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Leicester’s Pub Theatre

Season Guide March/April 2013

Western Road, Leicester

special event : Upstairs at The Western

Welcome to a very


hose not already familiar with Leicester, The Western or Off the Fence Theatre Company may not have experienced the multicultural scene in the city, the warm and welcoming atmosphere of The Western or our own passion for performance.

Last October we transformed Upstairs at the Western from a spare room into a theatre for performances of Godot Was Here. The event was such a success we invited performers from around the country to see and perform at the venue and experience its potential to develop as a new fringe theatre in Leicester. We think Upstairs at the Western has that all pervading x factor and March/April is the next step in its equally ubiquitous “journey”. One of Off the Fence’s core beliefs is to bring performance to new audiences and that is at the heart of this event. Acts featured over the course of the next few weeks are all about trying something new, supporting the Arts and, most importantly, having a great night out. As a Leicester-based company we are keen to be a part of the local community and the Western is now becoming our second home (working upstairs though!). We hope you enjoy the wide-ranging programme of events and really want to hear what you think of any of the acts you see or the venue itself. Please do get in touch and let us know what you thought of March/April Upstairs at the Western.

Off the Fence Theatre Company @OfftheFenceTC

Brochure design by Libby Sidebotham. Images by designer apart from ‘Man at sea’ by Anne Pawlak, ‘Find the Right Words’ and ‘Cognito’


Performance Time

Tuesday 12th March

Anything to Declare 7.30pm

Wednesday 13th March

Semper Eadem/ Magic Number Six 7.45pm

Thursday 14th March

Fridge Logic / Cat in Hell 7.30pm

Friday 15th and Saturday 16th March

Rabbitskin 7.30pm

Monday 18th March

DMU Showcase 7.00pm

Tuesday 19th March

Find The Right Words 8.00pm

Wednesday 20th March

Pfft … women! 7.30pm

Thursday 21st March

MUHA 8.30pm

Friday 22nd March

Are we Happy Yet? 7.30pm

Friday 22nd March

Dan Nicholas’ Conversation Garden 10.30pm

Saturday 23rd March

Thanks to His Sister 7.30pm

Monday 25th March

The Nightingale of South Bank 7.30pm

Thursday 28th March

Patchwork Lives 7.30pm

Saturday 30th March

Stand Up 9.00pm

Thursday 4th April

Uncanny Corner 8.00pm

Friday 5th April

Do You Expect Me to Talk? 7.30pm

Saturday 6th April

Stinxville 2.30pm

Saturday 6th April

The Man at Sea 7.30pm

Monday 8th April

Spiltmilk say Dance 7.30pm

Tuesday 9th April

If You Ever Leave Me 7.30pm

Thursday 11th April

Going Down 8.00pm

Friday 12th April

Potpourri Performance Evening 7.30pm

Saturday 13th April

Love Left Hanging 7.30pm

Thursday 11th April


GoingDown A play by Darren A Furniss A series of dark and tragic stories, these dramatic monologues explore the darker side of human nature and the horrors of

8 pm

Adults Only: This play contains graphic descriptions of a sexual and violent nature and is not suitable for children.

which we are all capable. Going Down poses the question: do we really know anyone, especially ourselves? Described as “passionate, powerful and gripping... provocative, chilling, imaginative... Well worth the price of the ticket.” by ScotsGay Magazine, this play will be an unmissable experience. TICKETS


to Declare

by The Gramophones

Foolish flight attendants explore the trials and tribulations of going on holiday in this quirky treat. They unravel everything from the horrors of the airport check-in to the dizziness of holiday romance. Anything to Declare is a fun, playful show: comical vignettes reflect on the holiday experience with many opportunities for interaction. On arrival check-in with your


7.30 pm


7.30 pm

three stewardesses who will take you and your fellow travel companions on a rather unusual journey. Who will find holiday happiness? “*****Genuinely witty, clever and yet delightfully silly” ( This light-hearted, playful show takes you to a new destination where you’ll be ready for your next adventure. TICKETS

Tuesday 12th March

Thursday 14 March th

Fridge Logic: Olwen is attempting to make a movie. But she is having trouble. She isn’t sexy, scary or entertaining enough. She needs you to believe in her and help her discover her emotive direction. Fridge Logic takes

