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Superrb Working with San Francisco’s Benny Gold

Our friends at Superrb over on Hayling Island are working on the new Benny Gold website and got a strong mention on the existing website recently. Benny Gold is a San Francisco based designer who has a pretty special streetwear label of his own. Serious props to the boys on working with a heavyweight, worldwide brand…yet another example of local creative talent killing it on an national & international stage.

Superrb Working with San Francisco's Benny Gold (1)

Superrb Working with San Francisco's Benny Gold (2)

Southsea Deckchairs Collaborate on Clothing Collection with Fred Perry

Southsea Deckchairs as well as making some of the finest deckchairs in the World have also been busy on a brand new collaboration with Fred Perry, resulting in a collection that includes shirts, shoes and bags all with their distinctive look and feel. This isn’t the first collaboration this homegrown Portsmouth brand has been involved with, two years ago they had their own Southsea Deckchairs X Clarks Originals desert boot but this new collection with another iconic UK clothing brand recognised around the World steps things up with a capsule collection of their own.

Stephen Davies from Southsea Deckchairs told us “They approached us last year to see if we wanted to work with them on fabric design [inspired by] block stripes, retro, mods and rockers”. The collection launched officially on Monday and is now available through Fred Perry stockists and online on the Fred Perry website where you can see the whole collection. The details on the garments are pretty special, with wooden button fastening and reinforced sail stitch details plus some distinctive Southsea Deckchairs branding outside and in. This now collaboration sees yet another Portsmouth based company on a national stage, representing the city with serious design and quality credentials, something the whole city can be proud of and represent.

Below are some images from the collection.

Southsea Deckchairs Collaborate on Clothing Collection with Fred Perry (1)

Southsea Deckchairs Collaborate on Clothing Collection with Fred Perry (2)

Southsea Deckchairs Collaborate on Clothing Collection with Fred Perry (3)

Southsea Deckchairs Collaborate on Clothing Collection with Fred Perry (4)

Southsea Deckchairs Collaborate on Clothing Collection with Fred Perry (5)

Southsea Deckchairs Collaborate on Clothing Collection with Fred Perry (6)

Southsea Deckchairs Collaborate on Clothing Collection with Fred Perry (7)

Nike Football’s ‘Risk Everything’ by Portsmouth Studio ilovedust – Exclusive Interview

In the last few weeks Nike launched ‘Risk Everything’ their new football marketing campaign that features the England football team as well as other players from all around the world including Cristiano Ronaldo & Neymar Jr. Risk Everything also includes the new England kit for the 2014 World Cup with striking imagery of the players and the three lions. The artwork & branding of this vast, international marketing campaign by one of the largest brands in the World was created by Portsmouth’s very own award winning ilovedust design studio, located at the heart of the city. Established in 2003 the company and design team have grown dramatically, working with international brands as well as on local projects. Strong Island caught up with ilovedust’s Matt Howarth, senior designer, and found out more about ILD’s involvement with Nike’s Risk Everything:

ilovedust has been working with Nike for some time, can you give us a quick history of how you hooked up with them initially? Some of the past projects with them that you guys have been particularly stoked on?

We’ve been working for Nike for the last 7 years, it all started off with an illustration for a Jordan x Levis 501 project back when we were a small 4 man studio, i guess we did a pretty good job and the word spread internally at Nike world headquarters that ilovedust knew their shit! Since then we’ve grown our relationship year on year and been lucky enough to meet some inspiring people and work on some great projects along the way.

Can you give us some background on when and how you guys got involved in the England World Cup promotional branding and Risk Everything?

The initial brief for the “Risk Everything” campaign came from advertising agent Wieden & Kennady (W+K) in Portland, Oregon, over the years we have a made a few friends there and they emailed us way back in September saying they’ve got the perfect project for us! The project became so big that we ended up working directly with the Nike Football department directly.

Nike Football's 'Risk Everything' by Portsmouth Studio ilovedust

From what has been released already I’ve seen the mural on the Southbank of Jack Wilshire & Wayne Rooney the backdrop for the England team for their World Cup kit, retail displays and more, it is clearly a huge project, can you break down what is involved in a project of this scale?

