THE K BLAC RY T N COU ION T I D E
Editors: email@example.com | @kerryfused firstname.lastname@example.org | @davefused Front Cover: The Joke Exchange for Funny Things Comedy Festival illustration by Newtasty Content Image: Woolverhampton illustration by Katie Tomlison (see P.26)
AREA Culture Guide tel: 01384 837 362 areacultureguide.co.uk fusedmagazine.com @areaguide / @fusedmagazine Facebook.com/fusedpublications This guide is produced by Fused Media
This special edition of Area Guide has been supported by Creative Black Country through Arts Council England’s Creative People and Places. creativeblackcountry.co.uk
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100 MASTERS EXPO During the Summer the public nominated people they know who are brilliant at what they do. Hundreds of nominations from across the region were submitted and now the 100 Masters list has been compiled. The exceptional list of Masters range from award-winning authors, sought-after designers, green-fingered gardeners, globe-trotting art directors, engineers, athletes, crafts people, entrepreneurs, brewers, dancers, artists, poets and community ambassadors, with plenty in-between, all representing extraordinary present-day talent from the Black Country. The shortlisted Masters were chosen via a panel selection process and come from a dazzling breadth of backgrounds, ages and areas of the region. 04
new generation of skilled people who have mastered their craft. The final 100 Masters showcase the wealth of talent that our area has to offer. From names you will most certainly recognise to many that you won’t, but whose skills are of equal value. Until November a Master a day will be released via the website 100masters. co.uk and a publication with the Express & Star is planned later in the year to showcase the Masters in print. The public will get the chance to get up close to some of the Masters who will be appearing at a special Expo on Saturday 25th November at Starworks Warehouse (pictured) in Wolverhampton. The roots of ‘making’ in the Black Country haven’t disappeared, we’re just not good at shouting about it. We successfully celebrate our industrial heritage, and the craftsmanship that contributed to worldwide trade centuries ago. But what about our contemporaries? Makers today are equally pioneering, influential and enterprising, and very diverse in practice. 100 Masters has given us a chance to rediscover ‘making’ in 21st century and reveal a
The event will include a ‘Masters Market’, showcasing some of their innovative works, alongside Masters workshops, a specially curated food market and family events throughout the day. To accompany the Masters Expo several artists have been commissioned to produce new pieces of work in response to the Masters. Read more over the next few pages to see what they have planned. 05
100 MASTERS AMELIA BEAVIS-HARRISON Performance artist Amelia Beavis-Harrison has been chosen as one of the artists to respond to Creative Black Countryâ€™s 100 Masters shortlisted nominations. Her boundary pushing work can be controversial, angry and, almost always, politically motivated. We meet Amelia to find out more about her plans for the project which will be presented at the 100 Masters Expo at Starworts Warehouse in Wolverhampton on the 24th and 25th of November. 06
Can you tell us how your background has influenced the work that you make now? I grew up in a working class household in Yorkshire, with strong social ethics which have influenced my practice since day one. Someone once asked me why I make the work I do, and after some thought, I traced my political stance back to a single moment in time where my mother made the very important gesture of crossing the street to buy the Big Issue. It’s nothing out of the ordinary, but it influenced the pre-school younger self more than I knew. I am now living in the West Midlands after moving back from Oslo this summer. What attracted you to the 100 Masters commission? I began reading about the work of Parv Kaur, the first female dhol drummer in the UK and realised the importance of telling her story. I am always inspired by strong female role models and Parv is a testament to that. Not only has she managed to break through gender stereotypes she is also now passing down her skills to the next generation of young women. Much of your work appears to be performance and conceptual led. Can you tell us how you approach your work/projects and what triggers your ideas? My work often stems from a place of frustration or anger, often with a socio-political context. A key issue
I keep coming back to is social injustice and discrimination. I have made works about Roma rights interviewing a family working on the streets in Oslo, and works about how the Job Centre (and DWP) is pushing families into poverty. An issue that compels me as a human being to take action is likely to be a context I will address in my work. You don’t appear to shy away from controversial issues (modern and historical) or be afraid of tackling social issues - will you be using that approach with 100 Masters? The work I am making for 100 Masters is about female empowerment and inspiring women that have broken boundaries. Instead of taking a critical approach against patriarchal structures the work is much more about celebrating the power of women, focusing on select individuals. The work is implicitly feminist in nature. How do you envisage the final piece of work? Loud and collaborative! I often work with particular groups of people may this be dancers, swimmers, prisoners, when making my work which makes my practice instinctively collaborative. Through this piece I hope to bring together multiple references from the women I have met, working directly with some of them in the final performance. Conceptually the work will very literally look at the physicality of ‘breaking the mould’ and questioning how that could materialise through performance. I imagine there will be some destruction in the final piece. ameliabeavisharrison.com
Typographer John Neave 010
100 MASTERS LAURA DICKEN Visual artist and creative producer Laura Dicken is passionate about telling stories and representing people genuinely and authentically. The driving force and inspiration behind her work, both as an artist and a producer, is to make visible and celebrate the beatitude, struggles and reality of individuals, local communities and everyday life. Laura has taken on one of the 100 Masters commissions to respond to the shortlist. We wanted to find out moreâ€Ś
Can you tell us about your commission with 100 Masters? The commission with 100 Masters is very exciting for me as the whole project is based around celebrating the people of the Black Country. Some of the 100 Masters are already well known and in the public eye and others are people who are not in the public sphere and may not yet have been celebrated on this scale or so visibly. The Black Country is world renowned for its ingenuity, intelligence and collective work ethic and to highlight individuals that are truly skilled and totally dedicated to what they do is an absolute pleasure. For my particular commission, I am concentrating on the Masters who are makers and I will be making photographic portraits of them in their workspaces. My aim, through this body of work, is to capture the makers and creators in the space that facilitates their mastery, the place where they work and create and bring their ingenuity and talent into the world. Spaces can tell you as much about an individual as a portrait of the actual person themselves, so I am hoping that the photographs will convey a real sense of the person, their workspace, their process and the energy of making. What are you most excited about for the commission? I’m really looking forward to meeting the Masters that I’ll be making portraits of. They are incredible
individuals that collectively cover so many bases. It’s a real privilege to be invited into a makers space and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to capture that. I’m Black Country born and bred so it’s really important to me that the area and people are celebrated. There is so much talent and humour and compassion and sense of community in the Black Country, the people and place is really unique. I can’t wait to meet the Masters I will be working with, I can’t wait to hear about their work and creative process, I’m really excited for all of the 100 Masters to be celebrated publicly across many different platforms and I am very, very excited about the event at Starworks in November. Tell us a little about your approach. I decided I wanted to concentrate on the makers as making is so deeply engrained in Black Country history and culture. I was really inspired to make portraits to show the contemporary and modern aspect that is thriving in the area. The making and industrial history of the Black Country is so widely known, but there are so many amazing people, firms and companies that are world class in the area right now. Some of the stuff is mind blowing, it definitely deserves to be made visible and celebrated. You’ve been working on a project with CBC with homeless people
Artist Tanya Raabe-Webber 013
Sculptor Luke Perry
and engage with the public a lot with your work - why is this important to you? ‘Out of the Darkness’ is a social documentary project I’ve been working on with local oral historian Greig Campbell. Greig approached me to be involved with the project as he was moved and angered by the sharp increase in homelessness in Wolverhampton and the equally sharp decline in help and support surrounding the issue. Together we wanted to deliver a project that empowered members of the homeless community to tell their own stories through photography and oral history. We only initially intended to carry out the project in Wolverhampton but it was so successful we are now extending it to Walsall too. The response from the public, the homeless community and the brilliant support organisations that we’ve worked with such as WHO (Wolverhampton Homeless Outreach) and The Glebe Centre in Walsall has been incredible. The Wolverhampton part of the project was exhibited for five weeks at Wolverhampton Art Gallery which was amazing. The launch event was truly memorable with project participants and members of the homeless community mingling and chatting with local councillors, members of the public and artists. Greig and I both hope that the project acts as a starting point for much-needed conversations around homelessness in the Black Country
Blacksmith Lofty Wright
and nationally. As an artist and a producer, I feel that communication is vital for tackling social issues and I personally believe that using creative platforms to bring people together, share experiences and communicate effectively around wider social issues is of benefit to everyone. All images by Laura Dicken.
