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Strong Island Recordings Presents Drunken Sailor 18th April At Edge Of The Wedge

On Friday 18th April Strong Island Recordings presents ‘Drunken Sailor’ at Edge of the Wedge and we bring you a handful of some of our favourite up and coming acts today plus Champagne Justice deejays all for a mere £4.00 entry.

Arrows of Love
London grunge/art punk outfit Arrows of Love whirl up an absolute riot during every one of their live sets. The 5 piece are a total adrenaline rush where the entire venue is the stage and the show is an interactive experience and one you never know what’s going to happen except from utter chaos and absolute brilliance. Kerrang labelled them as one of the most engaging new bands plus NME, Front, Fake DIY, Artrocker, John Kennedy of XFM,Fake DIY, Lauren Laverne and many many more have also shown their support for AOL and now they return to Portsmouth with their debut album set to be unleashed around the same time too on 1234 Records.

Rickyfitts as a band are still very much in their infancy, forming just a few months ago yet they could well be one of the best new live bands you will see today. The duo bring blistering, sludge filled thrash punk, heavy psych, grunge rock . Despite being the nicest guys you could meet, they play with much ferociousness & are absolute merciless to their instruments, brutally pummelling them into near mush. Check out ‘Slouching Toward Nirvana‘ we released on our ‘Treacherous Tides’ compilation.

The Hundredth Anniversary 
Brighton’s The Hundredth Anniversary cross the boundaries of ethereal, indie, dreampop & shoegaze. Wrapped in intense, whirling guitars & saturated in enchanting, reverberated vocals from Eleanor Rudge, 100th anniversary sound is beautifully atmospheric, mesmerising and frankly utter brilliant. Defiantly one’s to watch in which the likes of NME are also agreeing. Check them out for yourself plus their Daytrotter session they did very recently.

Grand choruses, tortured vocals, dark atmospheric guitars shadowing and full on fuzz, this quartet distort the lines of doom psychedelia, post punk, surf & grunge. Whilst its’ tough to liken a new outfit, so far Fever remind us of a mix of The Horrors, Arctic Monkeys and Eagulls. With Chris Pedan of Wild Smiles producing them and also being touted as one’s to watch by the NME your immune system will soon too give into Fever.

The Boy I Used To Be
Sun drenched, joyous garage pop with elements of psychedelia and folk, The Boy I Used To Be is like sipping a musical cocktail of the Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Cloud Nothings, Splashh & Kurt Vile. The revamped sound of The Boy I Used To Be started out as a bedroom project of Edward Perry’s & the recordings very quickly headed to our label where we signed ‘I Can’t Stand’ for our compilation 30 minutes after it was recorded. Certainly one Portsmouth’s finest musical talents.

It’s a bank holiday so come down and enjoy Easter the way it’s supposed to be, partying with some of the raddest new bands in the U.K all for a paltry four pound entry.

Is Bliss Host Blissco At Bar 56 Friday 20th December

Tonight sees Is Bliss host ‘Blissco’ a free party at Bar Fifty-Six on Albert Road along with Ricky Fitts and Purr which will include blissful, reverberated hazed out vocals, a tornado of whirling guitars, explosive fuzz, an intense, face melting textured wall of noise and brutal anarchic sludge like thrash punk perfect for creating a riot fuelled mosh pit.

The event of course features one of the U.K’s promising new bands, Is Bliss who blur the lines between shoegaze, dreampop, grunge, doom psychedelia and post punk and have had a very positive 2013 with the release of their debut single ‘Desire’ as well as gaining praise and support from the likes of NME, Sexbeat and Amazing Radio. They were also very recently featured on the legendary Seattle station KEXP’s latest podcast. With an EP and tour forthcoming in the New Year, Is Bliss look set to bow out of 2013 in their hometown with a deafening bang. Also on the bill are label family and Portsmouth’s hottest new prospect who in such a short time are already proving to be one of the finest live bands around, thrash punk/grunge/sludge duo Rickyfitts. The 2 piece are set to blow the roof off of Bar Fifty-Six, smashing their instruments along the intoxicating journey that is their live set. You can catch ‘Slouching Toward Nirvana’ here released earlier this week on our Strong Island Recordings label. Purr, recently in the NME Radar will be bringing their alluring, charm like dreamy pop, shoegaze sound reminiscent of the nicer side of My Bloody Valentine with a hint of Cocteau Twins and also the delightful Melody’s Echo Chamber. Bands start around 8pm and finish around 10.30pm with Is Bliss members also deejaying afterwards. The event promises to be a great one, showcasing some of the area’s finest talent making waves outside of the PO postcode.

Gland Rock At The Southsea Social Club 7th December For Feel Yourself

Strong Island RecordingsPie & Vinyl, Champagne Justice and Beach Community  have teamed up to curate a monster Christmas charity one day music festival being ‘Gland Rock’ where all profits go to local charity Feel Yourself.