Oh god… where to start!! Initially W+K briefed us to create illustrations for their 5 top footballers to be used in a print campaign (these will released in a couple of weeks), then Nike Football tasked us with creating illustrations for 7 different countries which Nike will be sponsoring at the World Cup, these would be used online and across retail destinations in each of the 7 countries. Since all of these have been completed we’ve been contacted by W+K London, Amsterdam, Rio and Tokyo for additional illustrations, this is where the Wayne Rooney/Jack Wilshere piece comes in to play, curated by W+K London and currently on display on the Southbank.

Nike Football's 'Risk Everything' by Portsmouth Studio ilovedust (5)

With Risk Everything you guys have stamped your distinct signature style all over it, what level of creative control do Dust and the team have in the collaboration with Nike?

When the brief came in it referenced a lot of our work, the client had a distinct idea of what they wanted, we took it, run with it, and made it better. Luckily we have good, open relationships with our clients, and we know a thing or two about football, so they trusted us.

As well as having your main studio in Portsmouth you have a studio in Portland, working with a brand the size of Nike and a project of this scale have there been practical issues with working with a brand on the other side of the World? Advantages?

We’ve visited Nike HQ 3 times during this project and our small studio in Portland has allowed us to work on the project in real time with the clients. We’re used to being 8 hours ahead of them everyday, and working until midnight is not uncommon, so being able to work and get feedback instantaneously was a real advantage.

Nike Football's 'Risk Everything' by Portsmouth Studio ilovedust (1)

The ilovedust lion is the striking backdrop for the England team in the new Nike kit in the run up to the World Cup, what design constraints did you experience (if any) with working with essentially a national sporting icon? Were the FA involved in sign-off?

This project was a fun one to work on with hardly any design restraints, and as far as we know The FA were not involved in sign-off, but as with all Nike work it had to go through legal checks, we we’re pretty safe with the 3 lions.

The lion and associated artwork are already gracing huge sports retailers’ windows plus on TV adverts, how does if feel seeing your work on this level in the UK?

It’s always nice to see months of hard work pay off when it’s released to the world – a bit surreal to see it in shop windows in your hometown!

Nike Football's 'Risk Everything' by Portsmouth Studio ilovedust

I’m assuming there is still much more to come in the run up to June and the World Cup? Will you guys be getting out to Rio?

Yes, lots more to come. The “Risk Everything” campaign will run beyond the World Cup and into next season so we have started to work on a different style of illustration for Europe’s top clubs; Barca, Man Utd, PSG, Juventus etc etc

ILD is home to some die hard Portsmouth FC fans, ever think about what you could do in regards to the club in respect to design? Maybe a new kit for 2014/2015 season?

Ha, the current kit’s not too bad but i’m sure we could improve it if given the chance!

Without letting too many cats out of the bag, what other projects are you guys working on for 2014?

Some very cool projects in the pipeline, one for Pepsi which is also World Cup related, we’re continuing to work with Microsoft for the launch of Xbox One’s Sunset Overdrive computer game in 2015, hmmm what else… lots more Nike that’s for sure, a few bits for Red Bull and a couple of top secret projects which you’ll have to wait for… sorry!

The Risk Everything artwork continues to roll out through the press and on TV, below are some images of the artwork already in the wild, be sure to keep up with the ILD website, blog, Twitter, Instagram & Behance to see more.

Nike Football's 'Risk Everything' by Portsmouth Studio ilovedust (3)

Nike Football's 'Risk Everything' by Portsmouth Studio ilovedust (4)

Final Day for Victorious Festival Early Bird Tickets

Today is the final day you can pick up early bird tickets for this summer’s Victorious Festival. Despite the festival being bigger and better this year an early bird ticket means you get your tickets at the same ridiculously low price as last year, only £15 a day for adults, with children at only £6 a day (under 5s go free). You can order your early bird tickets sharpish from the Victorious Festival website or pick them up in person from Little Johnny Russells in Albert Road, The Belle Isle Southsea and The Belle Isle Chichester.

www.victoriousfestival.co.uk

Victorious Festival

Victorious Festival (9)

Art Space Portsmouth Presents Render by Patricia Sharman

Tomorrow evening sees the preview opening of the new exhibition at GASP at Art Space Portsmouth entitled Render, an exhibition exploring and investigating the blurred boundaries between dress, skin and desire by artist Patricia Sharman.

