Broken Biscuits: #nowplaying Birmingham

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It’s the last week of our BROKEN BISCUITS tour. Tom Wells‘ heart-warming comedy finishes at Birmingham REP this week after touring for three months. We’re going out in style by listening to some of the best bands from Birmingham.

Black Sabbath

One of the most famous heavy metal bands in history, what more can we tell you about Black Sabbath? We know former lead singer Ozzy Osbourne ate a bats head live on stage but did you know they’ve won two Grammys? They also used to be named the Polka Tulk Blues Band after a brand of talcum powder. Very metal. MTV ranked them as The Greatest Metal Band of All Time. We highly doubt the BROKEN BISCUITS gang will be inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame for their songs about working in Sainburys.

Judas Priest

There must have been something about Birmingham in the 60’s because not only did it spawn Black Sabbath but also Judas Priest. MTV has them in at second place in the Greatest Metal Band of All Time rankings. The name comes from the Bob Dylan song The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest. Over the years they’ve had 8 different drummers. BROKEN BISCUITS currently have 0. Although Megan is doing her best to make it 1.

Electric Light Orchestra

Birmingham wasn’t just churning out heavy metal bands though. They were also the home of the Electric Light Orchestra. Also known as ELO. The band with the dubious honour of having the most hits in the Billboard Hot 100 Top 40 without ever scoring a number one. Despite not being quite as rock n roll as Black Sabbath and Judas Priest the prog rock boys will be inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in 2017.

Duran Duran

The dance-rockers so good they named them twice. Duran Duran have sold over 100 million records world wide, 14 singles in the UK Top Ten, 21 in the US Billboard Hot 100 and have won numerous awards including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Not bad for some lads from brum. There are so many good Duran Duran videos that we struggled to pick one to post below. In the end we went with Rio because honestly, what’s going on here?

Ocean Colour Scene

A band so proud of their roots they named their second album and their record label after Moseley where the band formed. They were part of the Brit-pop wave alongside Oasis, Blur, Pulp and Suede the band had numerous Top Ten album in the 90’s including their second album Moseley Shoals. We’ll leave you with one of the most Brit-pop videos ever made. Check that bucket hat out.

And so end our musical journey round Birmingham. We’ll see you at the REP for the latest chapter when BROKEN BISCUITS take to the stage. Tickets here.

#BrokenBiscuits

Every Brilliant Thing: North America

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We’re delighted to announce that in January and February 2017 EVERY BRILLIANT THING by Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe is returning to North America. After a 16 week run Off Broadway in 2014 and a week at Spoleto, Charleston in 2015 the award-winning sell-out show will be visiting both the US and Canada in 2017.

Here are the tour dates:

Brigham Young University International Theatre Festival, Utah
13-14 Jan
Tickets here.

High Performance Rodeo, Calgary
18-22 Jan
Tickets here.

PuSh Festival, Vancouver
26-29 Jan
Tickets here.

The Broad Stage, Santa Monica LA
02-12 Feb
Tickets here.

EVERY BRILLIANT THING will also tour to Australia and New Zealand in March and April. You can find the dates here.

#EveryBrilliantThing

Broken Biscuits: #nowplaying Bristol

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This week Tom WellsBROKEN BISCUITS is in Bristol at Tobacco Factory Theatres so we’re listening to bands from Bristol and the surrounding areas. We’ve picked out some of our favourites – including a few blasts from the past.

Massive Attack

First up are trip-hop pioneers Massive Attack, consisting of Robert “3D” Del Naja, Grant “Daddy G” Marshall and formerly Andy “Mushroom” Vowles AKA Mush. The Massive Attack boys have sold over 11 millions records worldwide and have two albums in Rolling Stones’ list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (Blue Lines and Mezzanine). Our BROKEN BISCUITS band members have equally cool names: Megan, Holly and Ben.

Portishead

Portishead are named after a coastal town in Somerset – just eight miles west of Bristol. Despite being together since 1991 the band have only released three studio albums: Dummy (1994), Portishead (1997) and Third (2008).

Fun fact: The opening track of debut album Dummy is named ‘Mysterons’ a reference to popular 60’s TV show Captain Scarlet.

The Pop Group

The Pop Group were a short lived post-punk band from Bristol – releasing two albums Y (1979) and For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder (1980). The band split up to pursue individual careers but reunited in 2010. We hope BROKEN BISCUITS embarks on a similar trajectory. See you in 2046.

Tears For Fears

Technically from Bath (only 15 mins from Bristol on the train) we couldn’t resist including Tears For Fears mainly so we could listen to Everybody Wants to Rule the World. The smash hit single went No 1 in the US and No 2 in the UK. It’s been covered by everyone from Lorde (remember that Hunger Games soundtrack?) to musical comedy duo Ninja Sex Party.

