Nina – a story about me and Nina Simone

Producers: Rikseatern, Sweden and Unity Theatre “Josette Bushell-Mingo blows the roof off with this searing look at the life of Nina Simone” — Caroline McGinn (Time Out) A live stream of the concert part of Nina a story about me and Nina Simone will take place on Tuesday 23 June at 6pm UK time.   To view go to I worked on Nina – a story about me and Nina Simone from its first R&D through to its UK tour as UK Producer. To date the show has played over 100 performances, nearly always sold out- October 2016 Liverpool, UK (world premiere) November 2016- March 2017 – Sweden July 2017 – Young Vic (London) August 2017 – Traverse (Edinburgh) December- January 2018 (Stadsteatern, Stockholm, Sweden) January-March 2018 UK tour visiting Salford, Exeter, Leicester, Keswick, Birmingham, Hull and Liverpool ‘A searing tribute restarts Simone’s revolution’ The Guardian ‘Josette Bushell Mingo blows the roof off with this searing look at the life of Nina Simone’ Time Out London ★★★★★ The Scotsman ★★★★★ Broadway Baby ★★★★★ Afridiziak ★★★★ The Times ★★★★ The Stage ★★★★ The Guardian ★★★★ Time Out London Key Dates: Nina will be touring again in Autumn. Dates to be announced soon Web Links: More info:This was my piece for the UK tour programme about the development of Nina: Unity Theatre – Liverpool’s small scale theatre with big ambitions – was a huge part of Josette Bushell Mingo’s early career, and in so many ways, creating Nina has been a …

Read moreNina – a story about me and Nina Simone

Shuff and Byng

Two of the most famous drag acts ever flash eye lids back stage. A play about gender, about class, about 2 elderly respected gay showmen who in life had seen – and done it all Shuff and Byng is my second project with the writer/director Tony Lidington. It focuses on two ‘giants’ of drag performance history, imagining them meeting back stage one night in a cabaret bar. Rex Jameson (aka Mrs Shufflewick) was a down to earth, plain speaking, working class ‘woman’. She performed in variety halls, pubs, clubs and across the working men’s circuit. Often lewd, and very bawdy, she was adored by the gay community in particular. Dougie Byng was the most glamorous female impersonator of the pre-war era in cabarets such as the Café de Paris, a precursor of Danny le Rue. Risque, but never lewd, he was with Noel Coward on the opening onight of The Vortex and had an affair with the Duke of York. At this stage the project is about research and development – time for Tony and the creative team to research and develop an early draft of the script and to test it with actors and an audience Development period: Research and development in Summer/Autumn 2018, followed by sharings in London and Essex in October 2018 Key Dates: Sharing dates to be announced soon What we are looking for: Venues and promoters from theatres, working mens clubs, variety clubs to come and see the sharing

Little Rock

Client: Malmo Theatre (Sweden) and other UK partners tbc Imagine armed troops blocking you from going to school. In 1957? In 2019? Little Rock is the second of my current projects with Dritero Kasapi (director of Nina – a story about me and Nina Simone) supported by an Arts Council/British Council International Artists Development Award. Little Rock is a co-production with Malmo City Theatre, using a similar process to the one used to develop Nina –pan international creative teams, R&D in UK and Sweden, show being rehearsed and created in Sweden and playing in both countries. The work’s starting point is the Little Rock crisis in the fall of 1957. Governor Orval Faubus ordered the Arkansas National Guard to prevent African American students from enrolling at Central High School. 70 years later one of the Little Rock nine recalls what happened, sharing her story with a child little older than she was then. Dritero Kasapi is being joined by Iranian writer Behrand Behjdou to tell this special story. Development period: First R&D in Malmo, Autumn 18 Second R&D in UK, Spring 19 Opens Malmo, Autumn 19 Plays the UK in Spring 20 What we are looking for: UK Partner venues

