Red Ladder perform their first ever family show, Nicobobinus, heads out on UK tour, including seven Yorkshire venues, and ‘We’re Not Going Back’ returns by popular demand.
For those who may have missed Yorkshire’s favourite radical theatre company whilst they’ve been out on tour in recent months, Red Ladder is coming home this spring, with a total of 18 shows across the region in February and March.
Despite losing 100% of its Arts Council funding last year, the company is busier than ever, with 13 shows in Yorkshire as part of the national tour of NICOBOBINUS, an adventurous family musical based on Monty Python Terry Jones’ children’s book of the same name, which is a co-production between Red Ladder and their young actor musician associate company, DumbWise, and Red Ladder’s first ever family show.
NICOBOBINUS’ Yorkshire dates are Pocklington Arts Centre (16 Feb), Cast in Doncaster (19 Feb), Square Chapel, Halifax (20 Feb), Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds (27 and 28 Feb), Bradford Playhouse (5 and 6 March) and The Civic, Barnsley (8 and 9 March).
The other five shows are the return by popular demand of the company’s 2014 Autumn tour, ‘We’re Not Going Back’, Boff Whalley’s musical telling the story of the miners’ strike from the point of view of three sisters, which will play at Sheffield Trades and Labour Club on 18 February and Leeds’ City Varieties from 19 – 21 February, as well as a single date at London’s Islington Pleasance on 17 February.
Red Ladder Theatre Company and DumbWise
National tour: 7 February – 9 March 2015 Adapted by John Ward from Terry Jones’ original children’s story
Original Compositions: Eilidh deBonnaire, Director: John Ward, Musical Director: Eilidh deBonnaire
PRESS WELCOME AT ALL PERFORMANCES
Following its opening in London over Christmas, Red Ladder and DumbWise’s family show NICOBOBINUS heads out on a UK tour next month.
Adapted and directed by Red Ladder associate director John Ward, and comprising a cast of five actor musicians, Nicobobinus brings Terry’s story to life with original songs, instrumental acrobatics, singing, excitement and Monty Python-esque wit.
In a land where Dragons are locked in boiler rooms and mountains move like the oceans, Nicobobinus and his best friend Rosie embark on a wild adventure to cure him of a golden curse. Obstructed by kidnapping pirates and savage nine foot monks, will they find the cure in time or be forced to return to their home in Venice, changed forever?
Best known as one of the much loved Monty Python troop, Terry Jones is also an award-winning children’s writer. His previous works include FAIRY TALES, THE SAGA OF ERIK THE VIKING and FAIRY TALES AND FANTASTIC STORIES. This adaptation of NICOBOBINUS stays true to Jones’ acclaimed work and embodies that same adventurous, jovial spirit that is evident in the Pythons.
Terry Jones comments:
“Nicobobinus is one of my favourite characters – he’s full of magic and charm and jumps off the page with no trouble. I saw an in-development version of the show last year at Greenwich Theatre and was blown away by its energy and vibrancy – and I wish it all the luck in the world on tour!”
Chris Lloyd, Producer at Red Ladder comments:
“Terry continues to be an incredibly busy man, and as such we continue to be ever grateful for his ongoing support of this first ever stage adaptation of Nicobobinus. Director John Ward is a life-long fan of the book, and he has created a version which really does justice to the magic and imagination of Terry’s story. We’re really thrilled to be working with DumbWise on such an exciting new show.”
Terry Jones is also currently in post-production on his new film, ‘Absolutely Anything’ starring Simon Pegg and Kate Beckinsale.
John Ward is artistic director of DumbWise. His previous credits with Red Ladder include MATCHGIRLS. His past credits with DumbWise include the award-winning FAUST at Greenwich Theatre and TWISTED CHRISTMAS at Liverpool Playhouse.
Eilidh deBonnaire is a Musical Director & Performer. As Resident Facilitator at Almeida Theatre she manages and directs a wide variety of projects for Young People and Students with Learning Difficulties. Together with the DumbWise Team she works on producing and developing their works. Musical Director credits include MATCHGIRLS THE MUSICAL (Wiltons Music Hall, DumbWise Theatre) PUSS IN BOOTS (Derby) REMEMBER HOW TO FLY (Young Vic Theatre) THE RED HELICOPTER (The Almeida Theatre Projects) PARK HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL (The Unicorn Theatre, Paines Plough) OUR COUNTRY’S GOOD (West Sussex County Youth Theatre).
Red Ladder champions new writing, particularly that which challenges or agitates. It is a radical theatre company with 46 years of history; acknowledged as one of Britain’s leading national touring companies producing high quality theatre contributing to social change and global justice.
DumbWise is an award winning actor-musician company whose work fuses original songs with dynamic storytelling rich in musicality. Their commitment to adapting and creating new musicals of all shapes and sizes is earning them a reputation as one of the most exciting emerging actor-muso outfits around.
Written by Boff Whalley
Directed by Rod Dixon
Red Ladder’s musical comedy WE’RE NOT GOING BACK, looks at the 1984/85 miners’ strike through the eyes of three headstrong sisters in a South Yorkshire pit village.
Written by ex-Chumbawamba guitarist and writer Boff Whalley, and directed by Red Ladder’s Artistic Director Rod Dixon, WE’RE NOT GOING BACK is a musical commissioned by the North East, Yorkshire and Humberside regions of Unite the Union, and is performed by Victoria Brazier, Claire Marie Seddon and Stacey Sampson.