BROKEN BISCUITS plays at Tobacco Factory Theatres on Friday 25 and Saturday 26 November. Tickets available here.

Broken Biscuits tour blog

This week we’re laying down the baton and handing our blog over to our very own Andrew Reed, who plays Ben is BROKEN BISCUITS, for an insight into the world of touring and performing on the road with PP. Over to you, Andrew…

Broken Biscuits tour blog

Scarborough. For a little coastal town lad like myself, I feel right at home. Energy is high, temperature is low as we set up shop at the Stephen Joseph Theatre which is certainly our snuggest fit for Megan’s shed from our venues so far. First night’s audience were ace. They were really responsive and you could just tell they were all there ready to have a good night. We spent Wednesday morning working with ‘Beyond the Stage’ an over 50’s theatre group based at the SJT. We got to show them the first couple of scenes from the play and had a canny little chat and a cuppa.

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Sprogs and dogs allowed

You find yourself with a lot of spare time on tour, and what better way to spend that free time doing your laundry. Just last week, Faye and me hauled our backpacks full of washing to Spring Bank laundrette and as we were staring at our 40 degree cycle of spinning socks we clocked good old Mr Tom Wells’ walking past in his beanie and thick winter coat. Classic Tom. We ended that afternoon back at his flat drinking tea and tucking into sausage sandwiches and it was nothing less than bloody delightful. I’ve learnt it’s good to keep yourself busy when not working on tour. However, if there is a trampoline park next to your venue and you have a show the same evening, do the sensible thing.

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Three little frogs bouncing around Hull

With doing a show for so long there’s always the risk of becoming a bit of a robot actor. It’s really key to keep listening to what’s being said on stage and keeping everything genuine rather than being there just to speak some lines you’ve memorised. James has reminded us to always keep this in mind when moving about with the show as we can quickly lose lots of the lovely moments in the play if we forget to enjoy them.

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Band prep in Hull

Our warm ups can be key to us tapping into the souls of these three 16 year olds. We’ve had plenty front of house members and techies witness our pre show dance and karaoke numbers. Me and Faye attempted the final song from Dirty Dancing on our last night in Scarborough. There was some bickering over who was playing Baby but that’s all water under the bridge now (it’s me).

One strange thing being on tour is rocking up to whoever you’ll be living with each week. I am pretty notorious for booking my digs very last minute, with James sending a photo of a lovely little tent in a field to our WhatsApp group joking that’s where I’d be nestling down when in Plymouth. I’ve found that if you’re lucky with your digs, there’ll be an arrival cup of tea on the cards. If you’re extra lucky, they may even help take your case to your room but beggars can’t be choosers. Usually a quick food shop has to be done so you can awkwardly make a Pot Noodle in a stranger’s kitchen but I’ve struck lucky with the places I’ve stayed so far. So no horror stories to report. Yet.

Now though…it’s 2am and I have an early train to Sheffield tomorrow. Adios Scarbados.

We’re off to… Cardiff!

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This week we’re off to Cardiff. It’s the final week of LOVE, LIES AND TAXIDERMY’s Welsh tour after two weeks at Theatr Clwyd. We’ll be in the studio with our co-producers Sherman Theatre.

We’re delighted to be taking Alan Harris’ beautiful, heart-warming show to his home town. And only 25 miles from the play’s setting – Merthyr Tydfil.

We last visited Cardiff with Sam Burns’ NOT THE WORST PLACE in 2014 and Kate Tempest’s WASTED. We love it. We love it so much we comissioned four short plays from Welsh playwrights to be performed as part of our COME TO WHERE I’M FROM series. You can here these on the free app available for download here. The writers are Alan Harris, Sam Burns, Tim Price, Bethan Marlow and Matthew Bulgo.

We’re big fans of a walk round Bute Park – following the River Taff. It’s only a 10 minute walk from the Sherman if you fancy it.

“A stupidly lovely fantasy… very funny… make[s] you believe that sometimes real life can actually be better than the movies.”
★★★★ The Guardian

“Raucously funny… a joyful, surprising tribute to love, hope, community and big ideas.”
★★★★ WhatsOnStage

“Charming, cheering, and socially alert romantic comedy.”
★★★★ The Stage

“Endearing, uplifting and bursting with energy…more magical than the movies.”
★★★★★ The Skinny

“Perrin and his cast delight”
★★★★★ British Theatre Guide

LOVE, LIES AND TAXIDERMY is on Tuesday to Saturday and you can get tickets here. We hope to see you there.

#LoveLiesTaxidermy

Broken Biscuits: #nowplaying Sheffield

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This week we’re listening to bands from Sheffield and there are a lot of them. And they’re all incredible. There’s an argument to be made for Sheffield being one the UK’s most important cities when it comes to music but we’re not here for arguments. We’re here for great music and there’s plenty of it.

