So yesterday I took How to be a Man to The Bureau Centre for the Arts in Blackburn. It was a really fun day. Me and Tash got there at about 12.30pm and proceeded to do our get in, fiddling with the tech to get the sound and lighting sorted before doing a run, going out for a curry and then performing the show at 7.30.
I just need to say some things about the Bureau. Which, as a bit of background, it is a fairly new venue based in Blackburn and hosts performances, exhibitions, workshops and events.
It is amazing. The building itself, as a performance space is unique. It’s a deconsecrated church that has also served as a Citizens Advice Bureau (which I just realised is potentially where the name came from) and possibly a call centre before that. The space is beautiful and incredibly atmospheric. From an artists view point it’s also brilliantly flexible and versatile. It’s beautiful. One of my favourite venues.
The people that work there are all so lovely, dedicated and passionate. I could honestly spend hours talking to them about anything (I probably did too).
In terms of what they provide they are essential to Blackburn, they bring touring contemporary theatre and exhibitions into an area that would otherwise not see anything like it. They work with all sorts of groups and have ideas about providing food for the community and all sorts of other things. I think that’s what I love so much, it’s a new venue run by passionate people who will keep going no matter what. They have big ideas and you can bet that they’ll make them happen. If you’re an artist reading this, I highly recommend getting in touch with them about taking your work to Blackburn. If you’re just an arts lover then I can’t emphasise how important it is that you go to The Bureau, to see the brilliant work that is being presented there and to experience the fantastic atmosphere (and cake). If you want something to go see in the near future, my good friends from Powder Keg Theatre are taking their show Morale is High (Since we gave up hope) on the 28th July.
It’s essential that venues like The Bureau are supported and allowed to realise their full potential, they are part of the future for the arts in this country and provide a valuable community space for people to connect, learn and grow. So please go check them out.
Anyway, back to me, it is my blog after all. The performance went really well. The audience was really warm and responsive and I got to have some fantastic conversations with people afterwards. As always I was pleased to hear a few people utter the words “It’s given me a lot to think about.” – That basically means I achieved what I set out to which is always a nice feeling.
Next up is Greater Manchester Fringe at The Kings Arms, you can get tickets from here.
I was on Gaydio this morning and All FM in the afternoon talking about the show, if you missed it I’ve been told they’ll be put up online soon.
I’m also talking about the show live on That’s Manchester Freeview Channel 7 between 8pm and 9.30pm, it’ll also be repeated on Tuesday and Saturday and then go up on Youtube, so there’s plenty of opportunities to see me make a fool of myself on TV.
One final thing, I was on the Discovery Channel last Sunday, I played Sgt Streets in The Somme: The First 24 Hours with Tony Robinson, it follows the stories of 5 soldiers in The Sheffield Pals battalion from their training through to the end of the first day of The Sommer. I know that you can watch it on Now TV, I’m not sure if Discovery have a catch up but it was a very good documentary that I would recommend.