Second Woman and War festival announced

Women and War: EXODUS is a month-long multi-disciplinary festival examining the impact of war on women and the roads they take and the changes they make to rebuild their lives elsewhere. Any time, any place, any war, any woman.

Now in its second year, Women and War: EXODUS will focus on displacement and what it is to be a refugee, from any period of history and any part of the world. It will celebrate the lives of some of the courageous women from across the world through theatre, music, dance, art, film, performance, poetry, craft, cuisine, and comedy.

Actress Rula Lenska leads this year’s festival fundraiser, An Evening With Rula Lenska at So & So At The Bridge, just by London Bridge Station on Saturday June 17th. She performs a dramatised reading of Peace And War: Extracts from the Memoirs of Elizabeth Carroll, Rula’s mother who came to the UK as a refugee from Poland in 1946.

The festival will host work from around the globe, visiting Colombia, Myanmar, Chile, Poland, Mali, Afghanistan, India and Iran documenting, exploring and giving voice to the experiences of women, before, during and after war.

This year, the festival is based in a pop-up theatre in South London breathing life back into Streatham Hill Theatre, just ten minutes from Brixton and right by Streatham Hill station.

Festival Director and Executive Producer Sarah Berger said: This year’s Women and War Festival,EXODUS, is a celebration and tribute to the resourcefulness and courage of women from across the world who have found themselves displaced because of war.

At a time when the rights of women are under attack in sharing our multiple cultures, we will demonstrate that even though we may feel helpless in the face of the greatest diaspora in living history, by listening, bearing witness, and sharing in these extraordinary stories, we can make a difference. Any of those women could be your mother, your sister, your daughter, or you. It is not a story of them; it is a story of us.”

 “This is a multi-disciplinary opportunity to laugh, cry, imagine, witness, and share the lives and cultures of women from across the world.

Supporter, actress and Fascinating Aida member Dillie Keane added: When first I visited Women and War last year, what shocked me was that it was the first of its kind – and that it was long overdue. This years festival focuses on refugeeism and displacement, and it seems to me it couldnt be timelier given whats happening in the world, politically speaking. Do yourself a favour and go to at least one of the events. Youll come away better informed, and maybe a little bit empowered. Go.

You can find more details and a full schedule of events on the website  www.womenandwar.co.uk

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Under the Bridge welcomes Moon Hooch as part of EFG London Jazz Festival

Under the Bridge welcomes explosive horn and percussion trio Moon Hooch and their thunderous brand of cult techno jazz. The three-piece were so popular as student buskers on New York’s subways that the NYPD famously banned their impromptu shows as a public-order hazard. They’ve since gone on sell out major US venues, tour globally and are due to release a new live album later this month.

Comprised of tenor saxophonist Mike Wilbur, baritone sax/bass clarinet Wenzl McGowen, and drummer James Muschler, the trio will deliver their high-energy, intoxicating sound, that merges elements of indie rock, virtuosic jazz and pulse-pounding electronic dance music with a DIY aesthetic.

Onstage, the band now plays through a “Reverse DJ” setup, in which the live sound from their horns runs through laptops to process recorded effects. In addition, they utilize Moog synthesizers, as well as an EWI (an electronic wind instrument that responds to breath in addition to touch) and other more traditional instruments like clarinets.

Moon Hooch will be at Under the Bridge on 16 November 

Belle of the Hall: Disney in Concert: Beauty and the Beast confirmed for iconic London venue

One of this year’s most popular movies will get the ‘Films in Concert’ treatment at the Royal Albert Hall in December, as Disney’s Beauty and the Beast comes to the iconic London venue with full accompaniment from the Philharmonia Orchestra.

The live-action musical, starring Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the beastly Prince, will be screened in full and with the stars’ memorable vocals intact, as the entire musical score is performed live by on stage by a full symphony orchestra.

The event on Saturday 9 December follows other smash-hit musical movie experiences for all the family at the Hall, including Frozen Sing-Along and Ratatouille in Concert, with Disney Fantasia: Live in Concert coming up in October.