“We drape and cover our bodies to shield, to protect, to sexualise and mark out our identities. We adapt and reconfigure ourselves artfully, playfully and cunningly in new ‘outfits’ to present to the external world.
But what of the internal world and that of our ‘infits’? What happens when these two worlds begin to contest and resist each other? ‘Render’ charts these inner tensions and conflicts”. – Patricia Sharman

The preview event is from 6pm to 8pm tomorrow evening and then the exhibition is open from Saturday 12th to Saturday 19th April, 12-4pm. Saturdays open to the public, all other times by appointment only. Please contact: patsyart@hotmail.co.uk to make an appointment for viewing or for more information.

GASP and Art Space Portsmouth are located at 27 Brougham Road, Southsea, Hants. PO5 4PA.

Art Space Portsmouth Presents Render by Patricia Sharman

New Matt Sills Photography Website

Matt Sills is a well known photographer in Portsmouth (you might remember the cool little Wallspace Gallery in Albert Road he ran too) and in recent years has been killing it as an editorial & commercial photographer with some heavy weight clients and a diverse portfolio. You may have well seen some of Matt’s recent work for Jack Daniels over the summer, autumn plus the Christmas and New Year period with his Portsmouth shot images for their Tennessee Honey brand for their global social media.

Recently Matt updated his website with a new look plus lots and lots of new work, be sure to take a little time to have a good look through.

www.mattsills.co.uk

Below are a few examples of Matt’s recent work:

Matt Sills (1)

Matt Sills (2)

Matt Sills (3)

(All copyright of Matt Sills).

Fuzz Tones at The Atrium on Friday 18th April

Fuzz Tones is a new night with DJ LongDistanceDan playing the best in 60′s psychedelia – rock, pop, soul etc, Garage rock, rhythm & blues and other oddities. The first Fuzz Tones night is happening on Friday 18th of April (Good Friday) at The Atrium on Albert Road from 7.30pm to Midnight, free entry and happy hour 7.30pm – 8.30pm.

To find out more about the event and also info on a free mix CD give away check the Fuzz Tones Facebook events page HERE.

Fuzz Tones at The Atrium on Friday 18th April

Born in Portsmouth on this Day: Isambard Kingdom Brunel

Portsmouth through its history has been home to many people from all walks of life, with some of these Portsmouthians creating a significant impact on the history of the city, the UK and even the World. Born on this day in 1806 in Britain Street in Portsea was Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the son of Sir Marc Isambard Brunel (who has significant links to the city too), was key in focusing the Industrial Revolution in a way that connected the UK for the first time quickly and efficiently, through innovation and a determined self-belief. For many he is considered Portsmouth’s most famous son.

Many of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s bridges, stations, tunnels and ships remain as breathtaking engineering feats even to this day and significant amount are still standing and still in use including The Clifton Suspension Bridge, The Royal Albert Bridge (over the River Tamar), the Great Western Railway (including the Box Tunnel, which was the longest railway tunnel in the world at that time) & SS Great Britain.

Sadly Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s first home in Portsea was damaged during the bombings of WWII and then demolished by the council before they realised what they were demolishing. Despite the house no longer existing there are two monuments to mark the birth of Isambard Kingdom Brunel in Portsmouth, located close to where the house once stood. The second monument was unveiled in 2006, the bicentenary of Brunel’s birth.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1)

Isambard Kingdom Brunel (2)

Isambard Kingdom Brunel (3)

King Street Tavern Art Fair Tomorrow

Mr Foot and crew over at the fine King Street Tavern have for many years had a hugely popular Christmas Art & Craft fair but this year are making it a lot more regular with the help of local artist Kendal James. The first of this year’s seasonal fairs happens tomorrow from 12pm and features eight specially selected Southsea artists and makers including JazzlikestodrawOoh la LapinStu LinfieldGeorgina GilesAngela Chick and Eyecandy.

