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Leicester’s pub theatre Spring 2015 programme Including events from

Upstairs at the Western The Western 70 Western Road Leicester, LE3 0GA Image from Manuelita

Welcome to our Spring 2015 season at Upstairs at the Western, Leicester’s pub theatre. Early February in Leicester can only mean one thing: Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival is back in town and we are delighted to once again be an official venue for this unique event. And, if you’ve caught the comedy bug, why not book a place on our new Stand Up Comedy Workshops in April? We’re also delighted to team up with Coping with Cancer, a locallybased, independent charity on Westleigh Road who provide practical and emotional support to anyone affected by cancer. We will be hosting our Writing Poetry workshops at the centre as well as a special Charity Performance night on 11 May with proceeds from this event going to Coping with Cancer. Please come along and support local writers, comedians and this wonderful charity. Upstairs at the Western programmes brave, inspiring and engaging performances in an intimate theatre space in Leicester’s own West End - what could be better than that? Book your tickets online to be sure of a seat at Leicester’s first and only pub theatre. We look forward to seeing you soon. Off the Fence Theatre Company www.off-the-fence.com @OfftheFenceTC For tickets and more information www.upstairsatthewestern.com @UpstairsWestern Enjoyed your experience? Why not give us a review on Trip Advisor? Brochure design by Libby Sidebotham. All photos supplied by artists

Peter Antoniou - Happy Medium Fri 6 February, 8pm, £8/£6, Age 14+

If you could meet a psychic and ask them just one question, what would you ask? No matter what the question might be, award-winning ‘Psychic’ Comedian Peter Antoniou has an answer for you. Improvised comedy meets psychic demonstration in a show that will fondle your frontal lobe, tickle your funny bone and reveal things about your past, present and future that no one could possibly know. So sit back, relax and prepare to wonder, is your mind safe?

“His Ad Libs are fast and sharp ... a balance between humour and astonishment” - The Scotsman

Graduated and (Still) Gagging Sat 7 February, 7pm, £5/£3, Age 16+ Four years since their sell-out Dave’s LCF debut, this group of DMU Alumni has reunited to prove they’re still gagging for it – attention. Proving they can cope in the real world, they’ve individually and collectively enjoyed success at Edinburgh Fringe, won numerous awards and even found sensible jobs. Now they’re back to prove their gag reflexes still function. Come and see a night of top quality comedy, still at student prices.

Pariss - Political Incorrectness Gone Mad Sat 7 February, 11.30pm, £10/£8, Age 18+ Pariss has had a long career bringing her own special brew of acid wit and rapid-fire costume changes to Ladies’ Nights and Adult Cabaret up and down the country. But be warned, no one is safe: celebrities and other non-entities as well as anyone in the front row. Expect glamour, sophistication and audience participation as, for one night only and a first for Dave’s LCF, Pariss will perform her unique show at the intimate Upstairs at The Western. This show is not for the faint-hearted or easily offended, Tena Ladys and Pacemakers recommended.

Yours Desperately, Dan & Lydia Fri 13 February, 8pm, £5/£4, Age 18+

A melodramatic comedy show with serious issues. Dan Nicholas (“someone as inventive as this should have a future in comedy”, Chortle) and Lydia Rickards (“never fails to impress”, Scallywags Comedy) aren’t great at love. In fact they’re terrible, making questionable decisions as they attempt to fill a void - all thanks to high anxiety and uncomfortable levels of paranoia. With only one day to go before Valentine’s Day, will they ever find The One? Friday the 13th is unlucky for some and this pair are unlucky in love. Join them as they explore this theme in an hour of stand up and sketches.

Find the Right Words

Weds 18 Feb, 18 March, 22 April, 20 May, 8pm, £5 Free pre-show workshop 6.45pm Open mic sign up 7.30pm Created and compered by Jess Green, with two big name poets and ten open mic slots, Find the Right Words is one of the most electric poetry and rap nights in Leicester. With a comedy special on the 18 February, headliners are Jack Rooke and Laurie Bolger. Remaining headliners will be confirmed on our website. Join Jess at 6.45pm for a free 45 minute poetry workshop. Open mic sign up from 7.30pm, performances from 8pm.

The Ornate Johnsons and The Foundry Group present

Those Magnificent Men by Brian Mitchell and Joseph Nixon

Fri 20 & Sat 21 February, £10/£8, 7.30pm Chris Neville Theatre Awards - Best Fringe Production 2013

‘An up, up and away fringe hit! Spiffing perfection.’ - The Daily Telegraph

The thrilling true story of the first ever non-stop transatlantic flight, as told by acclaimed writing duo Mitchell and Nixon in this side-splitting new production. Last seen Upstairs in 2014 with Big Daddy vs Giant Haystacks, award-winning theatre company The Foundry Group and BBC4 sketch group The Ornate Johnsons have joined forces for this new staging of the hit play about Capt. John Alcock and Lt. Arthur Whitten Brown and their daredevil dash across the Atlantic in the tiny open cockpit of a converted Vickers biplane. Chocks away for a night of thrills, spills and uproarious comedy.

