A curated selection of FREE cultural & community activities / tasks for you to do whilst Alphabetti is closed, that we have enjoyed.
Click on the titles to be taken to where we discovered them.
WEEK 21: 14.10.2020
Nick Loaring takes us through the creation of some of his printing work on the theme of light at the Lumen workshop. We loved seeing the physical process of creating these prints, and all the different elements and different skills required for it to all come together. If you’re a fan of typesetting, you’ll also enjoy this!
Produced for Durham Book Festival, this podcast series from New Writing North explores the work created for New Narratives for the North East, speaking to the writers about their inspiration and regional identity. Each of the four episodes features extracts from the work along with interviews and sounds of the North East, to discuss what makes this part of the country unique, and how it might look in the future. Listen to 4 artists’ explorations of edges, centres, pasts and futures, all creating rich pictures of a life in the North East.
Running time: Approx. 30 mins
Multiverse Lab, from Unfolding Theatre, is designed to get residents of the North East directly involved in shaping the future of local health research. An online, interactive experience, the first thing I noticed was that you can choose your own guide through the process depending on your preference or accessibility needs. You are then encouraged to record (or type) a message onto the platform to contribute your voice to a local collection that will be shared with researchers and decision-makers. It’s fun, easy to use, and allows you to have your voice heard, which we love.
History Isn’t Woke, It’s the Best Defence We Have Against Tyranny and Hate - Hardeep Matharu
After the release of Sam Mendes’ hit World War One film 1917, actor Laurence Fox criticised the director for the inclusion of a Sikh soldier. He described the inclusion as ‘incongruous with the story’ and that there was ‘something institutionally racist about forcing diversity on people in that way.’ As well as being very offensive in his comments, he also demonstrates an ignorance that Hardeep Matharu highlights is present in our country’s school curriculum and consciousness. Her account of Indian service in both world wars, India’s treatment by Britain as part of the Empire, and a lack of education surrounding all of this contributing to the myth of ‘greatness’ surrounding Brexit Britain is a powerful and important read.
Next Wednesday, producer Tobi Kyeremateng and her guests will engage in a free-to-access panel event for Black History Month, discussing their favourite pieces of art, activism and culture that pioneered our world today. Tobi will be joined by Jess Brough – writer, psycholinguistics PhD student, and founder of Fringe of Colour; Jason Selina Thompson – artist and writer whose work is of international acclaim; and Jason Okundaye – journalist and writer for The Guardian, Vice, Dazed and many more. We can’t wait to tune in for this panel!
When: 21st October 6-8pm
@tobikyere @Jessica_Brough @jasebyjason
Like so much of what we know and love this year, Berwick Literary Festival 2020 has taken up residence online. While you can’t wander round the lovely streets on the coast, you will be able to curl up with a cuppa and access loads of free events! There’ll be writing workshops, poetry, book launches, talks and loads more to tickle your fancy, so go and scout out the brilliant programme and book yourself in.
When: 15th-18th October
WEEK 20: 07.10.2020
‘25% of people in the North East are disabled, why do we not take up that cultural space’? From award-winning disabled activist, writer, and performer Lisette Auton comes a new film commissioned for Durham Book Festival, showing the power and beauty of disability arts. BSL interpreted, captioned, audio described, and with new commissions from artists Bex Bowsher, Sarah Crutwell and Vici Wreford-Sinnott, Lisette invites us all to experience the wonder and freedom that access provides.
When: Saturday 10th Oct @ 5pm
Running time: 45 mins
@durhambookfest @lisette_auton @Bexyna @viciws
This audio drama from Oliver Emanuel sees a writer walk into a shop on an ordinary day and see his mother. All pretty standard, right? Except for the fact that his mother’s been dead for 15 years. This surreal story catches you off guard when you don’t expect it, at turns moving and playful; grab a cuppa, curl up on the sofa and take 45 minutes to explore the bond between mother and son. We love this as an audio drama because it compels your imagination to add to the surreal nature of the story, and think about our own family relationships.
Running time: 45 mins
Alphabetti associate artist and pal Katy Weir is running two free and fabulous workshops over the next week, one for creative writing (led by ODDMANOUT’s Scott Young) and one for stop motion! If you’re on the hunt for a new hobby or want to keep up a current one, register with this lovely bunch for online creation.
This week’s article from Lyn Gardner gets right to the heart of how a lot of us who work in/value community theatres have been feeling. Here at Alphabetti we’re very proud of the work we produce, but we’re equally committed to our work and position within the community we serve, and we know countless people who’d say the same. Our theatres and our communities need each other, beyond what’s happening on the stage. Thanks to Lyn for a rallying cry for our sector.
Brummana High School sits in the hills above Beirut in Lebanon, has about 1,250 local students and is considered one of the best schools in the Middle East. Following the port explosion in Beirut on August 4th, Lebanon is in crisis with hundreds of thousands of people having lost their homes, income and savings. With little state education provision in Lebanon, 50% of BHS students now need financial help to stay at school. The fundraiser Sarah Barrett is cycling 500 miles to raise £500 for the school, and any donation you’re able to make will make a difference.
In celebration of Black History Month, Stellar Quines Theatre Company have open submissions for their current ‘Letters To…’ project, and are inviting ‘people who identify as Black, Asian, Latinx, Indigenous, People of Colour, biracial, have mixed heritage’ to write these letters. Write a letter between 1 and 500 words to a woman who inspires you, past or present, and the chosen letter will be read aloud and filmed by a professional actor and shared online. It can be a rant, a love letter, poetic or something more simple, whatever you like.
Deadline: Monday 12th October @ 12pm
WEEK 19: 30.09.2020
We’re big fans of our pal Lauren Pattison at Alphabetti, and we know loads of you are too, so we were super excited to hear that she was part of the BBC Stand Up for Live Comedy! If you want to find her set easily, it starts about 13:30, and not only is she fab, she’s defending Geordie honour – congrats Lauren!
We’ve been feeling the loss of the arts industry this year, and sometimes we need reminding what we’re part of. This time last year, The Observer interviewed six Artistic Directors of UK theatres, and they’ve caught up with them again to get their perspective of the last 12 months. Yes, it’s a struggle, but they also remind us of the light through the shadow, and share the art that’s been keeping them positive through Covid-19. You might find something new to enjoy!
TUSK Virtual, the free online version of TUSK Festival, is running until October 11th with some amazing artists to catch on their live stream. Tonight’s line-up includes music from Mexico, Newcastle and Chicago, films from Ireland, talks and much more. There’s even a chat stream you can join if you play nice. Have a look at the online programme and enjoy!
Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books, has long been a wonderful family and exhibition space in Newcastle. They are starting to reopen to the public now, but to make their work more accessible, they’ve digitised some of their exhibitions so that you can access them from home! Their wonderful Angelina Ballerina, Judith Kerr and Enid Blyton exhibitions are available to enjoy and explore with your family.
Apples and Snakes have been running their brilliant @ Home series since April, hour-long feasts of spoken word poetry and conversation featuring different artists every episode. Bringing together leading spoken word poets from across the UK, this episode features Dylan Thomas prize-winner Kayo Chingonyi, Forward Prize shortlisted poet Rachel Long, poet, rapper and theatre maker SAF-S2E, and is hosted and co-curated by Bristol City poet Vanessa Kisuule. These episodes are a great way to experience spoken word poetry from home and digitally connect with each other.
