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UNITY Theatre is to collaborate with LEAF on Bold Street to bring an immersive theatre show, which is set in a café, to Liverpool.

User Not Found is a production from Dante or Die, who specialise in site-specific theatre, and is written by the celebrated theatre maker Chris Goode. The show is a contemporary exploration of what happens to our digital identities after we die, experienced by audiences through smartphones and headphones.

The Liverpool venues are joining forces for the first time to bring the Edinburgh Festival Fringe hit show to the city on 22 & 23 April 2019, with two performances on each date. User Not Found delighted audiences and won four and five star reviews from critics during its 2018 run at Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre.  

 It’s the moment of your death. There’s a magic button. Do you delete your entire online legacy? Or do you keep it – and leave the choice for someone else?

Terry and Luka were together for nine years until Luka left Terry.
Then Luka died leaving Terry as his online legacy executor. Through smartphones and headphones the audience becomes a fly-on-the-wall to one man faced with keeping or deleting.

In a rapidly changing digital age, a story of contemporary grief unfolds through this intimate, funny performance that gently interrogates our need for connection and the fate of our digital afterlives.

Gordon Millar, Artistic Director and CEO of Unity Theatre, comments: “User Not Found was one of the standout shows for anyone fortunate enough to have seen it at the Edinburgh Festival last summer. This April, Unity is delighted to present Dante of Die’s insightful exploration of grief and connectivity. Taking place in the ever-dynamic LEAF on Bold Street, this site-specific performance inventively combines smartphones, exceptional writing and tender performance to unite audiences in a truly special, intimate experience.”

LEAF on Bold Street adds: “We are thrilled to be working with Unity Theatre and Dante or Die to bring this remarkable piece of immersive theatre to our space. Both the history and architectural features of our building lend themselves to community experience and storytelling, and we couldn’t be more excited by this upcoming partnership.”

Daphna Attias and Terry O’Donovan from Dante or Die add: “After a brilliant Edinburgh Festival and UK tour in 2018, we’re really excited to be bringing User Not Found to new audiences in 2019. It’s great to be starting our tour with our first performance in Liverpool as a company and with this collaboration between Unity Theatre and LEAF on Bold Street. We can’t wait to see what Liverpool audiences make of the show.”

Booking: https://www.unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk/whats-on/user-not-found.html

 

RESIDENTS across Liverpool are being encouraged to feel the benefits of being more active by trying a free beginners’ course in bowls.  Taking part can give yourself a boost, feel more refreshed and is a great way to meet new people.

‘Bowl for Health’ is an eight week programme designed for complete newcomers to bowls, providing an overview of the basics and how to play a match.  Run by qualified and welcoming coaches, the programme is now available in West Derby and Mossley Hill.

The programme is being led by MSP and Liverpool City Council, thanks to funding from the Big Lottery Fund.  The idea was developed and successfully piloted in 2017 by Holy Trinity Bowling Club in Formby, and is now being rolled out by more clubs across Merseyside. 

One participant – Maureen, in her early sixties, explained how taking part in bowls has transformed her life: “I’ve benefited by getting active in a gentle way and find that bowling can be a very relaxing, calming activity when played for fun rather than competitively.”

Danny Woodworth, from MSP, said: “Being active doesn’t need to mean joining a gym, it’s about finding an activity that you enjoy – people have told us that bowling is a great way to enjoy gentle exercise in a relaxed and sociable environment.  Bowl for Health is for anybody to join in with – it doesn’t matter what your age, experience or level of fitness is.”

Sessions are starting up in March in West Derby (at West Derby Recs Bowling Club on Mill Lane) and in Mossley Hill (at Mossley Hill Bowling Club on Mossley Hill Road) – completely free for any Liverpool residents who would like to improve their physical health and wellbeing, with all equipment provided and no previous experience required.

John Farrell from Liverpool City Council said: “Bowl for Health is great way to enjoy the outdoors and increase your recreational activity levels. We are delighted to be able to support the project and enabling Liverpool residents to lead a more active lifestyle.”

For further information about the programme or to book your free place then please visit www.merseysidesport.com/bowlforhealth or call MSP on 0151 728 1811.