The Stitch Brothers Patchwork Wonders

Client: Big Imaginations / the hub Jason Singh, Arun Ghosh and Fabric Lenny come together to make a new work for 5-8 year olds and their families Project Weblink: To Follow Writing copy for a show which doesn’t yet exist – and doesn’t even have a title – is always tough- but here’s what we know so far. We know it will be a genre-busting mix of live beat boxing, images, surround sound, words, electronica, jazz, hip-hop and South Asian classical/folk music. We know that the performance will exist in a magical, dreamlike world of sound, words and projections. It will be experimental and abstract.It will be playfull and immersive, inspired by nature, and the world around us. Part music, part theatre, part spoken word…its a potent and innovative mix. We also know that with Arun, Jason and Fabric Lenny all involved the performance is going to be very special indeed! The project actually came out of some work we did at Unity in 2016. That Chrsitmas Unity produced Little Red and the Big Bad Wolf. To run alongside this family show we created an installation The Dark Dark Wood , with various artists invited to come and ‘play’ in The Wood. One of those artists was Jason Singh, who brought with him two fellow improvisers – the jazz clarinettist and theatre composer (increasingly for family work but also for venues like The Globe) Arun Ghosh and the brilliant digital animator Fabric Lenny. Together they created something special. Later that …

Read moreThe Stitch Brothers Patchwork Wonders

Lonely Hearts Club

by Luke Barnes A quirky, charming and quietly unique coming of age story   Lonely Hearts Club was one of those plays that you read, and could never quite forget. So when the opportunity came to test some new writing as part of Liverpool’s Summer of Love I jumped at the chance to ‘play’ with Lonley Hearts Club. The piece itself was originally written whilst Luke was on attachment to Soho Theatre. It’s fun, joyful, just a little bit silly but with an ever so big heart It’s the story of two boys growing up in Southport. Two boys falling in and out of love – with each other, with their parents, with where they live and with what life offers them. A love story told through an end of pier show – so karaoke, merges into Punch and Judy and on into ventriloquism. The workshop production is directed by Tony Lidington (see also Shuff & Byng) who I first worked with on a weird and wonderful project called Geoquest with the musician Hugh Nankiville and mythogeographer Phil Smith Development Period: Further development at Halifax Square Chapel in September, followed by industry sharings in Essex and London Key dates: Sharing dates to be announced soon What We Are Looking For:Venues and promoters from theatres, working mens clubs, variety clubs to come and see the sharing Web Links: Find out more about Luke Barnes here: Find out more about director Tony Lidington here:  

Glorious Death

In Development How old is Europe and what is its future? Project Weblink: To Come I’m delighted to be once again working with Dritero Kasapi (director of Nina – a story about me and Nina Simone) on two projects, supported by an Arts Council/British Council International Artists Development Award. A Glorious Death is performed by an older actor/actress, a counter tenor (performing the music live) and 4 on screen characters. The piece is performed in alternative spaces – cafes, bars, galleries as well as studio spaces. The show explores Europe’s History – from WW2 to Brexit – seen through the life of Gloria, a story recovered by her son through song, old letters and personal videos (which feature Gloria’s sister, lover, young friend and an immigrant café owner). ‘A Glorious Death deals with so many issues – exile, racism, growing old, death, loss and memory amongst them – yet it is not a piece about issues at all. The subtlety of the director’s methods is utterly extraordinary ’ Nottingham Visual Arts ‘Glorious Death’ is a poetic and yes touching lament over Europe, a scrutinising and honest reflection of the Westerner’ SR Kulturnytt ‘Fascinating stories that stick. The montage technique used creates several meanings and ironies, contrasting with the sad quality that the counter tenor Nuri Harun Ates beautiful voice creates, but also to the nostalgia that is heightened by the speechless presence of Gloria’ Svenska Dagbladet Development period: Filming in Nov, Dec and January followed by rehearsals in March 19. …