Alongside the physical struggles of Covid-19, many of us are undoubtedly going through mental health struggles. We hope you’re finding ways to cope, and let us offer you a lovely one: Opera Helps. Whatever your struggle is; relationship, work, family, the future, you can apply to receive an Opera Helps session for yourself or someone else. One of their singers will video chat with you to listen to your problem, and choose an aria to sing to you that they think will help, as well as offer you a collection of other pieces to listen to in your own time. It’s an opportunity to let yourself be soothed with music and compassion, we hope it helps.
WEEK 18: 23.09.2020
Curated and hosted by Paula Varjack, this series of conversations beginning today and running until December invites practitioners who push for social change through their practices and make things happen for themselves to share advice, experience and ideas. The series features Conrad Murray, Travis Alabanza, Pauline Mayers, Demi Nandhra, Liv Wynter, and Debris Stevenson, and asks how those who face marginalisation for their race, class, gender, sexuality, age, disability or an intersection of these can “use our experiences to empower the next generation of agitators”. We’re always excited to see what Paula’s working on, and we can’t wait to catch these conversations.
Co-created by Northern Stage Young Company’s ‘The Team’, the words in these eight short audio experiences were inspired by or spoken by the people of the Byker Wall estate. The company collaborated with Byker communities to reflect the words they spoke, and to create fictions based on fact. The result is these eight pieces, all very different, backed with delicate and immersive soundscapes, which encourage you to sit and to listen.
Running time: 5-8 mins each episode
As we inch into Autumn, many of us think about ways to keep things bright as the weather changes. And if you don’t have a big garden space but still want to help wildlife, or are just looking for some weekend activities, why not make a container garden? This guide shows you how to turn old welly boots, watering cans or teapots into meadow pots and hanging baskets, or old sinks and buckets into ponds-in-a-pot. There are a bunch of different guides on the Wildlife Trust website, from building hedgehog homes and bird boxes to becoming an eco-friendly gardener, so browse around for the right guides to suit your space!
Happy Bi Visibility Day 2020! This year, Vaneet Mehta started the hashtag #BisexualMenExist which trended worldwide, both helping countless people feel connected and reflected in society, and reminding us that bisexual visibility still has far to go. Just in my own social circle there have been countless accounts of the “you’re just attention-seeking”, “you’re greedy” and “which will you choose, though” refrains thrown to bisexual friends by family, friends and strangers alike. As well as experiencing homophobia, bisexual people often experience biphobia within their own LGBTQ+ community, which likely contributes to the fact that Stonewall’s statistics reflect that 50% of bi men and 43% of bi women in Britain never attend LGBTQ+ specific venues and events. In this article Vaneet discusses the importance of bi visibility both inside and outside the LGBTQ+ community.
Martha Hill, long-time Alphabetti pal and all round good egg, has just released her new single Landslide, and BOY do we like it! There’s something new to discover with each play, vocal and instrumental lines that complement each other deliciously and a beat to catch your feet. If you want to learn more about the track, Martha has done an interview over at NARC where she talks more about the lyrics and inspiration behind the single – go forth and enjoy.
It’s time for another submission opportunity! Salt Publishing are open for submissions during the month of November for previously unpublished manuscripts of poetry, fiction (both novels and short stories) and narrative non-fiction. Their submission information states they particularly welcome submissions from women, BAME, disabled, working class and LGBTQ+ writers, and they also provide links to further resources if you are looking for editorial advice or to develop your writing further. Good luck!
Submissions Window: 1st – 30th November 2020
WEEK 17: 16.09.2020
Our lovely pals over at Cap-a-Pie are hosting a rehearsed reading and Q&A of their new play Credit, written by Laura Lindow, TONIGHT! We were looking forward to this show being performed at Alphabetti earlier this year, a plan which went awry due to the pandemic, so this is a great chance to catch a preview along with discussions with members of the team and local professionals. Credit is based on the stories and experiences of people living on Universal Credit, which in the current climate may hit closer to home than ever before, and encourage us all to think about what the welfare state should look like in our communities.
Running time: Youtube livestream beginning 7pm
The Young Musicians Project is a free weekly group for 12-21 year olds in Sunderland, where participants can play music and get song writing support with like-minded people. Over the summer, some of their members went into the Field Music studio to record music they’d worked on during the lockdown, and they’ve produced some wonderful stuff. I recommend listening to every one of them, but today we’re featuring Lottie Willis’s tune which she worked on with This Little Bird and Dave from Field Music and which has a chorus I couldn’t shake out of my head. Well done to all members of the Young Musicians Project!
@we_make_culture @lottiewillisxo @_thislittlebird @fieldmusicmusic
Until 19th September, six robots will be drawing faces of the public onto the empty stage at Northern Stage to make a mural. You can have the robots draw your picture for free, and you might end up as part of the mural! I gave this a go myself and it’s very easy to use – definitely follow the tips about lighting, and my personal tip is to put your laptop/phone down while you do this rather than holding it, or you may wobble so much that the robot thinks you have a lot of eyes. It’s a really interesting way to collate our theatre-loving community, so have a play with it and see how you go!
Theatre and work with people with learning disabilities and autism; they run four different weekly groups dedicated to theatre, dance, and health and wellbeing for 50 adults and another 60 through outreach programmes. In March, due to the pandemic, they stopped running their groups for the first time in 17 years, but it didn’t stop them connecting and engaging with their members. In this article they talk about how they adapted to working remotely over the last 6 months, and the challenges and rewards of maintaining their community online – they’re a wonderful bunch.
Running time: 7 mins/dependent on your reading speed
The Black Artists Grant is £2,000 given out monthly to Black artists in the UK, with each selected artist receiving £500. Established by Creative Debuts, the BAG provides no-strings-attached support, whether you want to put it towards making new work, buying equipment, travel, research, or even some life expenses. The grant was set up to help enable participants to ‘continue their artistic practice when the odds are so stacked against them’, with Black artists under-supported in the creative industries. The selector changes every few months and currently it is Halcyon – they will do their own research to find artists but you can also flag your own work to put yourself forward for the grant (all info on the website). Good luck!
TWAM have lots of albums of photos over on their Flickr account, from ship building to snowy winters to historic ballrooms, all of which give you a fascinating snapshot into history and of our region. The one I’ve picked out is photos of Newcastle in the 1800’s, showing what different areas of the city looked like 200 years ago – have a scroll through the albums and see what you can find.
Zsa Zsa, Raquelle, Blanche, and Cuba are in quarantine – four disabled women locked down, locked in, shut up and shouted down. Little Cog presents their latest lockdown production to be launched on 24th September, and invite you to join them in their fully accessible celebration of disabled women. The performance will consist of 4 original monologues broadcast from the performers’ homes during quarantine, preceded by an introduction and followed by a Q&A. The launch party will be BSL interpreted, captioned, audio described and relaxed, all to provide an accessible evening of exciting new writing.
When: 7:30pm 24 September, booking opens 1 September with limited availability
Age recommendation: 18+ (strong language, sexual references, disability discrimination, eating disorder, isolation)
If you’re anything like me and you love a good mystery or puzzle, you’ll be just as excited as I am to get your teeth into The Golden House. A secretive clean-tech company has spent 11 years working away from the outside world, and finally they’d like to share their work with you, but, all may not be as it seems…An interactive podcast drama written and produced by Ross Sutherland, episodes are released weekly and each contain a hidden puzzle; solving the puzzle will lead you to discover additional material elsewhere on the internet. If you listen closely enough, maybe you can solve the mystery of what lies within the Golden House.