As always there will be some carefully crafted music too to help things along plus the always awesome food, drink and service the KST is rightfully well known for. Going to be good!

King Street Tavern Art Fair

Strong Island Sounds Podcast with Longlive Radio Episode 14

It is Friday lunchtime and Charlie is back with a new Strong Island Sounds podcast episode with Longlive Radio episode 14:

This week’s show has a selection of songs from the genre known as Baroque Pop, made popular in the mid to late 60s, this is simply a cool blend of pop music with elements of classical music. You’ll know it from the string quartet on The Beatles ‘Yesterday’ to Rufus Wainwright and Regina Spektor’s modern day updates. I’ve chosen a handful of tunes I reckon use it well. There are also tunes from Supergrass, James Brown, Frank Zappa and Cannibal Ox. This weeks cut from Sam’s Selection Box is an Icelandic gem that ties in nicely with the Pet Sounds Playlist that Wit & the guys from 101 Reykjavik delivered last week.

Hope you enjoy, and if you do, please take a second to share it around and help spread the word.

Charlie

01) I Can’t Explain – The Who
02) Sunny – James Brown & The Dee Felice Trio
03) Lady Jane – The Rolling Stones
04) Good Times – Eric Burdon & The Animals
05) St. Petersburg – Supergrass
06) Peaches En Regalia – Frank Zappa
07) Cavalier – James Vincent McMorrow
08) Won’t You Be My Baby, Baby ? – Leila
09) Care Of Cell 44 – The Zombies
10) Our House – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
11) Odi Et Amo – Johann Johannsson
12) Ox Out The Cage – Cannibal Ox
13) Darkest Light – Lafayette Afro-Rock Band
14)The Way To Gone – Black Mountain
15) The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore – The Walker Bros

Strong Island Sounds Podcast with Longlive Radio Episode 14

Features

Strong Island Calendar 2015 #SIC2015

Our 2014 Calendar was a huge success, the quality of images and huge amount interest it received really took us by surprise. We managed to double the sales of the 2013 Calendar, meaning we raised just over £600 for the Feel Yourself Campaign and the Alzheimer’s Society. We received over a thousand submissions by email and by use of the Instagram hashtag #sic2014.

We are excited to announce that we are taking submissions for our 2015 calendar. If you’ve taken a photo that you’d like to submit then you can email your submission via calendar@strong-island.co.uk. If you’ve taken a photo on Instagram that you’d like to submit for consideration you just need add the hashtag #SIC2015. There are no limits to how many you submit, the only rule is that the image must be relevant to Portsmouth.

Along with Instagram this year we also recommend you check out the Faded App. I’ve had a play with this App and you can create images that surpass anything that Instagram can produce. I especially love the overlay function.

If you have been taking any photos during this extreme weather we would love for you to submit them!

You may be aware that unfortunately due to an error our end the original batch of calendars contained a couple of errors. To rectify this the problem with the calendar we re-printed all of the calendars and offered everyone who bought one a free replacement (with free P&P where required). We are confident that we have managed to replace the vast major because of the online ordering records, however if you bought one from Lou Lou’s, Southsea Gallery or the Victorian Market then we don’t have your details so we need you to contact us ASAP to arrange a replacement! Those unclaimed calendars by the end of the week are likely to be donated to the staff of the charities we are supporting

Strong Island Calendar 2015

Here are just a few of the submissions that we have already received that might give you some inspiration.

Charlie Thompson Fratton Park

Charlie Thompson 2
Both Charlie Thompson
Todd Lawton
Todd Lawton
Roberta Curxes
Roberta Fidora
Danny Miles
Danny Miles

Road To Blissfields 2014 by Sophie Perryer

It’s that time of year again, when Southsea’s finest traipse out on a Friday night to listen to some of our home-grown, burgeoning talent. This year was no exception, with the likes of Becky Jerams, Poppobowa, Sabre and the B of the Bang taking to the stage to fill our ears with a range of musical goodness.

