These true-life sisters truly are doing it for themselves – and for their godmother who played such an important part of their lives. I already feel inspired by Nicola and Stacey Bland and the story they tell.
“For the last time, it’s not Martin… It’s Vicky!”
It’s 1980 in Elephant and Castle. Martin and best friend Debbie are getting ready for another night out at Martin’s favourite night spot, The Golden Girl, one of Soho’s premier drag clubs. However, tonight is not a regular night out. Tonight is the night that will change Martin’s life forever.
Call Me Vicky is an honest, frank and revealing insight into an important struggle that has been relevant for generations. Having grown up on a council estate in south London and worked in the back streets of Soho, drinking, drugs and violence were commonplace when Vicky was overcoming all the adversity and ostracism that surrounded her transitioning.
Will the love of Vicky’s friends, family and drag queens be enough to get her through the toughest of times? Call Me Vicky charts Vicky’s journey to become the person she knows herself to truly be.
Call Me Vicky is the debut play by sisters Nicola and Stacey Bland, who also feature in the cast alongside Wendi Peters and Matt Greenwood (as Vicky). This hard-hitting, comic production charts Vicky’s transition from male to female in a time that was far less understanding than the world we live in today.
Stacey and Nicola comment:
“Call Me Vicky is very personal to us, and we are thrilled that this incredible true story is being told. We like to think it has something for everyone. It will make you laugh, cry and gasp in disbelief. In the 1980s, it was almost unheard of for someone to transition. Yet Vicky’s story is still so relevant, and we feel it is important to see how her struggles paved the way for the 21st-century trans community.”
After the 6pm performance on Sunday 24 February 2019, I’ll be joined for a post-show discussion by Call Me Vicky co-writers Nicola and Stacey Bland and their fellow company members.
Do you really love this planet? Enough to be a whistleblower?
Rachel’s life is torn apart when she demands an answer to these questions. But how far is she prepared to push her family in her quest to do ‘what is right’?
Do You Love This Planet?, written by Alexander Matthews, examines the importance of human responsibility on a declining planet, inviting audiences to question their own moral and social responsibility in an age of climate change and global warming.
The premiere production of this urgent new play is directed by Anthony Law and stars Lucy Lowe, Christian James and Chris Porter.
Exciting things going on at the Lion & Unicorn Theatre, care of Proforca Theatre Company. And I’m thrilled to be invited to help them launch their new-look venue and programming plans to the industry.
Proforca Theatre Company, which has quickly built a reputation with its fringe productions including Reading Gaol and Feel, is taking over management of the Lion & Unicorn Theatre, the 60-seat black box studio based above the Lion & Unicorn pub in Kentish Town, north London.
Under Proforca, and its artistic director David Brady, the relaunched Lion & Unicorn Theatre will provide a home for the best in fringe theatre talent.
As part of its opening season, the new Lion & Unicorn officially launches with Proforca’s own critically acclaimed productions of James Lewis‘ Feel and spin-off series of new monologues from six other writers Feel More, transferring to the theatre following its recent run at The Space and a short tour (See Review Round-up on MyTheatreMates).
Programming submissions for spring, summer and Camden Fringe are also now being accepted via the theatre’s new website. For more information and to apply, visit www.thelionandunicorntheatre.com.
To celebrate, and announce further plans, Proforca is inviting industry guests and theatregoers for a special performance of Feel on Tuesday 12 March 2019. All tickets are offered on a “Pay what you can” basis (donations welcome for the running of the new theatre).
David Brady said:
“In conjunction with the brilliant friends and partners we’ve made over the last few years, we want to create a fringe theatre venue with the reputation to produce brilliant work from the best that The Fringe has to offer.
“Whoever you are, and wherever you come from, the Lion & Unicorn Theatre can be the place where you can be who you want to be. Taking over the theatre is going to be a fantastic adventure, and we hope that everyone will come along with us for the trip of a lifetime.
“For our opening, including this event on 12 March, we’re so excited to throw open the doors to welcome new artists and theatremakers Please do come to meet us and let’s talk about the work we can do together!”
Before the Feel performance on 12 March 2019, I’ll chair a Q&A with artistic director David Brady and artistic directors of two associate companies, Jess Barton(who is also Proforca associate director) of Fight or Flight and Alexander Knott of Boxless Theatre, as well as writer/performer Lauren Gauge. CLICK HERE TO GET TICKETS!
I had a blast quizzing Tom Wright and Rikki Beadle-Blair about their first collaboration, Tom’s debut play My Dad’s Gap Year, now enjoying a sell-out run until 23 February at the Park Theatre. So I’m thrilled to be following up with them both so soon on the world premiere of Tom’s latest play…
Undetectable is a tender, funny and uplifting love story for the post-chemsex generation. Hunky dream boy Lex and bright spark Bradley are falling for each other. After three months, Lex has decided that tonight’s the night… but Bradley’s not so sure he wants to go all the way. With wisdom, wit and honesty, Tom Wright’s bold new play explores the intricate emotions, moral dilemmas and personal demons we all take to bed with us.
Director Rikki Beadle-Blair said:
“Tom’s writing is such a joy to direct; not only is it startlingly insightful and gloriously entertaining, but it speaks to this very moment in time. I cannot wait to share his wonderful play with audiences at the King’s Head Theatre.”
Tom Wright added:
“In these rollercoaster times, with so much happening and changing right before our eyes, the King’s Head Theatre has been a leading force in putting LGBTQI+ conversations on stage. We hope Undetectable builds upon that legacy by asking what’s next with a story of recovery, acceptance and hope.”
