Although Cinema’s the length and breadth of the country remain closed under covid restrictions, cinema and film is enjoying a boom period especially in streaming and online services.
As we make our way through March the Glasgow Film Festival has announced their programme for 2021 and have also confirmed the entire event will be held digitally. The 2021 festival will run from Wednesday 24th February to Sunday 7th March inclusive.
The festival itself will feature a strong LGBTQI+ strand and festival Co-Director Allan Hunter spoke to Scotsgay arts saying “The Glasgow Film Festival is happening entirely online this year so there is no excuse not to stay home and watch films. The Festival always reflects the wide range of LGBTQI+ stories being told around the world and this year is no exception. I would particularly recommend Marley Morrison’s Sweetheart in which a teenage lesbian experiences a bittersweet family holiday. It is sharp, funny and features a star-making performance from Nell Barlow . Poppy Field is a real nail biter. Inspired by true events it follows a closeted Romanian police officer in a work situation that threatens to out him. The documentary Steelers celebrates the 25th anniversary of the world’s first gay rugby club and is full of personal stories that will definitely bring a tear to the eye.”
So lets take a look at the pick of the LGBTQI+ offerings coming up at the 2021 Glasgow Film Festival!
Sweetheart – World Premiere
Billed as a nostalgic coming of age tale for a new generation, Marley Morrison’s debut feature Sweetheart is a story inspired by her own teenage battles with gender identity and sexuality. The film follows AJ (Nell Barlow), a socially awkward, environmentally conscious teenager who is dragged by her mum to a holiday park in Dorset. She is determined to have the worst week of her life, but her plan comes unstuck when she meets flirty, free-spirited lifeguard Isla (Ella Rae Smith) who might just be the girl of her dreams.
Steelers, The World’s First Gay Rugby Club – UK Premiere
The Kings Cross Steelers were the world’s first gay rugby team, created in 1995 when legal same sex marriage was decades away and very few straight teams would even agree to play them. Twenty-five years on, they are heading to Amsterdam for the world gay rugby tournament – The Bingham Cup. Eammon Ashton-Atkinson’s uplifting documentary focuses on the individual stories of those whose lives have been changed by the club. From lesbian head coach Nic Evans who still has to fight to be recognised as a senior official on the pitch, to a player who is as fierce in drag competitions as he is on the pitch.
Poppy Field – UK Premiere
Cristi (Conrad Mericoffer) is an officer with the Romanian police. He has a long-term, long-distance relationship with Hadi (Radouan Leflahi) who lives in Paris. An oppressive, macho work culture convinces him to remain in the closet. One evening the police are called to a cinema where protesters have stopped the screening of a queer film. Tensions are high, tempers are fraying. One man in the audience clearly recognises Cristi. How far will he go to prevent himself from being outed? Inspired by true events, this is a taut, compelling tale of prejudice and the cost of living a lie.
Cowboys – UK Premiere
Anna Kerrigan’s award-winning debut shows a rare understanding of the complexities and challenges of modern family life. Troy (Steve Zahn) is on a camping trip with his transgender son Joe (Sasha Knight), an 11-year-old with a passion for cowboy yarns and the great outdoors. As they travel through the majestic beauty of the northern Rockies, television news reports emerge claiming that Joe is missing. As detective Faith (Ann Dowd) investigates we see a bigger picture involving Joe’s conservative mother Sally (Jillian Bell) and her inability to let go of the little girl she loves.
Truman and Tennessee – UK Premiere
Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams were friends for the best part of 40 years. Lisa Immordino Vreeland’s poignant documentary captures the complexity of a relationship that journeyed from fond regard to bitchy disdain and back again. A wealth of archive material confirms the two literary giants as central to American cultural life in the 20th century. Jim Parsons (Capote) and Zachary Quinto (Williams) voice their words in a celebration of what the two men achieved and what it cost them.