The evening was held this year at the Cellars at Eastney, and certainly had a more relaxed atmosphere – Strong Island’s Stuart Barker was even spotted wandering around with a cup of tea at one point!

The relaxed atmosphere lent itself perfectly to Becky Jerams soulful, syrupy vocals, gliding effortlessly over lyrics and melodies alike. Becky has enjoyed considerable success over the last few years with her song writing: her track ‘La La Love’ was featured in a Mandy Moore movie, and she has written for the likes of Chesney Hawkes and Loz Bridge. These accomplishments certainly showed through in her music; her sound was very much grown up pop and polished, while still retaining a youthful, wishful quality in her lyrics. A great start to the evening.

Becky was followed by Popobawa, a Gosport based trio relatively new to the music scene – so much so that Road To Blissfields was their debut live show! To say the boys coped well would be an understatement; they delivered a strong set with some interesting melodic choices which made for a distinctive sound, and the combination of this with hazy vocals akin to Friendly Fires was very striking. The best part? You can download their EP for a ‘name your price’ on their SoundCloud page.

Also hailing from Gosport were SABRE – the fivesome delivered catchy synth beats and impressive vocals not dissimilar to the Maccabees or Bombay Bicycle Club, with a little Two Door Cinema Club thrown in for good measure. Their raucous sarcastic comedy appealed to the crowd, and the banter between the band members was enjoyable.

Last but certainly not least were the B Of The Bang. The contrast of the almost gravelly voice of the lead singer and the Roxanne on keyboard’s ethereal vocals lent an almost eerie sense. The band delivered well thought-out tracks which were both directional and abstract, and conveyed a sense of their musical versatility and talent. Without a doubt a well deserved victory.

Congratulations to the B Of The Bang“>B of the Bang on their slot at Blissfields, and thank you also to the other artists for once again showcasing to us the quality of our local talent! Thank you too to Bellyeyesmile, Joel Ransom, the Cellars at Eastney, Strong Island, and all those others who had a hand in organising a top evening.

By Sophie Perryer

*We will be giving away a pair of tickets to Blissfields over the next six weeks so be sure to keep an eye out.*

Becky Jerams
Becky Jerams

Becky Jerams
Popobawa
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SABRE
SABRE

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SABRE
B Of The Bang
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B Of The Bang
Bellyeyesmile
Bellyeyesmile

Bellyeyesmile
All photo’s by Daniel O’Neill

Victorious Festival 2014

In January the Victorious Festival team announced that the festival will be moving to Southsea Seafront. The team appear to have planned a bigger and better event building upon the success of previous years.

Last week saw the second wave of artists confirmed to perform live. The line up already consisted of awesome headliners Dizzie Rascal, Seasick Steve but they have now been joined by Razorlight, British Sea Power, Slow Club, Foy Vance, Mark Morriss of The Bluetones and The Bog Rolling Stones. There will be DJ sets from Alt J, Terry Hall of the Specials, 2manyDJs and COR. Not to forget some of the best local talent such as Matt Jarvis, Eloise Keating and our favourites the Southsea Alternative Choir are also performing.

Personally I’m really excited about the Sunday line up, I’ve been a huge fan of Seasick Steve for years and I even went to Bestival dressed as him for the Under the Sea fancy dress theme. Sunday also see’s British Sea Power performing, they have been regular visitors to the Wedgewood Rooms during their tours in the past, most recently in April 2013. They are easily one of the best live acts you could ever have the pleasure of seeing. The Saturday headliner Dizzie Rascal isn’t too shabby. I caught him at Bestival in 2010 and I can promise you, he knows how to put on a show and get you dancing!

There will be more artists announced closer to the time. You can find out first by following Victorious on Facebook and Twitter @VictoriousFest, or by signing up to the mailing list HERE.

