****FINE AND DANDY by Sue Frumin at Kings Head Theatre

Sea-Change Theatre Company give us a new version of Sue Frumin’s exhilarating, bold and ever-so slightly mad comedy, concerning the picaresque adventures of a Wandering Jew at the turn of the 20th Century, in a production more representative of the whole LGBTQI community than in its previous incarnations.

In the lead role of Ernest Faigele Fine, Dani Singer delivers a likeable line in innocent bewilderment as they encounter an array of showbiz villains and heroes on their journey from parental abandonment towards self-discovery, kinship and acceptance at the heart of British Music Hall. They bring an assured centredness to the evening’s rambunctious proceedings.

Stylised staging (shades of Steven Berkoff) allows the seven strong cast to deftly navigate the small acting area at the Kings Head, switching from land to sea to land again, as the action quickly moves from Russia to America, via Liverpool, Manchester, Blackpool and France. Great credit here goes to director Lil Warren, who keeps the frenetic pace going throughout, while eliciting up-front, high octane performances from her fully committed Troupe.

Tamsin Omund gives an energetic performance as the eponymous Dandy, who falls in love with Ernest. Anca Vaida is noteworthy not only as a ringmaster but for also skilfully embodying a serpent that comes to an unfortunate end. Worth a mention too is Sarah Warren’s Lulu, Fine and Dandy’s Glaswegian nemesis.


A slowing of the pace at times might have allowed the audience to absorb the many plot twists in Ernest’s episodic odyssey (characters often come and go at a confusing rate) but this could be first night adrenaline.

Anyway, it’s a small caveat. In a play that dares to merge song, dance, slapstick, snake charming, mime, shamanism, queer topics, music hall and a particularly winning version of ‘When I’m Cleaning Windows’ in Yiddish, what brilliantly shines through is fine, gender-fluid ensemble acting and a celebration of the historical inclusiveness of theatre.

KINGS HEAD THEATRE, Islington 6th – 11th Aug, as part of the Kings Head Queer Season

Tickets for Fine And Dandy

Images by Ray Malone Photography

Paul McNeilly 

Bubble & Squeak Theatre Collective

 

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FREE HALF TERM WORKSHOPS AT HOXTON HALL

Unity Arts and Hoxton Hall will be delivering FREE half term workshops for 7-10s and 11-19s  at Hoxton Hall during the May Half Term.

The workshops called HACKNEY DISSENT  will run

Tuesday 28 – Friday 31 May from 1030 – 330

and include sessions in drama, movement, arts and performance poetry. We will finish the week with a performance for an invited audience.

All who come to the workshops will also be taken on a trip to Dr Johnson’s House in Fleet Street and all work made during the week will be included in a book in both printed and online versions and everyone will receive a copy.

If you would like to register for a FREE place please complete this form

HACKNEY DISSENT WORKSHOPS FORM

or contact Grace at Hoxton Hall grace@hoxtonhall.co.uk

 

WE CELEBRATE WOLLSTONECRAFT’S 260TH BIRTHDAY!

This weekend marks the 260th Birthday of Mary Wollstonecraft!

Unity Arts, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, are hosting two events to mark this important date.

On 27th April we will meet at 1230, each light a candle. At 1pm we will, sing and eat cake and live stream our presence at the proposed site of the Wollstonecraft statue on Newington Green.
At the same moment Professor Anna Birch will be presenting her Wollstonecraft film at Old St Pancras Church – the final resting place of the author of A Vindication Of The Rights Of Woman. Please wear white or pale blue.

FREE tickets here 27 April Birthday

On 28th April our FREE family event on Newington Green will include a small installation, some Live Performances and CAKE!

FREE tickets here 28 April Birthday

See you there!

MAIN IMAGE USED BY KIND PERMISSION OF STEWY

 

JOELLE TAYLOR TO LEAD POETRY WORKSHOPS

Unity Arts  are offering FREE evening workshops (with extra daytime activities an option) for Over 18s  with renowned SLAM POET Joelle Taylor.

