Monthly Archives

November 2015

Omnibus at Studio Voltaire

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This Autumn, Studio Voltaire asked Omnibus Visual Arts to invite members of the after school art club and participants from their workshops at St. Mungo’s-Broadway to come to work with Venezuelan and Berlin-based artist Sol Calero. From 12 October – 2nd November 2015, the students were making their own painted and drawn interpretations of the Carribean ambience and familiar images of tropical abundance.

Studio Voltaire was originally set up as an artists’ collective studio space in a former tram shed in Voltaire Road, Clapham in 1994.  The move to 1a Nelson’s Row in 1999 enabled the organisation, now a registered charity to grow from 12 to 45 artists’ studios and an adjacent Victorian former chapel has become their gallery. The studios have hosted a number of residences for national and international artists and partners which have included the Berlin Senate, Collective Gallery, British Council, Outset and Royal College of Art.

4In her residency at Studio Voltaire Calero has turned the interior of the chapel into a tropically coloured extravaganza. The colours and images come from full size painted facades derived from the architecture of the Venezuelan islands of Los Roques and outrageously exuberant coloured chalk drawings of tropical fruit are erupting all over the blackboard in the part of the chapel which has become a temporary ‘schoolroom’. Just walking into the space was an exciting shift away from the grey October streets of Clapham.

The cultural context of this exploration of images from her country of birth is this: culture has recently become a site of increased government intervention. “The government is trying to invent an identity for the country,” says Calero. “They closed the University of Art, fired all the professors, and are now teaching the students to make propaganda art.”

In the course of the workshops all the participants were encouraged to freely develop their own ideas.

Brian McClure

Artist in Residence at Omnibus

Omniwrite Exclusive! Q & A with… Fiona Whitelaw

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Fiona Whitelaw is the author of “Tinned Goods”, one of three specially crafted pieces for this season’s Omniwrite.

Fiona’s theatre productions include, Theatre Royal Stratford, ‘Acceptable Damage for Angelic Tales’ and ‘Chosen’ for Home Theatre UK, ‘The Copenhagen Interpretation’ – Tiny Shows Omnibus Clapham, GLYPT, Jackdaw, Teatro Vivo, Lumenis (London Tour: Southwark Playhouse, Old Red Lion, Camden People’s Theatre), Tristan Bates Theatre, Central & Cecil, Sydenham Arts Festival and WOW Festival at The Southbank Centre.

Fiona’s work as a writer covers a range of genres. She has scripted devised work for a number of companies, written Theatre In Education plays, Forum Theatre for the elderly community in Care Homes and Sheltered Housing and Site Specific work.

Could you give us a brief summary of your play?

Tinned Goods follows the friendship of Sue and Rachel lifelong friends whose relationship has been torn apart by being on opposite sides of miners strike of 84/85.

Chorus sections of the play map the journey of Women Against Pit Closures and the life changing affect of direct activism on the lives and families of women across the UK at that time.

What inspired you to write it?

I wrote the original scenes as a commission from a housing charity for a historical forum theatre project. As I researched I became more galvanised by the stories of these women and the affect this dispute has had on the landscape of industrial relations and workers ability to protect their rights,  pay and conditions.

Tell us about some of the relationships in the play.

Female relationships are the main drivers of the action. Sue and her daughter Bethany & how the shortages of food, clothing and time affect their relationship.

Bethany and her Aunt Brenda who is both a force behind the campaign and the person the teenager turns to for advice.

How do you approach your writing? Do you have a regular routine?

Each of the plays or screenplays I write is approached differently from the point of view of whether it requires research or has other emotional/theme drivers of plot.  I always schedule specific time for redraft and editing and am disciplined about keeping to that.

Like many writers I am never without a notebook and often write down dialogue and ideas. Sometimes whole sections of a piece burst into the page in one go.

How do you see this piece of work evolving?

This play Tinned Goods is being toured nationally by midlands theatre company Tea and Tenacity in Spring 2016.

What are you hoping for from your showcase at Omnibus?

Having a preview at Omniwrite will give an excellent opportunity for other producers/venues to see my work.

Omniwrite is on Sunday 22 November at 7.30pm.

Tickets: £10 | £8 concessions

Ticket price includes a free drink and nibbles.

