​Arts & Culture

Jason Ward's monthly arts round-up including legendary singer Bob Dylan coming to the BIC

By Staff Reporter [email protected]

Published: October 13, 2022 | Updated: 14th October 2022

We were so lucky recently to enjoy the incredible Arts By The Sea Festival in Bournemouth and Christchurch, writes Jason Ward.

The event brings together diverse artists, performers and participants from all over BCP, Dorset and the world for an audience in the hundreds of thousands.

This month we review two contrasting theatre shows: Rock of Ages at Lighthouse, Poole, and The P Word which is playing at the Bush Theatre in West London.

We also look forward to the Extraordinary Theatre Company’s local tour of Shakespeare’s King Lear and meet Tim Fearon, the local man behind the company, in Six Degrees of Inspiration.

He tells us about his ambition to create a powerful local Shakespeare theatre company.

And Bournemouth prepares to welcome the legendary Bob Dylan!

Coming up soon.

From November 22: Blood Brothers, Lighthouse, Poole. Willy Russell’s award-winning and captivating show is back with Nicki Evans as Mrs Johnstone. Few musicals have been received with such acclaim as the multi-award-winning Blood Brothers. Tickets: lighthousepoole.co.uk

November 5: Bob Dylan World Tour, BIC, Bournemouth. The singer/songwriter who revolutionised so much of modern music is in Bournemouth for one night only.The impact of Bob Dylan cannot be overstated. Tickets: bic.co.uk

October 25 to November 1: King Lear. Locally-based Extraordinary Theatre Company are touring our area with one of Shakespeare’s finest tragedies. The tour starts at Bournemouth Little Theatre. More info: bournemouthlittletheatre.co.uk

Review: Rock of Ages at Lighthouse, Poole. 

The Lighthouse programming team are doing a great job of bringing in shows that people love. The international smash Rock of Ages is a very funny, grown-up comedy featuring an outstanding cast, and all your favourite 80s Hair Metal hits. Kevin Kennedy leads the comedy lineup and there are incredible performances from Gabriella Williams, pictured, Joe Gash and Erin Bell. The sold out crowd on opening night loved this show and it was the perfect way to launch an exciting Autumn season. rockofagesmusical.co.uk

The P Word, The Bush Theatre, London.

Leading the way in producing new exciting work, The Bush Theatre has produced another outstanding play. The P Word is a powerful, funny and thought-provoking piece by Waleed Akhtar that examines love, identity and the UK immigration system from the perspective of two gay men from Pakistani origins. This beautifully written and performed piece (featuring the writer and an incredible performance from Esh Alladi) uses language and theatre to take us on a journey that challenges perceptions, entertains and enriches all at once. A plethora of 5 Star reviews mean that its run has been extended until October 29 – so hop on a train and head to Shepherds Bush for the P Word. bushtheatre.co.uk

The full version of both of these reviews can be found at TheTheatreReviewPodcast

Tim Fearon

Tim enjoyed a successful career as an actor before starting his own training company, The Extraordinary Coaching Company. He has now returned to live theatre with a brand new production of King Lear which is touring our region from October 25. We find out what inspires Tim.

What inspires your best creative ideas?

Walking in the forest with my dog. Creativity comes easiest to me when I’m not trying to be creative!

I’m just wandering through the forest; I’m watching my dog hurtle hither and yon and suddenly an idea will come. So many people, talk about being in ‘the zone’ when they operate at their best. I think the forest and my dog are the elements that help me enter my ‘zone’.

Why are arts and culture important to everyone?

Because they lift our spirits, take us away from the day to day and set our minds free.

They give us access to new ways of thinking, they astonish us, they move us, they give us hope. And for the practitioner they allow the gift of expression, whether that be through a paintbrush, a violin, a camera or their own body.

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

Look at businesses in completely different sectors/disciplines to yours and see how you may be able to use their ways of working. Ask yourself, ‘how could I use that in my business?’

Who is your creative hero?

Walt Disney broke moulds and modelled the Disney Strategy which has been a constant source of inspiration in my work.

Disney allowed creativity to flourish by ensuring that every idea had a ‘clean space’ in which to be explored. He created the idea of hermetically separate rooms for each stage of the creative process – the Dreamer, the Realist and The Critic.

This enabled ideas to be developed safely in a clear process.

What piece of creative work are you most proud of?

The founding of YouthWorks, a company I formed to assist young people with learning difficulties gain employment.

These were young people who had managed to emerge from the education system without it having had any noticeable impact on them. Many were labelled ‘educationally sub normal’. Thank heavens things have changed.

I had a fabulous team and we gave them craft skills and enhanced their social skills. We found full time employment for 70 per cent of our participants. That made me proud.

What are you working on right now?

This year I launched The Extraordinary Theatre Company with the aim, through performance and education, of making theatre and particularly Shakespeare, accessible, exciting and relevant.

I have always loved Shakespeare, but I have come across so many people who either know nothing about him or the theatre or whose experience has been negative.

And I get that. I was taught Shakespeare for one term at A-level by a teacher who could have bored for Britain with a voice that was coma inducing. I fell asleep and was demoted to another class!

So, we are here to show the world that Shakespeare can be compelling, can be understood and can be FUN!

We are in rehearsal for ‘King Lear’ which opens in Bournemouth on October 25, and will tour eight local venues.

We are appearing at three of our leading schools performing the play and running our ‘From Page to Stage’ workshops for drama and English Literature students.

My vision is to create a powerful regional presence becoming the ‘go to’ company for both audiences and schools.

We also contribute to causes in the community and 50 per cent of the profit from ‘King Lear’ will be donated to Julia’s House who provide practical and emotional support for children with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition and their families.

Our wonderful cast and crew is unpaid, and my hope is that we will soon be able to pay them.

Actors live precarious lives; I’d like to be able to give them a little security as well as giving them the gift of expression.

Arts and Culture bring so much to our lives on many levels. But it is also proven that Arts and Culture-led programmes bring economic benefits to towns.

From attracting new companies to revitalising under-utilised properties the promotion of Arts and Culture can drive economic development.

We are all familiar with stories of seaside towns that have become culturally significant like Margate, St Ives and Brighton. In Stockton the local council partnered with ATG and invested heavily in restoring the wonderful 3,000 capacity Globe Theatre and adding an adjacent 200 seat live venue which has been described as ‘game changing’ for the area.

Closer to home we have wonderful local arts and culture that brings enjoyment, enrichment and economic benefits – so let’s make sure we all get out and enjoy them!

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


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