4 things to do on Valentine’s Day

Joe Haupt – https://www.flickr.com/photos/51764518@N02/

I am reliably informed that love is, once again, all around us. The signs are all there. Personal, handwritten love letters…crudely printed onto cards with a picture of a teddy bear or a heart (which doesn’t even look like an actual heart; anatomically not even close). Love is stupid, apparently.

 

We are presented with modern tokens of love: chocolate to release endorphins in your partner that you can’t summon up yourself; flowers, an ominous metaphor for your fleeting happiness; a puppy…well that one is quite good actually. Now that those other 364 days are over and you need to prove to your other half that you have a modicum of care and respect for them, here are some cracking suggestions for things to do today, or sometime this week (it’s on a Tuesday this year. The. Worst. Day.):

 

1. Cirque du Soleil’s, Amaluna

If in doubt, throw some money at it. Cirque’s latest offering is based on The Tempest, that perfect Valentine’s tale. After all, what says love better than living alone on an island with your creepy dad for years, before ending up with Shakespeare’s second most boring lover (the first is Lorenzo in The Merchant of Venice. Obvs.)? So remortgage your home and fork out for a spectacular reminder of all the bodies you will never look like and all the positions your other half will never contort themselves into. And they’re French. That’s romantic.

Royal Albert Hall, until 26th February, £20-£92, https://tickets.cirquedusoleil.com/shop/#/96095cbb-fb4f-49c4-9dd2-239bb3226dee/shop/search?skin=amaluna

2. Blood and Bone

No this isn’t the title of Donald Trump’s guide to seducing your own daughter. Cicada Studios’ latest offering is a satirical puppetry show, as rude and irreverent as they come. Life isn’t Pixar and this ain’t a kids’ show. At fifty minutes long, that is all the foreplay you will need. Puppet sex is reportedly the latest aphrodisiac. I was going to make a puppet fisting joke here but decided against it; I figured I would be elbow deep in complaints.

The Vault Festival, 15th-19th February, £12, http://www.vaultfestival.com/event/blood-bone/2017-02-15/

3. A Clockwork Orange

Joseph Senior – https://www.flickr.com/photos/josephsenior/

Don’t think this needs a blurb really. A dystopian romance, sans the romance. To be fair, the word ‘romance’ is derived from ‘romant’ meaning ‘in the Roman manner.’ So in many ways this show does have romantic themes in it: violence, forward-thinking, sexual aggression, hard to understand language, and back-stabbing individuals. Action to the Word’s version is an all-male sweatfest of energy and pulsating choreography; a visceral and explosive production. Thankfully none of the guys in it are muscly and handsome. Well apart from Jonno Davies. Oh and Seb Charles. Tom Whitelock has a filthy glint in his eye. On second thoughts, for the sake of your relationship, maybe this show isn’t for you…

 

The Park Theatre, 14th February-18th March, £10-£29.50, https://www.parktheatre.co.uk/whats-on/a-clockwork-orange

 

 

 

 

4. The Magical Lantern Festival

Now this is a risk for sure. It will require actual social interaction with your partner. I know. Scary. Hopefully you can distract them with the pretty lights and pictures, in this visual spectacular at Chiswick House and Gardens. The ice bar and ice rink will lower the temperature perfectly to the level of your ice-cold heart and frigid relations. Apparently there is also a burning rooster. Something to do with the Zodiac, but more fittingly a metaphor for the burning desolation of your love. But if they can’t appreciate you paying out £18.11 (bizarre pricing system…) to avoid doing any work towards the date yourself, then are they really worth bothering with anyway?

Chiswick House & Gardens, until 26th February, £5-£18.11, https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/magical-lantern-festival-london-11371885852

 

So there you have it, you lazy blighters. A selection of generic events that everyone else will be doing. The spark is alive! So go out there, book into one, and convince yourself you aren’t a terrible human being. Hurrah! My girlfriend is going to kill me for writing this.