More information and book tickets here

Rikki B-B

Omniwrite Exclusive! Q & A with… Rikki Beadle-Blair

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Rikki Beadle-Blair is the author of “Superhero”, one of three specially crafted pieces for this season’s Omniwrite.

Rikki is a South East Londoner. He is also a writer, director, composer, choreographer, designer, producer and performer. He has won several awards including the Sony Award, the Los Angelest Outfest Screenwriting and Outstanding Achievement awards. His projects include several feature films and TV series, including Stonewall for the BBC, Metrosexuality for Channel 4, Noah’s Arc for MTV LOGO in the USA as well as FIT, KickOff and Bashment for his own company Team Angelica. Rikki also works extensively in theatre and has written 28 plays in the last decade including Bashment, Familyman, Shalom Baby and Gutted. He is currently developing his Popera musical called Bromantics.

Could you give us a brief summary of your play?

Superhero is a musical about a teenager in the Essex Estuary who becomes obsessed with saving other people from danger with no regard to his own potential destruction.

What inspired you to write it?

I got the idea from (a) going out with someone who seemed to care more about others than they cared about themselves. (b) my childhood fascination with superhero comics and stories about Jesus.

Tell us about some of the relationships in the play.

Connor is the lead character and his best friends with Sonny a wannabe filmmaker who is always trying to get his girlfriend to be his pornstar and Melissa, a poet. They are Essex caravan-site arty-misfits.

How do you approach your writing? Do you have a regular routine?

I can write anywhere at any time. I was raised in a small flat with raucous siblings.

How do you see this piece of work evolving?

I would like this piece to become a full-length operatic musical that can attract audiences who see musicals as irrelevant and change their minds.

What are you hoping for from your showcase at Omnibus?

What am I hoping for from the Omnibus showcase?  That the audience has an immensely entertaining experience. That’s my job. To entertain.

Omniwrite is on Sunday 22 November at 7.30pm.

Tickets: £10 | £8 concessions

Ticket price includes a free drink and nibbles.

More information and book tickets here

Miran Hadzic, author of "In Happy Time"

Omniwrite Exclusive! Q & A with… Miran Hadzic

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Miran Hadzic is the author of “In Happy Time”, one of three pieces designed for this season’s Omniwrite.

Miran has had work staged at the Old Red Lion, Arcola and The Pleasance Islington. He has worked with writers groups at the Royal Court and for the Forum for Young European Playwrights in Wiesbaden, Germany. His most recent play, The Day After (They Went Off On One), was nominated for an Origins Award at this year’s VAULT Festival.

Could you give us a brief summary of your play?

In Happy Time is about a young man who wants to deal with problems in his family, his love-life, his work, but doesn’t know how to.

What inspired you to write it?

Initially I had questions about atheism and anti-theism that I wanted to explore, and what is the link between our belief and our behaviour. The play is less about this now and more of a family drama – although hopefully some of that stuff still lurks somewhere below.

Tell us about some of the relationships in the play.

Yvonne and Harry are mother and son who live together. Yvonne has recently divorced Harry’s father, who now lives in America. Harry is unemployed and Yvonne works full-time. Their relationship is fraught and funny, I hope.

How do you approach your writing? Do you have a regular routine?

Writing is a curious blend of instinct and planning which I haven’t quite got to grips with yet. Perhaps you never do. I try to have a regular routine but it seems to change with every new play. Six months ago I would have said it’s all about planning; now I mistrust planning and I want to go more by instinct. It’s a bit tumultuous but that tension is probably the source of good work.

How do you see this piece of work evolving?

I want to see the piece evolve into a family drama in which the form becomes infected by the content, as Harry’s state of mind becomes more and more unpredictable. I want the play to explode in slow-motion and I want to make it more comical as well. Middle-class angst is funny, being the only class that outwardly expresses disdain for itself.

What are you hoping for from your showcase at Omnibus?

A blistering performance, alongside a big pot of money from a mysterious donor to help me finish writing the play. Failing that, a fun night at Omnibus.

Omniwrite is on Sunday 22 November at 7.30pm.

Tickets: £10 | £8 concessions

Ticket price includes a free drink and nibbles.

More information and book tickets here