Why We Tell The Story: In Conversation with Sheila Arden

Artform is an amateur theatrical company resident at the Broadway Studio in Catford, South East London. They have produced a diverse selection of musicals, plays and concerts. Their previous productions include ‘Avenue Q’, ‘Into the Woods’, and ‘Oh What A Lovely War’. I met up with Sheila Arden, Artform’s Chair and Artistic Director to discuss the ins and outs of running a theatre production company, what it’s like to be a Director and what Artform has planned next.

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Review | NewsRevue – Fifty Shades of May, Canal Cafe Theatre ⋆⋆⋆⋆

NewsRevue is bloody brilliant. The production, staged at the Canal Café’s pub theatre, is reminiscent of a musicalised Mock the Week episode. In a series of comedic scenes in quick succession, the show provides sharp satirical commentary on the messy current political situation we currently find ourselves in. Instead of lamenting at the shit show that Brexit is or the buffoon who holds the highest office in the US, this pokes fun at the farce that it all is and provides unexpected comic relief. 

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Review | Emilia, Vaudeville Theatre ⋆⋆⋆

I often find myself out of step with audience’s responses to shows, most recently with Hadestown or Bat out of Hell to name a few. Usually I’m fine with having a dissenting opinion, but with Emilia, I’ve been shocked by how different my thoughts have been to nearly all the glowing reports I’ve seen, especially from people whose opinion I highly value. Simply put, I applaud the show’s intentions but it didn’t sweep me away as it has for many others.

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Review | I’d Rather Be Me: Amy Lovatt Live, Above the Arts Studio Theatre ⋆⋆⋆⋆

Six, the wildly popular new West End musical, is currently wowing audiences at the Arts Theatre in Leicester Square. Above this theatre, there is a little-known venue aptly called Above the Arts. It’s a relaxed setting with some stylish artwork, a small bar, some sofas and typically plays host to cabaret acts. On a Saturday afternoon, Amy Lovatt graced the stage with her very first concert, ‘I’d Rather Be Me’. The set opened with a playful rendition of Poor Unfortunate Souls and included many musical theatre fan favourites including songs from The Last Five Years, Miss Saigon and Little Shop of Horrors.

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Why We Tell The Story: In Conversation with Louise Cook

I first came across Louise Cook’s name when I visited the recent West End production of Dreamgirls. The whole show blew me away but I remember being stunned by how dynamic the lighting design was in particular. When I learnt that Louise was part of the lighting team, I knew that I wanted to reach out to her as part of this series. Since Dreamgirls, Louise now works on tours of musicals and travels all around the world. I caught up with her to learn more about what it’s like to work in lighting in the theatre industry.  

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Review | Deli Dumrul, Arcola Theatre ⋆⋆⋆⋆

Deli Dumrul is an ancient Turkish tale which has been brought to life by the Arcola’s Ala Turka Company, helmed by Director Naz Yeni. Once our storytellers take centre stage, you are transported to another land, surrounded by vibrant Turkish music, culture and these engaging characters. The show beautifully harnesses the power that theatre has to connect with all audiences regardless of time or place or even language.

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Why We Tell The Story: In Conversation with Alex Hackitt-Anwyl

Alex Hackitt-Anwyl grew up in Nuneaton and now lives in South London. FemFringe, which she founded, recently enjoyed a successful run at the Vaults Festival in Waterloo, London and will be returning to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year. We caught up for a good long chat about the show, the importance of women in the driving seats and what’s next for her.

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Review | Come From Away – Phoenix Theatre ⋆⋆⋆⋆

In Come From Away, a strong cast of twelve are able to bring to life this little-known story. A story in which a small Canadian town mobilised to accommodate the thousands of people who were stranded when their planes were diverted following the 9/11 attacks. At a time of hysteria over news which aims to shock and appal, I wish there were more shows like this one which seeks to display the good which humanity can achieve.

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Review | Six – Arts Theatre ⋆⋆⋆⋆

If we cast our memories back to school, most of us can vaguely remember learning about Henry VIII. If you did, you would have most likely learnt about his six wives and that ‘divorced’, ‘beheaded’, ‘died’ poem, but not much more about them. In Six, these ladies take centre stage and we gain an insight into their multi-dimensional lives through pop contemporary music. They have these big personalities and fascinating stories to share. The result is Hamilton meets the Spice Girls. It’s fun, fresh, and one of the most original British shows I’ve seen in a while.

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Review | Company – Gielgud Theatre ⋆⋆⋆⋆

The West End is starting to play host to a collection of musical theatre productions which celebrate a variety of women. This includes shows such as Six, Caroline or Change, Tina Turner the Musical and the incoming productions of Waitress and 9 to 5. I least expected for this celebration to extend to the revival of the musical Company. Company, a Sondheim classic, which was originally written to centre around a male bachelor, Bobby. But in this revival, it centres around a single lady, Bobbie. And it works, brilliantly. The show, written almost 50 years ago now, provides a sophisticated insight into the modern-day woman and feels as fresh as if it was written today.

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