Lucy Noble, Artistic Director at the Royal Albert Hall, said: “The Films in Concert series has become a genuine phenomenon: a chance for audiences to experience a movie in a whole new way. Beauty and the Beast is an instant classic with everything we look for when staging these events: an enthusiastic following, a great story on a large scale, and a simply unforgettable score.

“We’re so honoured to host the European premiere of the film as a live concert experience, bringing Alan Menken’s remarkable music to centre stage, where it truly belongs.”

Beauty and the Beast, released in March, is a live-action musical extravaganza based on Disney’s 1991 animated classic. Directed by Bill Condon, it stars Watson, Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson.

It tells the story of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman taken prisoner by a Beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realise the kind heart of the true Prince within.

Alan Menken – who won two Oscars (Best Original Score and Best Song) for the animated film – wrote the score, which included new recordings of the original songs he wrote with lyricist Howard Ashman, as well as three new songs created alongside Tim Rice.

It is one of the most successful films ever made, having grossed $1.2bn in just three months, following acclaim from the likes of Empire, the Telegraph, Rolling Stone and the New Yorker.

Beauty and the Beast will screened at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday 9 December.

Tickets for December’s stunning cinematic event at the Royal Albert Hall go on sale at 10am on Friday, priced £30-60, from www.royalalberthall.com

Joss Stone to play at Royal Festival Hall with live orchestra as part of World Tour

Regarded worldwide as one of the greatest voices of her generation, Joss Stone has announced an October UK tour, performing songs from her repertoire of hits, as well as songs by the most iconic names in pop, soul, and funk – all accompanied by a full live orchestra, as part of her Total World Tour.

The UK tour begins in Dublin on October 8th, before going onto Belfast, Glasgow and Cardiff, before finishing with a very special show at Royal Festival Hall where Joss will make her solo concert debut on October 17th.

Last year, Joss wowed and wooed audiences with her special guest appearance alongside Burt Bacharach at Royal Festival Hall, backed by his band and an orchestra where she sung some of Burt’s hits to huge critical acclaim. The London Evening Standard wrote “Stone’s knockout voice was tough and tender…. sassy…. and serene”. The Arts Desk commented that “Her powerful voice… was profoundly moving” and that she has “one of the voices of the century”.

Joss’ unique voice and style saw her rise to fame with her multi-platinum and Mercury Prize nominated debut album ‘The Soul Sessions’ in 2003, and has since gone on to win two BRIT Awards, and receive five Grammy Award Nominations, all whilst selling over 14 million albums worldwide.

Her most recent album, 2015’s ‘Water for Your Soul’, was released on Joss’ own label, Stone’d Records, and saw her branch out into genres such as Reggae and World Music to critical acclaim.

Now, Joss will embark on her first ever solo tour with full orchestra, performing her most loved hits including ‘You Had Me’, ‘Right to be Wrong’, ‘Super Dupa Love’, as well as iconic songs by Burt Bacharach, Gladys Knight, James Brown, and more from the world of pop, funk and soul, including ‘The Look of Love’, ‘In Between The Heartaches’, ‘This is A Man’s World’, ‘Midnight Train to Georgia’, and ‘Young Hearts Run Free’.

Joss Stone will perform at the Royal Festival Hall on 17 October 

Musical fans can experience Singin’ In The Rain Live on-screen with 60 piece orchestra at the London Palladium

One of the most iconic musicals of the golden era of Hollywood will be brought to life as never before this November 12th, as Singin’ In The Rain will be projected onto a huge 40ft screen, accompanied by full live orchestra for a matinee performance at the London Palladium.

Singin’ in the Rain is frequently described as one of the best films ever made, topping the American Film Institute’s 100 Years of Musicals list and ranking 5th in its updated list of the greatest American films ever made, testament to the relevance that the film still has on audiences 60 years later.

Featuring award-winning on-screen performances by Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds, and of course, Gene Kelly – who also co-directed and choreographed the musical to Nacio Herb Brown’s stunning original songs, and Arthur Freed’s renowned lyricism, there is little question that this is one of Hollywood’s most revered pictures.