These sessions are part of a workshop week HACKNEY DISSENT (which will also run workshops for 7-10s and 11-18s)  at Hoxton Hall and other East London venues.

These various activities will take place in sessions over the week  of 27 May – 1 June  with performances at

Hoxton Hall and Dr Johnson’s House

We have invited Joelle Taylor to lead workshops for Over 18s in order to support creating spoken and written poetry of dissent.

Joelle Taylor is an award-winning poet, playwright, author and editor. She has performed across the UK as well as internationally, both for the British Council (Zimbabwe, Brazil, Botswana, Australia and Singapore) and on solo projects across Europe.

A former UK slam champion, she founded the national youth slam championships SLAMbassadors in 2001 for the Poetry Society and was its Artistic Director and National Coach until 2018.

As an educator she has lead workshops and residencies in schools, prisons, youth centres, refugee groups, and other settings for organisations including the        Poetry Society, the British Council, Arvon Foundation and English PEN.

She featured on TEDx Talks and Outsider Lectures, and was recently awarded a Southbank Centre Change Maker prize, in recognition of her life-changing work on the national youth slams. She has a Fellowship of the Royal Society of the Arts and was longlisted for the 2017 Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship.

This is a wonderful opportunity to learn from a skilled and relevant poet and all work created will also be included in a book and all participants will receive a copy.

PLACES FOR JOELLE TAYLOR WORKSHOPS ARE LIMITED

Please complete the form for more details and an application pack!

BESPOKE TRAINING – Hackney Archives

As part of a week of training and workshops we are offering a FREE Archives Training session  at Hackney Archives Dalston Lane, London E8 3BQ (just above CLR James Library by Dalston Junction Station) on Thursday 25 April 6pm – 730pm.

The head archivist Elizabeth Green will be showing us how archives and primary sources can bring history alive and we will be looking at documents relevant to our research into Mary Wollstonecraft and  our Heritage project

BLUE CIRCLE OF DISSENT

a Marriage Settlement from mid 1700s (a shocking document to the modern eye), minutes from the Unitarian Church where Mary Wollstonecraft was a parishioner, local maps and more.

 

This training deepens understanding of how lives were led and sometimes leads to new discoveries. (e.g previously we have discovered household accounts which told us what was eaten “Upstairs” by the “master” and what was eaten “Downstairs” by the servants).

Places are very limited due to the nature of the session so please email us at unityarts@hotmail.co.uk or complete the form below to book a place

STEWY – Mary Wollstonecraft’s Birthday

Keep your eyes peeled! The Blue Circle Of Dissent Events are happening!

The National Heritage Lottery Fund is supporting us as we host a series of events to celebrate the

260th birthday of Mary Wollstonecraft on 27 & 28 April 2019!

Author of A Vindication Of The Rights Of Woman and member of the congregation at Newington Green Unitarian Church (now New Unity) Wollstonecraft is also to be recognised in Newington Green with a statue.

Mary On The Green are working to make this happen!

The street artist STEWY is allowing us use of his iconic stencil of Hackney Heroine Mary Wollstonecraft.

And here is a short documentary about STEWY’S work and the Newington Green stencil.

STEWY & WOLLSTONECRAFT

BLUE CIRCLE OF DISSENT – Launch 2 Feb

There will be an opportunity to find out more about the HLF funded BLUE CIRCLE OF DISSENT project and to sign up for research trips and training 2 February 2.30 pm – 4.00 pm at St. Mary’s Church (rooms at rear), Stoke Newington N16 9ES.

The project will be researching the lives and times of local heritage heroine Mary Wollstonecraft and leader of The Blue Stocking Society, Elizabeth Montagu.

There will be Refreshments and Start-Up Packs available and at 3.00pm a short talk about the context of the project, some music and some readings from The Vindication Of The Rights Of Women.

“Only that education deserves emphatically to be termed cultivation of the mind which teaches young people how to begin to think”.

Register for a FREE ticket here BLUE CIRCLE OF DISSENT – Launch

ALL WELCOME

HLF Fund Blue Circle Of Dissent!