Running time: Episodes approx. 20 mins
Ever fancied learning Hebrew, Old French, Old Norse or Aramaic? Maybe you want to understand ancient languages better or maybe you really have a passion for Sanskrit – Lexicity provides a wealth of online resources for a variety of ancient languages, so you can learn a new skill and connect a little more with the history of the world.
WEEK 16: 09.09.2020
This poem from Danez Smith was written in 2014, but sadly never loses its contemporary relevance. It applies to each tragic loss of Black life, each new wave of mourning.
‘once, a white girl/was kidnapped & that’s the Trojan war…are we not worthy/of a city of ash?’
The Mslexia Poetry Competition is back and it’s open to women of any nationality from any country, with poetry on any subject, in any style, of any length. You can submit up to 3 poems per entry, and with all winners and runners-up being published in the March 2021 issue along with various prizes, it’s time to dust off your notebook and get writing! Mslexia are also running competitions for other writing styles/formats, so do have a look at their other opportunities too.
Deadline: 7 December 2020
The Lawnmowers, if you’re unfamiliar, are a fantastic company run by and for people with learning difficulties. Their Connect LD+ festival has, like so many others, been an online one this year, and was a day full of workshops, music and videos that celebrated the artistry and resilience of the LD+ community (artists with learning difficulties and their wider community). They’ve been gems and left all the content up on their website, separated into tents so you can still join in the fun and the artistry – whether you fancy watching some of their classic clips, live stuff, fresh stuff, or lockdown-related content, the Lawnmowers are here to unite and excite!
WEEK 15: 02.09.2020
Sarah Kay is one of my favourite spoken word poets. You may have seen her previous TED Talk ‘If I Should Have a Daughter’, and this talk combined with poetry is just as lovely. It reminds us how small we are but how we can see that as wonderful and not frightening, and that ‘the world has already written the poem you were planning on writing’ – sometimes nature gets there first, and all there is to do is enjoy.
Running time: 5 mins
As the news of another male comedian’s sexual assault allegations was revealed today, I experienced the now familiar cocktail of reactions: anger, pain and compassion for the women involved, exhaustion, and frustration. From many conversations I’ve had with male friends over the years, there can often be a concern or confusion over what to do, how to react, how to evaluate their colleagues and friends but also themselves. But if we ever hope for these events to become less familiar, these evaluations need to be made, and this article from comedian John Robins is a frank and interesting start.
CW: mentions of rape and sexual assault
Toni Morrison’s novel Sula was integral to the formation of Black feminist literary criticism, and Jamila Woods’ new track of the same name takes inspiration from the novel to create a beautiful, ethereal piece of music. This one made me stop and really listen, and I hope you enjoy.
Running time: 4 mins
The Newcastle Mutual Aid group is for residents of the city who want to volunteer to help those in need, or need to receive help due to the impact of Covid-19. You can find your local group and get in touch with other volunteers, and help people access food, complete errands etc. by donating your time, money or food as best suits you. This continues to be a difficult time for everyone, and in coming together as a community we can help each other keep spirits up and worries down.
Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre have opened their annual script submissions window for new writing, and they’re looking for bold and exciting voices to work with. Don’t worry if you have something that isn’t polished, because they’re looking to collaborate and provide bespoke dramaturgical support to some of the plays they receive. They’re particularly encouraging submissions from underrepresented voices, and welcome both emerging and established writers. Good luck!
Submission deadline: 31 October 2020
We had the pleasure of working with Little Inventors during our production of Rocket Girl in February, so we were super excited to see this new project! They asked 1000 children in the North East to imagine and draw inventions to save, make or use energy better than we do now. Artists, makers and animators from the region then brought 15 of these inventions to life for a Pioneers Exhibition, and they’re all fantastic. You can see the original drawings and the exhibited item, and get the inventors’ and makers’ stories behind their creations – we love them all, but I think Lainey’s robot fish, the Sea Sweeper 1000, might be my favourite.
Directed by Jonzi D and choreographed and performed by Axelle ‘Ebony’ Munezero, Bolegue Manuela, and Nafisah Baba, Our Bodies Back is a powerful dance film staging the poetic work of jessica Care moore. An ode to Black womanhood, it is both a demand for equality and justice and an affirmation of stories of pain, trauma pride, and beauty, while honouring the lives that have been lost. We love this piece for the collaboration of dance, spoken word, and soundscape, with a voice that never loses its power.
Running time: 5 mins
I’ve chosen another BBC Radio series for this week, because it’s one I found surprisingly lovely and interesting. Composer and performer Soumik Datta speaks to instrumentalists and singers around the UK about the musical experiences of their lockdowns – the sounds of their silence. With less ability to play and perform and mix loudly, how does that change the way that we hear other music? The complexity of birdsong and the oppressive volume of a washing machine? What changes colour, and what grows in volume without our permission? In the first episode Soumik speaks to an Irish pianist locked down in Dublin, and I recommend it as an exercise in tuning into your surroundings.
Running time: Approx. 20 mins per episode
Arbeia in South Shields is engaging families with weekly activities around their Roman collections. Each week focusses on a different kind of item, and you’ll then be led through a series of activities and be asked to try and recreate the item from objects in your own home. It helps you get creative with household objects and learn about the Romans while you do it – a great way to while away the afternoon! We love activities that make us feel engaged with history and our surroundings, so we’re off to make some Roman bracelets.
WEEK 14: 26.08.2020
We are all starkly aware by now of the impact of Covid-19 on the arts industry, and on its artists. Jennifer Fitzgerald is a poet, and a teacher of poetry and writing to prisoners in some of New York City’s jails – without her work, she quickly found herself homeless early into lockdown. This small collection of her poetry along with photographs focusses on the nature of ‘home’ and its loss, and the eeriness of being displaced.
@lithub @BestFitzgerald @lisquart
This Friday, from 1:30pm-2:30pm, the People’s History Museum are running a free virtual tour through their galleries and collections. Led by Prossy Kakooza and Jenny White, it’ll explore how migration has influenced LGBTQ+ history and the fight for LGBTQ+ rights. The tour will include experience of Black gender variant Victorians in Britain, British colonialism’s exporting homophobia, individuals seeking sanctuary in Britain due to their sexuality and challenging racism in the gay scene. If you’re interested in history that you probably didn’t learn in school and the history of the LGBTQ+ community in Britain, this is an hour you won’t want to miss.
Age recommendation: 11+
Here’s one for parents who are trying to help kids with their mental health during this time. This programme is NHS backed and teaches preventative habits to support positive mental health, resilience and self-esteem. It’s free to access and creates fun, positive interactions between parents and children. Our routines are different, day to day life is different, and kids and adults alike are having to adjust to unfamiliar challenges, so resources tailored to help with that are welcome!
WEEK 13: 19.08.2020
We love having Mr Shindig’s Comedy nights at Alphabetti, and tonight they’re bringing together some class acts for an online gig. Hosted by the brilliant Joby Mageean and Hal Branson, and featuring Geneva Rust-Orta, Estelle Anderson, and Josh Royale among other special guests, if you’ve been missing live comedy then be sure not to miss this!