Gerard McChrystal presents

Stand Up! Music for Solo Saxophone Sat 7 March, 7.30pm, £8/£6 Saxophone virtuoso Gerard McChrystal returns with his engaging and varied repertoire. Gerard’s programme includes Mid-Term Break, a Derry-Londonderry UK City of Culture 2013 commission in memory of poet Seamus Heaney. Gerard collaborated with Seamus and Snow Patrol on this piece. Using special techniques including circular breathing and slap-tongue effect, Gerard will perform a wide range of pieces including Bach and Paganini to Telemann’s canonic duos and Olympics 2012 composer Joe Cutler.

Peppermint Muse presents


Sat 14 March, 7.30pm, £10/£8 written and performed by John Stenhouse “compelling, highly engaging...John Stenhouse draws the audience in the minute he walks on stage” *****Edinburgh Evening News On Saturday 6 December 1969, over 300,000 people arrive for Altamont, the West Coast’s version of Woodstock and the Rolling Stones’ vision of free music. But as dusk descends on the drug and alcohol-fuelled revelry, sinister forces threaten to shatter the peace-and-love ethos of the ‘60s forever. Altamont, which premiered at the 2014 .Edinburgh Fringe, follows naive music fan Joe and his encounters with dancing chicks, longhaired hippies and terrifying Hells Angels. Fast-paced, explosive and intense, Altamont is a gripping interpretation of the day the music died.

Peppermint Muse presents

Lavender Junction Sat 21 March, 7.30pm, £10/£8 Written and performed by Lisa White “insightful, inspirational, poetic monologue an authentic slice of social history about women, marriage and motherhood.” *****The Edinburgh Guide

“engaging, comical, poignant, uplifting”

*****British Theatre Guide

True-life memories of colonial India infuse this evocative one-woman show. During the waning years of the British Raj, an ordinary woman shares her innermost thoughts and feelings. Based on real life interviews and witty recollections, a rich tapestry of characters are revealed against the fascinating backdrop of a mysterious land. Lavender Junction, which premiered at the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe, is a lyrical tale of lifelong love. From the confines of a convent boarding school to the wards of nursing college, an Englishwoman discovers her own voice, independent spirit and destiny. Lavender Junction delicately weaves an uplifting, timeless and human true story.

Chicken Pox Fox presents

Donna Disco

Sat 28 March, 7.30pm, £10/£8, Age 14+ Written by Lee Mattinson, directed by Laura Lindow, performed by Paula Penman For anyone who ever thought being fourteen was easy ... Donna is fourteen, bland, bespectacled and, if she’d ever heard of The Beautiful South she’d adore them. She also has a new school project: to source a stranger’s story and present her findings at the annual Christmas Pageant. Donna takes it upon herself to befriend the colourful cross-dressing butcher from downstairs. But Donna’s world begins to disband and the disco that plays in her heart is in danger of grinding to a glittering, gobsmacking halt. Commissioned by Live Theatre and supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, supported by The Empty Space and Dance City through This Way up.

“A tour de force of writing, acting and directing” “Effortlessly drawing the audience into this funny and heartbreaking story” – Three weeks

Tangram Theatre presents

Darwin, The Origin of Species... Thurs 2 April, 7.30pm £10/£8, Age 11 - 100 Written & performed by John Hinton

“Remarkably inventive, thoroughly entertaining... extraordinarily effective... science can rarely have been so much fun” – The Stage ***** “Witty, clever, absurd... Comic genius...Grown-ups will love it. Kids will adore it. A gem” – Broadway Baby *****

The Origin of Species... tells the incredible story of how Charles Darwin came to discover the secrets of evolution and why it took him over twenty years before he plucked up the courage to publish his remarkable idea. It’s a show packed with big ideas, terrible puns, brilliant physical comedy and six cracking original songs about everything from blasted boring barnacles to the perils of marrying your cousin. Edinburgh Fringe sell-out & international smash hit. Bring your monkeys!

