Monthly Archives: April 2013

The Official Birmingham Hippodrome Blog: Top marks for Top Hat & Curious Incident…

Ben Wooldridge (@benwooldridge) writes… As the glitz and glamour of last night’s Olivier Awards fades into the background for another year, we are sending our friends at Top Hat a huge congratulations on their three wins at this year’s ceremony. The production, which played here at Birmingham Hippodrome as it’s second ever venue, won accolades […]

mid * point: Seed Commissions Available from Ovalhouse

You Might Also Like…

An Ovalhouse Seed Commission

A commission to begin to nurture inter-regional relationships and explore links between artists from different regions to help build a common audience with shared interests.

We’re looking for six artists or companies; three from London and three from outside the capital, to create new work-in-development performances as part of our ‘You Might Also Like…’ season of double bills this Autumn.


Artists/ companies

  • who have begun to build a following in London OR with a regional base who want to build their audience in the capital
  • whose work only works in a live environment
  • who are excited by the potential in the Ovalhouse Artistic Policy


  • 6 work in progress pieces (one from each artist or company) with minimal tech requirements
  • 20-40 minutes in duration
  • With a get in/out time of 15 mins or under


  • 1 week in a rehearsal room
  • 1 week in a fully equipped performance space in our Theatre Upstairs (Performance weeks are w/c 28 Oct, 4 Nov and 11 Nov 2013)
  • 4 public performances Wed-Sat
  • 5 hrs tech support (companies are responsible for providing their own op)
  • 40% box office takings
  • inclusion in Ovalhouse brochure (10,000 copies)
  • admin space and marketing support
  • dramaturgical support
  • £500 seed commission
  • For artists based outside London up to £250 contribution toward living costs while based at Ovalhouse


  • Please send us answers to the following questions
  • Who are you? (100 words, please include email and phone contact details)
  • Where are you based? (50 words)
  • What do you want to work on? (300 words)
  • What will it be like for an audience? (100 words)
  • Who is your audience? What sort of work do they enjoy? (100 words)
  • Tell us 3 influences on your work/ this piece (150 words)
  • Additionally, you can supply 1 A4 page with links to evidence of your previous work
  • Artists based outside London should include the name of a local arts organisation with an interest in your work who may be interested in supporting the future life of the project beyond London.

Please send your application as a Word (.doc) file attachment to with ‘You Might Also Like [YOUR NAME]‘ in the subject line.

Applications in other formats or those received after the deadline will not be considered.

Deadline: Monday 21 May, 9am.

We will meet shortlisted applicants the following week on 29 & 30 May.

mid * point: Jonathan Kay – Master Fool in Improvisational Theatre

Know One’s Fool

Friday 26th April
Doors 8pm for an 8.30pm start
The Edge, 79-81 Cheapside, Digbeth, B12 0QH
£7/£5 concessions, tickets on the door

To start his weekend at The Edge, Jonathan Kay brings an evening of improvisation, fooling and spectacular performance.
Jonathan can carry off just about anything in the moment with the audience of the moment. Strictly not a play, but you may find yourself in a play. Improvisation at its most confounding, poignant and humorous. Bring yourself and your friends to experience this wonderful Master Fool in action.

“Wickedly funny and completely unpredictable.” – The Guardian

Getting out of the Audience with Jonathan Kay

Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th April
The Edge, 79-81 Cheapside, Digbeth, B12 0QH
10am – 5.30pm each day

Weekend Workshops: £125 / £100 conc

In this workshop you will explore what it means to be the audience, how you play that part in your life and the lives of others. By fully integrating how you do this and what the impact of this is, you will be able to step up out of the audience and take your place on the stage. Working in full view of others, through and beyond the fear of ‘being seen’, you will start to find your inner Fool and work with this to liberate yourself from a place of procrastination and from being created to a place where you are the creator. Find out what it means to be the star of your own life.

Jonathan Kay is a 21st century Fool. He brings a breath of fresh air whilst his feet are rooted firmly on the ground. Jonathan has refined his foolish work by meeting audiences around the world within their cultures, to create ‘conversations’ that lead to hilarity or introspection in the adventure of Theatre.