Pulp

We had to start with Pulp. Firstly because we love Pulp. Who doesn’t? But perhaps more importantly, BROKEN BISCUITS was inspired by Pulp’s song Mis-Shapes, which featured on seminal No. 1 album Different Class. The opening lyrics:

Misshapes, mistakes, misfits
Raised on a diet of broken biscuits, oh
We don’t look the same as you
And we don’t do the things you do
But we live around here too, oh really

We’re big fans of Jarvis Cocker. Did you know he honed his front man skills with a job as a salesman in a fish market? We’re such big fans that BROKEN BISCUITS includes a cover of Mis-Shapes. Not to be missed(shapes).

Arctic Monkeys

It wasn’t going to be long before these boys got a mention. They’ve gone from playing their first gig at The Grapes in 2003 and 13 years later they’re filling some of the biggest stadiums on the planet. They’ve won countless awards, headlined Glastonbury twice and their debut is the fastest selling debut in British chart history. Well, until BROKEN BISCUITS release their debut of course…

Fun fact: Drummer, Matt Helders, took part in boxing training so he could drum fast enough for their single Brianstorm. Faye Christall went through similar training to play Megan in BROKEN BISCUITS.

The Human League

We couldn’t resist including The Human League, one of the most iconic bands of the 80s. Their hits go beyond Don’t You Want Me with 8 Top Ten singles and a US No. 1 with Human. Their first gig was the Wham Bar at Sheffield Hallum University. We can’t promise as many synths and fringes in BROKEN BISCUITS but we can promise just as much attitude and pop magic.

Def Leppard

80s rockers Def Leppard are still going strong. Their 1987 album Hysteria is one of the most successful albums of all time going to No. 1 in six countries and spawning seven hit singles including US No. 1 Love Bites and Pour Some Sugar On Me. The band were a huge hit on both sides of the pond. Watch this space to see if BROKEN BISCUITS can crack America.

Reverend and the Makers

Rumour has it that after the Arctic Monkeys stormed the UK charts ‘Reverend’ Jon McClure (front man of Reverend and the Makers) was offered up to £150,000 by major record labels to try and replicate the Monkeys success. McClure being McClure refused the money and Reverend and the Makers remained unsigned, by choice, for years until the release of their 2007 album The State of Things. McClure is known for his down to earth nature and can often be found playing acoustic gigs in the car park after Reverend and the Makers gigs are finished.

Fun fact: Jon’s brother Chris is the face of the Arctic Monkeys debut album Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not.

Richard Hawley

Briefly a member of Pulp, Richard Hawley is one of Sheffield’s lesser-known gems. He’s released seven solo albums to date and collaborated with: Jarvis Cocker, Paul Weller, Arctic Monkeys and Lisa Marie Presley (yep, Elvis’ daughter). Hawley once played a gig in a cave in Castleton – the cave is called The Devil’s Arse. The album is called Richard Hawley Live in the Devil’s Arse. Richard Hawley is our kind of musician.

And that concludes our musical odyssey in the steel city. We could go on forever. Sheffield has plenty to give.

See you at The Crucible for BROKEN BISCUITS. Tickets here.

#BrokenBiscuits

Forward Theatre: Genesis

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Our brilliant Associate Company, Forward Theatre Project, are touring their new show GENESIS this autumn. Artistic Director, Charlotte Bennett, tells us what it’s all about…

In 2013, I met a brilliant, inspiring woman called Morag Siller.

Morag was an actress, had incurable breast cancer and was the patron of charity Prevent Breast Cancer. She told me about this small but radical organisation; the UK’s only charity to solely focus on breast cancer prevention, which had started with a vision of finding an alternative way to achieve a breast cancer free future – and I was blown away.

Morag wanted to create a play to raise awareness of prevention and asked if I would work with her. We wanted to look at how we could reach not only scientific minds but non-scientific ones by telling the human stories behind the science. And so myself and playwright Frazer Flintham, interviewed patients and scientists to create a new play: GENESIS, which tells a story about genetic testing for breast cancer.

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As part of ‘tooling up’ we spent hours ensuring we understood the science and the terms (the sort of stuff that if you are a non-science bod make you want to bolt). We know how to tell human stories, but understanding the science was the real challenge. It was hard but GLORIOUS. And the support from the brilliant staff at Prevent Breast Cancer empowered us to make a play that is now as scientifically informed as it is theatrically crafted.

Morag passed away in April. She was a woman who campaigned right to the end of her life to bring the science of this charity into the fore of the conversation about a breast cancer free future. And she was also a brilliant actress who recognised the ability of theatre to have conversations with audiences about difficult things like genetic testing by using humour, drama and story. And so we make this one for her.