I completely ate up The Ratline, one of BBC Radio 4’s previous Intrigue series, so I couldn’t wait to listen to Tunnel 29. In this podcast, Helen Merriman tells the amazing true story of a man who tunnelled under the Berlin Wall to help family, friends, and strangers alike escape. As well as the podcast episodes, there are further free resources: Helen Merriman takes you through the true story in photographs, and you can read about other amazing tunnel escapes through history. If you like true stories of ingenuity and endurance, we think you’ll love this.
Running Time: As long as you decide
If you’re looking for creative activities to do with your kids over the summer, the National Literary Trust has various poetry exercises for them to sink their teeth into. Laura Mucha will take you through some of her approaches to writing short poems, and provide you tasks and worksheets to help you create your own – you can also download a free audiobook of her poetry collection, Fairy Tales for Ugly Sisters. We love this resource because it allows kids to keep up their creativity at home in a fun and easy to digest way, and to create poetry from the things around them.
This piece from Newcastle stand-up poet Scott Tyrrell, published during lockdown, was like a warm blanket and a cup of tea. Among anthems of perseverance and frustration, this nod to the quiet struggle struck a chord with us. We hope you find it helpful too.
Sunday 23rd August is the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, and Shakespeare’s Globe is hosting a panel discussion focussing on how we talk about history in Britain; our colonial past, racial identity, and how to tell our collective stories. Chaired by Professor Farah Karim-Cooper, the panel includes novelist and academic Preti Taneja, historian Margot Finn, and actor & director Elliot Barnes-Worrell. With voices from these different arts and culture sectors, we think this will be a fascinating and important discussion at this moment in time.
When: 23rd August, 7pm
Running Time: Approx. 1 hour
@The_Globe @PretiTaneja @RoyalHistSoc @ElliotBWords @ProfFarahKC
The Middlesbrough campus of the Northern School of Art has put this year’s summer show online, so you can look at their students’ projects across a range of disciplines. Since we can’t get to art galleries right now, we enjoyed scrolling through all these pieces (and unsurprisingly had a soft spot for Hope Wray’s photograph of a Staffy…we’re biased) and congratulate all the students on their contributions. Whether you’re into photography, textiles, fine art or fashion, we hope you find some work that makes you stop for a moment.
WEEK 12: 12.08.2020
Africa Avant-Garde is a series that showcases innovators and creators from art, design, music, film, and fashion. I recommend the whole series, but the one I’ve chosen this week is Writers in Residence – a special episode filmed while many of the artists were in lockdown, in which some of Africa’s most celebrated writers invite us into their creative spaces to share their process, their influences and inspirations, and the power of the written and spoken word. Featuring Ben Okri, José Eduardo Agualasa, Zukisa Wanner, Chigozie Obiama, Delali Avemega, Lebohang Masango, Inua Ellams and George the Poet, this is a video packed with talent and insight, and one we don’t think you should miss.
Running Time: 23 mins
This made us so happy. Here at Alphabetti we’re huge fans of The Cumberland Arms and all its wonderful staff, and they finally have a brilliant theme tune, courtesy of Tim Dalling. With audio mix and video by Jeremy Bradfield, this piece has been in my head all day and makes me long for the evening I can rejoin the Cumberland clan.
Running Time: 5 mins
Alphabetti team member, comedian and all-round human extraordinaire Lauren Stone brings you a new way to be environmentally conscious with the Jiffy Bag Repair Club. If you get a ripped jiffy bag in the post, find a (preferably fun) way to patch it up and send it back out into the wild! We throw so much away that sometimes we need a little reminder that it isn’t always necessary. Go forth and join the group, release your jiffy bags, and remember the first rule of Jiffy Bag Repair Club: gaffer tape is fine.
I spend a lot of my free time reading about rebellious and/or brilliant women in history, and it always reminds me of when I first studied Aphra Behn. Writing in the 17th Century, she produced works of fiction and drama, as well as translations of scientific texts and French romance. Virginia Woolf hails her as being the woman who earned women the right to speak their minds; but as a lyrical and erotic poet who wrote with sometimes surprisingly frank sexuality, she declared the right to speak to women’s bodies too. As well as her authorial success, she also happened to be a Royalist spy in the Netherlands and a political propagandist for Charles II and James II – because she clearly wasn’t busy enough already. It’s a whirlwind – enjoy!
If you’re anything like my dad, you decided several years ago that you’d really like to play the tin whistle, your daughter excitedly bought one for you for your birthday and you then proceeded to leave it in the box for 3 years. You’re in luck – professional musician Aleksandra Henszel will be running free online classes via Zoom every Thursday from 3th August to 3rd September, where you can learn a new piece each week along with technique to get you playing like a pro! It’s never too late to dust off your aspirational instruments and learn that skill that’s been in the cupboard since Christmas.
Mann Kosal is the founder of the Sovanna Phum Theatre in Cambodia and a master of large shadow puppetry – an art that dates back to the 7th Century. This ancient and beautiful art faded out in the 1970s with the brutal Khmer Rouge regime, during which approximately 80% of artists in Cambodia were killed. Mann Kosal’s goal is to revive this art and teach it to today’s young artists, to whom he provides space for development and performance at his centre.
Running Time: 4 mins
WEEK 11: 06.08.2020
Created as an ARC Stockton Homemakers commission, Vici Wreford-Sinnott’s short film Siege is a filmed character monologue exploring what it means to be disabled and ‘looked at’. The film sits alongside The Wrong Woman discussions, a series of five themed discussion films between disabled women performance makers. Watch the discussions before the film to experience Siege’s full impact – we love this piece because it challenges our perceptions of disability and provides a platform for disabled female makers to talk about transgressive women (one of my personal favourite subjects!).
Age recommendation: contains strong language, adult content, mentions of sexual assault, disability discrimination & use of a firearm
Running Time: 15 mins (Siege), 15-20 mins (WW Discussions)
An immersive sci-fi audio drama, with accompanying talks, and soundscapes by Bonobo. In the 24th Century, Pan (voiced by Pearl Mackie) finds a 21st Century recording of a rainforest, but she has no idea what it is – forests no longer exist. Forest 404 contains 9 episodes of thrilling story, each with an accompanying talk around the themes of the episode, as well as individual soundscapes and the Forest 404 Experiment – an interactive experiment around how people respond to sounds of the natural world. It’s a whole world of poetry, drama, music and the human condition, and is a brilliant listen. We recommend listening with headphones for a really immersive experience!
Age Recommendation: 12+
Running Time: Episodes approx. 20 mins
It can be easy to feel isolated, particularly right now, and as well as all the friends and family we’re separated from, we’re missing out on connections we’d make with new people. More Love Letters was founded in 2011 with the simple belief that the world needs more love letters, and since then they’ve helped spread 250,000 love letters across 73 countries. Nominate yourself or someone you love who could benefit from some support, or select one of the monthly letter requests to write to – maybe you’ve been in a similar situation, maybe you want to share a poem or piece of family wisdom, or maybe just some kindness to make someone feel less alone. Help put more love letters into the world to make it a little kinder and more connected.
Note: This is an international programme, so there may be postage costs
We featured Brain Pickings last week, and this is another fascinating piece from Maria Popova. You’ll be introduced to 19th Century female artists you may not have heard of and how they supported each other in their lives and careers, and you’ll finish this piece wanting to learn more. In particular you’ll be introduced to the sculptor Edmonia Lewis: a student of Oberlin College (the first in America to admit women & women of ethnic minorities), victim of public and legal strife after being wrongly accused of poisoning two white classmates, she would become ‘the nineteenth-century’s only African American artist of mainstream recognition.’ With further links and references for you to check out, it’s a great start to some historical reading!