SCAN EACH IMAGE TO BRING IT TO LIFE 1. Download the to your smartphone
JUNEAU PROJECTS AUGMENTED REALITY ANIMATIONS FOR 100 MASTERS Artist Duo, Juneau Projects, have been working with augmented reality techniques to help bring some of the 100 Masters to life. Using hand-painted illustrations the images have been animated to showcase the work produced by five of the Masters. You can see the animations by using the instructions; all you need is a smartphone and the free Layar app. 016
2. Open the app and let it have access to the camera on your phone 3. Hold the phone about 15-20cm above each of the images over the next few pages 4. Tap the screen to scan 5. Wait for the animation to appear The augmented reality animations, produced by Juneau Projects, will change every few weeks so check back for new short films. Follow @100Masters for updates.
‘Cacti’ Stan Griffin
BLACK COUNTRY TOURING COMMUNITY CINEMA The Community Cinema project came about when Black Country Touring (BCT) recognised the potential for community cinema in the area following successful pilot screenings in August 2016 with Flatpack. BCT has an existing successful model of working with community promoters and venues to put on high-quality arts, theatre and dance events for people in the area. Next, all they needed was someone to come on board and run it: Introducing Community Cinema Coordinator Olivia James.
Tell us about your role with the Community Cinema project. My role is to help people interested in running or having a community cinema in their area to get that off the ground. There is a lot more to screening films, in terms of legalities, marketing, programming and logistics, than people sometimes initially think and it can be quite a daunting and off-putting position to be in. I am here to help make this process smoother and a less intimidating prospect. Film is a collaborative art form from the very beginning all the way through to exhibition and chatting with friends and family in your living room or on the cinema car park after watching a film. Screening films requires dealing with and talking to lots of different people and I can help screening films go from being an idea to a reality and hopefully sustainable activity into the future. We also have a mobile kit which is handy. You’ve been helping community groups put on film events – can you tell us who you have been working with and the different kind of projects? I’ve met, chatted and worked with a whole load of people who have all been helpful in different ways. CAP Community Centre in Smethwick is a really vibrant place that BCT have worked with for really interesting touring theatre. They hosted our (and their) first community screening
for the younger goers of the centre during the Easter Holidays and chose to screen The Jungle Book. I’ve also worked with Finchfield and Castlecroft Community Association in Wolverhampton to organise and arrange their successful outdoor screening of La La Land. This involved bringing another community cinema person onboard in the form of Films in a Flash who provided the technical expertise and equipment. During August we kicked off Wednesbury Museum and Art Gallery’s cinema season with Summer Holiday and Sing – it was fantastic to see that film brought local people into the museum who had never been there before. We also put on screenings at Light House Media Centre, Wolverhampton and Forest Arts Centre in Walsall as part of the Alchemy Festival celebrating South Asian arts and culture. Both are wonderful cinemas that everybody should check out. Light House has a fantastic programme of films and events for all different tastes. Flatpack Film Festival has been a wonderful support and have lots of exciting things coming up. How long will the project last and what plans do you have for the rest of the project? Just today I have had two enquiries – one from a church in Stourbridge and another from somebody who is already well into setting up their community cinema but needs a
little extra support and advice. It’s encouraging to see the amount of interest in the benefit film can bring to audiences and communities and I am really keen to work on the accessibility of film for people – we have interest from a deaf group which has been really interesting to look into helping with programming for. What do you hope will be the outcome of the Community Cinema? I hope that there’s a wide variety of filmgoers watching a whole range of films in different venues with different people and really developing the appetite for film and storytelling in the area. It would be great to build a community of Black Country Community Cinema exhibitors and promoters who could support each other, become sustainable and to recognise the social value that film exhibition can bring to a community and also to the well-being of individuals. This would also help to support the
fantastic cinemas on our doorstep - including Light House and Forest Arts - and to nurture film exhibition for the future. Nobody is excluded from the project. Part of the great thing about community cinema is that it is completely adaptable to audience and space. The audience is key to programming and crucial to the experience and we encourage them to let us know what they thought of the film and experience and also to make suggestions for the future. Community cinemas almost always run entirely on a voluntary basis so if you are interested in film exhibition in any way, or have skills you can offer to screen events, or would like to develop, I’d love to hear from you. bctouring.co.uk EVENTS COMING UP 3 November CAP Community Centre, Smethwick Britain on Film: Black Britain As part of a belated celebration of Black History Month
KATIE TOMLINSON As Creative Black Country comes to the end of its initial three-year program the team wanted to celebrate the achievements of their Open Access initiative. Open Access exists to get as many people from Wolverhampton, Walsall and Sandwell to organise and get involved in cultural activity. There have been some amazing groups who have put on anything from drive-in kids cinemas to a travelling venue made from a horse box to outdoor dance and light parades. So, of course, they needed an equally amazing artist to capture the work and so illustrator Katie Tomlinson was commissioned to produce a map of Open Access groups. Can you tell us how you approached the CBC commission? The CBC commission is one of the longest projects Iâ€™ve worked on. I was lucky enough to be able to attend some of the Open Access events that hadnâ€™t taken place yet and meet the creatives behind them which helped me to engage on a more personal level with the projects and meet some of the incredible people involved. When it came to creating the illustrations, I used a combination of my own photographic references and images or descriptions provided by the individuals to create visuals that represent each project. 028
You have a great style how did you develop it? My family are very creative, my Papa was an incredibly talented technical artist who taught me about perspective when I was very young. We used to sit and sketch together and he would drive me crazy by critiquing my drawings or asking me to point out what Iâ€™d done wrong, which I found very frustrating at the time. My entire family have always supported my passion for art, they would take me to galleries, pay for life drawing classes when I was growing up and encourage me to enter competitions so I think this played a big role in developing my style. Reportage and drawing from life has always been a major part of my practice. I kind of lost touch with this when I enrolled onto a Fine Art degree, it was the first and only time Iâ€™d ever felt really disconnected and basically uninterested in art for a long period of time and I almost fell out of love with it. However, I transferred courses onto Visual Communication and began to learn about illustration and I found myself more motivated and began to sketch again. I studied a module in the second year that focused entirely on reportage illustration and I think that was a real turning point for me. After that module, I knew that I wanted to pursue reportage illustration and I centred the rest of my time at university on it, exploring a variety of materials and subject matters to
see what I felt most comfortable with and what complimented my way of working. After university, I continued to draw from life but soon realised that getting commissioned work that requires the use of reportage illustration is pretty much not heard of. I began thinking of ways to combine the principles of reportage with working from secondary resources. You visited some of the Open Access groups. What process do you use to capture their activities? For the Open Access groups, I talked to the organisers to understand what motivated them to undertake the project, and then taking my own reference photographs to work from. Then I sketched out pencil versions and choose the strongest image ready to work up using pen and Indian ink. The final stage is to scan the pieces in and add areas of flat colour using photoshop. Was there anything about the groups you visited that stood out? What stood out for me was the diverse range of activities and different ways people chose to use their awards, it was incredible what some projects did with a small budget! It was great to meet the people behind the projects, they were all incredibly friendly, creative and often very caring, choosing to help disadvantaged groups and individuals. ktillustration.com 029
sca france z e in mart jones Milton
When reports from the Office for National Statistics stated that Wolverhampton was the unhappiest place in the UK, locals didn’t agree, and now Creative Black Country are going to prove it isn’t true, with Wolverhampton’s very own festival of comedy.