Gland Rock takes place at the Southsea Social Club on the 7th December and it’s a monster line up featuring the likes of the  Esben & The Witch, Wild Smiles (who supported The Rolling Stones at Hyde Park this summer), Blood Sport, Dead Rabbits, Ricky Fitts, Halo Halo, Shudder Pulps, You’re Smiling Now But We’ll All Turn Into Demons, The Hundredth Anniversary, Witching Waves, The Red Cords, Che Ga Zebra  and Strong Island Recordings own Yoofs plus more amazing acts still yet to be announced. The event takes place across two stages and tickets are a mere £10 and will go on sale soon at Pie & Vinyl and other outlets. The event will also host prizes and food so we all hope to make the event a fun filled, festive themed party with some great well known and local bands raising money for a great cause.

Here is some information about who we are supporting:

“The campaign was started by Maddie Wallace while she being treated for breast cancer. With no family history and no previous health problems, Maddie never bothered to check herself for lumps. Then one day she bumped into a friend – also a younger woman – who had just undergone chemotherapy for breast cancer, and that friend reminded Maddie how important it is to check yourself regularly. That probably saved her life.

Feel Yourself Campaign aims to promote awareness in younger men and women about the importance of checking for breast and testicular cancer. Both of these types of cancer are on the increase and catching them early is the key to successful treatment. Setting a reminder on your phone for a weekly check of your assets should not only be an essential part of your beauty or health regime, it could also save your life!”

You can follow Gland Rock on Twitter and more loads more details on the event and the bands involved can be found on Facebook HERE.

Feel Yourself (2)

Drunken Sailor Preview Part 13 – Arrows Of Love

Arrows of Love are the ultimate riot, mosh party band and they’re also the band who helped kick of the Strong Island Recordings label last year with the ‘Conspiracy Podcast’ 7” single so it’s only right they return to their home away from home and headline our stage once again. Since releasing ‘Conspiracy Podcast’ they have had another single out The Knife, destroyed the Great Escape festival, main staged Truck Festival which they gained high praise from the likes of Artrocker and Music Trespass (who gave the guy very high praise), toured Europe, headlined Nonsolorock Festival in Italy and are about to release an album currently being mastered by the legendary Bob Weston of Shellac who also was the assistant engineer on the classic ‘Utero’ album from a certain band called Nirvana.

Arrows of Love cross between punk and grunge and create a trashy, noise fueled set where they take over and utilise as much as the venue as possible. Through the whole set they’re engaging with the crowd while destroying everything in their path. They’re really not for the feint of heart and are a total experience which is why Kerrang labelled AOL as one of the most engaging new bands in 2013. They’re also the most down to earth, humble and nicest guys and girls you could meet so we really can’t wait to have them back.

You can catch Arrows Of Love headline our stage upstairs at the Southsea Social Club at Southsea Fest at 22.00.

Photos from Arrows of Love at The One Eyed Dog (1)

Photos from Arrows of Love at The One Eyed Dog (2)

Photos from Arrows of Love at The One Eyed Dog (3)

Drunken Sailor Preview Part 12 – The Black Tambourines

Danceable garage/surf punk outfit from Falmouth The Black Tambourines are going to be seriously fun and we’re very stoked to have them playing our stage. Having released their amazing ‘Chica EP’ a while back The Black Tambournines have just released their debut LP on Art Is Hard Records. You can listen to ‘Crosseyed’ premiered on Clash Magazine HERE. Great things are expected from these guys so catch them while you can. If you’re a fan of The Cramps, Fidlar, Bass Drum of Death, Thee oh Sees or Boneyards then these are the guys for you!

You can catch The Black Tambourines at 21.10 upstairs of the Southsea Social Club at Southsea Fest.

The Black Tambourines

Drunken Sailor Preview Part 11 – Slowcoaches

Slowcoaches are the ultimate DIY riot band, intertwining elements of skate punk, grunge to noise pop the Nottingham/London based outfit are going to be bringing it to the south coast for sure. Recently completing their line up adding Neil from Mazes on drums, Slowcoaches are defiantly a band to keep an eye out for. Releasing material on the likes of Tye Die Tapes with the ‘We’re So Heavy EP’ as well as Art Is Hard and touring the likes of Poland  we’re really stoked to have this gnarly 3 piece outfit destroy our party.

Slowcoaches will be playing the Southsea Social Club at Southsea Fest on the 14th September at 20.20pm.

Slowcoaches (1)

Slowcoaches (2)

Drunken Sailor Preview Part 10 – Is Bliss

Strong Island Recordings’ own Is Bliss are a 4 piece shoegaze/dreampop/grunge outfit creating a beautiful melodic wall of noises. They create an appropriate ‘blissful’ sound with amazing textures creeping through while at the same time are as intense as any band going. Is Bliss’s sound seemingly takes influence from My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive with a hint of Nirvana and Jesus & Mary Chain, rabid yet docile, Is Bliss are an experience. With their debut single ‘Desire’ to be released on the 30th September by Strong Island Recordings supported by Shell Zenner on Amazing Radio and having played the likes of Blissfields, Victorious and the Alternative Escape as well as supporting Nine Black Alps, The History Of Apple Pie, Wolf Alice and shoegaze legends Robin Guthrie and Mark Gardener, Is Bliss are ones to watch for sure, keep an eye out for the flying guitar.