 

Photo: Manuel Harlan

By Andy Green

CURVE and Rose Theatre Kingston’s production of Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss arrived at the Playhouse last night – slightly later than billed but it was worth the wait.

First of all it looks great, Isla Shaw’s cartoonish design looks simple but effective but as the show progresses you realise just how clever it is.

Hydrophobes beware; there’s a good chance you’ll get wet in the opening few minutes. Very powerful water pistols, reminiscent of an Everyman panto, are used to great effect to delight the young audience and cause grown men to cower under their coats – not me I might add, I sat there and took it like the butch thing I am.

This show is perfect for its target audience, the kids are engaged and enthralled from the start as Boy (Sam Angell) and Sally (Melissa Lowe) involve them in their magical and anarchic capers.

It’s a very physical show with cartwheels and back flips from Angell and Lowe drawing gasps from the youngsters. But that’s nothing compared to when Thing 1 (Celia Francis) and Thing 2 (Robert Penny) take to the stage – they take the gymnastics to a whole new level.

Nana Ammo-Gottfried plays the Cat with a mischievous menace. He also displays a very good sense of balance, spending time standing on a ball and perched on a couple of upturned chairs. Don’t try that at home!

Charley Magalit plays Fish with a wonderful operatic voice and makes a quite spectacular entrance in her ‘bowl’.

At just 30 minutes for each half, the show isn’t too long for the very young members of the audience and the energy doesn’t flag for a second with every member of the cast giving it their all.

This is brilliant entertainment for the Cbeebies age group. If you’ve got kids that age, take them, they’ll have a ball.

The Cat in the Hat is at the Playhouse until Saturday 16 February

WITH a month to go, tickets are almost sold out for the stage adaptation of Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train – on at the Liverpool Playhouse from 11-16 March.

The gritty thriller, which sold over 20 million copies worldwide, will be given new life on stage, as former EastEnders star Samantha Womack performs the lead role of Rachel Watson in this gripping new play.

Rachel longs for a different life. Her only escape is the perfect couple she watches through the train window every day, happy and in love. When Rachel learns that the woman she’s been secretly watching has suddenly disappeared, she finds herself as a witness, and even a suspect, in a thrilling mystery with bigger revelations than she could ever have anticipated.

Performing for the first time at the Playhouse, Samantha Womack is no stranger to Liverpool, following her role as Isobel De Pauli in the 90s TV crime drama Liverpool 1.

Sam said: “Having been thoroughly captivated by the novel, the opportunity to take on a role like this is incredibly exciting. I’ve been fascinated by thrillers for a long time and this kind of storytelling, like Hitchcock’s Rear Window, offers us a voyeurs journey into a world which is dangerous and full of suspense.”

Oliver Farnworth, who is best known for playing Andy Carver in Coronation Street plays Scott with John Dougall as DI Gaskill, Naeem Hayatt as Kamal Abdic, Adam Jackson-Smith as Tom Watson, Lowenna Melrose as Anna Watson, and Kirsty Oswald as Megan Hipwell.  They are joined by Philippa Flynn and Matt Concannon in the ensemble.

Tickets for The Girl on the Train are close to selling out. Best availability is for the Tuesday 12 March performance at 7.30pm. Visit www.everymanplayhouse.com/whats-on or call the Everyman & Playhouse Box Office on 0151 709 4776.

By Nigel Smith

FOLLOWING last year’s success with Miracle on Great Homer Street, author Gerry Linford and director Bob Eaton have produced another thoughtful comedy play, which sits well with the Royal Court’s house style of local humour and provides a great vehicle for a cast of familiar faces.

In Yellow Breck Road, The Wizard of Oz collides with It’s a Wonderful Life and A Matter of Life and Death. It finds multiple members of one family examining past events that have shaped their lives, and re-evaluating what really matters to them. Our heroine Dot (Gemma Brodrick) lives with her mum and dad, Carol and Billy, her nan Nora and her happy go lucky uncle Barry, who tries to be helpful by turning the house into a death-trap with his DIY antics.