Sun 12, 19, 26 April & 10 May, Performance Night Mon 11 May £20 for all 4 sessions or £6 per session, 11am - 1.30pm, Age 18+

Have you been inspired by stand up during this year’s Dave’s LCF or, you’ve got the jokes but would like help in developing your own routine? These workshops are for you! It is said stand up is the loneliest profession but at Upstairs at the Western, you’re amongst friends. With encouragement, support and guidance from Leicester-based comedian Dan Nicholas (Edinburgh Fringe veteran, short-listed for BBC’s New Comedy Award 2013, Best Newcomer NCF 2013) and Gary Phillpott (co-founder of DMU Footlights, Artistic Director of Off the Fence Theatre Company), this series of workshops will help you develop and perform a five minute stand up routine. Workshops culminate in two performances of your new set on 11 May, one at our Charity Performance Night for Coping with Cancer. Later, perform your routine Upstairs at the Western, complete with compere and headline act. BOOKING ESSENTIAL FOR WORKSHOPS - LIMITED SPACES AVAILABLE

To book and for further information please contact Sally Jack at sj@off-the-fence.com


Stand Up Comedy Workshops


Puppetry Workshop Sat 11 April, 11 am - 1.30pm, £5, Age from 5 - 12 years, parents free. NB Held at Coping With Cancer Centre Join Georgie, storyteller and children’s theatre maker as she demonstrates how to create puppets and use them to bring stories alive. This workshop combines storytelling and puppetry – participants will play, experiment and explore different materials to see what characters will emerge and what stories they’ll tell.


All materials supplied. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Writing Poetry Workshops Sat 18, 25 April & 9 May, Performance Night Mon 11 May £15 for all 3 sessions, £6 per session, 1.30 - 4.30pm, Age 16+ NB Held at Coping with Cancer Centre Using ‘life’ as the Easter-related theme for these workshops, take an idea and perfect a poem to read at our Charity Performance Night at Coping with Cancer Centre (see 11 May). Using practical examples and with opportunities to write and obtain feedback, each workshop will cover key aspects of writing poetry. These workshops will feature local writers who will be on hand to provide advice, feedback and support as you write. BOOKING ESSENTIAL - LIMITED PLACES AVAILABLE

To book and for further information please contact Sally Jack at sj@off-the-fence.com

at Coping With Cancer Centre Mon 11 May, 7pm, £5, Age 16+ Featuring poetry written during our Writing Poetry Workshops and comedy from our Stand Up Workshops, come and see a wide range of new work created here in Leicester, as well as special guest appearances by local writers and comedians. We are delighted to be holding this event to raise funds for the West End based charity Coping With Cancer. This local charity provides practical and emotional support to anyone affected by cancer. At any one time they are helping more than 600 local people and support at least 45 new clients every month.

Upstairs at the Western Comedy Night Mon 11 May, 8.30pm, £8, Age 18+ Showcasing new routines perfected during our Comedy Workshops, spot the comedy stars of the future in our very special Monday Night Live at Upstairs at the Western. With a professional compere and headline act, join us for what will be an entertaining evening of stand up. Next stop, Saturday Night Live at the Apollo…

Practical and emotional support for anyone affected by cancer Counselling • Befriending • Solicitor’s Surgery Complementary Therapy • Support Groups Please call if you have any concerns

0116 223 0055 www.c-w-c.org.uk | info@c-w-c.org.uk


Charity Performance Night

Birmingham Repertory Theatre Company in association with The Roundhouse presents

Back Down

Weds 15 & Thurs 16 April, 7.30pm, £10/£8 by Steven Camden A must-see, funny and insightful coming of age story. Luke, Zia and Tommy have known each other for forever. With Luke about to leave for university it’s time for one last adventure. Armed with Zia’s mix CD and a bag of Brummie pride, they set off to conquer Snowdon. But when their jaunt takes an unexpected turn they are forced to face up to the reality of why they needed the trip in the first place. Back Down is the highly-anticipated first play by Birminghamborn Steven Camden, more commonly known as award-winning performance poet Polarbear. This production and the subsequent UK tour are supported by the Sir Barry Jackson Trust.

AllthePigs Theatre Company presents

The Piano Man

Sat 18 April, 7.30pm, £10/£8 Inspired by real-life events, AllthePigs Theatre Company discover the story behind the ‘Piano Man’ Andreas Grassl. Silent for four months, the world speculated about his identity - from the doctors and mental health professionals who worked with him, to the press who vilified him as a fraud, and to the countless people worldwide who claimed to know him. This stylish, thought-provoking play considers what makes up our identity as individuals, and what might a man need to forget who he is.