Is Bliss will be playing upstairs at The Southsea Social Club at Southsea Fest in what is possibly their last hometown show for a little while at 19.30pm.

Drunken Sailor Preview Part 9 – The Physics House Band

One of our headliners is maniacal, mind boggling space math rock Brighton trio The Physics House Band who are going to create queues of one in one out and for very good reason. Clocking up festivals this year from numerous full capacity shows at The Great Escape as well as playing the likes of 2000 Trees, Y Not Festival & Truck Festival and also releasing their amazing Horizons/Rapture EP these guys are really not to be missed. Their EP as well as live sets have been deservedly getting wide spread praise. We briefly caught the guys at The Great Escape this year but the venue was too full for the band so we couldn’t see anything and decided we wanted the full experience at Southsea Fest. A couple of reviews from friends who have been fortunate enough said that they may as well give up music, they’re that good. If you’re unaware of these then if you like Gallops, Tall Ships or Three Trapped Tigers then these guys are for you. Or if you just like music..

The Physics House Band play upstairs of the Southsea Social Club at 18.40pm at Southsea Fest.

Physics House Band

Drunken Sailor Preview Part 8 – Playlounge

Playlounge are a London based thrash/noise pop duo with a sound reminiscent of some of our favorites such as Japandroids, No Age and Husker Du. It’s amped up party music turned to 11, throw your beer in the air while you high five your friends who are in the middle of a crowd surf while you are being crushed and tossed around in a rabid mosh pit. You know what I mean.

The guys are set for big things after touring Europe with Johnny Foreigner as you can see in their tour diary on This Is Fake DIY and releasing numerous 12” and & 7” across various labels such as Art Is Hard, Fear & Records and Reeks of Effort. This is a band you can say you saw on the corner of Southsea one day. You can catch their latest track recently supported by Jon Hilcock on 6 Music HERE.

Playlounge are set to play upstairs of the Southsea Social Club at Southsea Fest at 17.40pm.

Drunken Sailor Preview Part 7 -Tyrannosaurus Dead

Part 7 of our ‘Drunken Sailor’ Southsea Fest previews features the amazing Brighton based Tyrannosaurus Dead who we’re very fortunate and  seriously psyched to be bringing over to celebrate our first birthday. The guys also headlined our first London label party and are set to feature on a compilation we’re releasing in the very near future so it makes perfect sense to have Tyrannosaurus Dead play our stage. The guys cross between fuzz filled pop and garage with element of shoegaze and grunge with super catchy choruses.

Tyrannosaurus Dead are set for big things with numerous releases including their Pure/Apart 12″ release on Odd Box Records and ‘Bed Dread’ 7″ on American label Bleeding Gold Records very recently.

We can’t wait for this 5 piece to brew up some mosh pits come Southsea Fest. T Dead play upstairs of the Social Club at 16.50pm at Southsea Fest.


A Kind of Conjuration at the Cellars

You would think witch trails a thing of the distant past. However, during the second world war a woman was tried and convicted under the ancient Witchcraft Act.

A play about the trial was performed at The Cellars at Eastney last week. Local theatre companies New Apollo and Cop The Needle brought audiences A Kind of Conjuration. This hour-long theatre piece, directed by Steve Pitt, featured a group of five actors, and was based on the real-life trial of Scottish medium Helen Duncan in 1944, for events that took place in Portsmouth.

The intimacy of the venue worked well for the subject matter, and enabled the performers and audience to connect in a way that isn’t possible in larger venues. When the judge, played by Christopher Marlowe, addressed the jury during the court scene, he spoke to the audience as if they were the jury, making them feel involved in the action.

Angie Lily was fantastic in the court scene, nipping backstage to change elements of costume in-between each character, resulting in a highly entertaining whirlwind of at least five different characters (and accents) testifying in quick succession. Henry Oastler was on comedic top form for his appearance in the court scene, displaying subtle character traits such as a tuck of the chin, transforming him completely from his other role in the play as a newspaper journalist. James Kirby and Tim Lowe also gave entertaining performances.

Writers Stuart Olesker and John Stanton incorporated excerpts from the original court transcript, adding authenticity to this brilliant piece. A highly refreshing and thought provoking performance.

A Kind of Conjuration will next be performed at the Square Tower on 25th June as part of Portsmouth Festivities. (Doors open at 7pm, performance starts at 8pm). On this occasion the play will be preceded by a monologue from the late Harry Price, ghostbuster extraordinary. Tickets from 023 9282 6249 or 023 9273 6288 or online:


Ashley Harley in Portsmouth News:
“a little gem”
“hauntingly good”
“not to be missed”
“solid direction”

Heather James in Portsmouth News:
“I was riveted”
“very witty and entertaining”

David Richards of Remote Goat:
“a sellout”
“a joy to watch”
“superb performances”
“a very high degree of professionalism”
“a very effective mix of the serious and the comedic”
“another triumph and a thoroughly enjoyable evening”

The original flyer for the show at The Cellars

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 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




B Of The Bang


B Of The Bang

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

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 or find out more about the Southsea Shakespeare Actors at