Dot has anxiety issues, so when her parents suddenly announce an impromptu holiday she doesn’t mind cancelling her planned trip to Ibiza to look after her nan who’s recovering from a fall. A dispute with their conniving landlord Harry threatens to upset all their plans, but when Dot grabs for a light switch rewired by her uncle Barry she suddenly finds she’s not in Anfield anymore.

Olivia du Monceau’s clever set takes us back 50 years to the first moon landing, and Dot begins a dream-world adventure in which she unravels the family’s past that ultimately leads to life-changing revelations for everyone.

Yellow Breck Road wears its heart (and various other internal organs) brazenly on its sleeve. The narrative has some important messages to deliver, including mental health issues, the importance of family and the #MeToo movement, although it tries a little too hard at times to press them home.

Brodrick’s Dot is played with complete conviction despite the fantastic nature of the story. Lynn Francis and Paul Duckworth deliver great comedy as her down-on-luck parents, especially when the clock is turned back to their childhood. Jake Abraham propels the tale along with charm and wit as uncle Barry, and Jamie Greer manages to be almost as unpleasant in his childhood version of Harry as he clearly became later in life as a money grabbing property owner.

Harry’s monstrous scheme may come as little surprise in the somewhat predictable storyline, but it’s Eithne Browne’s Nora who really pulls a rabbit out of the theatrical hat to surprise the audience in the closing scenes.

The dialogue is mostly tamer than usual for the Royal Court, scoring just 2 on their “Can I Bring My Gran-o-meter”, so it’s a little ironic that most of the lavatorial humour vents forth from the onstage Nan. Her verbal incontinence seems almost more severe than that which keeps her running up and down stairs so much, and a point is reached halfway through the first act when the joke is wearing a bit thin. Browne has the mastery of delivery that enables her to get away with it, but (note to the scriptwriter) she really is funny enough to raise a laugh without quite this many graphic descriptions of her bowel movements.

What matters most, though, is that the audience genuinely connect with the show. It’s clear from the very audible reactions to the story’s twists and turns that it has relatable material that reaches out to its viewers, and the cast enjoy a good feedback of positive energy from the auditorium.

Yellow Breck Road continues at the Royal Court until 2nd March.

A DISABILITY charity in Liverpool can now make full use of its outdoor sports facility after securing funding to install new floodlights. 

Everton-based Daisy Inclusive UK, who use sport to help disabled people reach their full potential, refurbished their multi-use Sports Zone over the summer, installing a new surface, goals, nets and kickboards. 

And now, thanks to a contribution from local housing provider Onward, they have added much-needed floodlights which will allow young people to use the facilities late into the evening.  

Dave Kelly, founder of Daisy Inclusive UK, said: “Sport plays a big part in what we do because it’s a medium which can get people away from isolation. Installing the floodlights has opened up so much more time and availability.

“With the winter nights it’s going dark at 4 o’clock, which is when some of our clubs are just getting started. But with the new floodlights we can utilise the Sports Zone and have even more time with the kids. It’s keeping them fit and active, and making them happy.”

The charity hosts after-school sessions twice a week for young people aged between six and 16, where they play a variety of games including football, Goalball, dodgeball and cricket, as well as wheelchair-based activities.

Assistant support worker Steven McGreal, who helps with the sessions, added: “The floodlights have made a huge difference, especially for our visually impaired users who have trouble seeing in the dark. We can play a lot more games in the evening now.”

Onward provided the £300 needed to purchase the floodlights, and are working with Daisy Inclusive UK on a number of other projects.

Steven Garney, social investment specialist at Onward, said: “It’s great to see that the floodlights have had such a positive impact and allowed young people to take full advantage of the fantastic facilities. 

“We’re delighted to be working with Daisy Inclusive UK and supporting the incredible work they do – not just within our neighbourhoods, but right across Merseyside.”

One of the projects in the pipeline will focus on combating disability hate crime. In 2009, Daisy Inclusive UK became the first charity in the UK to appoint a dedicated disability hate crime officer, and plans are afoot to provide Onward staff with training on how to offer support to victims of disability hate crime within their neighbourhoods. 

Dave added: “The help we’ve had from Onward has been immense and hopefully we’ll have lots more opportunities to work together. We’ve already talked about Onward staff being involved with our disability hate crime training.”