Kay is recognized as a leading teacher of Fooling, having toured in the USA, Canada, Australia, Spain, Bosnia, Jordan and the UK. He see this art form as inclusive, a way of including both the ‘real’ world of the audience and the ‘imaginary’ world of theatre. He takes his audience on a journey into the human experience using paradox, taking licence with the dark and light aspects of life.

He’s also a great friend of Friction’s and has worked there many times before.

To book, please email

For further information, please visit;

W  W  W  . J  O  N  A  T  H  A  N  K  A  Y  .  C  O  .  U  K

mid * point: Call for actors, writers and directors

We would like to invite you to the 6th Theatre Exchange event in the Clubroom at The Old Joint Stock Pub and Theatre, Birmingham on Monday 20th May. We’ll have rehearsed readings,  fun in the bar, Tessa Walker will be talking about the Rep Foundry. Please arrive early to get a seat, there’s no charge for entry but donations are welcomed!

Want to take part?

There’s still time if you’re an actorwriter or director to apply for the rehearsed readings. Go to our website and click on the relevant link.

Application/submission deadline:  Monday 13th May 12pm.

What’s it all about?  watch our promo to find out.

Did you miss Tracey Briggs in the Spotlight last month? Pop this video on.

Theatre Exchange is in discussions with Capital Theatre Festival to select one piece of work from the ongoing Monday meetings and programme a full rehearsed reading at the Festival, which is scheduled to take place from 20-24 November 2013. This opportunity is subject to funding, but if you would like your work to be considered, please apply via the monthly Theatre Exchange call-out.

Thanks for your continued support. We look forward to hearing from you!

Aimee, Tim and the Theatre Exchange team.

mid * point: Eat! A tasty site-specific play set in four caravans journeys to Wolverhampton this May

Black Country Touring and Birmingham Repertory Theatre present

Feasting, Fasting, Famine and Food for Thought
Devised by the cast, scripted by Rochi Rampal
Directed by  Steve Johnstone and Frances Land

Wednesday 22 May to Saturday 1 June 2013
Press Night: Thursday 23 May, 7.30pm
Lighthouse Media Centre, The Chubb Buildings, Fryer Street, Wolverhampton WV1 1HT

Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Black Country Touring bring their intimate, unique and tasty play to Wolverhampton in May.  Eat!, inspired by personal stories of war and poverty, feasts and famines takes place in the unusual setting of four caravans situated in the courtyard adjacent to the Lighthouse Media Centre, The Chubb Buildings, Wolverhampton from 22 May to 1 June.

Eat! delves into stories and memories about food – it weaves together theatre, live music, installation, beatbox and spoken word in a production that takes audiences on a unique journey inspired by many stories that have been collected from people across the West Midlands. The tasty site specific production using four caravans is based on personal accounts of what, when and how we eat and why it matters. The stories span the globe and tell of how people have discovered new worlds through food – from famine to hunger strike, persecution to celebration, anorexia to obesity.

Steve Johnstone, Director of Eat! says of the production;
“The stories may have come from across the Midlands but in fact they could have originated anywhere in the world. We’ve talked and listened to people from a huge variety of backgrounds hearing about war, poverty, family celebrations and some quite unusual meals that would repulse even the hardest foodie.  We’ve given a voice to some of these memories bringing to life some moving, charming and honest stories.

“We wanted the setting for Eat! to be more authentic and real than walking into a theatre. The caravans help to partition the stories into themes and locations and for audiences they’re not just on the front row of the audience they are right there in the middle of the story.”

Each performance of Eat! is restricted to 60 people, who when they arrive are divided into four groups of 15.  Each group takes a seat in a caravan to watch the stories come to life, and then join together for more shared performances in the central courtyard before venturing into the next caravan.  Each caravan has a very different feel to it – celebratory, a library lined with books, a gothic Victorian variety hall and one that is half garden potting shed, half food bank.

The creative team behind Eat! includes Birmingham writer Rochi Rampal,  directors Steve Johnstone and Frances Land with design by Purvin and music by Sheema Mukherjee.

Steve Johnstone is the Co-Artistic Director of Black Country Touring and a freelance theatre director with over 25 years’ experience in directing professional productions. His experience of directing large and small-scale site-specific work includes productions for Pentabus, Shared Experience, Welsh National Opera, mac, Cultura Mobila as well as Apna Ghar (Our Home) and The Corner Shop for Black Country Touring.

