Yesterday at Hope University’s Capstone Theatre, I came face to face with one of the UK’s most foremost professional dance company ‘Fallen Angels Dance Theatre’.
Their vision is to strive for excellence in artistry whilst raising awareness that people in addiction do recover. Having worked with this team, I have seen at first hand the amazing inspiration and discipline the group has developed, developed with positive results in its delivery to the audience and participants.
I have seen how the role of culture both in understanding such afflictions as addiction, can offer useful strategies of recovery; strategies which are often dismissed by our learned friends.
Technically demanding and strongly narrative literally and emotionally, Fallen Angels Dance Theatre is certainly looking like an important new player in contemporary dance.
The company exists to break down barriers through creativity and self expression, demonstrating the power of transformative theatre.
I enjoyed their dynamic performance last year at the Lowry and thrilled at meeting them yesterday.
I watched ‘Risen’ the performance group who are community dancers and advocates for recovery. They worked with Artistic Director Paul Bayes Kitcher who enabled them to inspire and enhance the lives of others.
So often, I see the mainstream theatres involve themselves in the grabbing of funds to support the next media venture, be it ‘dementia’ or ‘mind games’ They play this, in a socio-political campaign to survive, when all around them there are historical issues such as addiction, so rife, in the neighbourhood of their theatreland and which need urgently to be addressed.
Fallen Angels Dance Theatre exists to break down barriers through creativity and self expression, demonstrating the power of transformative theatre.
The theatre offers creative dance participation and performance activities for young people and adults recovering from or affected by addiction. The team works in social inclusion with those sections of the community who are excluded through economic and social barriers. They inspire and support THEM, the community; to make positive life choices through education and outreach programmes. Their vision, along with mine, might I add, one in undertaking the Culture Champions role is to strive for excellence whilst raising awareness that art changes lives with its rehabilitative power.
We have a number of theatre company’s on Merseyside and a number of supportive organisations engaged with the addiction issue, but how many open up new ways of knowing and looking at the subject by working with contemporary visual art and artists.
I do hope that there is an opening for Fallen Angels Theatre in Liverpool, a group with a vast portfolio of outreach and educational activities worthy of a frontline with the arts, health, and social services sectors.
Treatment is only the beginning; sustained recovery requires engagement with the means to express ourselves positively with those around us.
View their performances if you can!
This International Theatre Festival has brought to Liverpool the best new theatrical talent to the many stages of the city giving the latest batch of home-grown actors a fantastic showcase for their talent.
For the past week we have been subjected to a true treasure trove of theatrical riches in and around our streets. Riches that have made us think and made us laugh but above all I am sure, we have enjoyed the performances immensely.
These opportune performances in Clayton Square and Church Street, have become a vehicle for the performing arts this half term and called out to all young and able, giving them an opportunity to see a ‘special kind’ of theatre and so help them, knock on the doors of our theatre establishments in Liverpool and really consider joining a training programme or acting course at LJMU Joe Makin Drama Centre, as an example.
Last week, I engaged with the festival promoters at the Unity Theatre and was cocooned by the mischievous street theatre trio of fabulous, curvaceous, vivacious, gorgeous, flirty Boom Boom Showgirls who are even now sneaking up on unsuspecting shoppers.
Moments later the slapstick comedy of the Cirque du Kaka created a riotously entertaining experience swiftly followed by the zany Eggmen. Today, watch out for the Car Men greasy mechanics, showing up on the pedestrian streets without a car in sight and getting to grips with their real talent- opera! Led by an aficionado of the art, this unlikely trio live up to their name, performing Carmen in all its greasy glory…..clever!
Earlier in the week, all praise went to Wendy Houstoun’s superb performance ‘Pact with Pointlessness’ a double act for one, with the night twisting and turning, crackling with wit and ridiculous movement in a kind of stand up meets vaudeville.
Funny and moving in equal measure, this performance offered a frank demonstration of how it feels to be knocked sideways by death, then renegotiate and carry on.
If you have not encountered the ‘Physical fest’ workshops and street entertainment with shows at Church Street, Clayton Square, and Pilgrim Street then venture to the Bluecoat and Unity Theatre for performances, there is still time.
Unity Theatre 08448732888
On top of the bewildering array of artists and activities there are a wealth of wider arts and culture events not to be missed at both the festival and the conference this year.
There is less than a fortnight to go before the UK’s biggest city festival gets underway and this year, in it’s incredible new home on the Liverpool Docklands, the festival has undergone a huge transformation. In addition to some of the biggest bands in the business from The Vaccines to The Flaming Lips, an incredible line-up of upcoming musical talent and a conference programme that features legends from Wayne Coyne to Edwyn Collins, there is an enormous amount of activity across both the post apocalyptic themed festival and the conference that simply cannot be missed.
Forming an impressive centerpiece of this year’s festival is the Kaskelot, a formidable tall ship that will serve as a floating venue for parties and intimate shows. Everyone attending the festival will be given the opportunity to get their hands on special tickets to get onboard by staying sharp and looking out for the unique ways they can claim a Kaskelot pass.