TWO YEAR COMMUNITY RESEARCH PROJECT RECEIVES HLF SUPPORT!

Unity Arts have successfully bid for a National Lottery grant  from the Heritage Lottery Fund to support a two year project BLUE CIRCLE OF DISSENT. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players.

The project will research the events, works and personalities that surrounded the lives and work of Mary Wollstonecraft and Blue Stockings Society leader, Elizabeth Montagu.

Elizabeth Montagu

Throughout the coming months Unity Arts will be platforming research, talks, training and events. Research visits will include, the National Portrait Gallery, Kenwood House and Strawberry Hill.

Strawberry Hill House

This project will create a series of free events. Events on 27 and 28 April 2019 (including an Outside Event on Newington Green) will be held to commemorate the birthday of radical Mary Wollstonecraft.

Events throughout the project will include an evening of literary presentations at Dr. Johnson’s House off Fleet Street. A community made event with specialist speaker in St Pancras.. An all-day installation at the Foundling Museum and a debate and installation at the Dissenters’ Gallery.

Please contact us for more information.

PATRIOTISM IS NOT ENOUGH – A New Play About Edith Cavell

One of our researchers Thom Jackson-Wood has written a short play based on the life, death and legacy of Edith Cavell (4th December 1865-12th October 1915), which has been shortlisted for the Herts & Essex Playwriting Festival 2019 “Write Here Write Now.” It will be performed at Hertford Theatre on Tuesday 19th February at 7.30pm as part of a showcase of new writing.

Thom researched Edith Cavell during our BRUSSELS AT DAWN project, which ran from 2013-2015, culminating in a commemoration on the centenary of her death on 12th October 2015 at St. Martin-In-The-Fields. Results of that project can be found here. EDITH CAVELL RESOUCES

Rather than tell a simple biopic, Thom has woven a modern-day storyline into the script, featuring Private Aaron Anderson, an angry disabled ex-soldier who now fights battles on Twitter, and is suspicious of everyone.

Thom says of the character “Aaron is a broken young man who has struggled to adapt to civilian life. Feeling forgotten and betrayed by his country, he tries to claim it back by campaigning to leave the EU. But beneath his rage, he is searching for an answer to give his life meaning. The life of Edith Cavell, her progressive attitude to all Europeans, and her selfless acts of bravery and her final words cause him to start rethinking his beliefs – that the world isn’t as black-and-white as he thought.”

Edith Cavell was a British nurse who pioneered modern nursing in Belgium from 1907-1915. When WWI broke out, she stayed in Brussels under German occupation to treat anyone regardless which side they were on in the conflict. However she was arrested by the German military on trumped-up charges on 10th June 1915 and she was imprisoned for ten weeks, then she was shot at dawn on 12th October 1915. Her final recorded words “Patriotism Is Not Enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone” inspired the title of the play.

“Write Here Write Now” is a playwriting competition organised by Contexture Theatre, an arts company based in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire.

 

REMEMBER EDITH CAVELL

Today is the anniversary of the execution in Belgium of WW1 nurse Edith Cavell.

Image created by Dave Roberts which was shown as part of the HLF exhibition at St Martin In The Fields October 2015

Our HLF project BRUSSELS AT DAWN investigated her contribution to nursing and how she ended up in Belgium running a hospital, teaching nursing and why she was arrested for espionage.

Edith Cavell Window at St Olave’s                                            Image by Michael Cheetham

We worked with the Cavell Nurses Trust, The Royal London Hospital, The Florence Nightingale Museum, Belgian Edith Cavell Commemorative Group and the Royal College of Nursing to research this extraordinary woman’s life and her contribution to nursing.

We created a puppet show, exhibitions and have a series of films (including interviews with her descendant Dr Emma Cavell and author Diana Souhami), papers and resources created by both experts and community participants.

Edith Cavell Resources

Every year someone from Unity Arts lays a rose on the Edith Cavell statue in Trafalgar Square on her birthday – 4th December.

We never want her forgotten.