a nice Barbar
Black Country humour is unique, people love a good laugh and a joke, so why not have a festival that celebrates it? Creative Black Country have for the first time brought together a range of local and national partners and artists, to produce a festival that creates opportunities for local people to get involved, see great acts, platform new talent, and experience a whole load of funny things. The programme includes funny theatre, stand up, spoken word, comic culture, music, film, family activities, exhibitions, talks and workshops. Look out for festival band, Orchestra of Chaos
graham popping up in and around Wolverhampton, masai share a joke with Redhawk Logistica’s
#JokeExchange, visit the Bollywood video shop Jambo Cinema, giggle with the family at Newhampton Arts Centre, see some of the best of British comedy and emerging talent with Wolves Civic, Arena Theatre’s 14/48, BBC Asian Network’s Comedy Live at the Lighthouse, Funny Women, Upfront Comedy, Stand-up Challenge, Bright Club and Wolverhampton’s comedy pub circuit. Laugh out loud in Wolverhampton between 23rd October to 5th November as the city hosts over 100 events, including a Funny Market with plenty of chuckles, giggles, smirks, sniggers and guffaws on offer!
ning an eve ve te with s l With so much happening over 2 weeks da ey
there is too much to choose from. We suggest you head over to the website funny-things.co.uk for the full line-up but we’ve picked out just a couple of highlights across the program. 031
VETON... I LRO HAMP
MEET THE GUEST DIRECTOR OF FUNNY THINGS When Creative Black Country were looking for a Guest Director for Funny Things there was, of course, a wealth of comedy talent from the area to choose from but it was one funny woman that stood out. Luckily actress and comedian Janice Connolly jumped at the chance to take part. She might be known to some as the zany and ever-so energetic Barbara Nice while others might remember her playing the adorable Holy Mary in Peter Kayâ€™s Phoenix Nights but in whichever guise you might recognise Janice one thing is for sure; she is going to do her very best to get the giggles going around Wolverhampton during the festival. 032
As the Guest Director of the new comedy festival Funny Things how are you hoping to shape the event? I am so pleased to have been asked to be guest director of the very first Funny Things comedy festival in Wolverhampton. I have a great interest in strengthening local communities and having a laugh together is a great way to do that. At the heart of the festival for me is making sure that as many Wolverhampton people as possible feel the benefit of Funny Things happening in the city . Can you tell us about some of the ideas you’ve had that we’ll be able to see during the festival? Look out for one-liner jokes being paraded up and down the city centre as placards for The Joke Exchange and I really hope people will engage with The Orchestra of Chaos as they make their way round the city and it’s outskirts collecting people’s favourite gags. We are really thrilled to be premiering the first performance of a recently discovered unperformed script, Vacant Lot, written by Larry Stephens as a vehicle for the comedy genius that was Tony Hancock.
We’re hoping that Barbara Nice will be making an appearance or two what kind of things can we expect from our favourite funny lady? Barbara will be making an appearance as part of the Funny Market on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th October where she’ll be hosting the Kid’s Corner. She will also be compering up-and-coming talent from comedy courses I will be running at the first Midlands heat of the Funny Women Awards on the 1st November at The Slade Rooms. What are you most excited about for the inaugural Funny Things festival? It’s hard to pick one particular event out. It’s going to be a fun packed fortnight and I really hope that this is the start of something big that will become an annual event. What other projects are keeping you busy at the moment? I am touring my show Raffle nationally and developing more radio ideas. I will be taking a new show to Edinburgh next year so I will begin working on that soon - but first it’s all hands on deck for Funny Things 2017.
We know you are very busy so what was it about Funny Things that made you want to get involved? I love Wolverhampton and I was attracted to be part of planning a comedy festival that aims to put arts and communities at its heart. 033
Image by Nelson Douglas
THE ORCHESTRA OF CHAOS Barry Bling and Mr Velvet are two working class ghetto dudes, loveable rogues who are relics from the working club era of free and easy bands and duos that entertained audiences across the Midlands. They are taking their roots to a new level with anarchic comedy and music, fun laughter and chaos guaranteed! They will be part of the all-new Funny Things comedy festival in Wolverhampton. Tell us about Barry Bling and Mr Velvet. Bling and Velvet are two larger than life Midland based comedy characters, dripping in Bling, shades and Black Suits. They are guaranteed to get the party started wherever. They use a small keyboard and miniature drum kit and can perform anytime, anyplace, anywhere. They sing, dance, body pop, break dance and put zany and coolness into any atmosphere. Barry Bling has always maintained his Black Country roots and does a welcome rap that incorporates the old Black Country recently rapping about the old B.C. in Germany. Youâ€™ve been commissioned by Funny Things - can you tell us what you will be doing as part of the commission? The Orchestra of Chaos is very excited
to be a part of Funny Things, after ten years on the road it’s a homecoming show for Barry Bling and Mr Velvet. Being a local lad Barry wants to take The Orchestra of Chaos to the four corners of the Black Country in their tour van. They will be performing a pop-up festival style performance in certain locations to give people the chance to experience what Funny Things is all about, specifically areas or communities that may not be able to attend or travel to the heart of the festival. The Orchestra of Chaos will be looking to take this experience direct to these audiences, whether in shopping centres, on the streets, in a shop or at your local hairdressers, in fact anywhere they can get to or visit on their travels. Also, we are very excited to have the Blingettes with us who have worked with us and performed with us since
we began, the girls Sima and Surj will be travelling with us and collating stories from the audience of any funny things you can tell us, including anecdotes and local stories. These will all be compiled for a digital online zine to be featured at The Funny Market during the festival. The Orchestra of Chaos will also be the in-house band for the festival so expect to see us at the hub of Funny Things performing through the festival as well as being on the road representing Funny Things. We are also excited to be working with Guest Director Janice Connolly as we have worked together over the years. If someone hasn’t seen what you get up to before what can they expect? ‘Love, laughter, fun and chaos’ is our motto. We are quite rare and unusual as we have performed to all age groups around the country and now internationally, we have never failed to deliver on our promise and motto. From our walk on dance routine, we bring the comedy and music straight to your heart with an intertwined set of absurd comedy and music with a lot of hilarious audience participation thrown into the mix. Expect to laugh, sing, dance and definitely expect the unexpected. Chaos guaranteed.
28 & 29 October, 11am-4.30pm Light House Media Centre The Light House Media Centre will be full of Funny Things with the Funny Market. There will be stalls full of Funny Things to buy, including comics, whoopee cushions, funny books and loads of Funny Things to see and do. Each day at 11.30am you can see film Titanic Love by local film maker Mark Pressdee along with some funny shorts from Central Youth Theatre.
Black Country theatre company Sneaky Beasts will be performing their show Bostin Boots at 4pm each day.
Young ones can join the kidâ€™s joke corner at 12pm each day with Barbara Nice, where you can tell her your best jokes.
Throughout the weekend you can create your own funny creature and make up a silly story about them with Curious Oddities.
Thereâ€™s an open mic session for people to have a first go at standup hosted by Barbara Nice at 12.30pm on Saturday and a talk by photographer Steve Best about his adventures Clicking Comedians at the same time on Sunday.
The festival band, Orchestra of Chaos, will also be making a special appearance.
During mid afternoon on Saturday there will be a showing of Chaplin short films with live music at 2pm.