The LGBTQI+ strand makes up a small proportion of the films on offer, films that challenge, inform and entertain in equal measure, and while we wait for cinemas to fully reopen supporting independent cinema and our film festivals has never been more important. So grab the popcorn and settle down on the sofa!
For full details on the films we have selected and all the films across the festival and to book your screening tickets go to:
Theatrical Treats this Christmas are there if you can find them:
Normally by this point in the year we at Scotsgay arts would have published our festive preview of the best on offer from across Scotland and the UK this festive season. We would also be gearing up for ever growing Panto tour of the country trying to cover the moments that sparkle on our stages.
However, 2020 has been no normal year, with our theatres in Scotland remaining shuttered and the ghost lights continuing to burn bright. There has been a plethora of digital offerings from all of Scotland’s biggest producing houses combined with community engagements from venues the length and breath of the country.
Those digital offerings will continue over Christmas and we have a few of the best in this preview. Wales and Northern Ireland are facing the same issues and problems and as yet there is no theatrical offerings, although Wales is at the point test projects.
England have been more successful with socially distant performances taking place in venues across England and with the Partnership between the National Lottery and QDOS, ten venues will receive pantomimes this festive season. It’s important to note 9 out of these 10 will be hybrids, one act 75-minute affairs all staged socially distant.
So, lets go round up those and all the latest show news for the upcoming festive season.
Halo Arts are an innovative arts and events production company with a remit of delivering a range of high quality and inclusive projects with young people aged 6-18 and those with additional needs across Glasgow. Halo Arts have a commitment to working with young people, the disadvantaged and those with additional needs. The company will produce, A Lad in Govan- Glasgow’s first ever digitally streamed community panto running from 17th to the 27th December.
Join Aladdin, Widow Twankey and Wishee Washee in their home town of Govan where they are soon to swap the streets of South Glasgow for the Pyramids of Egypt on an unexpected and exciting adventure… Widow Twankey’s launderette isn’t doing too well, Wishee Washee is up to mischief and to top it all off Aladdin has gone and fallen in love with a Princess! Will he be able to make his wishes come true and defeat the wicked Abanazar?
The show will be performed live and streamed from the Pearce Institute in Glasgow and will star Cameron Fulton of BBC River City and is sure to be a festive treat for all the family.
Oh Yes We Are! A Quest for Long Lost Light and Laughter: Perth,
Written and directed by Barrie Hunter Design by Becky Minto
Experience the joy of panto with Perth Theatre’s unique LIVE interactive online broadcast via video platform Zoom. You can still be a part of the action, you can boo the baddie, cheer the hero, banter with the dame and have the same singalong, laugh along panto fun you love with your families, but from the comfort of your sofa! Why not get a group together in your different households or with family across the world and all attend at the same time?
This digital extravaganza will run from December 11th through December 24th and will feature Christina Gordon, Ava Hickey, Barrie Hunter, Helen Logan and Ewan Somers.
Rapunzel The Pantomime: The Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh
A family film screened at The Brunton
The Brunton panto regulars are getting in the mood for Christmas and The theatre elves are planning some festive treats for everyone. Join us in our sparkling Christmas grotto (otherwise known as Venue 1), for a big screen family film – Rapunzel The Pantomime. Why not dress up as your favourite pantomime or Christmas character? Or wear a Santa hat and sparkles.
The story of Rapunzel who was locked in a tower before being rescued by her pal Jammy, is told in fun panto style. Full of songs and slapstick, local references and colourful characters – a unique family pantomime film for all ages.
Rapunzel The Pantomime – a film for all the family is produced by The Brunton, written and directed by John Binnie, designed by Robin Mitchell with Musical Direction by Tommy Travers and filmed by D Fie Foe. The cast includes many of the Brunton Panto regulars.
The film will run from the 19th to the 30th December, for more information and tickets go to:
Join Dick Whittington and friends on an adventure to save the true spirit of London as pantomime comes to the National Theatre for one year only. In a newly transformed Olivier theatre, Ned Bennett directs this wild new version of the classic tale which has been freshly updated for 2020 by Jude Christian and Cariad Lloyd.