 

Liam, External Communications Coordinator

Lisa L Wiedmeier – https://www.flickr.com/photos/crazymandi/

Looking back at 2015

We’ve had a corker of a year, and as we settle down in front of the fire with a mulled wine in hand and snazzy christmas jumper firmly on, we thought we’d take you through the highlights…

 

The Blackshaw Arts Hour on Wandsworth Radio (fortnightly from Jan 2015)

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Subscribe on iTunes.

Available to download or stream here.

Read more about it and listen to past episodes.

 

10-29th November 2015 – Staying Alive by Kat Roberts, at the Pleasance Islington

Published by Nick Hern Books.  Buy your copy here.
“explosive emotion…a strong cast…lively and full of wit…” West End Wilma

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“Proof that given enough time, talent and perseverance, theatre that really says something about the human condition can be made.”
5-starsFemale Arts

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“highly original, nuanced and enlightening…deeply observed social comedy…compelling from start to finish”
5-starsRemote Goat

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“wonderfully human…a really powerful exploration of grief – honest and tender…”
four-star-rating-black-hiLondon Theatre 1

Read more here.

 

25th November 2015 – Blackshaw’s Scare Slam, at the Horse & Stables, Lambeth

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Read more here.

 

4-5th July 2015 – Alice in Wonderland by Richard Stratton, at the British Home as part of the Streatham Festival

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Read more here.

 

Sunday 7th June 2015 – Blackshaw’s 5th Birthday Party!

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Read more here.

 

2-16th May 2015 – Alice in Wonderland by Richard Stratton, at the Battersea Library
A sell-out run, as part of the Wandsworth Arts Fringe.
“…creative, imaginative and seemingly effortless style…The whole performance buzzed with energy, fun and joy.”
5-starsLondon Theatre 1

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“The fun-filled show brims with chaos, madness and high jinks…the wild but classic tale of Alice in her fantastically retold Wonderland.” – A Younger Theatre

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Read more here.

25th March, 17th May, 29th July, 30th September 2015 – New Writing Nights at the Horse & Stables, Lambeth

 

 

 

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Read more here.

 

9-14th March 2015 – Character by Florence Vincent, at the Tristan Bates Theatre
“a delightful theatre production on in Covent Garden. Funny, nostalgic, well acted 2 hander” – London Culture Blog

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“a witty play…reminiscent of Ab Fab’s Edina and Saffy” – In & Around Covent Garden magazineSONY DSC

Read more here.

 

15th Jan 2015 – Staying Alive by Kat Roberts, at the Pleasance Islington 
One night only industry showcase – Winner of Blackshaw’s Showcase Award 2014.

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Read more here.

 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!

 

See you in 2016.

 

Ellie & the Team at Blackshaw

 

Xmas Blackshaw Logo

 

Edinburgh Festival 2015

Ellie (Blackshaw’s Managing & Artistic Director) & Vikki (Blackshaw’s Strategy & Planning Manager) spent a super duper 2 days (plus a Friday evening and a Monday morning) at Edinburgh Fringe.  They saw 16 shows (yeah, I know!), and here are some brief reviews/recommendations for each…

TICKETS & INFO HERE

TICKETS & INFO HERE

TICKETS & INFO HERE

TICKETS & INFO HERE

TICKETS & INFO HERE

TICKETS & INFO HERE

TICKETS & INFO HERE

INFO HERE (sadly the run’s ended, but Heretical Productions always have more shows on the horizon)

INFO HERE (sadly the run has ended, but the talented chaps have some solo shows on the go)

TICKETS & INFO HERE

TICKETS & INFO HERE

TICKETS & INFO HERE

TICKETS & INFO HERE

TICKETS & INFO HERE

TICKETS & INFO HERE

 

EdFringe runs til the end of August. If you’re heading up, let us know what you see!

