A journey through Britain’s radical tradition of utopian art and politics. The performance of music and readings spans 350 years from The Diggers to Bruce Springsteen, and captures the spirit of hope and vision that once transformed the nation. Music performed by Chris Ellis and Rosie Toll.
The prolific and inspiring creator of game-changing books, comics, films and songs talks about his work. His latest book is Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances.
Author Michael Morpurgo is joined by actress Alison Reid, violinist Daniel Pioro and The Storyteller’s Ensemble (a quartet of strings). Together they interweave words and music, to tell his haunting tale of survival against the odds, set against the background of the Holocaust. Adapted and directed by Simon Reade.
‘It is difficult for us to imagine how dreadful was the suffering that went on in the Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War. The enormity of the crime that the Nazis committed is just too overwhelming for us to comprehend. In their attempt to wipe out an entire race they caused the death of six million people, most of them Jews. It is when you hear the stories of the individuals who lived through it – Anne Frank, Primo Levi – that you can begin to understand the horror just a little better, and to understand the evil that caused it.
‘For me, the most haunting image does not come from literature or film, but from music. I learned some time ago that in many of the camps the Nazis selected Jewish prisoners and forced them to play in orchestras; for the musicians it was simply a way to survive. In order to calm the new arrivals at the camps, they were made to serenade them as they were lined up and marched off, many to the gas chambers. Often they played Mozart.
‘I wondered how it must have been for a musician who played in such hellish circumstances, who adored Mozart as I do – what thoughts came when playing Mozart later in life? This was the genesis of my story, this and the sight of a small boy in a square by the Accademia Bridge in Venice, sitting one night, in his pyjamas on his tricycle, listening to a busker. He sat totally enthralled by the music that seemed to him, and to me, to be heavenly.’ Michael Morpurgo.
The day after the première, members of the Welsh National Opera creative team and cast discuss their bicentenary production of Wagner’s great opera – a sublime confrontation between good and evil set on an epic symphonic scale.
The internationally renowned and ‘exhilaratingly dangerous’ poet teams up with her singer-songwriter daughter Fflur Dafydd in a memorable evening of poetry and song to celebrate her new bilingual collection.
The avant-garde musician, conceptual artist and pornographic model discusses her candid, taboo-breaking and fascinating autobiography with the musician John Grant.
One of pop music’s most enduring figures talks about his life, through the heady early days of Punk and 2-Tone, to the Eighties, where Madness became the biggest selling singles band of the decade. Along the way he tells us what it’s like to grow up in sixties Soho, go globetrotting with your best mates, make a dead pigeon fly and cause an earthquake in Finsbury Park. He talks to Martin Chilton.
The charismatic Glaswegian co-founded the Creation label at the age of 23 and brought us acts like My Bloody Valentine, House of Love, Ride and, of course, Primal Scream. In Manchester the label leapt into the big time with Screamadelica and then went global with Oasis.
The legendary Stranglers songwriter, vocalist and guitarist plays an intimate acoustic concert reworking some of his greatest hits, classic solo material and songs from his critically-acclaimed new album Totem And Taboo.
Everything But The Girl made nine albums and sold nine million records. One half of the band (with her husband Ben Watt), Thorn gives a wry look at the realities of a pop career. There are thrills and wonders to be experienced, yes, but also moments of doubt, mistakes, violent lifestyle changes from luxury to squalor and back again, sometimes within minutes. Also see event 67
The first ever biography of one of the most enduring and mysterious stars of the twentieth century shows a star adrift in a bewildering new America torn apart by the Civil Rights movement. Shunned by many of her former friends, shocked by her country’s insidious racism, and with a perilously fragile sense of her own identity.
Why a systematic music education should be at the heart of every child’s early educational experience. Examples from contemporary approaches to music education will be shared, and recent political events that have threatened these approaches will be analysed. Chaired by Martin Chilton.
One of the world’s leading conductors presents his portrait of Johann Sebastian Bach. How can such sublime work have been produced by a man who seems so ordinary, so opaque – and occasionally so intemperate? Chaired by Clemency Burton-Hill.
The music therapist specialises in working with people at the end of their lives; he presents and discusses work created by his clients over the last 10 years. Chaired by David Barnard.