Funny short films from Flatpack will be showing during the day. Entrance to the Funny Market is free, but some events and activities within the venue do ask for a ticket fee or donation. 037
Image by Nelson Douglas
THE JOKE EXCHANGE 23 October - 5 November Wulfrun Shopping Centre Opening times: Monday–Saturday, 9am-5.30pm, Sunday 10.30am-4pm
When those reports from the Office for National Statistics stated that Wolverhampton was the unhappiest place in the UK, locals didn’t agree, and Funny Things is proving it isn’t true, with your help. The team have done their own survey to find out how funny Wolverhampton is with the Joke Exchange. During August they asked people to tell them a joke (and they’d receive one back) and during September the best jokes are being displayed on hand-held placards in the city centre, with a different joke on display on the streets of Wolverhampton each day. Look out for all the placards being out on the streets together on Saturday 28th October. During the festival, an exhibition of largescale photographs of the project will be shown in an empty shop in Wulfrun Shopping Centre and the placards will be on display for you to have the chance to get your own photo taken with them. We asked artist, curator and ‘cultural provocateur’ Rob Hewitt of Redhawk Logistica to tell us more...
Tell us about the concept of the Joke Exchange? Joke Exchange is a totally new initiative made in response to the brief put out by the Funny Things festival. I wanted to have a transaction at the heart of the artwork so that both parties are asked to contribute and both get something out of it. It is always exciting to turn up on the street with something that acts as a focal point or a catalyst, like our Joke Exchange stall, and just see what happens, you never know what reactions you are going to get and that’s what makes it so much fun. The Joke Exchange has many layers - can you explain it? The first part is the gathering of jokes and we have done that in several ways, spending three days at busy locations around Wolverhampton city centre with the stall and writing down the jokes we were told. We’ve also visited a few places, like Newhampton Arts Centre and the Light House Media Centre and set up in communal areas to engage visitors and we’ve appealed on social media and through an article in the Express & Star, asking people to email us jokes, in return for one emailed back off us of course. The next stage is where a selection of the jokes will be made into placards - similar to the ‘Your Joke Here’ one and a different joke will be displayed in Wolverhampton City centre every
day during September (excluding Sundays), on a placard held aloft by volunteers. Finally, when the comedy festival is on there will be a day when all of the placards hit the streets at the same time, to bombard Wolves with humour. Following that, the placards will go on display, along with documentation of the process, while the Funny Things festival is taking place. We are also planning to be part of a comedy night to include some of the jokes that didn’t quite make it onto the placards, in collaboration with musical comedy heroes Barry Bling and Mr Velvet and the Orchestra of Chaos. There is a lot of great public engagement with your work - what do you hope/want people who interact with the project to come away with? We simply want to share a moment and have a laugh with people as they go about their daily business. We hope they go away a little bit more jolly than when they started and perhaps with an extra joke or two in their repertoire that they can pass on the someone else...so the jokes keep getting exchanged and people connect with each other through laughter. In a way humour is very instinctive and that varies a lot between different people, you either find something funny or you don’t, it’s not an intellectual response, 041
whether it is a groan or a belly laugh, it is an involuntary, authentic reaction. Perhaps we can learn something about ourselves by what we do (or don’t) find genuinely funny. You will be producing placards from the Jokes you have received from the public - tell us what you are going to do with them? They will be turned into designs and then made into placards that will be displayed by volunteers standing around on the streets of Wolves, in the same way as you might see an advertisement for a food shop or any other business, except we are not advertising a product. In a way the jokes will visually become part of the place, here today and gone tomorrow, a fleeting moment in a busy city that is hopefully passed along the chain by some of the people who see them. Perhaps they will make someone laugh, stop and think or even question the role of our public spaces for individual expression and civic activities, rather than just for shopping. And what about the exhibition? The exhibition will be a chance to see all the placards in one place. As well as some of the great photos we have of interactions with members of the public we’ll have photos of the street interventions with the placards and you’ll be able to have your photo taken with your favourite placard. Most of the project takes place in public spaces so the exhibition will be a second chance to experience some of that if you missed it. Throughout September a different joke will be displayed on a placard in the city centre, in busy places such as Queens Sq, the Bus Station and the Markets area. On Saturday 28th October a mass placard event will be held in the city followed by a procession to the exhibition location at the Wulfrun Shopping Centre. Share your photos with #JokeExchange and tag @FunnyThingsBC 042
THE LOST HANCOCKS: VACANT LOT A brand new and exclusive performance of two long lost radio scripts from the 1950s, written for comedian Tony Hancock by acclaimed comedy writer Larry Stephens, will be performed at Funny Things. In 1952, West Bromwich-born Larry Stephens (The Goon Show, The Army Game) convinced the BBC to let him create a new comedy series for his friend, rising radio star Tony Hancock (Workersâ€™ Playtime, Variety Bandbox, Educating Archie). 044
Entitled Vacant Lot, the series focused on life in the dull faded fictional seaside town of Churdley Bay, where the blundering, slightly pompous and barely tolerated Hancock aspires to better his lot. Despite featuring a supporting cast of colourful characters Vacant Lot lay buried in the BBC archives … until now. Recently rediscovered the Birmingham Comedy Festival for Funny Things proudly present the much-belated premiere of a forgotten slice of British comedy history from two West Midlands comedy heroes performed live by actors. We caught up with producer and Birmingham Comedy Festival organiser and Vacant Lot producer Dave Freak to find out more about the project. You are performing two episodes but how many are there? As far as we’re aware, we’re performing everything, which is just the two episodes. A full series was never commissioned, as everyone moved onto other projects, so it’s unlikely that writer Larry Stephens left other completed scripts. You are producing the show as if it were a radio recording - what made you choose this style of performance? Larry wrote the scripts for radio in the first place, so we’re just staying true to the source. The cast will be performing script-in-hand, but there will be theatrical/ visual elements to their performances, as the supporting actors take on the characteristics of those they’re playing. Incidentally, actors of the period, like Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers, and Kenneth Connor were mooted at the time for certain roles. The ‘radio’ format worked brilliantly for our recent revival of The Goon Show, and some of our cast will be returning for Vacant Lot. 045
You have the exclusive right for the UK premiere of the scripts - will the event at Funny Things be the actual premiere performance? Yup! As no recordings were ever made at the time, these performances will be the first time anyone, outside of the BBC in the 1950s, has heard Vacant Lot. Until relatively recently, the scripts had laid buried in the BBC archives – so no one had even read them for decades (which explains why it’s only ever mentioned in passing, and often poorly or incorrectly referenced, in some Hancock biographies). What do you think we’ll learn about Hancock and Stephens through this new performance? People’s perception of Tony Hancock is almost solely based on the Galton and Simpson TV and radio stuff – which is brilliant. However, during the fifties, Hancock appeared in loads of other radio shows, but very little recordings exist. So this gives us an all too rare glimpse into an earlier Hancock, a prefame Hancock if you will. Vacant Lot was written especially for him by Larry Stephens, his best friend – who also wrote stage and TV material for him – and you can really hear Hancock’s voice when you’re reading the scripts. It’s a lost piece of British comedy history! After this premiere, some of those Hancock biographers are going to have to re-write their early chapters … 046
OTHER VACANT LOT EVENTS The Lost Hancocks: Vacant Lot Saturday 4 November 2pm-3.15pm and 7pm-8.15pm Light House Media Centre Vacant Lot: Episode One – After accidentally auctioning off a prized clock, would-be councillor Hancock’s election chances look grim. Can he track down the buyer and save himself from ruin? Vacant Lot: Episode Two – In a drive to promote tourism Mayor Ambrose Tripfield calls on Hancock for assistance. But a copywriting gaffe looks set to destroy the reputations of both Hancock and Churdley Bay. Tickets £12 from Light House Media Centre or Midland Box Office. The Lost Hancocks Q&A 3.30pm-4.30pm Light House Media Centre Find out more about The Lost Hancocks, the story behind their original creation and eventual rediscovery, as well as their belated staging, 65 years after they were conceived. With members of the cast and project team, along with Larry Stephens’ biographer (and cousin) Julie Warren, whose new book, Glarnies, Green Berets and Goons: The Life and Legacy of Larry Stephens, tells the full story of the Black Country boy who helped reshape post-war British comedy. Tickets £1 from Light House Media Centre or Midland Box Office.