 

Elsewhere at Streatham Festival

Elsewhere at Streatham Festival – our top five:

Streatham Festival kicks off on 4th July and we’re super excited to be a part of it. We’ll be performing Alice in Wonderland at the British Home on 4th and 5th July (tickets here), alongside a free Mad Hatter’s Tea Party themed fete in the grounds of the Home. It’s all set to be a terrific weekend and there’s plenty more on offer at Streatham Festival. Here are our top picks:

1. The Streatham Strut – Saturday 11th July

16 venues in the centre of Streatham hosting an exciting evening of live music, there’s bound to be something for everyone and a great atmosphere http://www.streathamfestival.com/node/122

2. Breaking the Code from Streatham Theatre Company – 4 performances

Two of our favourite things here – South London theatre companies (ho ho) and Alan Turing. Check this out to see another view on the story behind recent blockbuster The Imitation Game, taking a more personal view. http://www.streathamtheatre.org.uk/code

3. Shazia Mirza ‘A Work in Progress’ at the Laughing Pod – Wednesday 8th July

There’s loads of comedy at the festival, three different acts at this venue on this evening alone (phew!) but Shazia takes our fancy as it’s always good to see a comic who’s on the rise and rise in a small venue just before they get really popular. There, we called it. Also she says “There will be anger, confusion, some laughter and mostly danger” – how can you resist?
http://www.thelaughingpod.com/#!/events/556cef5fa9d97e030006898e

4. The Breakfast Club free outdoor screening – Saturday 4th July

This sounds like a perfect summer’s evening just waiting to happen – fingers crossed it’s dry but pack a cagoule and a blanket and you’ll be just fine whatever the British Summertime wants to throw at you. http://www.freefilmfestivals.org/whats-on/streatham/details/447-the-breakfast-club.html

5. Lucy Spanyol’s Blue Plaques – throughout week one of the festival

We love the playful nature of this, definitely worth checking them out if you’re wandering through Streatham during the festival. http://www.streathamfestival.com/art23LucySpanyol

Has anything else on the programme particularly caught your eye? Let us know what you see during the festival on twitter or facebook and we might just feature your review on an upcoming Arts Hour!

Blackshaw’s 5th Birthday

On Sunday 7th June, we celebrated Blackshaw’s 5th Birthday in style!  Guests included past cast, crew, patrons and associates.  There was cake (totally on brand with an edible Blackshaw logo), bubbly, paper hats, and a speech from Director, Ellie.

We also enjoyed a slide show of past projects, as well as some special live performances.

Get a taste of the metaphorical birthday cake with a peep at the party.

Working for Blackshaw – Radio Producer, Iasha

What is your role at Blackshaw?

My role at Blackshaw is to organise the content and produce our weekly radio show, The Blackshaw Arts Hour, on Wandsworth Radio.

 

What day to day tasks does that mean you do?

Generally my busiest day is a Sunday as that’s the day the show goes out live on the radio. I have to be at the studio about an hour before the show to load the clips we are playing and program all our content. The show goes out live on Wandsworth Radio from 6-7 and I am normally helped out by a co-host or two. I panel (press all the buttons), make sure the sound is going out at the right level and present the content while always keeping an eye on the time (and occasionally forgetting to turn the mics off!)

During the week I email a lot of writers, actors and theatre associated people in order to generate content for the show. I try and have a couple of recordings lined up for the week so that my sound man Andy can have them edited and ready to go out on air at the end of that week.

 

How do you think of ideas for the radio show?

Thinking about what is coming up for Blackshaw is always my first point of call when coming up with content. Interviews and promos for upcoming productions are really easy ways to generate quick radio content and are also great in prmoting Blackshaw to our listeners! The pieces performed at new writing nights are also guaranteed audio entertainment.

Ideas I have found also come from talking to people about the show. Some people have things they have written that they would like to record, and I have obtained a lot of contacts from the people we have had on the show in the past. It has been really nice to hear the positivity from people and their willingness to be involved is a huge bonus.

If you have anything you think would sound great on our radio show, get in touch!  You can reach me at iasha@blackshawonline.com

 

Do you work particularly closely with anyone else on the Blackshaw team?

I work closely with Andy Crane, Blackshaw’s resident sound expert. He’s with me when we records radio plays and interviews and is the one that takes the audio we record away, makes it listenable with his editing prowess, and then sends it to me so I can program it into the show.