This Saturday 8th August was due to be Doncaster Pride – though it can’t run in the way it was planned, that’s not stopping them, and they’re moving online for Pride at Home! Beginning at 2pm sharp, the content on their Youtube channel will start with historical footage of parades followed by intro speeches, and then its entertainment all the way down! Featuring Drag Storytime for children and families, along with Alphabetti associate artists Bonnie and The Bonnettes and a whole host of other fantastic acts all giving their time for free, it promises to be a day of delights. Happy Pride!
When: Saturday 8th August
Age Recommendation: Family (2pm – 6pm) / Adult (from 6pm)
In response to the work and financial crises created by the Covid-19 pandemic, these three orgnisations set up the #AllOfUs Redundancy Care Campaign, to support Black, Asian, ethnically diverse and migrant arts workers facing redundancy. The campaign aims to provide financial and mental health support to those in crisis, as well as a four-week practical programme to help upskill arts workers facing redundancy: the #HereToStay programme. This free programme provides to participants financial assistance, coaching, mentoring, masterclasses, health & wellbeing support, and CV and application guidance, all delivered by experienced arts professionals. Applications are open now for this brilliant, supportive programme – best of luck!
Eligibility: based in the UK and at least 18 years old; identify as Black, Asian, or ethnically diverse; have been made redundant in the last 5 months or are currently at risk of being made redundant; be available during September 2nd – 27th.
Deadline: Friday 21st August at 5pm
@eclipsetcl @bushtheatre @BWinTheatre
WEEK 10: 31.07.2020
This short film from Julian Marshall, featuring the voices of philosopher Cornel West and rapper Killer Mike, is a captivating and beautifully shot chronicle of New York City’s response to the murder of George Floyd on May 25 2020. This film gives you a window into the marches, the crowds, the pain and outrage on the streets today, while West and Mike discuss the overwhelming reach of this pain and societal failure through history and communities. A moving and important watch.
Age recommendation: All
Running Time: 6 mins
In August 1619, a ship carrying over 20 enslaved Africans arrived in the English colony of Virginia. America was not yet America, but slavery was already woven through it and would be for the next 250 years, with its shadows extending far beyond. In 2019, the 400th anniversary of the event, the New York Times produced this audio series to examine the long shadows of slavery in America. The podcast has since developed into a larger project, which can be found here with a free account to NY Times: It is vital to more fully understand our brutal history if we ever hope to prevent it repeatedly becoming our present, so we’ve been finding this an important and absorbing listen.
Age Recommendation: Any
Running Time: As long as it takes you to listen
This summer is a little different than normal, but Sunderland Culture have been encouraging us to make the most of it with our families and head outdoors to local parks, beaches and gardens to see what we can discover. They explore different themes every week with resources and activities to do with your family, and my personal picks are the plant spell books and seabird spotting. Download a worksheet to create a small zine from some paper, and then follow the little video hosted by Posie from the Learning team to design magical plant potions! Or if you’re heading to the beach, you can learn how to make a herring gull kite to fly, and take a seabird spotter sheet with you to identify the different wildlife!
During this time when so much of our regular day-to-day lives has been disrupted, many of us have retreated to our gardens, allotments, or whatever green spaces we have to find some calm or get our hands in the soil. Brain Pickings is a lovely website that sends bitesize articles, often literary or historical, to your inbox every Sunday, and this piece about the joys of gardening made me feel tranquil. As well as further resources and articles to whet your literary whistle, it contains Debbie Millman’s ‘Love Letter to My Garden’, both beautifully illustrated and read by the author.
Age Recommendation: All
Running Time: Dependent on your reading speed
This programme from the wonderful folks at Graeae is designed to support and nurture the talent of Deaf and Disabled artists, through alliances with regional theatres around the UK. Their aim is to create a national network of artistic support and development for Deaf and Disabled artists that provides the opportunity for these artists to push beyond barriers to developing their creative practice. Opportunities arising from the BEYOND project can take the form of: support in sourcing funding, shadowing opportunities within R&D & rehearsal, shares in accessible rehearsal space and mentoring support, as well as additional Micro Grants. Further information can be found in BSL or easy reading formats, and expressions of interest are welcomed in the format accessible to the artist (including written English, BSL/SSE video, audio recording). We love this project’s commitment to supporting Deaf and Disabled artists, and want to share the opportunity far and wide!
Here is a brilliant opportunity for young people aspiring to be theatre makers. The Old Vic has transformed its annual Summer School programme into Old Vic Theatre Makers: a free, six-month online programme for 18-25 year olds, to learn how to make a career in theatre in our current society and begin to develop connections and skills. Participants will work with the support of a professional director and in collaboration with fellow creatives, with a showcase in January 2021. The fact that this programme is now online means that you can apply regardless of where in the UK you’re based (and they’re actively encouraging applications from outside London). So if you are or you know a person aged 18-25 who wants to be a theatre maker, check out how to apply!
Eligibility: 18 – 25 year olds based in the UK (applications outside London encouraged) with no formal arts training
WEEK 9: 25.07.2020
“Things are pretty weird right now…but also kind of awesome.” This short film from Adam Warmington documents pieces of lockdown through the eyes of his 6-year old son, and shows boredom and frustration alongside calm and wonder within a family. It’s honest and moving, and shows the temporary rhythm of a disrupted life – we like this because it doesn’t glorify lockdown, but does manage to find some beauty in this strange situation.
Age recommendation: All
Running Time: 4 mins
On 25 May 2020, George Floyd was killed when an officer knelt on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. As well as sparking global outrage, we were reminded not to forget the racist oppression that persists in the UK. Acclaimed playwright Roy Williams brought together 14 Black and Asian artists to creatively respond to the tragedy and the Black Lives Matter movement. The result is a collection of short pieces titled 846, split into three powerful episodes – Growing Up in Racist Britain, Police Brutality, and The Effects of Racism on Mental Health. Directed by Ola Ince and featuring a soundscape by Donato Wharton, 846 presents a tapestry of voices individually exploring racial inequality and oppression – as the Black Lives Matter protests begin to fade from our day-to-day media coverage, we must continue to engage with the movement and not allow ourselves to look away.
Age Recommendation: Please note that 846 contains very strong language and themes that some may find distressing.
Running Time: 30 mins
Buckled Knuckles & From Both Sides – A Transgender Experience in the Beer Industry, both by Lily Waite
Lily Waite is a London-based writer, and in 2018 wrote a brilliant article about transgender experience working in the beer industry, and how the industry she loves has proven itself to be painfully sexist and queerphobic. As well as interviewing other professionals, she describes the differences she experienced herself between working in the industry while being perceived as male, and later after her transition, detailing deep-rooted misogyny and queer discrimination in a line of work that is traditionally seen as “male”. Two years later, she calls back to this article in ‘Buckled Knuckles’, now that exasperatingly little has changed, both in the beer industry and in society at large. She focusses particularly on the struggle of Black trans women, and reminds us of the inextricable link between the fights for trans rights and Black lives – an important and educational read.
