Monthly Archives: May 2017

Fierce Festival: DIY+ 2017 – Toni Lewis & Demi Nandhra: A Seat At The Table

Solange ‘A Seat at the table’ 2016, Video Still (Solange Knowles, Carlota Guerrero, Arthur Jafa and Cami Starkman)


Fierce are facilitating local artists Demi Nandhra and Toni Lewis’ DIY+ 2017 project, A Seat at the Table. 

A Seat at the Table is a weekend retreat inspired by Solange’s 2016 album of the same name. This DIY+ seeks to bring together ‘arts professionals’ who identify as one of the following: w.o.c. (women of colour)/cisgendered white male of any sexual orientation. Through a series of activities, that are collaborative (led by us, led by you, and led by those we invite into the space) including walks, confessionals, writing, play, shared meals and workshops; this DIY+ aims to stimulate honest, representative and unapologetic dialogue, bringing together each participant’s lived and working experiences, on the historical and contemporary relationships of race, culture and identity.

A Seat at The Table is an initial practical enquiry belonging to a larger body of a socially engaged work entitled: ‘The White Man Project’. The White Man Project is a continuous investigation about the ‘white middle class heterosexual man’, the perceived, real and theoretical; the binary. This project sees two women of colour unpicking stereotypes, looking at blame culture, employing radical vulnerability, reparation and healing, peeling back privilege, and diving into micro aggressions.

This DIY+ operates on two levels: The first, examining our own relationships as peers and colleagues working in the arts industry. The second, that this space allows the artist’s to refine the methodologies, ethics and potential of this investigation in a wider context.

The project runs from Friday 17th to Monday 20th November 2017.

Find out more information and apply here. Deadline for application is 12pm Monday 19th June. GIG GUIDE: JUNE 2017

Baron Sternlook


[LE1 5JN]

The Same Faces:  Monthly Leicester show, taking ideas from you to make brilliant comedy sketches live on stage.


[NG1 6FG]

Gorilla Burger:  Regular Nottingham show where everyone is welcome to take part, simply by putting your name in a hat.


[CV1 1JD]

Wow Impro:  Free comedy night from the Coventry-based improv troupe.


[B2 5NY]

Murdered By Murder: Six old friends gather at Drenchblood Heights for the night of their lives (and their deaths).  Part scripted, part improvised play by award winning duo Love Hard.


[LE3 0GA]

Uncle Armando:  A guest stand up comedian monologues, the improvisers create brilliant scenes based upon what they’ve heard.  This month’s comedian:  Diane Spencer.


[B13 8BX]

Fat Penguin:  Free improvised comedy show in Birmingham.  Comedian Stevie Gray will open the show, inspiring the players of Fat Penguin Improv to create further humourous scenes.


[B1 1BN]

Freewheelers: Free comedy showcase in central Birmingham.  Headline act:  Baron Sternlook.


[B1 1LT]

Hilarity Ensues:  Monthly show in central Birmingham featuring stand up, sketch and improvised comedy.


[B18 6AD]

Box Of Frogs:  Monthly show in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter with all your favourite improv games.  Absolutely free, with their usual cast iron guarantee – ‘laugh, or your money back!’


[B1 1BN]

The Kneejerks:  A night of comedy and theatre, featuring sketches and scenes and all completely free.


[B12 9AH]

Previously On:  Every show is a different final episode of a never-seen-before television series, using only your suggestions.


[NG1 5AF]

Millions Of Voices: Show set in the Star Wars universe telling the story of everyday folk on the doomed planet of Alderaan based on audience suggestions..


[NN1 4AE]

The Same Faces:  Monthly Northampton show, taking ideas from you to make brilliant comedy sketches live on stage.


[NG1 1PY]

Smash Night: Never-seen-before… Never-to-be-seen-again! Watch in amazement some of the finest improv teams around create scenes and stories from your suggestions.

Have I missed a show?  Get in touch and let me know.                                    @MidlandsImprov BIRMINGHAM IMPROV FESTIVAL 2017 – DATES ANNOUNCED

BIF logo

The next Birmingham Improv Festival will take place 23-29 October 2017.

As it did last year, the event will feature improvised plays, musicals, sketches and workshops. But that’s not all.

Festival organiser Jon Trevor said “We’re going to be ‘bigger, better, Brummier’, with more variety, more local talent and more improvised art forms, including jazz, contact improvisation and freestyle rap.”

If you want to know what to expect, check out the reviews of BIF 2016 & the festival website below.