Read moreGlorious Death

Into the Cuckoo’s Nest

Client: Lepus Productions “Give me a girl that will wriggle and will twist; At the bottom of the belly lies the cuckoo’s nest” An intimate show about intimate places in folk song Project Weblink: Martin Green (of Lau and Flit) is a true maverick (as the Lau website has it a brilliant musician, thrilling performer, a free thinking visionary and all round good chap) And Into the Cuckoo’s Nest demonstrates that brilliantly. Martin is working with world-class folk musicians (including Brighde Chaimbeul on pipes) and performance makers, in examining the euphemism, the cuckoo itself and the folklore around it. An intimate show about intimate places in folk song Part performance, part documentary, part immersive theatre Martin Green (LAU) leads a crew of world class folk musicians, theatre performers, film makers and naturalists in examining the euphemism, the cuckoo itself and the folk lore around it. Tales from Ireland, Dartmoor, ancient Greece and the natural world all play a role in what they discover, part dissection of gender in folk song, part journey into hypnotic rituals and the nature of human behaviour. The creative team (see below) includes world class folk musicians with BAFTA award winning film makers and award winning immersive theatre makers creating a genre defying mix of folk music, film and theatre. “I see it in your eyes and it fills me with surprise That your inclination lies in my cuckoo’s nest.” There’s an early opportunity to catch a glimpse of Into the Cuckoo’s Nest at this year’s …

Read moreInto the Cuckoo’s Nest

When Did You Stop Dancing

Presented by What A Little Bird Told Me Theatre The dancing plague; a true story bursting with heart & play Rach wants to tell you a story.  A true story. The story of The Dancing Plague of 1518 started by a lone woman boogying in the streets. A story of 100s of women dancing in the streets.  And not stopping… She wants to tell you in 2018 everybody is welcome on our streets, she spends most of her time feeling safe and that we don’t need a national campaign to tell a girl that she can. But she said she’d tell you the truth.  She’ll do that instead. A show about female uprising, what it means to take a stand; and to stand together. Rachel McBride of What a Little Bird Told Me showed extracts from When Did You Stop Dancing at a Unity scratch night a couple of years, and Ive found myself talking about the show ever since! So it was only natural to continue working with Rachel once I stepped down from Unity! Key Dates: Fri 5th/6th October at 6pm –  Liverpool Unity Theatre Thurs 11th October at 7.30pm – Manchester, The Edge Sat 13th October at 7.30pm – Edge Hill University, The Arts Centre Wed 17th Oct at 7.30pm – Barnard Castle, The Witham Wed 24th Oct at 7.30pm – Wigan, The Mill at the Pier (ALRA) Creative Team Written & performed by Rachel McBride Direction & dramaturgy by Chris Hill Creative Mentoring by Rachel Mars Object …

Read moreWhen Did You Stop Dancing

Horny Handed Tons of Soil

Client: Phrased & Confused Horny Handed Tons of Soil is a co-production between Phrased & Confused and Unity Theatre  ‘A modern day Under Milk Wood’ (Chris McCabe) ‘it steals and quietly breaks your heart’ (Liverpool Sound and Vision) Project weblink: Inspired by the maverick work of Adrian Henri, Horny Handed Tons of Soil, fuses beat poetry with folk song, electronic composition with live brass and percussion and documentary film with theatrical story telling. It’s a truly mesmeric show, beautiful in so many ways Heres the blurb: ‘The city is alive. Wandering the streets, the Child, the Poet and Death trace memories and map dreams onto a landscape shifting under the spell of time’ You can read more about the show, Adrian Henri here and about Lizzie Nunnery’s process in developing the show here Key dates: 7 June – York Theatre Royal Web Links: Back in 2016 Phrased & Confused together with the Unity Theatre commissioned Liverpool based poet, folk singer and playwright Lizzie Nunnery to create a new spoken word piece to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the publication of The Mersey Sound by Roger McGough, Brian Patten and Adrian Henri. Lizzie has always found herself drawn to the work of Adrian – a poet, painter and performer – a polymath who like many of the artists both Unity and Phrased & Confused work with, crossed boundaries and genres with ease.  So it was Adrian’s work, his ‘happenings’ and his wanderings (early experiments in mytho-geography) that …

Read moreHorny Handed Tons of Soil