Our pals at The Twisting Ducks Theatre Company are running a series of ‘Perspectives’ events with Spectrum – Newcastle artists with autism – beginning next Thursday 30th July and running monthly through to November. The events will be streamed live on their Youtube channel and Facebook page, and will feature live creative writing, poetry and spoken word performance. You can also find a series of workshops on their website. We love keeping up with the Twisting Ducks, and can’t wait to see what they’ve put together!
For those of you who write and/or perform, things are obviously different and challenging right now. You may be trying to learn a new skill or adapt a skill you have for your current situation. The Traverse is running a series of Open Submissions Workshops for free on Youtube, each one with a different creative covering a different element of the writing process, to help develop your writing skills. Their most recent workshop is led by actor, director and playwright Julia Taudevin, and is full of advice for writer-performers, which in the current climate we think is super helpful.
I have something of an obsession with photographs. Retronaut bills itself as a visual time machine, with the tagline ‘See the past like you wouldn’t believe’, and this site has never disappointed for me. Wolfgang Wild mines archives, real and online, to find photographs that look out of their time, that close the gap of years between you and the people you see captured on camera. You can happily spend hours falling down a photographic rabbit hole here – maybe you never realised you wanted to see a collection of photos of 1980s weather forecaster auditionees, but trust me, you do. Or maybe women’s WWII fashion is more up your street, or Barnum & Bailey’s Circus, or the traffic in LA in 1919. You can search these ‘time capsules’ by era or let the website take you along for a ride – whatever your interest, it’ll be worth it.
WEEK 8: 16.07.2020
To date, one of my favourite evenings of live poetry was seeing Inua Ellams perform his show ‘An Evening with an Immigrant’ at Alphabetti. His poetry is rich and vivid, and binds the audience together in its character and the weave of his stories. This piece, filmed with Fuel in 2018, is delicately accented with sound and music by Alex Silverman and directed by Michael Garrett, in honour of Remembrance Day. Inua recalls the untold stories of African soldiers brought to Europe by colonisers to fight in the Great War, and how the horrors of this warfare sowed the seeds for rebellion against colonialist and imperialist powers in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Running Time: 20 mins
Join Newcastle-based comedians and Alphabetti pals Si Beckwith and Ken McGuinness every week as they talk to their guests about the best, most revered and highly rated films that have passed them by. Using IMDB’s ‘Top 250’ as a jumping off point, they ask the fascinating folk they’ve invited along which unmissable film they’ve missed. Whether you’ve grown up surrounded by Fight Club references that you just don’t understand, you’ve never saved Private Ryan or raided lost arks with Indiana Jones, Si and Ken are here for you. Strap yourselves in for a chat so entertaining that you might finally be convinced to scratch that film off your list!
Running Time: Each episode approx. 1 hour
Age Rec: All Ages
In recent years, particularly with funding cutbacks in academia, research from various fields has been helped by crowd-sourcing projects. You can find these with some searching online, and if you find one that sparks your interest it’s a great way to spend some free time and know that you’re contributing to a huge pool of work and knowledge to further historical research.
This project from the British Library asks you to transcribe and record information from historical playbills, to bring the historical performance record into as much light as possible. Have a search, pick your project, grab a cuppa and get transcribing – every little helps!
Age Rec: All Age
Michaela Cole’s new drama I May Destroy You (available on BBC iPlayer) has been making waves – an exploration of ‘consent, race and trauma through a millennial lens’, it is intense, uncomfortable, and powerfully important. Kwame (played by Paapa Essiedu) is a Black gay man and best friend to the show’s two female leads Arabella and Terry, and this article discusses how crucial his character and journey are in our understanding and approach to sexual violence against gay men. An important read for understanding the contemporary sexual economy and the relationship between race and sexuality when it comes to assault.
Please note this article contains discussions of sexual assault and spoilers for the show.
Summer Streets is an annual music, arts and community festival that takes place in Sunderland every July. What with Covid-19, it can’t take place as normal this year, but instead of cancelling the event they’re taking it online to bring you Summer Streets in the House! On Saturday 18th July at 8pm you can join the festival on Youtube, from the comfort of your sofa, and enjoy a host of brilliant artists. Featuring Alphabetti friends including Martha Hill, Rob Heron & The Teapad Orchestra, and Jodie Nicholson, we can’t wait to curl up or stand up and support local artists.
With the world in lockdown, dancers are one of many groups of artists unable to perform to a live audience or even train together. Thank god for the internet and the Swan Lake Bath Ballet. Award-winning choreographer Corey Baker worked with 27 elite dancers from companies around the world to perform a modern-day Swan Lake remotely from their own baths. The featured dancers are filming on smart phones from New Zealand, South Africa, Hong Kong and the UK to name a few, and the fact that this is so quirky at the same time as being beautiful makes me want to share it with everybody. Enjoy!
Running time: 3 mins
WEEK 7: 04.07.2020
A monologue written in Isolation. We will we will rock you by Gobscure takes us on an eight minute journey that is as raw as it is beautiful. Powerful and belly punching in its delivery. This commission for deaf and disabled artists could not be a better way to spend eight minutes of your time.
Running time: 8 minutes
Age Rec: 12+ (contains strong language)
This New York times article focuses on how the Rape Kit came to fruition. Namely, how one woman pushed and pushed to get the police to treat Rape and Sexual Assault seriously, even as a crime at all while also giving us an exploration of how misogyny trumped to give us the account that a male invented and initiated the creation of the rape kit, which after reading this article is clear is wholly untrue.
Age Rec: 16+
Running Time: Dependent on your reading speed
Keeping in the spirit of developing and learning this podcast from the Black Lives Matter organisation offers regular episodes, currently on no.5, where further learning and listening can take place. This podcasts included numerous voices and explores key and current topics.
Running Time: Average 30 minutes
Age Rec: All Ages
The wonderful Beverley Puppet Festival have been running their 2020 programme online this year due to Covid-19. Their online programme contains 25 puppetry activity videos, which guides you to make and perform with a range of puppets and theatre techniques. They then invite you to send in pictures and videos of your creations, which will put you in with a chance to win some fantastic prizes including passes to the 2022 festival!
Age Rec: 6+
Running Time: 35mins
This is our new monthly live stream chat show, Ali Pritchard our Artistic / Executive Director comes live from the theatre, there are games and performances and lots of fun.
Why does it excite us? We're making work in the theatre once again! It's odd not having an audience but at least we can engage with our live audience on the live stream!
Age rec 12+
Running Time: 60 mins
Two weeks ago, unable to come together in solidarity with its community in person, Bush Theatre released six pieces of work, created by black artists as expressions of protest. The result is a collection of powerful, moving and incredibly important work. We can’t recommend them more highly - we all need to continue to listen and to learn.
Age Rec: 12+ (All at parent/guardian’s discretion)
WEEK 6: 26.06.2020
Thinking about Disability as a binary really is bullshit. This expertly crafted and performed poem by Richard Boggie takes us through that journey. Watch this beautiful piece and start to see people less in binary, and in more infinite numbers. Bogsey has performed at all three of Alphabetti venues and we have been trying to persuade him to make his debut hour long show with us in 2021. His work is entertaining whilst still a compelling reminder for all of us as we go about our lives.
Age Rec: 12+
Running Time: 3 mins
In a 2020 that is filled with so little tranquility this musical offering from Neev, for Mahogany Songs, is the perfect opportunity to find some of that all important calm. This really is a beautiful artistic offering. Listen and Enjoy, simple as that.