Fierce Festival: UNMUTED x Fierce Festival Presents: Alok Vaid Menon

Join us for an evening of electric performance poetry with critically acclaimed New York Artist Alok Vaid Menon.

Femme in Public II

29th May
6:30pm – 9pm
Impact Hub Birmingham, B5 5NY

Tickets £8 (£5)
Available here.

What feminine part of yourself did you have to destroy in order to survive in this world? At what point does femininity become synonymous with apology? Who hurt the people who hurt you?

Let’s figure it out. Join for a night of poetry, comedy, and performance with Alok Vaid-Menon.


Alok Vaid-Menon (they/them) is a nonbinary transfeminine writer, entertainer, and performance artist. Alok has been invited to perform, speak, and facilitate at universities, conferences, and organizations across the world; their work has been featured in various outlets like HBO, MTV, The Guardian, Buzzfeed, The New York Times, The New Yorker, TEDx and more.


Stan's Cafe Theatre Company: The Camp – research


While noble volunteers were generously donating their labour scrubbing 4000 years of dirt from @AE Harris I was fulfilling the duty of anyone called James by driving a car full of American visitors around the English countryside. Fortunately our travels took us to Stonehenge and through Avebury which allowed my guilty conscience to excuse my absence from cleaning duties – suddenly I was on a research trip.

Stonehenge has been transformed by its new visitor centre, the rocks remain the same but their place within a landscape of barrows and other prehistoric architecture is suddenly made clear in a way it never was before. Not having a road pass 5m from the monument has helped the vibe of the site and that vibe will crank right up if the nearby A303 ever does get put in a tunnel.

For our 48 hour performance The Camp we aren’t pretending to be from pre-history but it does involve living in an Iron Age fort so hanging out at Stonehenge and cruising through Avebury was another welcome opportunity to mull over the unknowable nature of the deep past.

On a more practical level, this morning we had a production meeting with Densie and Kay who are collaborating on costumes and Yinka who is lashing together ideas for a structure. We spent a bit of time in the meeting treading water, talking around possibilities not making much progress, more time passed and were in danger of merely kicking all our problems down the road in the vain hope that when we next meet up with them they will have solved themselves. Then the breakthrough came and as is often the case it came in the recognition that we needed to change how we were working on the project. Rather than refining designs on paper and screen we needed to gather materials together and improvise, working things out by eye and intuition in the physical world. This approach applied across to costume and structure with shared materials being used where possible should help give the piece an aesthetic coherence. Time will tell.

Fierce Festival: DIY 14: 2017 Call for Participants

DIY 14 is an opportunity for artists working in Live Art to take part in unusual training and professional development projects conceived and run by artists for artists.

25 DIY projects and 3 DIY+ projects for both emergent and experienced practitioners will take place across the UK between July and November. Together, these opportunities represent a huge variety of subjects and approaches from across Live Art including (but not limited to) audaciousness, sensory perception, the penetrated male, embodied Islam, neurodiversity, ecocentric performance-making, displacement, sadomasochism, sound and blackness, the queering of sport, definitions of diversity, underwater living, sex, grief, ageing, and a pilgrimage in the footsteps of Dracula.

The closing date for most applications is 19 June 2016 (for Martin O’Brien’s DIY+ it is 2 June) and you may apply to as many as you wish. All DIY and DIY+ projects are free to participate in.

More information about the DIY and DIY+ projects, and how to apply, can be found here.


Image: Marikiscrycrycry, THE T R A P LAB (credit: Judit van der Made)

Stan's Cafe Theatre Company: Rock Hard

There’s a gem of a museum embedded in Birmingham University and now this fact has been acknowledged nationally. The Lapworth Museum of Geology has just been shortlisted for the Art Fund Museum of the Year award. Roisin and I went there this afternoon to learn about what all the fuss is about and it turns out the fuss is about a beautifully designed, beautifully laid out museum full of amazing objects.

It’s geology so there are precious stones and rocks that are stunning, there are clever features about earthquakes and volcanoes. The place manages to feel clean, fresh and modern whilst retaining a sense of academia and the tradition of the Victorian collector. It’s a serious museum but there are elements of wit, especially in a playful floor level ‘secret museum’ for youngsters not tall enough to see in the glass boxes. You are welcomed by a dirty great dinosaur skeleton but at the back you can find a fossilized fly in a case next to a fossilized ant.

There was much to learn but my key take-home knowledge today was Mohs’ scale of hardness, which I’m going to test on Broad Street tomorrow night. Basically the rule runs if I can scratch you and you can’t hurt me then I”m harder than you – gettit?