“An absolute triumph; funny, moving, and thoroughly engaging throughout, it really was an outstanding evening” – *****Everything Theatre on AllthePigs

Stuff of Dreams Theatre Company presents

The Poisoner’s Pact Sat 25 April, 7.30pm, £10/£8 The Poisoners Pact: flour, water, arsenic... Stuff of Dreams Theatre Company (Love Left Hanging, The Bricks of Burston) return with a brand new play, The Poisoners Pact. Set in the 1830s in the peaceful village of Burnham Market, the play explores the story of Catherine Frary and Frances Billings, the last women to be hanged in Norfolk and whose execution was the last public, double execution in England. Frary and Billings were found guilty of several murders by administering arsenic to their hapless victims; this lethal substance was frequently disguised in dumplings. Why would two married women, one of whom was a mother, carry out such horrific crimes? Join us for an evening of murder, mayhem and recipes. After all, it is “just good housekeeping”.

Popelei Theatre presents Fri 1 May, 7.30pm, £12/£10


Revolutionary, proto-feminist, underground spy and the beating heart of South American liberation, Manuela Saenz died in poverty, all but forgotten by the history books - until now. Blending storytelling, physical theatre, comedy and live music, Lecoq-trained Tamsin Clarke brings Manuela’s story of love, loss and revolution to life. With accompaniment by Colombian musician and guitarist Camilo Menjura (UK Latin American Musician Of The Year 2014), Manuelita promises audiences a heart-swelling, toe-tapping night out at the theatre. WINNER - Three Weeks Editors’ Award 2014 Top 10 shows of the Fringe WINNER - CASA Nuestra Scratch 2013

“British-Venezuelan Clarke bursts on to stage all pent-up anger, frustration and passion... a wonderful, warm performance that will have you leaving the Underbelly on a high.” **** The Stage

Back in Autumn 2014 we asked Key Stage 3 and 4 students at Fullhurst Community College to take part in our first ever playwriting competition to find Leicester’s Young Playwright of the Year. Every play that entered received feedback, selected playwrights worked further on their plays and you now have the opportunity to see the runners up and overall winning play performed on stage with local actors.

Rob Gee presents

Forget Me Not - The Alzheimer’s Whodunit Fri 22 May, 8pm, £10/£8 Following his sell-out show last October, Rob Gee returns with another chance to see Forget Me Not - An Alzheimer’s Whodunit, a murder mystery set on a dementia ward. Written and performed by comic, poet and reformed psychiatric nurse Rob Gee (“A witty, skilful storyteller’, Chortle), Forget Me Not also completed a sell-out run across Canada in 2014.

***** “Cluedo meets Memento … brilliant!” – Victoria Times ***** “Smart, witty and razor-sharp … funny and heartbreaking as hell” – Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

“Best Male Solo Show” –

Victoria Fringe


Write to Play Performances

Sun 17 May, 2.30pm & 6.30pm, £5

Peter Morton presents

The Miller’s Tale with the songs of Bob Dylan Sun 24 May, 7.30pm, £10/£8 Chaucer, Dylan and quite a few hats, this is The Canterbury Tales told as never before! To celebrate Bob Dylan’s birthday on May 24th, folk singer Pete Morton comes to Upstairs at the Western bringing together the genius of Geoffrey Chaucer and Bob Dylan in a musical comedy version of Chaucer’s brilliant and bawdy masterpiece, The Miller’s Tale.

***** “Hugely enjoyable – such a talented artist” – Geoff Boudreau,

Rye Arts Festival

“Not only impressive...but a revelation” – The Guardian

Stella Productions presents

The Rise & Fall of a Northern Star

Fri 29 May, 7.30pm, £10/£8, Age 16+

Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll - Tracy Star wants it all! Seeking to escape the drudgery of her day-to-day life in 1980s Manchester, she sought to make something of herself in the burgeoning male dominated *Mad*chester music scene. Tracy Star was ‘The Manc Madonna’ before life in the music industry took its toll. Written by Stella Grundy, former front woman of Manchester band Intastella, The Rise and Fall of a Northern Star offers a peculiar blend of comedy and tragedy interspersed with original music and rhythmic, pacy dialogue.

“Poetic, funny, and completely immersive The Rise and Fall of a Northern Star is an absolute triumph” – Joanna Ing, Whatsonstage


Tickets and Info


COMEDY YOU CAN’T IGNORE At the nation’s funniest comedy festival

Proud to support Upstairs at the Western

Available to hire “Really cool, intimate venue” Audience member, Summer 2014’

If you would like to hire Leicester’s pub theatre contact Verity at vb@off-the-fence.com