The Punch & Judy Man 4.40pm-6.15pm Light House Media Centre Starring Tony Hancock, Sylvia Syms, Ronald Fraser, John Le Mesurier, Hugh Lloyd. Directed by Jeremy Summers. Written by Philip Oakes and Tony Hancock. In a snobbish seaside resort, Delia (Syms), the wife of Punch and Judy man Wally (Hancock), dreams of social acceptance. So when he’s invited to perform at a celebration gala attended by Lady Jane Caterham (Barbara Murray), it looks like Delia may get her wish. But the sullen Wally refuses ... Based on an idea by Hancock, his second (and final) big-screen starring role is filled with echoes of his own life - from the south coast location (a background shared with The Lost Hancocks: Vacant Lot), to marriage difficulties. An understated and introspective comedy, ripe for reappraisal. Cert: U, 1963 The original puppets from the film will be on display in the Light House Gallery, on loan from the National Puppetry Archive. Tickets £5 from Light House Media Centre or Midland Box Office. Image: Actor Richard Usher who will play various roles for the performance. 047
Funny Kids & Families CUSTARD PIE CEREMONY WITH LIVE MUSIC 25 October, 3pm4.15pm Newhampton Arts Centre The art of throwing the custard pie is being celebrated with a selection of silent and sound shorts and SILENT CLOWNS: extracts from films from SIGNOR BAFFO A SLAPSTICK the 1910s, 20s, and 30s. 26 October, 2pm WORKSHOP FOR Pianist Meg Morley will Newhampton Arts KIDS accompany the films, Centre 25 October, 10am– whilst performer Katie An interactive children’s 11.30am & 12.30pmO’Malley will orchestrate show, there’s chaos in 2pm the ceremony. the kitchen when Signor Newhampton Arts Fun for all the family. Baffo is left in charge. Centre Tickets £5 Adult, £3 Expect plates-full of fun, In this workshop kids Child from Newhampton with generous helpings will be taught the tricks Arts Centre or Midland of silliness, mischief and of the silent comedy Box Office. adventure. trade through clowning, Tickets £6.50 Adult / games, and performing £4.50 Child / £20 Family little skits. At the end of from Newhampton Arts the workshop, parents Centre or Midland Box will be invited to see a Office. short performance. Tickets £5 per child from Newhampton Arts Funny Things Centre or Midland Box Kids Passport at Newhampton Arts Office. Centre
7 Any three events: £10. Any four events: £12. Only available direct from Newhampton Arts Centre Box Office (not online).
FUNNY BONES COMEDY WORKSHOP 27 October, 9.30am12pm for ages 5-10, 1.30pm-4.30pm for ages 11-16 Newhampton Arts Centre Find your funny bone in these comedy workshops for children led by professional actress and funny woman, Tonia DaleyCampbell. Find out what makes people laugh and discover your own unique funny style. Plus there’s a chance to perform at the Funny Market on 28th and 29th Oct as part of the Funny Things comedy festival. Tickets £3 per child from Newhampton Arts Centre or Midland Box Office.
HANNAH AND MARIE’S COMEDY FOR WHIPPERSNAPPERS 27 October, 2pm-3pm Molineux Stadium Hannah Silvester and Marie O’Connor have been performing together since they met at university and made each other laugh so much they nearly passed out. They’ve been performing comedy for kids for a while now, and people think they are pretty good at it. Tickets £5 Adult / £3 Child from Midland Box Office.
PAPER PUPPETS WORKSHOP 28 October, 9am-10am Windsor Toys, Penn Work with artist Ruth Swallow to create paper puppets and a theatre for them to perform some hilariously bad jokes. Tickets £4.50 from Windsor Toys or Midland Box Office. A CENTURY OF CHAPLIN WITH LIVE PIANO ACCOMPANIMENT BY MEG MORLEY Films showing: The Adventurer | Easy Street | The Immigrant 28 October, 2pm3.30pm Light House Media Centre 1917 was a stellar year for Charlie Chaplin with three of the funniest two-reelers including his favourite short, The Immigrant. Tickets £7 / £5 concessions from Light House Media Centre or Midland Box Office.
Funny Kids & Families FUNNY POEMS FOR KIDS WITH EMMA PURSHOUSE 29 October, 10.15am11am and 11.15am12pm Windsor Toys, Penn Join performance poet Emma Purshouse in the intimate setting of a toy shop. Emma will perform funny poems from her collection ‘I Once Knew a Poem Who Wore a Hat’. Tickets £3.50 each or £10.50 for a family of four from Windsor Toys or Midland Box Office.
SIDNEY’S SHED 30 October, 7pm Penn Hall School, Vicarage Road, Wolverhampton, WV4 5HP Maisie is running from the bullies and thinks she’s just found the perfect place to hide. But this is no ordinary shed and Sidney Waffles is no ordinary gardener… Inventor, explorer and winner of this year’s ‘Best-Veg-in-Show’, the potty flower-potter has made some rather unusual improvements to his allotment – Sidney has created the world’s first time travelling shed! Tickets £3 Adults / £1.50 Child / £8 Family from Midland Box Office or direct from Penn Hall School.
PAPER PUPPETS WORKSHOP 4 November, 9am-10am Windsor Toys, Penn In the intimate setting of a toy shop, work with artist Ruth Swallow to create paper puppets and a theatre for them to perform some hilariously bad jokes. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets £4.50 from Windsor Toys or Midland Box Office. SHINY HAPPY SPACE FOR BABIES AND THEIR CARERS 4 November, 30-minute sessions at 10am, 10.30am, 11am, 11.30am, 1pm, 1.30pm, 2pm and 2.30pm The Joke Exchange
Exhibition Space in Wulfrun Shopping Centre Piazza (next to Poundland entrance) Relax, take your shoes off and explore the Shiny Happy Space, a sensory tactile, chill-out space for babies and their carers to play and laugh in. Tickets £5 per family from Midland Box Office.
AN INTRODUCTION TO CARTOON DRAWING FOR KIDS (AND THEIR GROWNUPS) WITH LAURA HOWELL 4 November, 1.30pm3pm Newhampton Arts Centre (Room 4) If you like drawing – or even if you think you can’t draw at all – this family-friendly cartooning class with Beano and
Regular Show artist Laura Howell is for you. Starting with simple doodles, you’ll uncover your inner artist and be amazed at what you can create. Tickets £4 from Midland Box Office.
DIY DRIVE-IN: NATURE’S TALES 4 November, 2pm-4pm Wolverhampton Art Gallery Families are invited to a DIY drive in cinema experience! You’ll build your own cars using scrap and craft materials and then settling in to watch Nature’s Tales. You’ll find all kinds of creatures, great and small setting off on funny little adventures in this programme of colourful short animated films featuring an exuberant fire-fighting Rhino and a troupe of dancing robots as well as a greedy little reptile who bites off more than he can chew. Tickets £4 per child, £2 per accompanying adult from Midland Box Office.