Age Rec: Any
Running Time: 5 mins
The RSC is releasing a series of these ‘video-story love songs to the natural world’ on their Youtube channel. The words are inspired by Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and given a personal touch with each member of their current cast’s experiences and paths travelled during this lockdown. Zoe Lambert is a wonderful associate artist of Alphabetti's, and we found her take on the Wild Thyme Story - a delicate love letter to the North East - completely lovely.
Age Rec: All
Running Time: 2 mins
Vital but uncomfortable conversations are finally being had, but how do you broach complex issues with children. How White Parents Can Talk To Their Kids About Race gives anyone who is having these conversations with kids a valuable resource on how to begin and navigate that journey.
Age Rec: Personal Discretion
Running Time: Dependent on your reading speed
It's hard to experience the quiet joy of wandering round a museum right now, and even when many can a lot of us can’t make it to London. Enter the NHM’s Virtual Museum! You can dive inside their exhibits, learn about the history of the blue whale and the oceans, hang out with scientists online with their bi-weekly interactive talks, and go on a tour of the museum’s Hintze Hall narrated by the nation’s grandpa David Attenborough himself. We love this because it lets us feel like we’re travelling and escaping into the natural world for a while. Go exploring!
In these free videos, you can be led by 15 year old Mr. Tyrese through basic BSL (British Sign Language) lessons. Many of us at Alphabetti have been wanting to learn BSL, so we love this freely accessible guide to start us off, and we hope you do too! Continued improving of our accessibility in theatre is very important to us, and by learning BSL we can all help spaces become more and more inclusive.
Age Rec: 7+
WEEK 5: 17.06.2020
Three voices, three minds, a single day. How are we all connected? Are we separate or one? Do we feel the same, do we live the same, or are we different, existing in our private worlds? How do we interact in our individual isolations? Gary Kitching’s new play is a funny, poignant, haunting and moving account of how we live, and what it means to be human.
Not only did we really enjoy this piece of work from Alphabetti associate artist Gary Kitching, it feels very relevant in that it reflects tensions and questions we’ve all felt simmering through the recent past, with the gentle touch of eye-to-eye conversation.
Age Rec: 12+
Running Time: 24 mins
Featuring key voices from the last few decades of anti-racist activism, About Race with Reni Eddo-Lodge (author of Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race) looks at the recent history that lead to the politics of today.
This podcast looks at where we were, where we are now, and what if anything has changed. We at Alphabetti along with so many others have been working to better educate ourselves on race and racism, and to get better at listening, and we’re finding this podcast really interesting. Let’s keep up the conversation.
Age Rec: At parent/guardian’s discretion
Running Time: 9 episodes, approx. 30 mins each
This Balinese diving centre’s Instagram shows you beautiful images and videos of wildlife, and tells you all about them. Their whole collection is calming as well as captivating, and reminds us all of the natural beauty outside our lockdowns.
We’re suckers for interesting wildlife (please see our specimen known as “Rex”), and we invite you to fall down the marine rabbit hole with us!
Age Rec: 6+
We first came across Grey Armstrong’s blog Obsidian Tea through his excellent piece on how to actually be helpful in the wake of the George Floyd killing and ensuing protests (https://obsidiantea.com/2020/05/31/feeling-helpless-about-police-brutality-things-you-can-do/).
This article reframes the way we think about racism, portraying it not as a handful of absolutes but a sliding scale, through the analogy of fizzy drinks. From Monster Energy drinks (“when you know it’s bad and you just don’t care”) to Diet Coke (“it’s not Coke so it’s harmless”) and the shades in between, we found Grey’s approach really interesting and helpful for how we can address each category, whether for ourselves or for the people we know.
Age Rec: 12+
Running Time: Dependent on your reading speed
This isn’t as salacious as you think…Swing Tyne are a Newcastle-based community of swing dancers, providing classes and social dancing. The main styles they dance are Lindy Hop, Balboa, and – the style in this video – Collegiate Shag (now you get it).
Accompanying the fabulous shag dancing all over Newcastle are the musical stylings of Rob Heron & the Teapad Orchestra – double whammy! Our Exec Producer Esther is a member, and we love this video because it’s full of joy and gives us (and hopefully you) something to look forward to once we can all be together again.
Running Time: 4 mins
Lockdown has been and continues to be tough for us all, and we keep trying to find small positive things to focus on. It’s a strange time, but we ought to try and pay attention to it. That’s why we love the Home Time project from New Writing North and Helen Shaddock – Helen had been carrying out the Locked In – Lockdown Diaries project, where she recorded details of her day (a song she listened to, a piece of news, the weather, activities etc), noticing the little things and making them into little events. These templates allow you to have a go yourselves – what are you cooking, what made you happy, what surprised you today? We’re having a go at this lovely project, and if you’re feeling rudderless in lockdown maybe it’ll help you focus on the music and the sunshine.
Age Rec: 8+
WEEK 4: 12.06.2020
Live and interactive comedy show, from the fabulous Newcastle venue. Celebrating local artists hosted by the fantastic Sammy Dobson. There’ll be a live interview with none other than Chris Ramsey, some live stand up from Carl Hutchinson, Lauren Pattison, and Matt Reed, and a video from Game Of Thrones’ Commander of the Nights Watch Ben Crompton.
When: Every Saturday at 8:30pm
Age Rec: 16+
Running Time: Approx 2 hours
We’re super excited about our new Listen Up project - 9 micro-commissions (£100) to writers to write a short audio play that will last no longer than 10minutes with a maximum cast of 2 actors.
We’re committed to expanding the diversity of artists in the North East, and providing as many opportunities as we can. We like hearing and telling stories we haven’t heard before, and ensuring the Alphabetti family is as vibrant as possible. That's why we are specifically looking for writers who are in one or more of the following categories:
1. Identify as a woman
2. Identify as LGBTQ+
3. Identify as a member of a BAME (Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic) group
4. Live with a physical or cognitive disability
We adore Beans on Toast, the food and the artist. For his last gig in Newcastle our trustee - Ruth Patterson shared the bill with him, launching her new solo project.
Here's a new song about the clowns in charge, written and recorded from lockdown.
Beans on Toast is Jay McAllister, a folk singer from Essex whose songwriting deals openly with tough subjects like politics, drugs, and love. This new song whets our political whistle, we hope it does yours too.
Age Rec: 12+
Running Time: 4 mins
In continuing the fight for freedom, equality and justice, we must all strive to educate ourselves and better understand the social and political history that we did not learn at school. There is always more to learn and unlearning ignorance is a good place to start. There are lots of wonderful reading lists being shared currently – here is just one of them, focussing on civil rights figures from the 20th Century.
Age Rec: 12+
Running Time: Dependent on your reading speed
Many people, when discussing the Black Lives Matter movement (https://blacklivesmatter.com/), have been hit with that well-known counter of “All Lives Matter”. This comic by Kris Straub uses an analogy to explain the difference between these two statements, and the destructive ignorance from which ‘All Lives Matter’ springs. If there’s someone in your life who isn’t getting it – here’s a comic to help you out.
Age Rec: All
WEEK 3: 05.06.2020
Educate yourself and join the movement to fight for Freedom, Equality and Justice by signing up for updates, supporting their work, checking out their resources, following their social media, or wearing their official merchandise.
We all need to do more.
Age Rec: 12+
Running Time: Dependent on your reading speed
Hit Record is designed for us to be creative together.