In Rikki Beadle-Blair‘s world premiere production of Undetectable, Lewis Brown stars as Bradley and Freddie Hogan as Lex.
After events for Edward II, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, The Taming of the Shrew, ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore, The Beggar’s Opera and Tamburlaine, I’m delighted to reunite with Lazarus Theatre to chair a series of post-show debates with the company and its guests at Greenwich Theatre: Shakespeare’s The Tempest, William Golding’s Lord of the Flies and Oscar Wilde’s Salome.
“What are we? Humans? Animals? Or savages?”
William Golding’s explosive 20th-century classic returns to the London stage after a smash hit run in 2018.
Eleven children, one island… an incredible adventure turns into a fight for survival.
Lord of the Flies is the second production in Lazarus Theatre’s second year-long season at the Greenwich Theatre after the company’s critically acclaimed, sell-out run in 2018.
★★★★ “A strong & stirring production, making a classic story feel as if it was written yesterday – the performances are excellent” – Mind the Blog
★★★★ “A visceral & irresistible production” – Broadway Baby
Awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1983, Golding’s writing continues to touch every country in the world and is today read in more than 35 languages. Lord of the Flies, published in 1954, was named in the Modern Library 100 Best Novels.
Golding was knighted by the Queen in 1988. In addition to Lord of the Flies, he wrote 11 other novels, as well as stage plays, essays and short stories.
For the Q&A after the 7.30pm performance of Lord of the Flies on Tuesday 21 March 2019, I’ll be joined by Lazarus artistic director Ricky Dukes and a panel of expert guests.
Anyone who follows me on Twitter (and particularly my @TerriOnPolitics account) will know just how concerned I am by the accelerating authoritarianism on display in my native United States. Playwright Liane Grant does follow me and so knew that the opportunity to chair a post-show discussion on her new play would be one I couldn’t turn down…
What if you were black, gay and a woman in America right now?
In Half Me, Half You, Jess and Meredith are a married, interracial, gay couple living in New York in 2017 – the era of Trump – weathering a new wave of intolerance, discrimination and oppression, which is sweeping the nation and seeping into their home.
16 years later, Maya, a biracial British teen is forced into American life, braving the aftermath of a second civil war, and changing Meredith’s life irrevocably.
Returning after its highly praised 2018 run in New York and London, in her remarkable writing debut, Liane Grant’s Half Me, Half You confronts the reality of the current global climate and explores the consequences for future generations, while reminding us that we are all simply people searching for love and acceptance.
How are they manifesting in society, nationally and internationally? How is the arts industry addressing them? How big a problem is hate crime becoming in the UK today? What can we practically do as individuals to resist?
After the 6pm performance of Half Me, Half You on Monday 1 April 2019, I’ll tackle issues explored in the play with Liane Grant and special guests including Olivier Award-winning actor and director Maria Friedman and Stop Hate UK‘s CEO Rose Simkins.
It’s fair to say that seeing Tony’s Last Tape in 2015 ignited my own political activism, as well as sparking a bit of an obsession with all things Tony Benn. I can’t wait to talk to the team behind it for this incredibly timely London return season.
“There is no final victory, there is no final defeat.
Just the same battles which have to be fought over and over and over again.”
An old man sits in a room faced with a collection of recording devices that he has collected over his long and eventful life. He opens a drawer, takes out a pipe, unscrews his flask and pours himself the first cup of tea of the day. For more than fifty years, he has been recording everything that has happened to and around him, but today he has decided to make his last tape.
Award-winning playwright Andy Barrett and director Giles Croft revive this timely one-man play based on the diaries of one of Britain’s most respected, divisive and celebrated politicians, former Labour Party Cabinet minister and president of the Stop the War Coalition Tony Benn (1925-2014).
After a sold-out run at Nottingham Playhouse, Philip Bretherton reprises his much-celebrated role as Tony Benn, revealing the struggle of a man who – having found himself no longer ‘the most dangerous man in Britain’ but something of a national treasure – realises that it is time to gracefully withdraw from the fight. If only it was that easy.
Author Andy Barrett said:
“The timing feels right to bring Tony Benn’s story back to life. With a national debate about the kind of society that might be shaped, ready to be unleashed once the Brexit dust settles, and the Labour party using the word socialism with increasing confidence, it’s clear that Benn’s time as a political thinker has come again. He’s as relevant now as he’s ever been.”
The run at Omnibus will also be accompanied by an exhibition, Power: Missiles, Miners & Monarchy, unique voice portraits (Sonograms) of Tony Benn by socio-political artist and activist Tracey Moberly.
Calling all David Bowie fans! Come join me for this acclaimed new play and help me mark my Drayton Arms Theatre post-show Q&A debut at the same time.
HEROES is a coming-of-age story set in the summer of 1972 to the soundtrack of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. The humdrum lives of Joe and Billie are changed forever after witnessing David Bowie performing Starman for the first time on Top of the Pops.
Determined to attend Bowie’s upcoming London gig, the friends leave home on what becomes a rollercoaster ride of self-discovery where the lines between hero worship and friendship become blurred.
HEROES is co-written by Bebe and Tony Barry and directed by Ben Woodhall. It’s presented by Exploding Whale, hot off the heels of their Offie-nominated production of Much Ado About Nothing, which was directed by Ellie Morris (of the Oliver Award-winning Mischief Theatre) and had sell-out runs at Katzpace, Edinburgh and Brighton Fringe, Bridge House Theatre, and Sydenham Arts Festival.
HEROES stars Henry George Lewis and Bebe Barry as Joe and Billie. They’re joined in the cast by Gregory Birks, Julian Bailey Jones, Mica Williams, Lily Smith and Dan Ciotkowski.