IN CONVERSATION FRANCESCA MARTINEZ IN CONVERSATION WITH BARBARA NICE 23 October, 7.30pm-9pm Slade Rooms Kicking off the Funny Things Festival is the fabulous Francesca Martinez in conversation with Barbara Nice about being wobbly in a world obsessed with being ‘normal’, and her brilliant book ‘What The **** Is Normal?!’ which was nominated for the Chortle Comedy Best Book Award. It’ll be available afterwards and she might even sign one if you’d like a copy. Tickets £12 from Midland Box Office. 052
FUNNY WOMEN AWARDS: MIDLANDS HEAT 1 November, 8pm-10pm Slade Rooms Funny Things are working with Funny Women to host the Midlands heat of the National Funny Women Stage Award, with Barbara Nice compering the event. The Funny Women Awards have left a massive impression on the UK comedy scene. Previous winners and finalists include Bridget Christie, Zoe Lyons, Sara Pascoe and Katherine Ryan. Come along to this event to see the best local comedy talent, who could be the stars of tomorrow. Register to take part: funnywomen.com/awards/stageaward/ Deadline to register for the Stage Award is 30th September 2017. Tickets £10 / £8 concessions + BF from Midland Box Office.
THE RAMSHACKLE HOUSE Forest Arts Centre 19 - 20 October, 10.30am & 1.30pm / 21 October, 11.30am & 3.30pm £5.50/£6, Age 3+ Enter… The Ramshackle House. What will the coming Winter be like for the family that calls this rickety house their home? Will it be ready in time for the Christmas festivities? The Ramshackle House, supported by Creative Black Country, is an enchanting physical comedy about a growing family tumbling, balancing and flying - as they try to hold their home together. It tells a relevant and empowering story about how we can learn to live with instability in a forever-changing world. Presented by circus theatre pioneers Upswing, who mix aerial theatre with dance, music and stunning visuals they also recently worked with Forest Arts Centre for 2016’s Bedtime Stories show. Forest is one of the only venues in the region that can host large-scale indoor aerial and circus shows thanks to its new multi-purpose arena. The Ramshackle House is being developed and designed at the centre putting its full facilities to use which includes utilising the venue’s relationships with local communities to make sure families from the area can access the workshops and shows Upswing and Forest will offer. Forest Arts Centre Box Office (0300 555 2898) is open Monday to Friday 9.30am - 4.30pm. / forestartscentre.co.uk 053
BLACK COUNTRY TYPE WITH TOM HICKS
For many, social media has reached its nadir. The white noise of selfies, selfglamourising lifestyle presentation and comedy cat memes is fast becoming the online equivalent of being trapped in a provincial shopping mall. Hell really is other people - and theyâ€™re all on your smartphone. However, if we look beneath the banal surface there are some fascinating subcultures to be explored online, particularly on visual platforms such as Instagram. People are turning toward the often subtle power of images to express something about their lives, their feelings and their environment in a quieter way. For those with an eye for graphics, there is currently an upsurge of interest in street typography, graffiti and long-extinct signs. Those involved in this movement are an eclectic mix, including artists, graphic designers, graffiti artists and design historians. 054
The street has long been a source of inspiration for artists and writers. As early as the 1930s, street photographers such as Brassai began to record urban landscapes in the same way that Gainsborough had depicted rural scenes in paint. His work often featured empty streets, decorated by signage and advertising. This visual language was later to be filtered by pop artists, to whom the language and imagery of selling was at least as important as literature or the work of the master painters. My own interest in displaying/ documenting street graphics is via @blackcountrytype, a photography project that aims to record street graphics, amateur typography and graffiti in the region. This is just one of many sites that focus on the beauty of signs, lettering and font in the urban environment.
These sites appeal to a wide range of interests. For some there is a definite sense of a lost culture, a nostalgia for a more stable times where established shops and businesses employed signwriters and type designers. The renewal of interest in typography and street graphics works handin-hand with a general move back toward analogue and handmade forms of production. Just as in music the vinyl record has seen a huge resurgence, todayâ€™s designers and artists are increasingly rejecting digital design, preferring to draw upon older letterforms to spark inspiration. This can be seen in current moves toward the â€œartisanâ€?, handmade and retro aesthetics that are clearly discernible in the fields of fashion, design and visual merchandising. Folow @blackcountrytype on Instagram. 055
WOLVERHAMPTON’S ANNUAL IDEAS FESTIVAL 11 November, 10am-4pm, Bob Jones Community Hub, Bromley Street, Wolverhampton, WV2 3AS Make:Shift is your chance to put forward your views about how to ‘Change the City of Wolverhampton with an idea.’ No idea is too big or too small as long as you’re prepared to own it and drive it forward.
This year’s event will also unveil an amazing initiative set to transform Wolverhampton. You can participate in workshops and get behind the ideas set to make Wolverhampton an even better place to live. Make:Shift is the place to be for inspiration, collaboration and support, and as well as the day itself, they’ve got lots of other activities going on in the months leading up to it: Make:Inspiration from 12pm on 14 September, 12 October and 9 November Pop into Wildbytes Café on Darlington Street, order some lunch or a coffee and watch an inspiring TED talk, with an opportunity for a follow-up discussion with like-minded folk. Make:Ready Visit inspirational venues in the city that are already changing Wolverhampton with an idea. Network over coffee and cake, take part in skill sharing activities and leave feeling inspired. Make:Soup Wolverhampton’s first SOUP launches at the Make:Shift event. For a small donation, you receive a light lunch and a vote. You get to listen to pitches from four projects, network with other people and vote on the project you think will benefit the city most. The winner goes away with money to kickstart their project, although everyone’s a winner as relationships are forged and ideas are shared. Find out how to get involved, keep up to date with the latest news and find out how to book your free Make:Shift ticket by visiting makeshiftwolverhampton.wordpress.com. Follow on Twitter @MakeShiftWolves
ON GOING EXHIBITIONS
WOLVERHAMPTON SOCIETY OF ARTISTS EXHIBITION 2017 Until 19 November Wolverhampton Art Gallery BARBARA NICHOLLS - SEDIMENTARY FLOW Until 19 November New Art Gallery Walsall Barbara Nicholls’ monumental watercolour works emerge by manipulating the behaviour of pigment in ever-increasing quantities of water. They have associations with geological forms touching on collective memories of the experience of natural spaces, of the landscape and of the body.
The Wolverhampton Society of Artists exhibition is a popular fixture in the gallery’s exhibitions’ calendar and goes as far back as 1884. Over the years the exhibition has always featured a diverse range of styles, media and subject matter. Much of the work is for sale and on Saturdays during the exhibition there will be a programme of activities and demonstrations including an open studio weekend, artists’ talks and drawing sessions. Image: Margaret Jarvis, Lounge Lizards, Oil pastel.
RECENT ACQUISITIONS Until 19 November Wolverhampton Art Gallery Wolverhampton Art Gallery continues to acquire new contemporary artworks and this exhibition includes pieces by three highly acclaimed black artists: Black Female Hairstyles, a series of colourful collages by Sonia Boyce which explore the politics of black hair and black identity; Silver Self Portrait by US artist Glenn Ligon, made fromcoal dust; and Go West Young Man by Keith Piper, whose work was first shown at the Gallery in the early 1980s when he was a member of the Wolverhampton Young Black Artists.
SEVEN KINDS OF MAGIC Until 10 December New Art Gallery Walsall This exhibition comprises original illustrations by Quentin Blake for seven books in which magic appears in different forms, including The Witches by Roald Dahl, shown alongside works from our Permanent Collection chosen by House of Illustration, in consultation with the artist, which link to each of the illustrated texts. Seven Kinds of Magic was the inaugural exhibition in the Quentin Blake Gallery at House of Illustration in London in 2016. Image: Quentin Blake, Image from Angel Pavement by Quentin Blake (Jonathan Cape 2004).
