The Blackshaw Arts Hour – Episode 35

Iasha is joined in the studio this week by regulars Matt and Alex along with new voice, Nick Tatchell. Nick works with us at Blackshaw and is our responsible for the funding and partnership aspects of the theatre company.
At the top of the show Matt reviews partly crowd-funded independent film Nina Forever and we discussed what’s coming up in the next film review. Get over to twitter and tweet us your suggestions!
Vikki gave us her first Arts Thing of the Week, this week, multiple arts things and we discussed what we’re all looking forward to the most for 2016.
(seeing) Black Shuck is Blackshaw’s next production coming up in May. Alex is going to be performing in this new piece of writing and we chatted about what the play is about and also a very windy photo shoot that took place last weekend on the shores of Whitstable in Kent.
To take us to the end of the show was Episode 5 of Great Expectations. Only 2 more episodes of this fantastic radio play to go so make sure you tune in to Wandsworth radio to catch us live at 6pm on the 13th of March or subscribe to our podcast to never miss a thing.

Blackshaw Scare Slam – get involved

This November Blackshaw is trying something a little different. Rather than our usual New Writing Night, on Wednesday 25th November we’d like you to join us for our first (dare we say the first?) Scare Slam. Taking the idea of a story slam – made famous by The Moth – but giving it a gentler, more artsy touch by allowing story reading and using notes rather than the more conventional storytelling without any notes.

The Moth’s excellent storytelling tips can be found here but don’t fret about reading from notes for our Scare Slam!

We look forward to seeing you all there and hearing a spooky tale from some of you!

To get involved

To get a place as a storyteller ahead of the night, contact Helen, event organiser and Blackshaw’s Associate Producer of Radio Drama

tweet @helenaimeej


Alternatively, just turn up and put your name in the hat to have a chance of getting on stage open mic style.

The rules

  • Maximum 7 mins per story
  • Tellers can have notes or read a pre written piece
  • All work must be original to the teller
  • Stories can be fictional or true or a combination
  • As it’s storytelling there will be no lighting or sound or props
  • We’ll be recording the event and broadcasting it on The Blackshaw Arts Hour on Wandsworth Radio
  • The event will take place upstairs at the Horse and Stables, nearest tube Lambeth North. 7.30pm start
  • There’s no pay and no prize- it’s all for the fun and for the glory

NEWS: Blackshaw’s Big One, 6th Sept, The Selkirk, Tooting


The crowd from last year's Big One
The crowd from last year’s Big One

This year we are hosting our ‘Big One’ at The Selkirk Pub in Tooting Broadway, home to our recent Wandsworth Fringe show, and this time we are taking advantage of their gorgeous sunny beer garden and turning it into our very own festival venue – complete with bunting.

We’ve got a cracking line up of music and comedy for you so far and it’s all kicking off at 4pm on Saturday 6th September. 

Oh, and did we mention… IT’S COMPLETELY FREE?

That’s right, you can enjoy loads of brilliant music and comedy, in a beer garden, for free.

And there’ll be cake.

Seriously, what more could you ask for?

So, don your best festival gear, grab your sunhat, pop on your poncho and wear your wellies for Blackshaw’s Big One, an evening of summer festival fun!

Confirmed acts include:

Steve Boniface – a man with a guitar and a smooth, smooth voice

He’s on twitter, facebook & this website

CatElizaT – a lady with a sweet voice and a viola

She’s got a snazzy soundcloud, facebook, and twitter

The Holloway Players – live, improvised comedy based on audience suggestions!

See their facebook and twitter shine

Lizzie Fisher – a lovely lady with a guitar and songs for your ears

Katerina Leah – fabulous up and coming singer and songwriter from Essex. 

facebook, soundcloud, and YouTube

Steve Seller – Naughty, funny, songs from Steve; The Geek From The Middle East.


Owen Collins – Whitton-based poet and purveyor of knock-off verse.
Can be found on Twitter (but he’s very boring and mainly talks about football and politics a lot)

Barnaby Barron – a man, a guitar and some excellent tunes

Cardboard City

The Bandits – a London-based five piece Rock & Roll band who, with their own unique style, bring to life vintage classics and retro rarities.  Brilliant chaps and long-time Blackshaw favourites.

Check out their facebook and website

Join the conversation on and

Well I didn’t expect that!

I was asked to write a blog about my adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, but for reasons I’ll go into, it turns out I don’t know as much about it as I thought I did.