This hilarious and heartfelt panto is packed with the cheekiest of jokes, the chattiest of animals, the awesomest of songs and the messiest of silliness. Initial casting includes Dickie Beau,Amy Booth-Steel, Lawrence Hodgson-Mullings, Georgina Onuorah, and Cleve September.
In a season when many UK theatres have been forced to postpone their pantomimes, help us to celebrate its place at the heart of British theatre.
As covered in articles elsewhere on Scotsgay arts The London Palladium, the home of pantomime, will welcome back panto favourites Elaine Paige, Paul Zerdin, Nigel Havers and Gary Wilmot, as well as past stars Ashley Banjo & Diversity and Charlie Stemp. Making their debut will be West End sensations Beverley Knight and Jac Yarrow.
Returning for a fifth consecutive year, The London Palladium pantomime has become an essential part of Christmas in the West End, with record-breaking box office success year-after-year. Pantoland at The Palladium, devised by Michael Harrison, will be a treasure-trove of The London Palladium panto past and exciting new surprises written especially for the show, guaranteeing an unmissable treat for panto and musical theatre fans alike.
Celebrating the very best of pantomime, with comedy in abundance, this star-filled extravaganza will play to a socially-distanced audience. The show will feature the work of Olivier Award-Winning Team director Michael Harrison, choreographer Karen Bruce, set designer Ian Westbrook, costume designer Hugh Durrant, lighting designer Ben Cracknell, sound designer Gareth Owen and composer and orchestrator Gary Hind.
This will be the only full scale two act pantomime from QDOS this year so will indeed be the jewel in the crown. For more information and to book go to:
Robin Hood and His Merry Men:
The Bristol Hippodrome then Transferring to The Birmingham Alexandra Theatre.
Starring the Strictly judge the nation loves to hate, the fab-u-lous Craig Revel Horwood as The Sheriff of Nottingham, alongside the Hippodrome’s pantomime superstar Matt Slack, the legendary pairing of Richard Cadell & Sooty and the Black Country’s funniest matriarch Doreen Tipton. The socially distanced, one-act production will begin its run at the Historic Bristol Hippodrome in December before moving to Birmingham and then temporarily change venues due to Birmingham Hippodrome’s hosting of the critically acclaimed Van Gogh Alive experience.
Doreen Tipton will only appear in the Birmingham dates.
Starring Salford-born funny man Jason Manford as Muddles, with comic legend Billy Pearce as King Billy, musical theatre leading lady Jodie Prenger as The Enchantress and Eric Potts as The Queen, Sleeping Beauty will play from Saturday 12 December for a strictly limited 3 week run. This new production will be packed full of comedy routines, audience-safe participation and all the unmissable magic that Manchester Opera House audiences have come to expect from their annual festive pantomime. The previously advertised production of Aladdin will be staged in 2021 and existing bookers have already been contacted with details of their new tickets.
Best-known for winning the BBC talent show Any Dream Will Do, Lee Mead won the title role in the West End revival of Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat to rave reviews. Since then Lee has had lead roles in Wicked and Legally Blonde in the West End, releasedseveral solo albums and toured extensively. No stranger to pantomime, Lee has starred in seven Qdos Entertainment pantomimes, including his star turn as Prince Charming in their critically acclaimed production of Cinderella at the London Palladium and last year’s Milton Keynes Theatre pantomime, Starring alongside Lee as the evil Carabosse will be star of screen and stage, Claire Sweeney. In the role of The Enchantress will be pop and television star Suzanne Shaw, who rose to fame via the popular ITV talent search Popstars and the music group Hearsay.
Starring as Princess Beauty’s hilarious best friend Muddles is comedian and magician Pete Firman. Widely recognised having starred in BBC1’s prime-time Saturday night programme The Magicians, he has made special guest appearances on ITV1’s The Next Great Magician and Let’s Sing and Dance for Comic Relief.