LEGACIES: JMW TURNER AND CONTEMPORARY ART PRACTICE Until 14 January 2018 New Art Gallery Walsall A master of history, landscape and marine painting, Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) challenged accepted conventions in art, often shocking his contemporaries with his techniques and candid portrayal of the modern world. Legacies will consider the impact of JMW Turner through the lens of contemporary art, highlighting the ongoing relevance of his work for artists practising today. Image: Dorothy Cross, Basking Shark Currach, 2013.
PEOPLE’S CHOICE Until 25 February 2018 New Art Gallery Walsall To celebrate the 125th anniversary of their Permanent Collection this year and the launch of our new online collections database NAGW invited the public to curate this year’s annual collections display. A special Winners Room, of the most popular works from each of our collection themes, can be found in our temporary exhibition space on Floor 2. Image: Cynthia Hough, Wolverhampton St, Walsall, 2001, Pen, ink and watercolour on paper. 059
SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN (FILM) 14 September, 1pm Brook Street Community Centre, Tipton £3, Box Office: 0121 557 0371 A spoof of the turmoil that afflicted the movie industry in the late 1920s when movies went from silent to sound. When two silent movie stars’, Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont, latest movie is made into a musical a chorus girl is brought in to dub Lina’s speaking and singing. Don is on top of the world until Lina finds out. GOBLIN THEATRE – PETER & THE WOLF 22 September Glasshouse Arts Centre Goblin’s Peter and the Wolf is a brand new show with amazing music created live on
stage with a variety of instruments. Loosely inspired by Prokoviev’s classic, this is Peter and the Wolf as you’ve never seen it before. The original score gets a total update- and is combined with fun interaction, physical comedy and inventive puppetry. Peter wants to tell a story- with a variety of animals as companyas well as a lot of musical instrumentswhat will they come up with? Join Peter on a hilarious adventure through the fields and forest as he discovers new sounds and noises. With animal antics involving birds, ducks, cats and wolves, this original show features multi-instrumental live music combined with imaginative puppetry which will have children ages 4+ jumping for joy. An ideal imaginative introduction to music, as well as a positive message about being kind to the world. ART HOUR - STILL LIFE DRAWING WORKSHOPS
25 September Newhampton Arts Centre Bring your own materials and practice your observation skills in an ambient friendly environment with intriguing curios to draw and paint. Pre-booking and payment essential £5 per session contact Hannah Boyd at Hannahboydart@gmail. com. Session is 7-8pm but arrive 10 minutes before to get a good spot.
BLACK COUNTRY ALLOTMENTS – SANDWELL LIBRARIES EXHIBITION TOUR 26 September-7 October Blackheath Library
OCTOBER Multistory presents Black Country Allotments, an exhibition about the lives and experiences of plot holders and beekeepers, set in the heart of Sandwell. Photographs and texts are taken from ‘Black Country Allotment Society’, a 2014 publication by writer and researcher, Susie Parr. Susie’s closely observed stories are a celebration of community, resourcefulness and ingenuity. Focused on the everyday and the ordinary, she reveals the extraordinary endeavour and achievements of the plot holders. THE SUPERSKAS 29 September, 8pm Newhampton Arts Centre £10 Advance A long overdue return of the ultimate tribute to Ska and 2tone who get the NAC bouncing every time.
FUN PALACE WOLVERHAMPTON 8 October Newhampton Arts Centre Fun Palace is both an ongoing campaign for culture at the heart of every community, and an annual weekend of action – arts, science, craft, tech, digital and sports events and activities – run by and for local communities. All ages welcome. BLACK COUNTRY ALLOTMENTS – SANDWELL LIBRARIES EXHIBITION TOUR 10 – 21 October Tipton Library Multistory presents Black Country Allotments, an exhibition about the lives and experiences of plot holders and beekeepers, set in the heart of Sandwell. UCHENNA DANCE – THE HEAD WRAP DIARIES 13 October, 7.30pm Newhampton Arts Centre / £7 (£5 con) / £20
Family (2 children & 2 adults) Hair – worn long, worn short, worn wavy or in braids – is the subject of The Head Wrap Diaries, a funny and uplifting dance theatre performance by London based company Uchenna Dance.
It’s an interactive show set in a hair salon about people, and their ongoing relationship with hair. Mixing dance, theatre and storytelling with a good dose of humour, the performance venue is transformed into a Beu-Tiful hair salon, with wig stands and chairs set around a performing space. Audience members are welcomed by stylists Linda and Riyah who will take you on a hair journey that will have you laughing out loud, thinking about your own (and everyone
else’s!) hair while you learn a thing or two about afro-hair, straight from the hairdresser’s chair. This exciting dance experience features a fabulously produced score by Ghanaian musician Kweku Aacht who provides a sizzling soundtrack of sounds from 90s R’n’B to traditional Ghanaian pop music. QUENTIN BLAKE WORKSHOP 14 October, 1-3pm New Art Gallery Walsall Free Inspired by Quentin Blake’s Angel Pavement join NAGW to create a floor-based chalk drawing and participate in a magic pencil masterclass. MATTHEW E. WHITE 18 October, 7:30pm Newhampton Arts Centre £14 Advance Virginia’s Matthew E. White has wowed the critics with his debut album mixing up smooth modern-day soul and funk and country rock.
THE RAMSHACKLE HOUSE 19 - 20 October, 10.30am & 1.30pm / 21 October, 11.30am & 3.30pm Forest Arts Centre £5.50/£6, Age 3+ Enter… The Ramshackle House. What will the coming Winter be like for the family that calls this rickety house their home? Will it be ready in time for the Christmas festivities? The Ramshackle House, supported by Creative Black Country, is an enchanting physical comedy about a growing family tumbling, balancing and flying - as they try to hold their home together. It tells a relevant and empowering story about how we can learn to live with instability in a forever-changing world.
SIGNOR BAFFO BY OH PRODUCTIONS 26 October, 2pm Newhampton Arts Centre An interactive children’s show, Signor Baffo opens his restaurant to children aged 3+ and their families. There’s chaos in the kitchen when Signor Baffo is left in charge. Expect mischief and adventure.
GIRL SHY (SILENT FILM WITH LIVE PIANO ACCOMPANIMENT) 29 October, 4.30pm Bantock House, Tractor Shed £5 The Poor Boy (Harold Lloyd) is a bashful tailor’s apprentice who longs to be a published author. Heading for the city to sell his romantic anthology, he encounters the Rich
NOVEMBER Girl (Jobyna Ralston) on a train, and he helps her hide her dog from the conductor. Excited about a budding romance, the Poor Boy goes off to a publisher and gets rejected. Disheartened, he gives up on the Rich Girl. However, when the publisher changes his mind, the Poor Boy tries to rekindle the spark of romance.
shed and Sidney Waffles is no ordinary gardener… Inventor, explorer and winner of this year’s ‘Best-Veg-in-Show’, the potty flower-potter has made some rather unusual improvements to his allotment – Sidney has created the world’s first time travelling shed. Join Sidney and the bravest little girl in Windy-on-the-hill as they take a time-travelling journey to dig up the past and weed out the bullies. Bursting with historical hilarity, songs, music and prize-winning cabbages, Sidney’s Shed is Rhubarb Theatre’s new show for gardeners and adventurers of all ages.
