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Showing posts from April, 2021

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Bear with me: Stitches @TheHopeTheatre

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What if your teddy bear could talk? My ten-year-old self would think that to be excellent. My more recent self would think it was a high-concept buddy movie with Mark Wahlberg. But in Stictches, Jonathan Blakeley's monologue, which he has written and performed, traces the life of his beloved Chloe, from when she was first given to him by her grandmother, wrapped with a red ribbon. It becomes a story not just about a cute bear (or maybe that should be rough, shaggy-looking bear given the performer’s appearance) observing life but an exploration of life and all of its stages. It's currently playing at the Hope Theatre .  The bear is not warm and fuzzy; he is a bit of a character and tough-talking, but also a bit anxious about being accepted and then discarded as nothing. But he is there to bear witness as she navigates the complicated facets of growing up and having a life. Ultimately, the bear has to deal with being consigned to a box with her other memories until circumstances

Streams of observations: Tales from the Front Line @TalawaTheatreCo

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The final films in the online series from Talawa Theatre Company’s Tales from the Front Line are now available. The series uses verbatim interviews with Black key workers to explore what it’s like living in Britain today. The pandemic, Windrush Scandal, Black Lives Matter are all reference points to suggest that the post-pandemic world should be a different one.  One of the new episodes features Adjoa Andoh, as a teacher with vaccine hesitancy. Yet among the disinformation and noise that’s enough to fill Oxford Street on a Saturday afternoon, she decides to protect herself and get vaccinated. Since sometimes, all her children need is a hug.  Tales From the Front Line aims to create a record of the stories of Black people on the front line of the Covid crisis and designed as space for Back workers to share their experiences. Black artists and creatives have then taken the testimonies to convey stories with music, performance and choreography. The final series of films are available fro

Resilient streams: Safe @HackneyEmpire

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Titling a piece "Safe" at the moment evokes all sorts of meanings. Is it about going out in London? Is it about social distancing and testing? Is it about the latest vaccine? But don't one needs not have a pandemic.  Here, safe is about the basic need for young people to grow up in a safe and supportive environment. Particularly when they are discovering that they lesbian, gay, bi, trans or queer.  In this verbatim piece, writer Alexis Gregory weaves together a series of stories about the lives of young people and the fine line between being accepted and being on the street. The young people are trying to find their identity while their families, religion, race and class are forcing them to be categorised, classified and standardised into something else.  Taken from interviews with young people met through the Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT) with live music and additional words by poet Yrsa Daley it sets out how easy it can be to fall into poverty, abuse and addiction without