I wrote it for a youth theatre and it was first performed by ten young performers between the ages of 9 and 17.

My intention was to write something that would challenge them, to get them to use performance techniques they were unfamiliar with and show them that on stage, it’s ok to let go and truly throw yourself in to your role (something that can be hard to convince a 15 year old!).

Knowing that I would also be directing the play, I wrote what I knew I could achieve with the cast, props and costumes at my disposal. I’d also been playing around with the idea of setting a story in junk shop and having each scene and character constructed from the rubbish that lined the shelves. Alice in Wonderland seemed like a good match for this idea and the final result, I think, was great. My cast took up the challenges I set them and exceeded my expectations, and working out how to make a caterpillar out of junk was great fun. The production even won a NODA award. I was very happy indeed.

So when I gave Alice to Blackshaw Theatre, I found it hard to imagine how the play might be done any differently. Not because I thought my way was best, but because everything it had been the first time around was so vivid it was hard to look past it.

I decided to remove myself from the rehearsal process. I was invited along, but I didn’t want to be the voice at the back of the room that said, “Well last time we did it this way.” every time something was discussed. Other than providing a knitted teapot (made by my Nan – thanks Nan!) and helping to build a bit of the set, I tried to remain separate from the production.


This was a little sad as I like to be involved, but I knew that leaving it alone was the right thing to do.

I’m so very pleased that I did. Going to see the first performace on Saturday was like discovering the play all over again. I found that in scenes I know back to front, I found myself thinking, “Well I didn’t expect that!”, and wondering what on earth would happen next. It was exciting to see something I know so well transformed into something new.

It has been a great reminder that when you hand over a play it isn’t going to come back as you imagined it, and that you have to embrace this.

When I directed Alice I knew what I had written, so that’s what I got my actors to do; the great thing about giving up the reigns to other people is that they will find all the things you didn’t know about your play. For example, I never knew that the Walrus and the Carpenter are actually Brian Blessed and Alan Bennett.  Seriously, if when you read the book again, use those voices in your head and you’ll be very glad you did!

So it seems that this blog, rather than being about my adaptation of Alice, is actually a massive thank you. A thank you to director Ellie, and the whole of the cast and crew, for taking a play that’s very dear to me and showing me wonderous things that I had no idea could be done with it.

– Richard

Work with Blackshaw!

Open Position – Social Events Manger

To Apply: Email with the position title in the subject line, your CV and a brief covering letter explaining why you’re interested in, and how you would be suitable for, the post.

Position Details

Interested in Event Management or production and need some experience? Then look no further!  Blackshaw are looking for a Social Events Manager (Voluntary, Part-Time position).

Blackshaw is run by a team of volunteers, each of whom are professional creatives or administrators.  The team meets monthly (currently a Sunday afternoon) and are supported in their work by the Company Director, Strategy & Planning Manager, and a group of volunteers.

We run social events throughout the year to raise funds for theatre productions, and to boost our profile within the arts community in London. Our team is growing, and our previous Social Events Manager, Nick, has moved into the position of Funding & Partnerships Manager for Blackshaw.  So, we are looking for someone who wants to join our company and make the role of Social Events Manager theirs. You don’t need to have previous experience – Nick and the Blackshaw team will provide training, support, and assistance throughout the handover period.

Blackshaw aims to give people experience for building their CV and have been proven to aid employability.

Job Description: Social Events Manager

The Social Events Manager is responsible, (with support, where necessary, from the New Writing Night Manager and other members, who form the ‘Events Team’), for Blackshaw’s social events.  This includes but is not limited to; finding venues, coordinating event planning meetings, choosing themes, sending an event brief to the Publicity, PR & Marketing (PPM) Team, recruiting and coordinating performers and a running order.  They are also responsible for recruiting volunteers to staff the event, creating volunteer rotas, scheduling the ‘get in’ and ‘get out’, and managing floats.  They should liaise carefully with the Funding and Finance Manager on budgets and record takings/float.  They should also liaise closely with the PPM Manager to keep event promotion up to date, as well as having access to, and occasionally using, the Blackshaw social media accounts in order to support promotion of events.

They will also assist the New Writing Night Manager (where necessary) with the organisation, set-up and running of New Writing Nights.

They are a member of the Blackshaw team and are expected to attend the monthly meetings.

NB: This role is voluntary (unpaid) and part time – Blackshaw works around team member’s availability and existing commitments.

What I done did in Edinburgh.