Daisy Inclusive UK was established in 2004 by Dave Kelly after he became blind himself at the age of 30. The charity helps over 3,000 people living with disability in Merseyside through education, sport and employment. To find out more about the work Daisy Inclusive UK does, visit www.daisyuk.co.uk 

 

Photo: Andy Green

THE Prince of Wales will make an official visit to Royal Albert Dock Liverpool on February 12, 2019, in recognition of its new Royal status ahead of the 175th anniversary in 2021.

The prince will be met by Dave Roscoe, chair of the board of directors, who, along with chief executive of Royal Albert Dock Liverpool Ltd, Sue Grindrod, will escort the prince around the dock to meet various stakeholders, local businesses and staff from some of the attractions located within the Grade I listed site, including a special tour of the International Slavery Museum. The prince himself reopened the regenerated dock in May 1988 with the opening of Tate Liverpool, following a full restoration after years of decline and near demolition.

Royal status was granted in April 2018, recognising the importance of the dock both for its historical and architectural significance and its place within Liverpool’s past and future.

Sue Grindrod, chief executive, Royal Albert Dock Liverpool Ltd, said: “Royal status and the visit by The Prince of Wales recognises the dock’s historic role in the UK as a unique heritage asset. It also acknowledges its significance in the ongoing regeneration of Liverpool and wider city region.

“The dock has had a long relationship with the Royal Family since its opening and during some of its landmark moments. We look forward to welcoming His Royal Highness back after 30 years to show how far we have progressed and see first-hand the changes that are being made in preparation for our 175th anniversary in 2021, when we will encourage the entire city region to celebrate with us.”

Dr Richard Benjamin, head of the International Slavery Museum, said: “It’s an honour to welcome His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales to the International Slavery Museum, to see our thought-provoking collections and displays, and to meet both staff and community stakeholders, who make the museum such a success. The International Slavery Museum not only highlights Liverpool and Britain’s role in the transatlantic slave trade and its legacies, but we also focus and shine a much-needed light on issues such as modern slavery, human trafficking and other current human rights abuses. This makes the museum quite unique, and as such we look forward to discussing our work and our very exciting future expansion plans with The Prince of Wales.”

During the visit, The Prince of Wales will meet some of the dock’s leaseholders, including Leather Satchel Company, The Nest, Lunyalita, What’s Cooking and Peaberry Coffee House.

On his tour of the prince will also meet with residents, along with representatives of the Royal Albert Dock Liverpool Charitable Foundation – which aims at providing other charities and communities unique access to the dock for the benefit of the Liverpool City Region population. The prince will also have the opportunity to view Ugo Rondinone’s Liverpool Mountain – the artist’s first public artwork in the UK, brought to the Dock last autumn following a partnership between Royal Albert Dock Liverpool, Liverpool Biennial and Tate Liverpool, supported by Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

 

ST.JOSEPH’S Hospice is on the lookout for daredevil Everton fans to join them in a zip wire challenge they will never forget.

The hospice has places up for grabs for anyone who fancies zipping across the famous pitch at Goodison Park and, this year, the route is longer and faster than ever.

The zip line will go diagonally across the pitch from the top balcony corner of the Main Stand, close to St Luke’s Church, right the way across to a specially-constructed platform in the Bullen’s Road corner of the Sir Philip Carter Park Stand.  

The Goodison Park Zip Wire Challenge will take place on Saturday 30th March. Places are available now on a first come, first served basis. To sign up, there is a registration fee of £30 and a minimum fundraising target of £100. Age and weight limits apply.

Julie McAdam, fundraiser at the hospice, said: “This will be the third time we have taken part in the Goodison Park Zip Wire Challenge and this year will be better than ever because the route is longer and more exciting. It will be a fantastic experience for any Everton fan and the best things is that by taking part you will be raising money that will be put to very good use, helping to fund end of life and palliative care for patients at the hospice.”

To find out more visit, www.jospice.org.uk or to secure your place, call the hospice’s fundraising team on 0151 932 6044 or email events@jospice.org.uk.

 

Left to right; Richard Kenyon, Everton in the Community CEO; Roger Speed; Carol Speed; Graham Stuart, former Everton player and Club Ambassador.