Matt Boothman has been with me live in the studio every week from the shows inception delighting us with his wonderfully worded film reviews. Director Ellie is my loyal co-presenter most weeks and Vikki has contributed content and co-presented too!

 

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy the on air presenting side of my job. I had a bit of a break from live presenting but getting back into it this year has been really fun. It’s fantastic working with such a great bunch of motivated and creative people and the support from all members of the Blackshaw team has been fantastic.

It’s also really fun! From hanging out and meeting new people and recording them to being in the studio every week, it has been an absolute pleasure to get this radio show off the ground. It also means I get to see way more theatre than I ever have, which is always nice!

New Year Promises!

Now the tinsel is being taken down and the hangovers are finally a distant memory, I got the team down to the serious stuff of resolutions.

The good thing about this is that now they are in writing and on the internet so they HAVE to keep them!

VIKKI – Strategy Brain

I’m going to get back in the pool and get in the habit of swimming 3-4 times per week to increase the amount of exercise I do from ‘none’ to ‘a bit’. I’m getting a new piano next week so my other resolution is to try to practice a little bit every day as I haven’t really played in about 5 years.

ELLIE – Boss Brain

I am going to make a concerted effort to set time aside to relax. I’m not very good at relaxing.  I am also going to try to get to bed before midnight on weekdays, and set up some socials for the Blackshaw Committee.  Mmm…team bonding.

BETHANY – Events Brain

In 2015 I’m going to be travelling around South East Asia – so my resolution is to be adventurous. When I get back my resolution is to resist stuffing my face with much missed pasta and to keep healthy and happy – maintaining the hippy mentality I will have undoubtedly developed whilst backpacking. Also, I WILL LEARN TO DRIVE. This year’s the year.

NICK – Funding Brain

For me, 2015 will be the year of savings and Spanish. I am resolved to putting money aside for rainy days and that thing they call owning a property (an unlikely goal, but it’s nice to dream).  I will also attempt an improvement on my Spanish from embarrassed-Brit to bi-lingual wannabe. I have another resolution which I carry over every year…eat good food, drink good wine and try to survive another 12 months.

P.s. It would be remiss of the Funding & Partnerships Manager not to resolve himself to bringing in more funding for Blackshaw, so I suppose that should be added to the list too.

 

And finally, because it’s not fair otherwise, myself: SIOBHAN – Marketing Brain

In 2015 I am going to work on being less awful at yoga and generally attempt to be a more sporty person, even if it goes against every fibre of my being. I’m also going to work hard on making the Blackshaw blog even better!

10 signs Christmas is coming

Photo by Bethany Arnold

1. Christmas cards taking over EVERYWHERE making it impossible to find anything with a simple ‘happy birthday’ or ‘thank you’.

Photo by Bethany Arnold

 

2. Shop shelves become filled with festive treats making you wonder how you survived the previous 11 months without mince pies.

 

 

 

3. Shop window displays become an exhibition of all things sparkly.

For me, the winner will always be teddybears.

 

4. A whole host of new activities to enjoy – the cheesier, the better.

5. Everywhere just looks so much better than usual.

6. Christmas songs playing everywhere. All the time.  There isn’t really a picture for that…

 

mostlyaboutchocolate.com – edited by Bethany Arnold

7. So much excitement over Advent Calendars, the best way to start a day.

Photo by Bethany Arnold

 

8. Coffee shops have an exciting new range of festive flavours and the special take away cup to match.

 

 

 

9. Classic Christmas films are back on TV and take us back to our childhoods

(OK, maybe not a ‘classic’ yet but Frozen is just great).

 

10. The John Lewis advert.

www.express.co.uk  - edited by Bethany Arnold
www.express.co.uk – edited by Bethany Arnold

 

And however cheesy it might be, let’s be honest, we know Christmas is coming when we get that feeling in our bellies, the one that’s not indigestion.  The excited for no particular reason, wanting to be with friends and family feeling. That’s the Christmas spirit folks.

 

Have a good one

 

– Bethany Arnold, Social Events Manager