This year’s cast will also feature two legends of comedy, Allan Stewart and Andy Gray, who will be swapping their usual pantomime home at the Kings Theatre in Edinburgh, where they have delighted almost two million festive theatregoers for the last twenty years, for Milton Keynes Theatre. The much-loved pairing of Scottish comedy royalty will provide all the laughter and quick wit the duo are best-known and loved for in their native home, with Allan playing The Queen and Andy as The King.
Starring masters of mayhem Danny Adams and Clive Webb, alongside the Grande Dame of Grey Street Chris Hayward, they will be joined by X Factor and local lad Joe McElderry, illusionist Phil Hitchcock, hilarious gymnasts The Acromaniacs, Pop Idol star Zoe Birkett and Mick Potts. Robin Hood will play from Saturday 19 December, 2020 for a strictly limited 3 week run.
They headliners will be joined by renowned illusionist Phil Hitchcock, who starred in last year’s London Palladium pantomime, Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Completing the line-up will be comedy gymnast troupe The Acromaniacs, musical theatre leading lady and Pop Idol star Zoe Birkett, who is renowned for her incredible vocal talent and leading roles in The Bodyguard and Priscilla Queen of the Desert, with Danny & Mick star, the side-splittingly silent funny man, Mick Potts. Robin Hood will also feature Theatre Royal panto regulars Steve Arnott, Wayne Smith and Laura Evans making up an on stage company of 18 performers and musicians
This year’s production, created especially for Newcastle Theatre Royal in this unprecedented year, will be a riotously funny, one-act celebration of pantomime, packed full of comedy and laughter and allow audience members the opportunity to come safely together and enjoy the magic of the much-loved and unique art form this festive season.
An all-new production of Sleeping Beauty comes to Nottingham, thanks to support from The National Lottery. Starring legendary funny-men Paul Chuckle and Ben Nickless, with street dance stars Flawless, the show will play from Saturday 12 December for a strictly limited 3 week run.
The top of the bills will be joined by hilarious pantomime dame David Robbins as The Queen, back again after starring as Ugly Sister in Cinderella in 2012 and west end musical stars Kimberly Blake, fresh from her west end role in Pretty Woman as The Enchantress, and Hannah Grace Lawson as Princess Beauty. Completing the line-up is Jack McNeill as the Prince, marking his third consecutive Theatre Royal pantomime having starred in the title role of Peter Pan, and Dandini in last year’s production of Cinderella. This year’s pantomime will be directed by Guy Unsworth, who also directed last year.
For full details and tickets go to:
Robinson Crusoe, The Theatre Royal Plymouth
An all-star cast including pantomime legends Les Dennis and Andy Ford are headed for Plymouth for a swashbuckling adventure. This Socially distant one act spectacular looks set to a magical affair.
So there we have it, its literally the smallest offering of Christmas shows in living memory but the magic is alive and lets hope a full season returns for Christmas 2021. For now however enjoy the offerings its vital these socially distant productions are supported as for all those involved there a life line. The fact does remain that for the fast majority of the arts industry tough times will continue into 2021.
We hope to bring at least a couple of reviews over the festive period! until then enjoy some fabulous festive treats.
Edinburgh based Big Bad Does Productions which had planned to return in the 2020 Edinburgh Fringe Festival but like the entire arts industry those plans are shelved. Now however they are back with a Spooktacular online Halloween special.
The company co-produced by Scott Coltman and Jonnie Grant made a four-Star debut In the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, transforming the biggest number from New York’s Great white way into big band infused sparklers.
Now the company returns and Coltman says “BBD Productions is proud to present ‘Big Band Does… Halloween‘ – a wide mix of songs from movies, musicals and more performed by a spook-tacular cast of performers from across the industry. We hope you will join us in celebrating all things Halloween in this musical extravaganza.”
The production will star Claire Moore (Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon, Mary Poppins), Rachel Stanley (42nd Street, Chicago, Legally Blonde), Caitlin Tipping (Six, Last Five Years, Musical Starnights) and many more from across the west end and UK.