Frances Landalso Co-Artistic Director of Black Country Touringhas toured Europe and the UK extensively with various companies including Eastern Angles, Friends Roadshow, Pentabus, and New Perspectives. Work with Foursight Theatre includes performing in Six Dead Queens, Medea, The Snow QueenThatcher The Musical, Can Any Mother Help Me? and co-directing Apna Ghar (2006) and The Corner Shop.

The cast includes Beatbox and spoken word artist, Sharanjit Bansil and actors, Nia Davies, Graeme Rose, Vimal Korpal and Katrina Demetraki. They are accompanied by a community choir of singers from across Wolverhampton and the West Midlands.

Eat! was first presented in Birmingham in October 2012 as part of Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s offsite season. The REP is currently being refurbished and will reopen on September 3rd 2013.

Listings Information:


Feasting, Fasting, Famine and Food for Thought

Venue: Lighthouse Media Centre, The Chubb Buildings, Fryer Street, Wolverhampton WV1 1HT
Wednesday 22 May to Saturday 1 June 2013
Performance Times: 7.30pm Mon to Sat with matinees at 5.00pm on Thu 23, Sat 25, Thu 30 May and Sat 1 Jun
Tickets: £9 with concessions at £7 (plus £1 booking fee)
Please note due to the nature and setting of the production capacity is limited on all performances. Tickets must be booked in advance.
Box Office: 0121 236 4455  Book Online:

mid * point: “Hidden” – Ground Breaking New Play and Education Programme

A ground breaking new play & educational programme designed to protect girls against sexual abuse & exploitation

  • Sexual bullying and harassment is now commonplace in society
  • 1 in 4 girls will be sexually abused before they reach 18.

Breaking the Silence is a unique one day empowerment programme, designed to protect young girls at risk aged 13 and upwards from sexual abuse and exploitation. It is currently touring schools and community organisations across the UK between March and July this year.

Empowerment Expert & actress Tonya Joy Bolton says,

“Girls affected by sexual violence and abuse often self-harm. Their experiences almost certainly impact on their studies, their attendance and their emotional health. More confidence, improved self-esteem and better social skills can all help young people recognise and respond appropriately to the threat – and the reality – of sexual abuse. But they can only learn how to protect themselves if we give them the space, the time and the support they need to improve their communication and decision-making skills and help them address important issues such as family difficulties and conflict.”

The programme begins with a live performance of “Hidden” – a new inspirational and hard hitting one-woman play about the challenges faced by a teenage girl unaware of the dangers she faces. The play is written and performed by Tonya Joy Bolton and provides an excellent starting point for discussions, debates and exploration.

 “Breaking the Silence” utilises effective ways of removing ‘barriers’ and dealing with sensitive issues. It helps girls make long-lasting positive changes for their future by equipping them with strategies to protect themselves both physically and emotionally. As a result, the girls develop in confidence and are therefore better able to deal with conflict and adverse social situations.

The messages that it inspired in me were to never let anyone judge me or use and abuse me. I am much more than that.”Jeanette, aged14.

Breaking the Silence is an ICU Transformational Arts workshop sponsored by The Brook Advisory centre. ICU is a not-for-profit organisation that delivers innovative programmes, books and performances which empower young people to break destructive behaviour patterns and unlock their potential.

To book an empowerment day, email Tonya Joy Bolton at tonya@icu-transformational-arts.comor call her on 07969 472 392.

The Official Birmingham Hippodrome Blog: Backstage reveals and Gala meals…

Eve Smith (Individual Giving Manager) writes… As we focus our attention on the new brochure and the fantastic shows that will be gracing the stage over the coming months, our closest supporters in the Patrons scheme have even more to look forward to (and I must admit even I’m a bit jealous!)  Their latest copy […]

The Official Birmingham Hippodrome Blog: Backstage reveals and Gala meals…

Eve Smith (Individual Giving Manager) writes… As we focus our attention on the new brochure and the fantastic shows that will be gracing the stage over the coming months, our closest supporters in the Patrons scheme have even more to look forward to (and I must admit even I’m a bit jealous!)  Their latest copy [...]