Tilley on stage and thereafter was determined not to join the family meat business. His phenomenal success with ‘The Black Sheep of the Family,’ led to top billing at all of the major music halls (including the London Palladium). He also played principal boy roles in pantomime every Christmas, an unusual step for the time as these roles were generally taken by popular female music hall stars. Barnes’ other hit songs included ‘Give Me the Moonlight’ and ‘On Mother Kelly’s Doorstep,’ later popularised by Frankie Vaughan and Danny La Rue.

Considerable wealth followed for Barnes and he became renowned for his lavish spending and lifestyle as much as for his songs. He was openly gay at a time when homosexuality was a criminal offence and his family found this difficult to digest. Barnes’ father committed suicide in 1913 possibly connected to the shame he felt about his son’s lifestyle choices.

Alcohol proved to be Barnes’ undoing and he became increasingly reliant on it. Having squandered his wealth, he died in Southend-on-Sea in 1938.

Barnes lived in the grand house at 22 Clifton Villas, where the Blue Plaque was unveiled, during the years 1926-1930 when success and money were flowing and his popularity was undimmed.”


Hulme Hippodrome celebrates 120th anniversary! plus Update

On October 7th, Manchester’s critically at-risk Hulme Hippodrome celebrated its 120th anniversary with images of its illustrious history are projected onto the building itself, shown to an invited audience of local people. It certainly looks like like everyone had a good time, as well as raising the profile of the beleaguered Hippodrome.

All this and cake too! Who could resist! Happy Birthday to the Hippo and best wishes to all those fighting to save it from greedy developers.

Here’s a couple of photos from the celebration, courtesy of the campaign organisers’ Twitter feed

UPDATE: on 12th October the Campaign Tweeted this – Save Hulme Hippodrome has received legal advice that building is owned by HHM20 Ltd. “We’ve reached out to the owner on numerous occasions & had no response, we’re sending call out to the owner to speak to us & work on a solution now that it can’t be sold for redevelopment.”

“We’re doubling our energy. We are even more determined to succeed. Our intention now is to put as much pressure as we can on the owner and the regulators to get the building back for Hulme and Manchester. It will not survive another winter.”


APAC’s 2021 online study day explores the impact of Covid

On Thursday 17 June 2021 from 2.00pm-5.00pm the Association of Performing Arts Collections will host an Online Study Day. Entitled *Waiting in the Wings: Review, Reflect, Respond* the presentations will explore the impact of Covid-19 on performing arts collections.

APAC’s 2021 Online Study Day will reflect on the events of 2020, discuss the challenges & opportunities, and explore how APAC members are preparing for the future.

You will hear from APAC’s members about what they have learnt from their experiences of the past year, what challenges and opportunities have arisen, and what they plan to do differently going forwards.

Presentations will include:

Alice Bloom, Wimbledon College of Arts: Challenges and opportunities of supporting performance students online

Louise Manico, Early Dance Circle: The Early Dance Circle’s Shift to Digital in Response to Covid-19

Clare Wood, Southbank Centre: Keeping Connected: Southbank Centre Archive and the Art by Post project

Paul Roberts, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama/ABTT: An Archive in the Making: 60 years of the Association of British Theatre Technicians

Lucy Powell, University of Bristol Theatre Collection: Theatre and live art records at risk: survey, emergency response and capacity building at the University of Bristol Theatre Collection

Ian Abbott, Hip Hop Dance Almanac: The (mis)adventures of Ian Abbott and his attempts to build an archive of Hip Hop dance from scratch

Hannah Jones, The National Archives: Re-opening your archive service: strategies and scenarios

This event is free for APAC members or £5 for non-members. You can become a member of APAC from as little as £10 a year.

Book your tickets here


Sir David Hare in conversation in free event

Next Tuesday 20th April at 2pm Eastern Time, 6 pm UK time, the ever-eloquent and much-respected writer Sir David Hare will be in conversation, in an event organised and hosted by the National Arts Club of America.

Described by The Washington Post as “the premiere political dramatist writing in English”, he has written over 30 stage plays & 30 screenplays for film & TV.

His plays include Plenty, Pravda (with Howard Brenton), The Secret Rapture, Racing Demon, Skylight, Amy’s View, The Blue Room, Via Dolorosa, Stuff Happens, The Absence of War, The Judas Kiss, The Red Barn and The Moderate Soprano. For cinema, he has written The Hours, The Reader, Damage, Denial, Wetherby, and The White Crow, among others, while his television films include Licking Hitler, The Worricker Trilogy, Collateral, and Roadkill.

In a millennial poll of the greatest plays of the 20th century, five of the top 100 were Hare’s.

Like Judi Dench, Richard Eyre, and Ian McKellen, three of our recent guests on NAC @ Home, Sir David is a recipient of the Gielgud Award for Excellence in the Dramatic Arts. It was in the Broadway production of Amy’s View, written by Sir David and directed by Sir Richard, that Dame Judi won the 1999 Tony Award for her stellar role as Esme. And filmgoers will recall a brilliant performance by Sir Ian (in a powerful scene with Meryl Streep) in the cinematic version of Sir David’s Plenty.

The NAC invites you to join them for a wide-ranging dialogue, hosted by NAC Member John F. Andrews, president and founder of the Shakespeare Guild.

The event is planned to last one hour and tickets can be obtained through this link here (subject to availability). Although tickets are free, a donation is requested to go towards the NAC’s support of young artists.

The NAC says: “Please help us support artists. By making a donation with your registration, you contribute directly to the NAC Artist Fellows program, helping to further the careers of up-and-coming artists.”

Founded in 1898, the mission of The National Arts Club is to stimulate, foster, and promote public interest in the arts and to educate the American people in the fine arts.

This program will be hosted via Zoom. Registrants will receive additional details after registration.