The event is more than just a music festival, there will be lots going on in the Kids Arena as well a Real Ale Festival featuring many local breweries. For the weekend local seafront attractions will be FREE, these include Southsea Castle, Blue Reef Aquarium, D-Day Museum and Southsea Skate Park. If you would like to be involved in the boutique market then drop the team an email on traders@victoriousfestival.co.uk.

The festival will be held on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th August. There are limited early bird tickets available but hurry as they are only available at the reduced price for the next ten days! Adult Day tickets are currently available for £15 per day and will be £20 after. You can pick one up via the website HERE, or directly at Little Johnny Russells or either of the Belle Isle restaurants. Kids tickets will cost £6 but those under the age of five can enter the festival for free.

Over the next five months we will try and keep you up to date on announcements and preview the performers and attractions that you can look forward to.

Victorious Festival 2014

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum

Tricorn: Controversy in Concrete is a brand new exhibition commemorating 10 years since the demolition of this distinct and controversial building that between 1966 and 2004 was a fundamental part of the Portsmouth skyline. The exhibition at Portsmouth City Museum goes far beyond documenting the building from an architectural perspective, although for the first time many, many original drawings, plans and photographs are on display from the building’s architects, much of it for the first time ever. Where this exhibition explores beyond the groundbreaking and (for many) iconic Brutalist architectural design is documenting how it was experienced and used by the people of Portsmouth. The exhibition opened on the 15th and formally had its opening celebration to a capacity crowd on Saturday 22nd.

The exhibition on the ground floor of the museum is loosely arranged in to two areas, with the first section detailing the origins of the building from concept to design and build. As you enter this space the striking architectural plans on the wall are what first catch the eye. The lines and form of the concrete structure can almost take you back in time to the exciting and economically optimistic early 1960s, with the original and then cutting edge design still feeling strangely fresh even now. This is reinforced with the many original pamphlets, magazines and books that show the enthusiasm the project launched with. This part of the exhibition also establishes where the Tricorn sat within the Brutalist movement and also with some other buildings in the city such as Portsdown Park and Portsmouth Central Library, both of which are in the exhibition in the form of architect sketches and models.

The second section focuses on how the people of Portsmouth experienced the structure over the years it stood in the city centre. Part of this section is an incredible collection of posters and artwork from the nightclub but there is also related music, photos and even period clothing giving a sense of how the building was, for a time, a hub for the community. This section also looks at how the building was a creative inspiration for many, including artwork, skateboard decks and in particular, photography. It is in this section the Strong Island community photo panel is located, with over 100 photos capturing the structure in artistic angles and light. This area is also home to some striking work by Jon King and James Earle, both of who explored the building with their cameras throughout it’s demolition. Both areas also contain oral history, with interviews, opinions and memories on the Tricorn from both architect and members of the public. Also in both areas of the exhibition are feedback walls, which welcome comments from people visiting the exhibition. Despite the exhibition only being open for a week these are already full with amazing contributions.

On Saturday 22nd the exhibition was formally opened including attendance by VIPs such as Owen Luder, one of the original architects, plus many people associated with the Tricorn from right back to it’s design and construction through to its final demolition. The event included speeches by Owen Luder, Celia Clark and Councillor Lee Hunt, possibly the most interesting was the story of the Tricorn told by Owen Luder himself. It was fascinating to see how for him the aspirations for the building were in many ways dashed due to an economic turndown happening with an extended delay in securing contracts with key business tenants. Of particular note were his thoughts on how the space itself has been used “54 years on it is back to how it was when I first saw it in 1960, a carpark”.

The exhibition runs through to the 29th June.

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (1)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (2)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (3)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (4)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (5)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (6)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (7)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (8)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (9)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (11)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (12)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (13)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (14)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (15)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (16)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (17)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (18)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (19)

Macbeth at the Square Tower

The Scottish play is coming to the atmospheric setting of the Square Tower in Old Portsmouth this week. The Southsea Shakespeare Actors, who performed Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors at the Station Theatre, Hayling Island last November, are swapping tomfoolery and twins for blood and revenge in their production of Macbeth, showing from 12th-15th March.