Accompanying the film and illustrating the spellbinding music of Singin’ In The Rain will be the Novello Orchestra, conducted by David Mahoney. Having previously performed a sell out London performance of The Jungle Book Live with Orchestra, The Novello Orchestra and David Mahoney will also embark on a September tour of La La Land Live with Orchestra, proving them the leading film with live orchestra combination.

If you ever wanted to experience one of the greatest movie musicals of all time while a live orchestra performs all that unforgettable music, your time has come!

Singin’ in The Rain will be at the London Palladium on 12 November

The Blues Brothers returns to the West End this Summer

Rock ‘n’ Roll phenomenon, The Blues Brothersreturns to the West End at the prestigious Hippodrome for a limited, soulful summer special.

The Hippodrome’s 230-seat cabaret theatre will host The Blues Brothers – Summer Special, which is produced by Hartshorn – Hook Productions and the London Hippodrome and directed by Joshua Mumby, with choreography by Lily Howkins and musical direction by James Robert Ball. Full casting to be announced in due course.

Grab your shades and get ready to shake your tail feather because The Blues Brothers are making a sensational return to the London stage. 

The Blues Brothers – Summer Special is a supercharged, rock ‘n’ roll party, destined to take the capital by storm during its exclusive summer run at The Hippodrome in the heart of the West End. 

Featuring 20 of the most popular rock ‘n’ roll classics of all time – including Respect, Jailhouse Rock, Soul Man and Do You Love Me? – the show also includes some never-seen-before material created by the star of the original cult classic film Dan Aykroyd, and Judith Belushi. 

Brought to the stage by Hartshorn – Hook Productions, The Blues Brothers are backed by the sassy Staxx Sisters with the tightest rhythm and blues band in the city.

The Blues Brothers – Summer Special is at the Hippodrome Casino from 18 July – 26 August

The Blue Note Years featuring Chris Ingham’s REBOP comes to Soho’s Pizza Express Jazz Club

There have been a few jazz labels as diverse and musically satisfying as Blue Note, but none have carried the same mystique as Alfred Lion’s label, since they not only had the sound, they had the style.
Sharp, modern, steeped in tradition but also at the cutting edge, the music on Blue Note remains beloved by jazz aficionados and casual listeners alike, decades after the label’s inception.
Formed in 1939, Blue Note’s golden era was the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s, a period that marked the diversification of the hard bop style into modal, post-bop and soul-jazz as heard in the recordings of Horace Silver, Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, Art Blakey& The Jazz Messengers, Hank Mobley, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock and others.
Following their previous sold-out London shows evoking the music of Miles Davis and Horace Silver, Chris Ingham’s mighty repertory sextet REBOP gives new voice to these landmark Blue Note recordings, adding their own invention and improvisation. Pianist Chris Ingham is joined by Paul Higgs (trumpet), Colin Watling (tenor saxophone), Kevin Flanagan (alto saxophone), Robert Rickenberg (bass) and George Double (drums).

Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club to take over Rose Theatre Kingston

For one night only, audiences at Rose Theatre Kingston will have the opportunity to enjoy a slice of Soho’s music history as Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club takes over the venue on Sun 11 Jun, 7.30pm.

Direct from London’s international renowned jazz club and combining world-class live jazz, narration and rare archive images, The Ronnie Scott’s All Stars take to the stage to celebrate The Ronnie Scott’s Songbook.

Since it’s humble beginnings as a basement music bar where musicians would jam, through to the internationally acclaimed music venue it is today, Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club has showcased the music of some of the world’s greatest and most influential Artists of all time. Hosting landmark performances from the likes of Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck and Michael Bublé – and not forgetting surprise appearances by the likes of Jamie Cullum, Stevie Wonder and Prince!

Featuring classic music from the jazz greats who have performed at Ronnie Scott’s, alongside projected archive images and narration, The Ronnie Scott’s Songbook is a glimpse into this unique world and its incredible history.

Hosted and performed by the award-winning Ronnie Scott’s All Stars, led by the Club’s Musical Director, this is a unique evening celebrating the music and history of Ronnie Scott’s and is a must for any music fan.