'Find collaborators. Finish projects. Or start your own. On HITRECORD, people don't just post their own stuff - they make things together. Whether you're a beginner or an expert, whether you're into writing, film, music, or any other kind of art, you'll find our community a welcoming and positive place to be your creative self.'
People post what they need for their project - someone to illustrate a scene, to create a harmony to a new track, to write a poem around a theme - and you contribute to create something together!
Age Rec: 12+
Originally produced and performed in 2019 by Coracle in association with Alphabetti Theatre, as a reaction piece for the co-production Down To Zero by Lizi Patch. This poetic monologue was adapted for radio in 2020, and in the current climate this is an essential listen. It’s tough, yet inspiring – let’s all fight to make the world a better place.
Age Rec: 15+
Running Time: 16 mins
A company that makes the world a better place. Based in Newcastle upon Tyne, Curious Monkey are an independent, award-winning theatre company who give a voice to under-represented people and raises awareness of the issues that they face.
Just before the UK went into lockdown, the Monkeys were about to open a new production that they'd been developing for 2 years - HERE. They could have gone home and waited for the world to return to a sense of normality, they didn't. They reacted and ensured that the marginalised groups that they work with - Sanctuary Seekers and Care Leavers - were supported. The Monkeys overcame the financial and logistical issues to be able to safely deliver care packages including art supplies, recipe ingredients and dongle wi-fi to help alleviate the loneliness, boredom, and ensure that their participants could keep in touch with friends and loved ones in this extremely tough time.
In a time when we need people to be and do better - Curious Monkey are leading the way and that excites us.
This beautiful, award-winning, stop motion short film really made us smile. Despite it only lasting 2 minutes it took the best part of six months to make, which can be seen in the detail and skill in this wonderful piece of work.
Age Rec: 8+
Running Time: 3 mins
WEEK 2: 29.05.2020
From the award-winning (and Alphabetti Friend) The Bunker Theatre comes this beautiful and crucial film project. Featuring six new short plays from underrepresented writers, interrogating the importance of diverse, political theatre in an increasingly hostile environment.
Age Rec: 16+ (mature content)
Running time: 6 videos overall varying in length from 6min – 16mins
Kirsten Luckins has performed on every one of Alphabetti’s stages since we opened in 2012. Get That Balance was posted on her website in March 2020: the week we had to close our doors due to Covid-19.
We think these words represent so much during the current lockdown.
Age Rec: 12+
Running time: Dependent on your reading speed – approx. 5mins
Alphabetti associate company Coracle are still producing new work while the theatres are closed. Performed by the brilliant Jude Nelson, this is a short radio drama that will warm you through and through.
Age Rec: 12+
Running time: 12 mins
Rowan, like Kirsten, has performed at all three of Alphabetti’s venues, and we’ve just stumbled upon this piece commissioned and filmed back in
2017 – it's important to talk about and it really made us smile.
Age Rec: 12+
Running Time: 2 mins for the film and approx. 5 mins to read accompanying material.
The wonderful Beverley Puppet Festival always lead the way in how to overcome barriers, so when the world went into lockdown, did they cancel their festival? Did they heck! They moved as much of it as they could online. Here we recommend the 25 puppetry activities for all ages.
Age Rec: All
Running Time: Up to you
Look what our Artistic Director has been doing!
We’ve had this in our plans for some time, and it’s finally coming together - when we are at last able to open, we will have a new music/poetry stage in our bar!
Fun Fact - Ali has knocked himself out in all three of our venues!
WEEK 1: 22.05.2020
Alphabetti associate artist Rosie Stancliffe has gone viral whilst experimenting in lockdown, using a verbatim performance technique called Recorded Delivery.
Age Rec: No swearing/unsuitable content
Length: 5 mins
Available until: Indefinitely/YouTube breaks
Alphabetti Trustee, lead singer of Holy Moly & The Crackers and disability advocate Ruth Patterson was interviewed by Harry Low for BBC Ouch, for this great piece about how disabled people are coping during this pandemic.
Age Rec: No swearing/unsuitable content
Length: 5 mins (depends on your reading pace)
Available until: Indefinitely / BBC Ouch takes it down
Alphabetti associate artist Martha Hill has re-recorded a selection of songs from her debut album Be Still, and released it as an acoustic lockdown EP. You can listen to it for free on Spotify or buy it for £3 on her Bandcamp page
Age: No swearing /unsuitable content
Length: 20 mins
Available until: Indefinitely/Martha removes it!
#artistsupportpledge & @artistsupportpledge set up by Mathew Burrows is a simple concept, artists post images of their work which they are willing to sell for no more than £200 each (excluding shipping.) Each time an artist reaches £1000 in sales, they pledge to buy a piece of another artist’s work for £200. This creates a small but dynamic market where all can contribute whatever their level of success. This is a culture dependent on the honesty and generosity of our artistic communities at every level.
We have been really enjoying our associate artist James Pickering’s artwork along with the thousands of other artists joining the movement
Wednesday 24th June 2020 – 8pm
Uninvited Guests, Fuel & Alphabetti Theatre Presents:
Love Letters Straight From Your Heart
Wednesday 24th June 2020
Show begins: 8:00pm
Tickets: Donate if you can Booking essential
Age recommendation: 12+
Running time: Approx. 60 mins
It’s a joyful, open-hearted show – an antidote to isolation. Join us online and we’ll raise our glasses to long lost loves and current lovers, to mums and dads, and to absent friends.
Every show is different, so we need your song dedications.
Choose a song for someone you care about, tell us what that person means to you and why you’ve chosen this piece of music.
“ It is a marvellous piece of theatre that blowtorches away Britishness and forces you to feel.”
"You can't help but fall in love with it"
Collect WildFlowers for those who can't go out.
It’s a beautiful time of year and lots of people can’t go out to enjoy it, So why don’t you bring a little joy to them?
WHEN PICKING FLOWERS, DON'T...
❌ 1. Pick flowers in public parks or community gardens
❌ 2. Pick flowers on National Trust property or nature reserves
❌ 3. Pick flowers from roundabouts, which are maintained by the council
❌ 4. Intentionally pick, uproot or destroy any plant without permission from the landowner or occupier
❌ 5. Pick any flower found on the Schedule 8 list of protected plants
❌ 6. Disturb wildlife within the area
WHEN PICKING FLOWERS, DO...
✅ 7. Pick flowers which are not privately owned or critically endangered
✅ 8. Pick only one flower out of every twenty. If there are fewer than 20 you should leave them
✅ 9. Pick flower from patches where there are lots of flowers, leaving plenty for others to enjoy
✅ 10. Leave a substantial amount of the plant to allow it to continue to grow
You will need: gloves/anti-bacterial wipes, scissors, string, a piece of kitchen roll, some water, a piece of tin foil, a paper luggage label (or make your own with a piece of paper/cardboard and some string).
Following the guidelines above and abiding by social distancing:
Write a message to the person you are delivering to on your label, then head outside!
Once you have picked your bunch, wet the kitchen roll and wrap it around the stems of the flowers, wrap this in the kitchen foil, hold the bunch together with the string and attach your label.
Deliver your bouquet! Before you put it down give the foil a wipe with the anti-bacterial wipe/spray.
Don’t know who to deliver to – your neighbours maybe? Or your local care home? Or you can look on this website for groups providing support to your local community: https://covidmutualaid.org/