And now here we are, rehearsing this important piece of theatre in Manchester. We premiere at The Lowry, Salford. We then tour to Soho Theatre, London, then to Cumbria, Preston and Doncaster.

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Booking details are here:

11th – 12th November The Lowry (8pm, 2.30pm and 8pm) Tickets £12 / £10 concessions

15th – 19th November Soho Theatre (7pm, Sat matinee 4pm) Tickets £16 / £14 concessions

22nd November Beggar’s Theatre Cumbria (7.30pm) Tickets £10 / £7 concessions

23rd November  Preston Continental  (8pm) Tickets £8 / £6 concessions

24th November Cast Doncaster (7.45pm) Tickets £10.50 / £9 concessions

GENESIS is supported by funding from Arts Council England, the Teale Charitable Trust, the Richard Carne Trust, Talbot Validus, the Granada Foundation, the Unity Theatre Trust, the Royal Victoria Hall Foundation, Morag Siller, other private donors, and our crowdfund backers.

Broken Biscuits: #nowplaying Scarborough

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This week BROKEN BISCUITS by Tom Wells is on the East coast at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough so we’ll be listening to bands who started life along the beautiful Yorkshire coastline.

Little Angels – Scarborough 

Prolific 80s rock band Little Angels formed in Scarborough back in 1984 (previously named both Zeus and Mr Thrud). They started life with their brilliantly titled debut album Too Posh To Mosh. During their prime they supported Van Halen and Bon Jovi.

Arthur Brown – Whitby

I AM THE GOD OF HELLFIRE AND I BRING YOU… Arthur Brown of The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. Who remembers ‘Fire’ which reached Number 1 back in 1968 (both here and in Canada)? The eccentric frontman was famed for his operatic singing style which he has sustained through a long career, continuing to record to this day. His followers refer to him as The God of Hellfire in reference to the opening lyrics to Fire.

Ben Parcell – Bridlington

Ben Parcell couldn’t be further from Arthur Brown in terms of style but only comes from down the road in Bridlington. Parcell describes his sound as Pop Folk – which is a similar sound to the BROKEN BISCUITS gang. Although we don’t think Ben has any songs about working on the checkout at Sainbury’s.

We’re at the Stephen Joseph from Tuesday until Saturday – come and rock out with us (in a gentle geeky way). Tickets here.

#BrokenBiscuits

Website maintenance

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Unfortunately we’re having some issues with our website. We’re blaming the cold weather but it’s probably something to do with words like ‘server’ and ‘hosting’. We’re working to have the website back up and running as soon as possible. Sorry for any inconvenience caused in the meantime.

The good news is our blog is still holding strong so we’ve tried to put as much information here as possible. Below we’ve got our tour dates until the end of the year and links to recent announcements. If there’s any PP information you need urgently you can ring the office on 020 7240 4533 and we’ll do our best to help you out.

A Paines Plough and Live Theatre production
BROKEN BISCUITS
by Tom Wells

08-12 November
Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough
01723 370541
sjt.uk.com

15-19 November
Crucible Studio, Sheffield Theatres
0114 249 6000
sheffieldtheatres.co.uk

25-26 November
Tobacco Factory Theatres, Bristol
0117 902 0344
tobaccofactorytheatres.com

29 November – 03 December
Birmingham Repertory Theatre
0121 236 4455
birmingham-rep.co.uk

 

A Paines Plough, Sherman Theatre and Theatr Clywd production
LOVE, LIES AND TAXIDERMY
by Alan Harris

2-12 November
Theatr Clwyd, Mold
01352 701521
www.theatrclywd.com

15-19 November
Sherman Theatre, Cardiff
029 2064 6900
www.shermantheatre.co.uk

 

Recent announcements:

Every Brilliant Thing will tour internationally in 2017
Zia Ahmed will be on attachment at PP in 2017 as part of Channel 4 Playwrights’ Scheme

We’ll be posting updates on Twitter and Facebook.

We’re off to… Mold

Roundabout may be flat packed into the back of a lorry, but LOVE LIES & TAXIDERMY continues forth into Wales this evening for its opening night at co-producers Theatr Clwyd in Mold for the start of its Welsh tour. 

A second collaboration between ourselves, Theatr Clwyd and Sherman Theatre, we were last down in Mold back in 2014 with Sam Burns’ NOT THE WORST PLACE, and we’re absolutely thrilled to be back this year with Alan Harris’ heart-warming and hilarious play.

If you’re in Wales and in search of a lesson in taxidermy, then Dave Roberts at The Morbitorium is your man. However, if you’d rather leave the stuffing of animals to Valentyn’s father Jacub then come on down to Theatr Clwyd where LOVE, LIES & TAXIDERMY will be running till 12 November.

For those of you who’d like to hear more about Dave…read on.

#LoveLiesTaxidermy