A Sound City staple, the Aussie BBQ is one of the highlights of the festival. In partnership with Sounds Australia, the BBQ will take place at the Kraken Stage on Saturday 23. The Aussie BBQ is quite literally an Australian-style BBQ with loads of freshly grilled free food, whilst artists and bands provide live music from 1pm. The line-up of artists is exclusively Australian and includes Saskwatch, Millions, Sun God Replica and many more.
Alongside the Aussie BBQ there are a host of international and industry parties across the festival including BreakOut West, Generator NI, PRS Foundation, Quebec showcase with POP Montreal , Korea Rocks, Horizons: New Music from Wales, New Zealand Music Export, French Music Bureau and many more from around the globe.
The Mudflappers are just one of the many Sound City curated spectacles taking place across the festival site. The irreverent band of swing dancers will be performing their New York-themed Lindy Hip Hop show exclusively for Sound City 2015. They will also be offering free taster lessons for anyone who wants to join in and give it a go.
Brazilica Carnival returns for a specially commissioned samba meets Mad Max feast for the eyes. If you haven’t before witnessed Brazilica you are in for a treat, a huge float of dancers dressed in a post-apocalyptic theme hell-bent on entertaining Sound Citizens while they party the night away.
Sound City have partnered with Edge Hill University again to bring their ‘The Label’ showcase to the festival.
The Label is Edge Hill’s very own record label, set up as an independent not-for-profit record company with a goal of promoting new music and giving students hands-on experience in a competitive industry. Hooton Tennis Club took part in the 2014 showcase and ended up signing to
Heavenly Recordings and this year Edge Hill are bringing a line up to the Kraken stage on Sunday 24 featuring SeaWitches, The Little Secrets, Bathymetry and Oranj Son.
On the conference side of Sound City there are many more items on the programme that cannot be missed.
This year Sound City will honour Deltasonic Records founder and music industry luminary Alan Wills, who sadly passed away last year, with the Alan Wills Innovation Awards.
Hosted with the hub, The Alan Wills Innovation Awards is for those entrepreneurs with projects that are genuinely innovative and who have a burning desire to propel them forward. The entrepreneur with idea deemed to be the most innovative and likely to succeed will be awarded £500.
The conference also teamed up with JUXDIT and PledgeMusic to create Direct-To-Fan campaigns for three artists at the Sound City festival and conference. This is a unique opportunity for artists launch their own PledgeMusic campaigns and get the chance to appear at Sound City as part of the official showcase.
The finalists for this first ever real time Direct-To-Fan campaign are Sankofa, Gerry Cinnamon and Scarlet but the overall winner will be announced on Sunday 24 May and will then get the chance to play a live set on one of the major stages in the Sound City arena. The winner will also win a professional music video made by a local production company, Greenbrick. PledgeMusic donate a percentage of each campaign to official Sound City charity partners, Claire House on behalf of the artists.
Sound City 2015 is taking place at the magnificent Rum Warehouse at The Titanic Hotel and at the historic and dramatic docklands of Liverpool. Together with The Peel Group it will be bringing new sounds and life to the iconic centre of Liverpool’s trading heritage – Liverpool Waters. The festival will be filling warehouses, raising thunderous stages alongside the banks of the River Mersey and kick-starting an electrifying party in one of the most awe-inspiring landscapes the city has to offer.
The full signed live bill to date:
The Vaccines • The Flaming Lips • Belle and Sebastian
Roni Size Reprazent • The Thurston Moore Band • Gaz Coombes
The Cribs • Swans • Peace
Fat White Family • Everything Everything • George the Poet
F*cked Up • Evian Christ • Unknown Mortal Orchestra
The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger • Dum Dum Girls • Cymbals Eat Guitars Spector • Iceage • Stormzy
Stealing Sheep • Dutch Uncles • Slaves • All We Are
Bill Ryder-Jones • The Bohicas • Neon Waltz
Honeyblood • Real Lies • Blossoms • Aquilo
Jane Weaver • Dave McCabe & The Ramifications • The Tea Street Band Loyle Carner • Serpent Power • The Sundowners • The Hummingbirds Moon King • Clarence Clarity • Formation • The Griswolds • Astronomyy • Flo Morrissey
The Membranes • Gengahr • The Mispers • Lonelady • Spring King Bad Breeding • Single Mothers • Bad Meds
Tei Shi • Findlay • Nimmo • Remi • God Damn
Palace • YAK • KOF • Gulf • R Seiliog • Moats
Hidden Charms • Sundara Karma • Silent Sleep • Vaults • Pixel Fix Barberos • The Vryll Society • Strange Collective
Femme • Jennifer Davies • Hooton Tennis Club • LIVES Sekuoia • Okkyung Lee • M.O.
Johnny Sands • Ady Suleiman • Tor Miller • Fossa Sankofa • Raglans • Holy Holy • Zefur Wolves
Thabo & The Real Deal • Prose
Sound City music festival runs between 22-24 May. Sound City conference runs takes place on 21 & 22 May. Wristbands are available to buy now at: