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Theatre and Dance

Five Beaches Play & Photography Talk on Remembrance Sunday at the D-Day Museum

This Remembrance Sunday on the 9th of November will see the D-Day Museum in Southsea play host to a new play entitled Five Beaches telling the story of the landing at Normandy on D-Day, 6 June 1944 using veterans’ words where possible. The play is a fast paced, stylised piece of theatre performed by an all-male ensemble that follows the soldiers across the channel and onto the approaches of each of the five landing beaches in Normandy.

Originally written to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the play contains a mixture of humour and pathos interlaced with choral elements. The running time is 30 minutes and is being performed by a group of actors from Bay House School, Gosport. The performance times are 3pm & 4pm and admission to the play is free, but a donation of £3 per person towards the work of Bay House School’s drama department is welcome.

As well as the play there will also be 30-minute photographer talks at 12pm and 2pm entitled ‘D-Day – The Last of the Liberators’ with a collection of portraits of some of the last veterans of the Normandy landings retracing their steps seventy years later. Photographer Robin Savage displays and discusses his favourite photographs from his new book (find out more about the book HERE), which depicts veterans at locations in Nornandy that are particularly significant to their own experiences. No booking required.

Find out more at:

www.ddaymuseum.co.uk

Five Beaches

D-Day The Last of the Liberators
Photo by Robin Savage

House Of Burlesque

Joe Blacks and his House of Burlesque is coming to the Kings Theatre this Sunday from 7:30pm. He’ll be brining with him laughs, flamboyant costumes, innuendo, the slightly bizarre and of course beautiful ladies.

For information on how you can buy tickets check out the Facebook Event HERE.

Featuring: Anna Fur Laxis, The Lounge Kittens, Natalia Kalashnikov, Rubyyy Jones, Lilly Laudanum, Betty Blue-Eyes, Kiki Lovechild and Terms of Unnervement. With the evening hosted by Joe Black acting as facilitator of good times.

Anna Fur Laxis
Anna Fur Laxis

The Lounge Kittens ‘I Don’t Want to Miss A Thing (Aerosmith cover)’
House of Burlesque

Making Waves Film Festival | Strange Factories

Strange Factories will be screened at the Kings Theatre next Wednesday as part of the Making Waves Film Festival. This will be an event with a difference, during the showing of the film, the scenes will be played out by the actors simultaneously on stage and around the theatre. This immersive experience is a must see for fans of theatre and cinema.

The film tells the story of a writer, Victor who awakens alone having fled a mysterious fire that consumed a theatre with his band of performers, and becomes obsessed by his unfinished story. He journeys into dreamlike places, all the while haunted by visions from the infamous hum of the Strange Factory. Upon finding his troupe under the wing of an aristocratic noble, he learns of the enigmatic Stronheim, who offers to rebuild Victor’s theatre, so long as he finds the ending to his story…

If you would like to attend this event then you can reserve your ticket HERE.

Strange Factories – Trailer from FoolishPeople on Vimeo.

Strange Factories Poster Graphic Version

Avenue Q Competition Winners

Tonight the Tony Award winning musical Avenue Q is opens it’s week long stretch at the Kings Theatre. The kind folks at the Kings Theatre have donated a pair of tickets for us to give away for a performance of your choice. All you had to do to win was email with your answer to the following question.

Q) Name any of the three Tony Awards that Avenue Q has previously won.
A) Best Musical, Best Book and Best Original Score

The lucky winner is Hayley Reeves.

Created by Jeff Marx and Robert Lopez (Co-creator of Book Of Mormon and writer of the songs for Disney’s Frozen), Avenue Q is a laugh-out-loud musical that tells the story of a recent college graduate named Princeton, who moves into a shabby New York apartment all the way out on Avenue Q. Where he meets Kate (the girl next door), Rod (the Republican), Trekkie (the internet sexpert), Lucy The Slut and other colorful types who help Princeton finally discover his true purpose in life!

You can purchase tickets from the the Kings Theatre website HERE.

AvenueQNEW_large

Avenue Q Comes To The Kings Theatre

Avenue Q, the winner of the Tony Awards ‘Triple Crown’ for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book is coming to the Kings Theatre, Portsmouth on 8th – 12th Sep 2014.

Created by Jeff Marx and Robert Lopez (Co-creator of Book Of Mormon and writer of the songs for Disney’s Frozen), Avenue Q is a laugh-out-loud musical that tells the story of a recent college graduate named Princeton, who moves into a shabby New York apartment all the way out on Avenue Q. Where he meets Kate (the girl next door), Rod (the Republican), Trekkie (the internet sexpert), Lucy The Slut and other colorful types who help Princeton finally discover his true purpose in life!

Following five years in the West End and sell-out runs internationally this hugely entertaining show is hitting the road on a brand new tour.

This is a great opportunity to see one of the best loved comedy shows on our own doorstep. You can purchase tickets from the the Kings Theatre website HERE.

AVENUE-Q

AvenueQNEW_large

Here to be Performed by Southsea Shakespeare Actors at Rosie’s Vineyard from 28th to 30th July

Do you fancy seeing a spot of theatre and supporting a fledgling director, all in the lovely setting of Rosie’s wine bar? Jennie Rawling, our strong island contributor for all things theatre and literature, is directing Michael Frayn’s play Here for the Southsea Shakespeare Actors (SSA), to be performed at Rosie’s wine bar tonight, tomorrow and Wednesday at 8pm.

The play follows the daily life of Cath and Phil, a young couple who move into a studio flat, as they bicker, banter and struggle to stay on the same page while creating their own little space. All this happens amidst the rather inconveniently-timed interruptions from the landlady living downstairs, Pat.

We spoke to Jennie about the rehearsal process, drama school, and how she feels to be directing to the public for the first time:

Why did you choose this play to direct? Isn’t the SSA a Shakespeare company?
Our main focus is Shakespeare (Southsea Shakespeare Actors – the name says it all!), but we also try to put on smaller, more contemporary productions throughout the year. It’s a good way of showcasing our work to people who may be normally put off by Shakespeare, and it gives our actors a chance to try something different.

I came across Here when I was looking for audition pieces for drama school – it didn’t have any big enough chunks that I could use as a monologue for Cath, but I loved the banter between the couple and thought I’d like to have a go at directing it. I love the way it exposes the minutae of daily live in a couple living together – I think there’s something everyone who’s ever lived with a partner will recognise in Cath and Phil’s to-ing and fro-ing.

This is your first time directing to the public – how does it feel?
A bit terrifying! I directed an in-house production for the Southsea Shakespeare Actors a few years ago but as that was just to company members and friends it was less scary. There’s so much more to think about when you’re directing to the public at an external venue, and more logistical issues to sort out. There’s also the company’s reputation to uphold!

Here to be Performed by Southsea Shakespeare Actors at Rosie's Vineyard from 28th to 30th July (3)

Were there any challenges you faced along the way?
Yes! There are always challenges with any production, because you never have everything perfect (set, venue, timing, props, budget), so you just have to think around any problems and be creative. In the play there’s a scene where Cath and Phil are wearing identical jumpers, and at one point they’re both in the same jumper. So we needed to find two matching jumpers but in slightly different sizes – easy, right? Not so easy when you’re trying to buy big stretchy jumpers in the middle of June! After nearly garrotting Faye, who plays Cath, several times with one jumper, we finally found a pair of v-necks that fit the bill.

We also needed a threadbare toy dog – Theodore – which features heavily in the play. We managed to find one in a charity shop but he looked too pristine, so we were discussing how to mucky him up a bit and maybe tear an ear and I realised I just couldn’t do it. I guess the big kid in me couldn’t bear the thought of ‘hurting’ a soft toy haha. It’s become a bit of a joke – the others had to inflict the matting of fur with paint and toothpaste and coffee on him as I chickened out.

You can read a bit about Theodore and find out what we got up to in rehearsals on the SSA blog at ssaproductionblog.wordpress.com.

Here to be Performed by Southsea Shakespeare Actors at Rosie's Vineyard from 28th to 30th July (2)

You’ll be going to drama school in September to do the MA Acting at East 15 acting school. Do you think you’ll return to directing once you’re a professional actor?
Definitely, if I have the opportunity to. I want to focus on acting, but I really enjoying the directing process as well. It’s a different kind of creativity, and I like the project management side of it. Plus you get the opportunity to work with some very talented actors and guide them through the process whilst trying to get the best out of them.

Here is showing at Rosie’s Vineyard, Elm Grove, 28th–30th July, 8pm. Tickets: £9 (£7 students and unwaged). Book online at ssa.ticketsource.co.uk, or for more information go to www.southseashakespeareactors.com.

Here to be Performed by Southsea Shakespeare Actors at Rosie's Vineyard from 28th to 30th July (1)

Joe Wells and Chris Coltrane Fringe Preview Show

This Wednesday night from 7:30pm you can catch a preview of Joe Wells and Chris Coltrane’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival show at the Square Tower, Old Portsmouth.

Joe Wells – Night of the Living Tories
When there’s no more room in hell, The Conservative party will walk the earth!

Critically acclaimed stand-up comedian, and New Theatre Royal Associate, Joe Wells (Alexei Sayle tour support, No Pressure To Be Funny podcast, Amnesty International’s Human TV) digs up the grisly past of the Tory party. Sell-out show Brighton Fringe 2013 and Leicester Comedy Festival 2014. ‘Some of the most surprising and thought-provoking material coming from any comedian in his early 20s’ (Guardian). ‘A skilled jokesmith who threads great gags through intelligent political material’ (Comedy.co.uk). Warning: this show contains graphic descriptions of Michael Gove.

Chris Coltrane – There’s No Heros Left Except For All Of Us
Join comedian and activist Chris Coltrane for an hour of uplifting, Tory-smashing political comedy!

The world is corrupt, politicians are garbage, but we are awesome! Let Coltrane show you how to use activism and fun to kick the bad guys out, and make the world a better place. A show for people who like silliness, social justice, feminism and joy. Come for jokes, stay for revolution! (Scotsman). (Chortle.co.uk). (Skinny). * (ThreeWeeks). ‘One of a few comedians who are the future of British political comedy’ (Mark Thomas).

For more information on how you can get a ticket, check out the New Theatre Royal website HERE.

Joe Wells & Chris Coltrane Edinburgh Fringe Preview

New Theatre Royal and Shakespeare’s Globe Present… King Lear

Following the success of last year’s all-female performance of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, the New Theatre Royal and Shakespeare’s Globe present King Lear between 3rd-5th July. The production itself will be an open air showing in the City Museum Gardens.

Playing the eponymous King will be Joseph Marcell, best known to UK audiences as ‘Geoffrey’, the acerbic and witty butler in the hit show, ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’. Joseph has since gone on to become one of the most respected stage actors in the country.

To book your ticket, visit online box office at www.newtheatreroyal.com, or call the New Theatre Royal on 02392 649 000.

NTR King Lear

A Kind Of Conjuration Returns

Earlier this year New Apollo and Cop the Needle brought us ‘A Kind of Conjuration’, a play based on the 1944 Portsmouth trial of medium Helen Duncan, who was accused under the 1735 Witchcraft Act of ‘a kind of conjuration’. As part of Portsmouth Festivities, audiences will have another chance to see the performance this Wednesday at The Square Tower in Old Portsmouth, this time with the addition of a prelude featuring ghost hunter Harry Price. We had a quick chat with Stuart Olesker, one of the writers on the project.

The play is based on a true story – why did you choose this particular story to tell?

The notion of the trial was certainly intriguing. The discovery that the plaintiff was nationally acclaimed and with local connections was even more intriguing.

My collaborator, John Stanton, and I are founders of Cop the Needle Productions which specialises in dramatising curious and lesser known lives and events associated with Portsmouth’s multifaceted character. Here was a story about beliefs, deception, careless talk, wartime paranoia, and the distortions in the reporting of truth. The courtroom scenes in the play are verbatim dialogue from the trial. The exchanges between prosecutor and witness were, we thought, so bizarre that we could not improve on the original – so we left those bits in as ‘verbatim theatre’. The rest is our invention.

What attracts you to using a true story as the basis for a performance?

We have found that audiences never tire of hearing stories about their own city or of discovering unusual tales that require merely writers, actors and a director to bring them to life. In this we are lucky to work alongside New Apollo who ensure that the results are lively, memorable and true to the spirit of their sources.

Since its performance at The Cellars, Eastney earlier this year, you’ve added a prelude where ghost hunter Harry Price tells of his experiences while investigating the psychic claims of Helen Duncan. Why did you think the piece needed this addition?

Harry Price was a colourful individual in the 20s, 30s and 40s who, like his friend Harry Houdini, was a tireless investigator into the claims of mediums and ghost watchers. He could spot frauds – while himself being accused of fraudulent practice. He was at first convinced – and then dismissive – of the claims of Helen Duncan. Indeed he was continually changing his attitude from belief to scepticism – and back – throughout his life. As he saw it, he and Helen Duncan had much in common: a wish to believe in the supernatural, a desire for attention and the acuity of the performer/entertainer. The addition of a prologue by ‘Harry Price’ is essentially to place the trial in its historical and social context.

25 June 2014, The Square Tower, Old Portsmouth
Doors: 7pm, Show:8pm. Tickets: £10 advance, £12 on the door
Tickets available from www.thecellars.co.uk, but hurry, there are only a limited number left!

Henry Oastler in A Kind of Conjuration

Henry Oastler in A Kind of Conjuration

House Of Burlesque – Competition

Over last weekend we offered you the chance to win two tickets House Of Burlesque at the Kings Theatre this Saturday. All you had to do to was answer a question inspired by the host Joe Black. Which Arrested Development star who was also in the movie Meet Joe Black? The correct answer was b) Jeffrey Tambor.

The lucky winner is Jocelynne Kingsford.

If you have never been to any of these shows then you are certainly missing out, they are a lot of fun and the audience often get into the spirit by wearing their best suits and most glamorous dresses. If you would like to go then you can purchase tickets from the Kings Theatre directly or via their website HERE.

House Of Burlesque

The line up on the evening includes the following characters;

The Boy With Tape On His Face – International mime sensation. As seen on ‘The Royal Variety Performance’ and the ‘BBC Comedy Proms’ at the Royal Albert Hall. It is with an astounding pleasure to bring his deliriously brilliant performance to the Kings Theatre for one night only!!

Lili La Scala – Sensational songstress and operatic diva.

Cherry Shakewell – Burlesque powerhouse and mistress of the tassel twirl.

Coco Deville – Glamazon showgirl. Feathers, lycra, glitter… Not a dry seat will be left in the house.

Coco Deville
Coco Deville by Emmest Photography

Jackie Le – Circus girl, aerial acrobat and contortionist extraordinaire.

Rio – Direct from New York City USA. We see the return of the belly dance whirlwind herself. Hips that just won’t stop!

House Of Grand Parade – Drags newest unnatural disaster. Turning female impersonation on its wig.

Terms Of Unnervement – Resident double act. Concerning, sexy and somewhat confusing.

Joe Black
Joe Black by Infinity Photographic

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Vintage Old Portsmouth Photograph

We’ve not had a vintage photograph for quite a while on Strong Island, and this one is a winner. This photo of the Round Tower in Old Portsmouth was taken in 1958 by Mark Kauffman for LIFE Magazine. Click this LINK for a larger version.

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Thanks to Jubru for sending this over.

Southsea & Portsmouth Guide

Local photographer Steve Bomford recently sent over a series of scans from the 1926 Official Publication of the Southsea Beach & Publicity Committee Portsmouth Corporation book ‘Southsea & Portsmouth’.

‘It is of little use to invite intending holiday makers to a town, unless there are attractions to offer, under all conditions of our notorious fickle ‘English’ climate. We do not make the statement that the sun shines every day at Southsea, but records show that we do get the maximum amount of sunny hours. Last year again, 1,923 hours were recorded, the highest number (with one exception) in the United Kingdom. Admitting that the question of sunshine is an important one, it is contended that a holiday resort must have other attractions, such as charming amenities, efficient public services, splendid variety of amusements, good facilities for all outdoor sports, and a good selection of cheap excursions and places of historical interest, to make a general appeal to those who are seeking a health-giving and enjoyable holiday.”

I love all the old hand drawn adverts and especially like the ‘medically recommended’ page. Where the sun lingers longer. Couldn’t be closer to the truth still to this day. It’s a shame the ‘most artistic cafe in Southsea’ is no longer in operation and the amount of people gathered on South Parade beach is incredible. Be sure to check out the full set with over 80 pages of photos, adverts and chapters all about Portsmouth & Southsea over at Steve’s Flickr HERE. A really interesting read if you like your history. And we know you do.

Snow, Snow, Snow

Snow hit Southsea pretty hard last night and it snowing again this morning. Good luck to everyone battling the elements to get to work, college, school, etc today. Here are a few photos from last night, if you have any please pop a link to them in the comments, we would love to see them.

Adam Wintle (see more here):

Adam Wintle

Adam Wintle

Elizabeth Bick (see more here):

Elizabeth Bick

Elizabeth Bick

Local Photographer – David Jacobs

Based in Chichester but a constant visitor to Southsea, Portsmouth, Hayling and all of the Chichester harbour area, David Jacobs’ photos capture the warmth of the local light and and the inspiring natural views of the local landscape and coastline. To see more of David’s photos be sure to click ‘Read More’ below and check David’s Flickr.

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Hayling

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