Rob Bartlett, who plays the title role, tells us why the play is so popular among theatregoers, and what the audience can expect from this production.

This is one of Shakespeare’s plays that most people know at least a little about, whether it be the ‘is this a dagger I see before me’ quote or the infamous character of Lady Macbeth. Why do you think it holds such appeal for audiences?

I think it’s because of the mix of supernatural, unbridled ambition and human weakness – we may not all do what the Macbeths do, but we’ve thought about it! If we were given a supernatural push and told by powers beyond our understanding that it would all be okay, we might just act on those impulses more often.

I also think it’s because Macbeth’s descent into madness is so well observed and written that it makes it utterly compelling, and a joy to play. In one line ranting and in the next line totally lucid. The jerkiness of his thoughts makes it a perfect portrayal of manic behaviour.

The play also barrels along at a heck of a pace – there isn’t the flowery poetry of Romeo and Juliet for example, it’s all plot, character and action. I also think that almost every character gets their moment in the spotlight – Lady M and Mackers obviously, but Malcolm, MacDuff, Lady MacDuff, Banquo and even the Porter get their chance to shine (to name but a few)!

There’s a superstition in the theatre world that it’s bad luck to mention the ‘M’ word on the night of a performance, regardless of the play. What’s that all about?

To be honest I have no idea!!! I talk about Macbeth all the time. I think there was some talk about bad things happening on various productions but to me it seems like a good way to get some publicity! 

You’re performing at the Square Tower in Old Portsmouth – how do you think the setting will lend itself to the atmosphere of the play?

I think it will be brilliant! A big bare stone building, dimly lit with lots of shadows bouncing off the walls, candles – it will be fab. Also by doing it ‘in the round’ the audience will be really close. They will feel like they are in the scene, not just watching it. There will be times where they can’t see the face of the actor who is delivering the lines but that wont matter, a bit like when you are out with a big group of friends. You can’t always see the face of the person talking but you get a sense of what’s going on from everyone around you – and yes, that will include the other members of the audience on the opposite side of the room who can see.

We are doing some scenes with candles, so it will be really dim – really atmospheric!

Can you sum up in one (short!) sentence what we can expect from the Southsea Shakespeare Actors’ version of Macbeth?

It’s up close and personal – be ready to be part of the action!

 

To book tickets go to http://ssa.ticketsource.co.uk/events or find out more about the Southsea Shakespeare Actors at www.southseashakespeareactors.com.

Far From Home Project Exhibition on 14th March

The Far from Home project and exhibition is a collaboration between Armed Forces Community Covenant scheme, public funding from Arts Council England for Fusion lab taking place in Space, staff and students of the University of Portsmouth, Somerstown residents, local artists, Sharon Court (who ran the recent Somerstown Stories project) and Strong Island Media.

The Far from Home project brought together ex-service personnel and the family or personnel with students based at the Eldon building of the University of Portsmouth, with the group exploring the theme of being Far From Home. The theme was chosen as it was felt that both groups of participants in the projects could emphasise with the sense of leaving home for the first time, leaving friends and family and experiencing a new life. The students from the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries who have been working alongside these retired armed service personnel and their families learnt more about how it felt to be a new recruit, to be posted overseas, or to be far from home. The students have then created art, including photography, illustration, short films and creative writing based on these experiences for an upcoming Far From Home exhibition in Space. Film footage taken of students talking to and working with armed forces personnel on the project will also be shown. Additionally artefacts from the armed forces personnel will also be on display.

Residents taking part in the project have had the opportunity to also learn new things through taster workshops led by students and a tour of the recently extended Eldon Building, home to the faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries. These workshops and the tour are designed to break down barriers and increasing understanding for both groups of participants.

The Far From Home exhibition opens with a special afternoon tea on Friday, March 14 and will be open to the public from March 17-26. A book and film will also be produced showcasing the work created as part of the project.

You can find out more about the project at:

www.farfromhomeproject.co.uk

Far From Home Project (1)

Far From Home Project (2)

Far From Home Project (3)

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Far From Home Project (5)

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