Fridge Logic by Olwen Davies

a humorous and moving journey through re-enactment and confessions of a lonely performer … but with surprising twists. Optional videos distributed the week before at

Magic Number Six chronicles the sometimes difficult working relationship between Patrick McGoohan and Lew Grade. In 1966, McGoohan was the highest-paid actor in TV, star of the hit series Danger Man and with ambitions to write, produce and direct. Grade was head of ATV television and responsible for some of the biggest shows of the era such as The Saint and Thunderbirds. McGoohan’s idea for a new show, The Prisoner, went on to be regarded as the cult TV classic of the era with its mix of James Bond intrigue and Alice in Wonderland surrealism.


Semper Eadem and Magic Number


Semper Eadem is a satirical monologue, sponsored by the Transglobal Corporation. Written by local author Paul Gosling and directed by Carolos Dandolo, it is Crooked Hand’s first collaboration with actor Phil Norman.

pm 7.45 Wednesday13 March





“Cal says everyone’s story’s the same. Get born, grow up, get a job, wed, have kids, work, get sick, get better, get sick, get better, get sick, die. I think he’s wrong.” Joe can name his twenty favourite authors straight off the top of his head and quote his favourite books perfectly. He’s a master storyteller like his father, a man who can make the ghosts and monsters of Irish legends seem



Magic Number Six Bill enjoyed a successful run at Little Theatre’s One Act Festival in 2012. Crooked Hand is pleased to see Karen Gordon, Colin Woods and Rob Lesson reprising their roles in 2013.

7.30 pm

Friday 15th and Saturday 16th Mar ch

as real as the rabbits he skins and cuts up on the kitchen table. But when Joe tries to tell his own story he finds it difficult to keep on track. All stories must come to an end eventually, but that’s the bit that Joe doesn’t want to tell. Dom Grace’s beautiful new play asks us to consider how easy it is for us to listen to other people’s stories, but how difficult it is to tell our own. TICKETS

Cat in Hell [preview] by Ollie Smith

Cat in Hell: A spangly new show about getting the cream and choking on it. Ollie Smith has dressed up as a demon and Olwen Davies has dressed up as his cat – because Ollie asked nicely and Olwen never thought not to do as she was asked.

Double Bill

Only this cool cat has other thoughts about who’s really in charge. Via sleek whiskers and glamorous assistants, handcuffs and horror movies, conjuring tricks and confetti, Cat in Hell is a black-humoured meditation on loneliness and control. TICKETS

DMU Showcase Theatre makers of the future perform a collection of short pieces. De Montfort University Drama and Performing Arts Students showcase a variety of their current work. Exploring contemporary and traditional theatre their

Tuesday 19th March

Monday 18th March


£4 pm

vignettes ask questions – but not in the way you’d expect. What do you think? What have you seen? How has it made you feel? This is your opportunity to answer and see what the theatre makers of tomorrow are creating today. TICKETS




This is not boring poetry See some of their stuff here: Follow them here: @greenellenjess @seanysense @ceciliaanneknapp @kerdonk @ziatwits @nicholkeene @babybrooxie @palomaheindorff

There will be no books or flowers. There will be some of the best rising stars in spoken word from across the country (one of them has even been on telly – check Sean Mahoney on They were on Scroobius Pip’s ones to watch list at Bestival. TICKETS

Pfft ...woMEN!

Thursday 21st March



Stemming from eastern roots MuHa layers and mixes the sounds of different traditions, influenced by the UK’s multicultural society. The band is a great live act, entertaining with musicianship and engaging with audiences through a variety of languages and catchy grooves.

7.30 pm

Friday 22nd March

Pop the kettle on, there’s a war going on!


8.30 pm

Combining the melodic beauty of Eastern European folklore, North Indian Kathak rhythms, Cuban beats, Western European influence and original lyrics from Hindi to old Russian and modern Ukrainian, they mesmerize with a musical feast rooted in the Slavonic tradition but cultured from the world. TICKETS

Are we

Happy yet?

Are We Happy Yet? is a new performance work by Official Culture. Produced as part of a twelve month programme of exploration, the work explores the relationship between Spectacular Capitalism and the War on Terror; probing the nature and imagery of war and of everyday life. Orange jump suits and achey breaky hearts. Covered heads and faces, boring Americana.