Comedy: school of hard knock-knocks by Sally Jack


an you be taught to be funny? Salford University thinks so and, since 2012, offers a BA (Hons) in Performance: Comedy Practices. It is true many comedians begin their careers at university yet few study comedy in the classroom. A big part of university life is finding new friends, yourself and a career maybe performing stand up is a rather extreme way of achieving this but comedy can often fulfil at least one of these needs. The more traditional road to a career in comedy is spending long hours travelling to and from gigs, sometimes just for petrol money, performing in front of audiences from 1 to 100 with varying attention spans. Not easy, but there’s no substitute for experience. Consider Michael McIntyre. A premium ticket to see Michael at Nottingham Arena in his Happy and Glorious tour costs £55.50. That’s more than many gigging comedians get for their troubles in one night but looking at his success, maybe the £27,000 in tuition fees (and the rest) is a reasonable investment if being funny is in your bones? Michael did go to university (Edinburgh) but dropped out after one year. A comedy circuit

grafter, he first came to wider attention at Edinburgh Fringe in 2003 with a nomination for the Perrier Best Newcomer Award, subsequently won by Gary le Strange (who?). Michael’s overnight success took ten years with his big Royal Variety Performance break in 2009 to being named the world’s highest grossing comedian for 2013. Some find his style of comedy grating because of its safety and familiarity yet you can’t argue with the numbers: £21m in ticket sales in 2013, a 73 date arena tour to 639,000 people - and that’s before DVD and autobiography sales. Michael, his accountant and bank manager are no doubt laughing. So, is studying for a degree in comedy worth it? Aren’t you either funny or not? And isn’t it the case that studying humour kills it? It is human nature to want to learn, share experiences and be creative and there is nothing wrong with studying an art form, learning the craft and practising these skills in a safe environment. Equally important though is defying the hecklers, finding your own style and seeing what works. These long and painful hours aren’t found in a text book. Being funny is seriously hard work.

BOOKING Please book in advance to be sure of a seat, visit www.upstairsatthewestern.com Tickets may also be purchased in advance from behind the bar at The Western or at our Box Office thirty minutes before performance, dependent on availability. PLEASE NOTE As Upstairs at the Western is a small and intimate venue we are unable to admit latecomers. Thank you for arriving promptly. 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 during the day as well as free parking after 6pm on Western Road and surrounding streets. Please check signs carefully – some streets are resident permit only. CYCLISTS The Western is a bike friendly pub and has a bike park adjacent to the beer garden. Bikes left at owners’ risk. HOW TO FIND US

The Western Pub 70 Western Road Leicester LE3 0GA

Our supporters: Westcotes Community First

O2 Think Bigger

February: events from Dave’s comedy Festival Fri 6 Sat 7 Sat 7 Fri 13 Weds 18 Fri 20 & Sat 21

March Sat 7 Sat 14 Weds 18 Sat 21 Sat 28


Peter Antoniou - Happy Medium Graduated & (Still) Gagging Pariss - Political Correctness Gone Mad Yours, Desperately with Dan & Lydia Find the Right Words Those Magnificent Men

7.30pm 7pm 11.30pm 8pm 8pm 7.30pm

Stand Up! Altamont Find the Right Words Lavender Junction Donna Disco

7.30pm 7.30pm 8pm 7.30pm 7.30pm

Thurs 2 Darwin Sat 11 Puppetry Workshop Sun 12 Stand Up Comedy Workshop Weds 15 & Thurs 16 Back Down! Sat 18 & Sat 25 Writing Poetry Workshop - at Coping With Cancer Centre Sat 18 The Piano Man Sun 19 Stand Up Comedy Workshop Weds 22 Find the Right Words Sat 25 The Poisoner’s Pact Sun 26 Stand Up Comedy Workshop


Fri 1 Sat 9 Sun 10 Mon 11 Sun 17 Weds 20 Fri 22 Sun 24 Fri 29

7.30pm 11am - 1.30pm 11am - 1.30pm 7.30pm 1.30 - 4.30pm 7.30pm 11am - 1.30pm 8pm 7.30pm 11am - 1.30pm

Manuelita 7.30pm Writing Poetry Workshop 1.30 - 4.30pm - at Coping with Cancer Centre Stand Up Comedy Workshop 11am - 1.30pm Charity Performance Night 7pm Write to Play Competition 2.30pm & 6.30pm Winners Performance Find the Right Words 8pm Forget Me Not - The Alzheimer’s Whodunit 8pm Pete Morton - The Miller’s Tale 7.30pm The Rise & Fall of a Northern Star 7.30pm

Profile for Upstairs at The Western

Upstairs at the Western Spring 2015  

Leicester's Pub Theatre, Spring Brochure 2015. Theatre, spoken word and comedy.

Upstairs at the Western Spring 2015  

Leicester's Pub Theatre, Spring Brochure 2015. Theatre, spoken word and comedy.