This Production is in aid of Acting for Others and all proceeeds will be split between Acting for Others and all the creatives involved in the production. Coltman goes on to say “We hope you can support us to show that #WeAreViable and together we can #SaveTheArts”
The performance will begin streaming from 19:30 on Halloween evening and be available for the following 5 days and is unique chance to be entertained by the best up and coming performers from across the musical theatre industry so buy those tickets now!
Acclaimed Scottish theatre and film Production company Interabang are celebrating a remarkable first year in the creative industry, a year that has seen them garner 4 and 5 stars for their innovative showcase of home grown talent through there hit production of self-written shows including “Being Liza” and “Toast” both of which have enjoyed revivals of there original productions at the Assembly Roxy in Edinburgh.
To celebrate their 1st Anniversary the company will launch “Scene To Seen” – a digital series offering new writing monologues and duologues, shot in isolation with signature high production quality and post-production editing. The Series will comprise 6 weekly videos, premiering on 2nd July 7PM LIVE on the companies Facebook @weareinterabang. Each video will be roughly 8-10 minutes long and will include captioning and one of the episodes will feature full BSL.
FiRST SCENE: PERMANENT SCAR by Rachel Flynn the premiere video is a monologue called Permanent Scar written by Rachel Flynn, directed, and edited by Ryan Dewar and performed by River City’s Cameron Fulton. The company are exciting to showcase how scenes were filmed in nightclub cutaways during lockdown combined with Cameron’s storytelling.
The Series then continues for the following 6 weeks all Directed by Ryan Dewar and produced by Rachel Flynn. The company are aware of the plethora of free online theatre during the ongoing close down of the Theatre industry due to Covid and will be encouraging online donations via: paypal.me/weareinterabang And are determined to value the skill and hard work of our creatives by asking audiences to support artists with a financial contribution at a time which is particularly difficult for us all.
Once the series ends there are big plans in the pipeline for this innovative company including a return to the Theatre, this is a company to keep your eyes on, for now enjoy Scene to Seen!
Beyond Broadway the Edinburgh based producer of large-scale musical theatre productions aimed at emerging talents who take part in short training schools was scheduled to perform its latest work “Broadway Bound” in Edinburgh’s Usher Hall. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing lockdown makes that impossible.
The company are fulfilling the best of theatrical tradition by ensuring the show does indeed go on, by taking the show online as Murray Grant, director of Beyond Broadway, said: “We were determined not to let down the young performers, who were all so keen to gain a taste of featuring in a professional production. By taking The Beyond Broadway Experience online, we are exploring a form of performance that has become popular with theatres and companies in recent weeks. As the saying goes, the show must go on and we are so proud of how well the young performers and our creative team have adapted to this new way of working and rehearsing.
“Through delivering the programme online, we’re also giving the students an important focus and chance to socialise with each other, in addition to the professional tuition on which we have built our reputation.
“The cast have been put through their paces, rehearsing online and filming and recording everything themselves while in isolation. All the material has been mixed and edited and will, we hope, provide some superb entertainment for our virtual guests on Saturday night.”
The show will be broadcast at www.facebook.com/thebbexperience. Donations by viewers are being encouraged, with proceeds to be split between the NHS and The MGA Foundation, which offers funding for those from disadvantaged backgrounds towards performing arts training opportunities.
The company are also continuing there plans for a full-scale production of “High School Musical” at the cities King’s Theatre however should theatres still not be open this too will move into the virtual realm.
Beyond Broadway are joining theatre companies up and down the country in keeping live theatre going by streaming productions via the internet. Andrew Lloyd Webbers back catalog, productions from the National Theatre Live as well as Les Misérables are now joined by local companies! While our theatres remain closed and ghost lights burning bright as we stay safe at home at least we can enjoy the best of theatre.
So why drop in tomorrow night from the comfort of your sofa and watch the next generation of performers take to the stage.!