Official Culture is a collective of three artists: Natalie Bangs, Josh Guiry & Laura Stacey. Are We Happy Yet? is devised and presented by the whole collective.

fateline__theatre and Umbrella_EM presents Pfft.. woMEN!, a new play by Hannah Abbott. Directed and produced by Jessi Wilson. Starring Amy Collingwood, Kathryn Lenthall, Annie McCourt and Naomh Cullen: women in their natural habitat. Pfft.. woMEN! is a choreopoem style play about four women, each with very different issues and thoughts to share.

The play focuses on their journey, sometimes comedic but sometimes heartbreaking. Hear the thoughts of women, women who no longer have anything to hide. TICKETS


pm 7.30 Wednesday 20 March £4


Dan Nicholas' Conversation


Dan Nicholas, local deadbeat, presents an evening of fun, feelings and foliage with his new chat show. Accompanied by his two housemates Jack Britton and Lewys Holt, Dan hosts a night of games, stand up, jingles and wine. Lots of wine. This refreshing take on a chat show format will be different to anything you’ve ever seen before. We’ll be asking you about your lives: jobs, faults and quirks. In this hour-long show everyone (well, almost everyone) will get their fifteen minutes of fame.


We want your stories, we want your questions and we want you to come to our garden. Enough about us, let’s talk about you. Tweet us your questions @EllisonNicholas @JackAGBritton and @LewysHoltVIII TICKETS

Quirksome Theatre Company present:

A play by Robin Acland

Saturday 23rd March

Thanks to his Sister Brian is grappling with his thesis on the Romantic poet William Wordsworth. He knows more about the poet than almost anyone alive, yet there is one crucial question concerning Wordsworth’s personal life to which he can’t seem to find the answer. As the deadline creeps nearer and he grows increasingly obsessed he has



It is the end of a story. All three of them are there.They work.They are in this shop.They never leave.They have been this way for a long time. How long? They cannot remember exactly. They do not speak.They do not need to.They take a deep breath.They persist.They cut and stitch and weave and sew. Cut stitch weave sew. This will stay this way. Until it does not.


Friday 22nd March


£6/£8 7.30pm TICKETS

visions of the historical figures who roam the pages of his thesis. Meanwhile, Brian’s headstrong older sister Sylvie has decided to stay with him indefinitely. If only he weren’t facing eviction. If you have ever been consumed by a project you’ll love this warm, witty and original piece of theatre.

Thursday 4th April £7 8pm TICKETS

Paper People theatre creates complex and vibrant visual environments for their characters to inhabit. In this silent, movement-based piece audiences are invited to enter a distorted and poetic world where a tale of time, identity and relationships will unravel. Stitch by stitch.

Monday 25th March

£8/£10 7.30pm

The Nightingale


Florence Easton was born in 1882, South Bank, Middlesborough. After training at the Royal Academy at the turn of the 20th Century she went on to become one of our most versatile English Opera Singers, known professionally as The Nightingale of South Bank. In 1918 at the Metropolitan Opera, New York she created the role of Lauretta in the



Saxophonist Gerard McChrystal has performed in over 30 countries including USA, Korea, South Africa, Azerbaijan, New Zealand as well as Europe/UK. He has worked with Philip Glass, The Soweto String Quartet, vocal group Anuna, Rambert Dance Co, and many orchestras including The Philharmonia and the Orchestra of San Fransico Ballet. Stand-Up is Gerard’s newest project; a combination of solo saxophone works and pieces for saxophone and electronics. The sublime beauty of atmospheric works such as

of South Bank

world premiere of Puccini’s Gianni Schicci, making her the first soprano to sing the famous aria O Mio Babbino Caro. Helena Leonard sings many of Florence’s famous arias from operas including Madame Butterfly, Gianni Schicchi, Aida and Tosca as she tells you the fascinating story of the varied career of Florence Easton The Nightingale of South Bank.

