​Arts & Culture

Published: May 11, 2022 | Updated: May 13, 2022

Jason Ward’s essential monthly round-up with forthcoming events, reviews and interviews

By Andrew Diprose, editor

This month is a very special column featuring Hannah Chisholm, outgoing Artistic Director/CEO of Pavilion Dance South West giving us her take on the importance of creativity.

We take a look at an amazing group of local young creatives who have written, produced, and directed a new play destined for the Edinburgh Fringe.

Creating atmosphere examines why searching for the right question is more important than finding the right answer.

What to keep an eye on this month.

7th – 12th June: Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World. A brand new show with songs by Miranda Cooper (Girls Aloud, Kylie Minogue) adapt suffragette descendent Kate Pankhurst’s award-winning book – currently touring to rave reviews. More information: lighthousepoole.co.uk

17th & 18th May: Tim Horton. One of the UK’s leading pianists is giving three concerts as part of the popular Concerts in the West series. Tim will play selections from Chopin and Schuman in Bridport, Ilminster and Crewkerne. Highly recommended. Tickets: concertsinthewest.org

2nd – 5th June: Jazz Jurassica Festival. ‘Mindblowing music in a stunning seaside setting’ at the Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis featuring an eclectic programme of acid jazz, salsa, boogie-woogie, blues and funk. Details: jazzjurassica.co.uk

Review: Midnight, Atlanta – The Sterling Studio, Lighthouse, Poole

This new play was written, directed and produced by BU graduate Jacob Trup and is set in the  Atlanta drag scene of the 1980s. Although the setting is specific the themes of acceptance, love and tolerance are universal. Jacob has taken this cast of young individuals, led by a standout performance from local drag star Daniella Queen, and created a true ensemble piece.

It is certainly worth celebrating a group of young performers and creatives who worked immensely hard with total commitment (while studying and working part time jobs) to deliver a new piece of theatre in our area. Jacob plans to continue refining the show ready for the Edinburgh Fringe.

The team would love practical and financial support to develop Midnight, Atlanta further.

Review 2: Gangsta Granny – Lighthouse, Poole

Gangsta Granny is hilarious, well-written and touring the country with a cast who know exactly how to get the audience of (mainly) kids involved. The show is based on David Walliams’ best-selling book about 11-year-old Ben who has to stay with his Granny every Friday while his parents indulge their Strictly fantasy. Ben thinks Granny is boring and smelly due to a combination of a cabbage-based diet and the resulting flatulence! But it turns out Granny might be a daring jewel thief!

The play uses David Walliams’ masterful storytelling and comedic skills to discuss some difficult themes including inter-generational conflict and bereavement – along with loads of farting! The result is that kids take the journey with Ben and explore these themes through his eyes. There were standout performances from Justin Davies as Ben and Isabel Ford as Granny and a very strong cast who all played 2 or 3 parts each.

It might be a kid’s show but non-kids will have lots of fun too!

Lighthouse, Poole: lighthousepoole.co.uk

Gangsta Granny: birminghamstage.com/shows/gangsta-granny/about-the-show

Zannah Chisholm, Artistic Director, Pavilion Dance South West

Zannah has developed PDSW into a leading creative hub for ‘fabulous dance’. She champions the potential of the arts to support change and give a place character and heart. Zannah works to bring more access, diversity and inclusion to all that PDSW does

What inspires your best creative ideas?

Visualisation and joining the dots. Dance is used in so much media because it is fantastic to look at. When you see a show and can see that there is a connection with a place or people or theme, then you have the beginning of a great programme.

Why are arts and culture important to everyone?

Arts and culture bring us together with other people to have new experiences or enjoy familiar ones, to be a talking point, to learn something, to be stimulated, to feel, to join in and get that thrill of being part of something.

What advice would you give to a business to help them become more creative?

Be brave and curious.

Who is your creative hero? Everyone working in dance in the UK – the determination, imagination, passion and skill behind the art form is jaw-dropping

What piece of creative work are you most proud of?

We brought ‘Invisible Dances’ by Elisabeth Schilling to Bournemouth in April 2021 and it was one of the first live performances anywhere in the UK as we emerged from lockdown. It was a beautiful generous work which moved along the seafront in the cold magical dawn light, leaving a shadow of the dancers in their footsteps and then no trace. It was Elisabeth’s response to Covid – enabling dancers to have work and perform safely. An amazing lockdown idea that we played a small part in enabling and which has now been performed on every continent of the world.

What are you working on right now?

‘Out of this World’ is our Summer Festival 2022. It brings together eye-catching and entertaining shows such as our Headliner Weekend on 27/28 May which features Lorna Rees’ ‘Geophonic’ – a guided walk based on geology, ritual and sound with dance moments – which takes the audience to Loading Bay at The Avenue Shopping Centre for Requardt & Rosenberg’s “Future Cargo” – the audience don headphones and watch the side of an articulated lorry come down to reveal slinky-bonkers other-worldly creatures on a conveyer belt featuring head to toe silver suits, wigs and props. Bournemouth Town Centre BID is supporting this event and it illustrates what we can do with businesses to offer bespoke contemporary experiences, promote town centre locations and increase footfall. The weekend also features a masterclass with our Guest Choreographer Joseph Toonga (Emerging Choreographer at Royal Opera House) and wonderful Youth Dance Festival outside Pavilion Dance in Bournemouth featuring Just Us Dance Apprentice Company with a hip hop and local young dancers. And at Pen Gallery in Poole you will find the mini robots that Neon Dance have created for their latest show and have a chance to do workshops with them.

Is your business always focused on finding the right answers? As Peter Drucker says ‘the difficult job is never to find the right answer but to find the right questions’. This way of working requires us to power up our creative thinking so we start to see projects from different and, sometimes, strange points of view.

Walt Disney’s plan for Disneyland started with ‘What if I could bring the characters from my movies to life?’ NOT ‘How do I open a theme park’. By asking creative questions all through the process Disney came up with the concept of themed lands with different sights, sounds and smells – even the floor surface changes when you move from land to land!

Next time you’re looking for a solution take a moment to creatively think about the question you should be asking.

Check out next month’s column for more creative insights or contact me directly for personalised support.


Contact: jason@jasonwardcreative.com

Instagram: @jasonwardcreative