WE’RE NOT GOING BACK is about the 1984/85 miners’ strike. More or less. But in this hard-hitting musical comedy there are no miners. Instead, we follow the fortunes of three sisters –Olive, Mary and Isabel – hit hard by the Government’s war against the miners and determined to set up a branch of Women Against Pit Closures.
It’s February1984, and as the rumour mill stirs with developments of impending pit closures, the coal miners’ unions are drawn into a battle of attrition against an unbending government. Forced into poverty, miners and their families become part of a strike that will resonate through the coming decades.
But for many people, the war fought between politicians, police and pickets took a back seat to the fight to hold together families, friendships and community – fought on the battleground of living room and soup kitchen, meeting hall and social club. It was a battle fought with laughter and songs, with knees-ups, punch-ups and piss-ups.
Writer Boff Whalley comments:
“30 years ago I was part of a miners’ strike support group in Leeds. It was a strange time – there was a real sense of ‘taking stock’ of what my politics were. For me, the strongest part – the heart – of the miners’ strike was the family support, specifically the women. Despite the strike’s outcome, all the hardship and poverty, the main memory of that year for the women was of laughter, fun and surprise – a big adventure. How to take on the machinery of the capitalist state; and have a good time doing it. I knew this feeling had to be the underlying belly of the play.”
Boff Whalley was a founder member of Chumbawamba. His past theatre writing credits for Red Ladder include RIOT, REBELLION & BLOODY INSURRECTION, SEX & DOCKS & ROCK ‘N’ ROLL, BIG SOCIETY (starring ‘Never Mind the Buzzcocks’ panellist Phill Jupitus) and WRONG ‘UN.
Rod Dixon became Artistic Director of Red Ladder in 2006. His past theatre director credits for Red Ladder include WHERE’S VIETNAM?, FORGOTTEN THINGS, RIOT, REBELLION & BLOODY INSURRECTION, UGLY, SEX & DOCKS & ROCK ‘N’ ROLL, BIG SOCIETY, PROMISED LAND, THE THING ABOUT PSYCHOPATHS and PLAYING THE JOKER.
Victoria Brazier trained at the Birmingham School of Speech and Drama. Theatre credits include: THE BORROWERS with West Yorkshire Playhouse, HOBSONS CHOICE with The Royal Exchange and A GREAT WAR with JB Shorts. Television credits include: BOY A with Channel 4, LAND GIRLS with BBC One and DOCTORS with BBC Television.
Claire-Marie Seddon trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in musical theatre and has extensive training in performing arts and musical theatre in various institutions in the UK. Theatre credits include: 162 BARS OUT with The National Theatre of Scotland, THE KEY TO A QUIET LIFE with Dead Earnest and WAR OF THE WORLDS along with various others at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Television credits include CHILDREN IN NEED and TONIGHT’S THE NIGHT WITH JOHN BARROWMAN with BBC Television.
Stacey Sampson’s television credits include: THIS IS ENGLAND ’88 with Warp Films and Channel 4, THE SYNDICATE and WAKING THE DEAD with BBC Television. Sampson’s theatre credits include: THE HISTORY BOYS with Sheffield Crucible, WATERMARK at Belfast Waterfront Hall and a national tour of THE BORROWERS.
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Nicobobinus Tour Dates:
The Berry Theatre, Hedge End 7 Feb 2015, 2pm 023 8065 2333 www.theberrytheatre.co.uk
St Michael’s On Wyre Village Hall 14 Feb, 2.30pm 01995 679400
Scarisbrick Village Hall 15 Feb 2015, 5.30pm 01695 577412
Pocklington Arts Centre 16 Feb 2015, 2.30pm 01759 301547 www.pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk
The Met, Bury 17 Feb 2015, 7.30pm 0161 761 710 www.themet.biz
The Boo, Rossendale 18 Feb 2015, 2pm 01706 220241 www.horseandbamboo.org
CAST, Doncaster 19 Feb 2015, 2pm and 7pm 01302 303 959 www.castindoncaster.com
Square Chapel, Halifax 20 Feb 2015, 6.30pm Drama workshop with DumbWise Theatre: 20 Feb 4pm 01422 349422 www.squarechapel.co.uk
The Atkinson, Southport 21 Feb 2015, 2.30pm 01704 533333 www.theatkinson.co.uk
The Lowry, Salford 22 Feb 2015, 11am and 2pm 0843 208 6000 www.thelowry.com
Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds 27 Feb 2015, 1pm and 7pm 28 Feb 2015, 2pm and 7pm 0113 224 3801 www.leeds.gov.uk/carriageworks
Derby Theatre 7 Mar 2015, 2pm 01332 593939 www.derbytheatre.co.uk
The Civic, Barnsley 8 Mar 2015, 2.30pm 9 Mar 2015, 1pm 01226 327 000 www.barnsleycivic.co.uk
We’re Not Going Back Tour Dates
The Pleasance, Islington 17 February, 7.30pm 020 7609 1800 www.pleasance.co.uk
Sheffield Trades and Labour Club 18 February, 7.30pm www.redladder.co.uk/whatson/going-back/
City Varieties 19, 20 and 21 February, 7.30pm 21 February, 2pm www.cityvarieties.co.uk 0113 243 0808