Saturday 30th March 9pm TICKETS


Karen Tanaka’s Night Bird and Andy Scott’s My MountainTop contrast with the freshness of Tony Davis’ dance inspired Iguacu, Come Down and Dance. Gerard will also perform duos by Telemann and Ian Wilson using effects that have to be heard to be believed. Multi-layered works, performed live and using a loop station complete this unique cutting edge project.

Patchwork Lives Quilter lives in a big old house on the hill which echoes with the lost stories she collects. Gathered over many years she must now find a way to re-tell them so they live again. It won’t be easy. People find her a little strange, and hear voices coming from the shadowy, old house. But doesn’t she live alone?

Quilter is determined to tell the tales people have entrusted to her with the help of a mysterious friend and a magical patchwork quilt. An extraordinary modern fairytale stitched together from stories given to us by the people of Nottinghamshire and tales of the women who’ve inspired a community.

Thursday 28th March 7.30pm £3/£5



7.30 pm

Friday 5th April

Do you expect me to talk? “All of a sudden, the things that used to make me happy didn’t anymore. And I couldn’t put my finger on why. I didn’t want to say “depression”. I don’t think my family or friends or doctors or dogs or cats wanted to either. It was almost a....dirty word.” Following a successful performance installation developed in Leicester last summer as part of Curve’s Young Arts Entrepreneurs scheme, young company Cognito Theatre explores the topic of mental health using the stories and thoughts of real people to dismiss the myths, challenge the stigma and question why talking about it all is still so difficult. TICKETS

Stinxville TICKETS

Arletty Theatre’s outrageously anarchic pantomime of mayhem and madness for all ages. Naive Little Pleb joins a cast of villains and ne’er-do-wells on a journey to the wicked city of Stinxville! They sing, they dance, they get arrested by a puppet-policeman

Arriving in the capital of corruption, the hero finds himself on trial for his life – and the audience decide whether he’s innocent or GUILTY! “Love the family friendly feel... Definitely not a ‘kids’ show, just great fun for all.”

...and they serve cake! £3/£5

2.30 pm

Saturday 6th April

Spiltmilk Say

Dance “Hilarious gestural deconstruction ....performed with verve and panache” Disco dancing to Sinatra, YMCA to Mozart, line dancing with hands and The Twist on chairs. Spiltmilk say Dance turns social dancing on its head, giving familiar favourites a facelift to create a completely new experience that will surprise, intrigue and delight.


Monday 8 April th


7.30 pm

Spiltmilk Say Dance present this critically acclaimed show full of their signature combination of complex movement and popular culture. The work takes a tongue-in-cheek look back at social dance crazes from the last century and de-constructs and re-imagines them for today’s audience.


Man at Sea

7.30 pm £7

The Man at Sea is a devised piece of storytelling directed by Polly Tisdall from The Birmingham Rep Foundry and performed by Storytelling Café resident storytellers Dawn Powell and Sharon Carr. Based on the stories from 3,000 year old poem The Odyssey it recounts much of what happened to the great King Odysseus after his heroic ending of the Trojan War. After ten years of brutality his journey home to his loving wife Penelope is full of wild adventures: drunken parties on the beach, drugs, cannibalism and a trip to the Land of the Dead. Using soundscapes, movement and recitation these stories twine together producing an hour of spellbinding entertainment.

Saturday 6th April


If You Ever Leave Me If You Ever Leave Me examines the family ties that bind us (in every sense of the word), the sacrifices we make in pursuit of a happy ending, and the stories we carry with us – whether we mean to or not. Performance storyteller Kelly Kanayama combines theatre and traditional storytelling to re-interpret Western folktales from an Asian-

Pacific cultural perspective and create a one-of-a-kind live performance experience for adults only. These are stories of infanticide, cannibalism, passion and betrayal; stories about the joy and terror of growing up; stories that transport us across cultural boundaries and transform us into something greater TICKETS than ourselves. Tuesday 9th April

Not Suitable for children


Potpourri Performance Evening A bit of this, a bit of that, a mixture. And we’ve invented a new acronym. The acts featured may not be long but that is no reflection of quality. There are five acts ranging from 10

7.30 pm

Friday 12th April

7.30 pm


(pay what you think)

minutes to 30 minutes and featuring a wide range of styles. This is where we hand over to you, the audience. The rules: watch each act then pay what you think they were worth.