The Ronnie Scott’s Songbook will be at Rose Theatre Kingston on Sun 11 Jun, 7.30pm.

Two legends set to appear at the Royal Albert Hall to mark special 50 year anniversary

Two musical legends will appear in conversation at the Royal Albert Hall for a unique one-off event to mark 50 years since the Sexual Offences Act 1967 decriminalised homosexuality.

John Grant will chat to Cocteau Twins vocalist Elizabeth Fraser about her iconic indie group’s 1988 album, Blue Bell Knoll, with all proceeds from the show going to gay rights charity Stonewall.

Elizabeth Fraser and John Grant

The event on Sunday 23 July is a rare chance to hear Fraser talk about her distinctive, indelible music, which influenced an entire generation of performers, including Grant, with his exquisite electro-balladeering.

In typical John Grant style, he had this to say about the upcoming event in the Hall’s Elgar Room: “Blue Bell Knoll is one of the best albums of the eighties – and of all time. I get to talk to Liz Fraser about the creation of this masterpiece and you don’t, so there!”

Programmer Sara-Jane Power from the Royal Albert Hall added: “It’s quite an honour to be celebrating this important milestone in our cultural history – the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK – with these two very special artists in our intimate Elgar Room.

“We are extremely excited to welcome John Grant back to the Royal Albert Hall after his stunning performance here last year, and to unite him in conversation with one of his major influences. It’s sure to be a truly unforgettable experience.”

The pair will be joined by Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy, from Classic Album Sundays and BBC 6 Music.

Both Grant and Fraser have headlined the Royal Albert Hall’s iconic auditorium – she with the Cocteau Twins in 1996, he making a spectacular debut last year – with Grant also memorably guesting alongside Kylie Minogue and Goldfrapp.

Spend an evening with Elizabeth Fraser and John Grant on 23 July

World Premiere Screening of Touching the Void with live orchestra comes to the Barbican Hall

The Bafta Award-winning film Touching the Void will return to the big screen on Sunday 18 June for one night only. A world premiere, composer Alex Heffes, a long-time collaborator of director Kevin Macdonald, will bring his brilliant and dramatic score to life in a live presentation of the whole film with a 60-piece orchestra at the Barbican Hall in London.

In an exclusive Q&A before the event, author and legendary climber Joe Simpson, director Kevin Macdonald and composer Alex Heffes will be reunited on stage to discuss the background and making of the film; a unique chance for the audience to hear, directly from the filmmakers, how Simpson’s book was brought to the screen.

In 2003, Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald (One Day In SeptemberThe Last King of Scotland) adapted Joe Simpson’s book into a drama-documentary film, featuring interviews with Simpson and his climbing partner Simon Yates, together with dramatised scenes of the events. Touching the Void won Best British Film at the 2004 Bafta Awards after opening to critical acclaim; critic Roger Ebert described it as “an unforgettable experience… enthralling, fascinating, terrifying” and Time Out proclaimed it to be “a meditation on extreme human endeavour, character, friendship…”

Alex Heffes says: “Its a thrill to be performing my music to Touching the Void live to picture. Its a wonderful chance to bring this amazing film to a new audience and for me to revisit it with my long-time friend and great director Kevin Macdonald.

Joe Simpson says: “It will be great to see the film on the big screen again and thrilling to hear Alex’s score played live, as well as discuss the story and film in front of an audience at the Barbican.

Touching the Void tells the extraordinary story of two British climbers, Joe Simpson and Simon Yates, who attempt the west face of Siula Grande in Peru. Hampered by snowstorms on their descent, Simpson fell through a hole masked by a snow drift and, still attached to Yates by rope and with a severely broken leg, was hanging in mid-air over a precipice. Yates cut the rope so at least one of them would survive. Simpson, by some miracle, also survived and, despite terrible injuries, crawled to safety. The story, of life-changing decisions and incredible survival against the odds, captivated the world and Simpson’s book on his experience became a best-seller.

This vivid and pulsating film, enhanced by Heffes’ original music played live promises to be a unique presentation of this incredible tale of survival and human endurance.

Touching the Void will be at the Barbican Hall on 18 June