RHUBARB THEATRE – SIDNEY’S SHED 30 October, 7pm Penn Hall School, Wolverhampton Box Office: 01902 558355 Maisie is running from the bullies and thinks she’s just found the perfect place to hide. But this is no ordinary
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BRITAIN ON FILM: BLACK BRITAIN 3 November, 6.30pm CAP Centre, Smethwick Striking, illuminating and sometimes surprising images of black culture, community and characters, spanning over a century of British film and TV. Bringing together films spanning 1901 to 1985 and taken from many different regions of the UK, it offers incredibly rare, little-seen and valuable depictions of black British life on screen. BLACK COUNTRY ALLOTMENTS – SANDWELL LIBRARIES EXHIBITION TOUR 7 – 18 November Central West Bromwich Library Multistory presents Black Country
Allotments, an exhibition about the lives and experiences of plot holders and beekeepers, set in the heart of Sandwell. BRIX & THE EXTRICATED 8 November, 7.30pm Newhampton Arts Centre Brix & The Extricated are an alternative band, reuniting former The Fall members Steve Hanley, Paul Hanley and Brix Smith.
WHERE’S MY IGLOO BY THE BONE ENSEMBLE 10 November Glasshouse Arts Centre Oolik is an ordinary girl who goes on an extraordinary journey… Sitting in her igloo, a drop of water falls on Oolik’s head. Then another! Is her home melting? Join Oolik
as she sets out on a journey to find help. On her way she meets some exciting friends – including you! Where’s My Igloo Gone? is a family show with beautiful live music and a great story. It’s fun and interactive, featuring striking costumes and design, and staged in the round so everyone can see and take part. It creates a dazzling, icy world of soaring snow geese, pet husky dogs, starry nights and fishing adventures. And the kind of cold that makes your skin tingle! Travelling through snowstorms, across oceans and into our hearts, Oolik is not the kind of girl to give up on her quest… IN CONVERSATION WITH BARBARA NICHOLLS 11 November New Art Gallery Walsall Free Join artist Barbara Nicholls and Deborah Robinson, Head of Exhibitions, for an informal tour of the Sedimentary Flow
exhibition on display on Floor 4. MARKING THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF BACK TO BLACK 11 November Newhampton Arts Centre An 8 piece tribute act with full brass section, that celebrates the songs of Amy Winehouse and the songs that inspired her. Support from Stay Loose DJs.
PENGUIN BY LONG NOSE PUPPETS 15 November, 10.30 & 1.15pm Newhampton Arts Centre Long Nose Puppets show Penguin is based on the award-winning book by Polly Dunbar. Ben is delighted when he rips open his present, inside is a penguin.
“Hello Penguin!” says Ben. Penguin says nothing. Ben tickles Penguin; he pulls his funniest face; he puts on a happy hat, sings a silly song and does a dizzy dance. Penguin says nothing..so Ben fires Penguin into Outer Space, Penguin comes back to earth without a word. It isn’t until a passing lion intervenes that Penguin finally speaks...and when he does, Ben discovers something that was really worth the wait. Penguin is exiting, surreal and full of surprises. The lively songs by Tom Gray of Gomez will have everyone joining in. LOCAL MAKERS’ MARKET – YOUNG PEOPLE’S EDITION 2017 18 & 19 November, 11am-5pm New Art Gallery Walsall Showcasing the local young creative talent in the region and offering Christmas shoppers the chance to buy local bespoke and handmade products.
XMAS ART AND CRAFT GIFT MARKET 19 November, 11am5pm Newhampton Arts Centre Free Beat the Christmas rush with an eclectic selection of original art and craft items by local artists and makers.
PUBLICK TRANSPORT – WE ARE BRONTE 19 November, 7pm Thimblemill Library £4 advance / £5 on the door. ‘We are Bronte’ is a piece of comic visual theatre inspired by the real and imaginary worlds of Yorkshire’s Literary siblings. Physical theatre collides with stand up, clowning and improvisation
as two performers deconstruct not only gothic themes of love, madness, repression, and revenge, but also themselves.
100 MASTERS EXPO 25 November Starworks Warehouse Wolverhampton Free Entry - just turn up Join Creative Black Country for a celebration of their 100 Masters project. Meet the Masters, join workshops, eat with Digbeth Diner, drink with the Desi Pub landlords, see new artist commissions and experience a unique day of Mastery from the best talent in the region.
VENUE DIRECTORY WOLVERHAMPTON Arena Theatre Wulfruna Street, WV1 1SE 01902 321321 arena.wlv.ac.uk @Arena_Theatre Asylum Art Gallery 21 Chapel Ash, Clifton St, WV3 0TZ theasylumartgallery. com @AsylumGalleryWM Bantock House Museum & Park Finchfield Road, WV3 9LQ wolverhamptonart.org. uk/visit/bantock/ @BantockHouse Bilston Craft Gallery Mount Pleasant Wolverhampton West Midlands WV14 7LU wolverhamptonart. org.uk @BilstonCraftGal Civic & Wulfrun Halls North Street, WV1 1RD wolvescivic.co.uk @Wolvescivic 066
The Heritage Centre Clifford Street, Whitmore Reans, WV6 6AA 01902 421792 Lighthouse Media Centre The Chubb Buildings, Fryer St, WV1 1HT 01902 716055 light-house.co.uk @lighthousemedia Newhampton Arts Centre Dunkley St, Wolverhampton, WV1 4AN 01902 572090 newhamptonarts.co.uk @Newhampton Penn Hall School Vicarage Road, WV4 5HP 01902 558355 Starworks Warehouse Frederick St, Wolverhampton WV2 01902 871444 starworkswarehouse. co.uk Temple Street Studio/ Gallery 32 Temple St, WV2 4AN templestreetstudios.co.uk
Wildside Activity Centre Hordern Road, Whitmore Reans, WV6 0HAÂ 01902 572240 wildsideac.co.uk @wildsideac Wolverhampton Art Gallery Lichfield St, WV1 1DU wolverhamptonart. org.uk @WolvArtGallery
SANDWELL Bleakhouse Library Bleakhouse Rd, Oldbury B68 9DS
Thimblemill Library Thimblemill Road, Smethwick, B67 5RJ 0121 429 2039 @thimblemilllib
Brasshouse Community Centre Brasshouse Lane Communuty Centre, Brasshouse Lane, Smethwick, B66 1BA 0121 555 5672 nsdt.org.uk @Brasshouse_NSDT
Uplands Manor Primary School Addenbrook Road, Smethwick, B67 6HT 0121 429 2039
Lightwoodâ€™s House & Park Adkins Lane, Bearwood, B67 5JB
DUDLEY / STOURBRIDGE
Oak House Museum Oak Road, West Bromwich 0121 553 0759 @SandwellMuseums The Red Cow Pub 296 High Street, Smethwick, B66 3NL 0121 558 0272 Sandwell College Central Campus, 1 Spon Lane, West Bromwich, B70 6AW 0121 253 6629
Glasshouse Arts Centre Glasshouse College, Wollaston Rd, Amblecote, Stourbridge, DY8 4HF 01384 399433 ruskin-mill.org.uk
WALSALL Forest Arts Centre Hawbush Road, WS3 1AG 0300 555 2898 forestartscentre.co.uk Goscote Greenacres Community Garden Goscote Lane WS31SJ @GoscoteGreen The Lamp at Brownhills Community Association Chester Road North, Brownhills, WS8 7JW 01543 452119 thelamparts.co.uk @thelamparts The Manor House Museum Hall Green Road, West Bromwich, 0121 588 2985 New Art Gallery Walsall Gallery Square, WS2 8LG thenewartgallerywalsall. org.uk
Making Wolves Laugh Black
ebrated with a Country humour cel
23 OCTOBER Stand-up comedy, theatre, spoken word, workshops, talks, family activities...
festival of comedy,
arts, music and film
...and lots of silly stuff
Funny Things is produced by Creative Black Country in collaboration with Big Difference Company & Wolves Civic.
Published on Sep 27, 2017
We've produced a special Black Country edition of Area Guide to share all the wonderful things that are happening during the autumn/winter s...