Love Left Hanging An adaptation of the Famous Red Barn Murder by Emma MacLuskey and Cordelia Spence. Following their successful tour of Private Peaceful this little theatre company with the big dream is back with the original version of an infamous murder that is now part of East Anglian Folklore. Set in 1827, this adaptation focuses


7.30 pm Saturday 13



on a woman scorned, exploring the different accounts of what happened to Maria Marten. It seeks to discover the flaws in the defendant’s short trial, his shady background as well as his alleged affair with Maria’s stepmother. Thought provoking, irreverent and original, don’t miss the alternative version of Maria Martens’s untimely demise.


Fringe Benefits by Sally Jack


pstairs at the Western has been described as Leicester’s first fringe pub theatre. This may be new for Leicester but pub theatres date back half a millennium. In medieval England actors and musicians travelled in troupes, performing in taverns around the country. Forward-thinking landlords permitted performances in their tavern’s coach yard and let actors sleep in the rooms above the pub, happy for the extra trade from troupe and audience. But then came the Tudors and Shakespeare (yes, him again) and the increasing popularity of purpose-built theatres such as the Globe eventually called time on pub theatres. Five hundred years later and the first shoots of fringe theatre appeared on Scottish soil. In 1947 eight theatre companies turned up in Edinburgh – uninvited - to capitalise on potential new audiences for the first Edinburgh International Festival. The following year Scottish playwright Robert Kemp first used the term fringe to describe this branch of the Festival proper and the world’s largest arts festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe was born. Notable Fringe theatrical moments include the first performance of Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern

Are Dead in 1966 and Joint Stock Theatre Company’s 1984 staging of The Great Celestial Cow by Leicester writer Sue Townsend. You can’t keep a good idea down though and along with sequinned flares and flamboyant mullets, pub theatres re-emerged in the early 1970s as part of London’s cultural landscape. Older pubs often had spare space thanks to upstairs breweries or had previously rented out rooms to travellers (sound familiar?). Theatre companies need space to rehearse and perform, so why not collaborate? Early exponents of this idea are now established London venues, such as The King’s Head, The Old Red Lion Theatre and the Hen and Chickens Theatre. Fringe theatre is a place for new work and new artists and anything goes. Audiences see emerging artists in an intimate space, sometimes acts are a little raw, sometimes literally in your face but in five years’ time you may be saying smugly “well I saw them first at Upstairs at the Western.”. A theatre above a pub makes business sense, provides opportunities for audiences to see a wide variety of performance styles and, crucially, has a ready-made interval bar. Put the two together and I’d say fringe pub theatre means everyone benefits.

Keep up to date with developments with Upstairs at the Western and Off the Fence at



here is expected to be a high level of interest in the programmed events therefore please book in advance. This can be done online at or following the links in this brochure.

Tickets for every event may also be purchased in advance from behind the bar at The Western pub or on the door on the night of the event.

Tickets purchased online are subject to a booking fee. Concessionary prices are shown first and available to U16s, NUS, OAP and registered unemployed. All information in this programme is correct at time of printing. Off the Fence is not responsible for the content of events listed. In the unlikely event performers withdraw Off the Fence reserves the right to reschedule events as necessary.

Acknowledgements This event wouldn’t have happened without the help and generosity of quite a few people. As well as the acts appearing at March/April Off the Fence would like to thank (in no particular order) Kieran and all the staff at The Western, David Hately, Ben Smith, Briony Latter, Jake Palmer and Libby Sidebotham.

Leicester’s Pub Theatre

A warm welcome guaranteed at The Western. We have 7 real ales, guest ciders, a large range of whisky and rum, and some rather nice wines. Situated in Leicester's West End, we have a large beer garden, a log burning fire and regular food, drink and music events. For more info, make friends with The Western Leicester on facebook, visit our website: or even better, pop in for a chat.

How to find Upstairs at The Western The Western Pub 70 Western Road Leicester LE3 0GA Contact: Access Unfortunately, due to the nature of the building there is no wheelchair access. Parking Upstairs at The Western is located in a residential area. There is pay per hour parking as well as free parking after 6pm on Western Road and surrounding streets.

Upstairs at The Western  

Leicester's Pub Theatre March/April Season Guide