This blog will not change your life, nor will it inspire you do great things. If it does, you win 5 house points. This is mostly about the ridiculous month, formerly known as August, Edinburgh; and what I managed to achieve whilst I was there.

It goes without saying I had a stonkingly good time operating the two shows I was up there with, Max and Ivan The Reunion and Birthday Girls: 2053. It’s probably worth mentioning what my job entails, through the medium of GIF and Meme.

This is what operating Lighting and Sound (and the occasional disco ball, smoke machine, or strobe light) is like in my eyes:

Given that I did 51 shows over the month and countless 15 minute spots, Qlab (a programme what makes music, video, and other magic happen) only crapped out on me once the whole month. There must be some omnipotent power looking over me…

Qlab Audience

If we’re really stripping back what I did, I pressed a combination of 300 buttons everyday, over the whole month that’s 7650 buttons. All my fingers are still intact.

That about covers it, so here is an anecdotal list of all the things I managed to accomplish with the 20 hours a day I had spare: 

– NOT FLYER. Pretty much most people’s dream whilst at the Fringe. If all my shows require of me, is to press buttons with immense accuracy for 60 minutes straight (see above), I count it as a blessing; mainly because I’m the worst flyerer known to mankind. My enthusiasm for it being on the same level as hers…

– Turned my body clock upside down. If you struggle to keep up with what day of the week it is in Edinburgh, you’re doing it right. You doing it more right if you think breakfast should be consumed at 3pm.

– Eating roughly one meal a day, the other two consisting of alcohol at 10pm and 4am. I should mention that the times I did eat, it was a two person portion of tortellini (I beg to differ on that) or an 8 slice take out pizza. I have no shame, or diabetes, so good times all round.

– Deciding that attending a free bar on an empty stomach was a good idea. I mean it was, for the first 5 drinks at least.


– Saw The Table for the 5th time. It’s puppetry, on a table. You can judge me if you’ve seen it at least twice (you won’t). And, hey, Blind Summit thought it was okay…



– Got approved for a Career Development Loan (this will mean very little to anyone else) but it means I get to learn how to be a better Stage Manager and by proxy, a better button presser, watch out for updates. It made me do a happy dance, like this.


– For the fourth year in a row I have successfully avoided walking up Arthur’s Seat. I can only imagine it being just as busy as the Royal Mile, but with a better view. *£10 to the person that gets me up it.

– Saw all these cracking shows:

Fringe 13 shows

For my summary of the shows, follow the #seenit project Blackshaw been working on, on Twitter. Or you know, Google them.

– And when I wasn’t seeing shows,  I was becoming addicted to Breaking Bad. Which I’m pretty sure you’ll agree, is a worthwhile pastime. If you’ve not yet succumbed to the glory that is Breaking Bad, get on board. Fast.


Oh and I also drew this picture of a duck in one of the scripts.



I have now since fully recovered from this way of life, I’ve started eating vegetables again and now see both 8am and 8pm each day. I am however, ready and raring to get back there next year.

*This is a legally binding bet, I’m good for it. Ask the people who gave me my loan.

Have you #SeenIt?

Lizzie Cooper's #SeenIt at the Edinburgh Fringe
Lizzie Cooper’s #SeenIt at the Edinburgh Fringe

Been to the theatre recently? Been to a gig? To a gallery? To an exhibition? To The Proms or a ballet? Maybe you’re hitting the Edinburgh Fringe this year (like our lovely New Writing Night Manager, Lizzie, although she is working on two shows whilst she’s up there). And if, like our lovely Lizzie, you’ve been to see a show or three recently then we want to know all about it. “How do I tell Blackshaw all about that great thing I’ve seen?” I hear you cry! Well, it’s easy, follow these simple steps and tell us if you’ve #SeenIt.

Step 1. Make sure you keep your ticket from whatever it is you’ve seen

Step 2. Get yourself on Twitter. Are you on Twitter right now? You are? Great.

Step 3. Take a snap of your ticket and Twitpic it or Instagram it or whatever the cool kids are doing these days

Step 4. Tweet your lovely picture @BlackshawUpdate and give us a short review of whatever you’ve seen (in less than 140 characters because, y’know, that’s sort of how Twitter works) and don’t forget to include #SeenIt.

Richard's #SeenIt at the Tricycle Theatre
Richard’s #SeenIt at the Tricycle Theatre

And that’s it! Now we’ll all know about the cool and awesome things you’ve seen and we can share it with everyone we know. And isn’t that just all kinds of niceness? We think so.