EVERTON Football Club and Everton in the Community has announced plans for ‘The Speed Cycle’, a cycling challenge in memory of former Blues midfielder Gary Speed that will raise vital funds for the charity’s mental health focused campaign, The People’s Place.

Backed and endorsed by Gary’s parents Carol and Roger, The Speed Cycle will visit each of the Welsh international’s former clubs over the weekend of Friday, May 31 to Sunday, June 2.

Starting at Newcastle United’s St James’ Park, the cycle challenge will travel to Leeds’ Elland Road, Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane and Bolton’s University of Bolton stadium before making its way to Goodison Park.

Applications are open now for keen cyclists to take part in the endurance event, with 20 places available for fundraisers who are asked to raise a minimum of £2000 each.

The target for The Speed Challenge has been set at £65,000 – representing the 65 times the boyhood Blue played for his beloved Everton. The first donation towards that fundraising target has already been made by Gary’s parents, Roger and Carol, from the Gary Speed Foundation – a charity that was founded in Gary’s memory following his tragic suicide in 2011.

All money raised from The Speed Cycle will go towards helping Everton in the Community reach its £1m fundraising target to build The People’s Place – a purpose-built mental health facility close to Goodison Park that will support anyone in times of need.

The Club is looking for a team of fit and experienced cyclists who will be able to take on the gruelling challenge of covering 230 miles in the saddle including the hills of Yorkshire and Lancashire.

Places are strictly limited and to ensure participants fit the tight criteria recommended to finish this demanding challenge, cyclists are asked to register their interest via the form below and provide as much information as possible about your cycling experience in order to ensure participants are of a similar standard to undertake the challenging fundraising ride.

Everton in the Community CEO Richard Kenyon said: “We are honoured to be working with Carol and Roger on our plans for The Speed Cycle and are grateful to have their support and backing as we embark on our next stage of fundraising for The People’s Place. We hope that Evertonians and football fans all across the country will take The Speed Cycle to their heart as we remember Gary and work with his family to continue his legacy.”

Carol Speed, Gary’s mother, added: “We are looking forward to working with Everton in the Community over the coming months and making the Speed Cycle a real success in Gary’s memory. We hope that everyone gets behind the challenge so we can raise as much as possible for The People’s Place.”

Registration costs £200 per cyclist which will cover all expenses including minibus travel to Newcastle, two nights hotel accommodation, all refreshment on route including lunch, evening meal and snacks as well as protein bars, gels, water and energy drinks although does not include refreshments on travel day. The registration fee also includes branded kit including cycling vest and rain jacket.

Register your interest here https://evertonfc.tfaforms.net/291

 

 

NOT one, but two public art events are coming to Sefton Park, illuminating the dark nights this February half-term (20-24). City of Light, City of Sanctuary is a magical floating city of lanterns on the park’s boating lake, and ‘Habitats’ – a trail featuring glowing animals and incredible plants in the Palm House gardens.

The floating city of lantern buildings will be brought to life by an epic soundscape of original music, poetry and real-life stories, and will bring Liverpool communities, international artists and generations together through a blend of community creativity, architectural artworks and family participation.

Using the simplest materials of paper, sticks and stories, City of Light, City of Sanctuary will be an inspirational public space for reflection on local and global experiences of migration, home and belonging – issues affecting many people and communities across the world today. City of Light, City of Sanctuary is free to attend, and will take place on the park’s boating lake from February 21-24 (5-9pm).

For an up-close experience audiences can buy tickets (£6 plus booking fee) to Habitats: Critters and Creatures Aglow! Visitors can enjoy an illuminated animal story trail in the grounds of Sefton Park Palm House, from February 20-24 (5pm-9pm). Connected to the floating city by a short walk from the lakeside, audiences will be able to explore the trail and discover talking indigenous animal lanterns in their own habitats throughout the half term. Find out more about where our wildlife lives, and direct from the hedgehogs mouth, how we can help protect them and their natural environments. Habitats, plus a series of community workshops will be ticketed in order to raise funds to support the City of Light, City of Sanctuary installation.

To be involved in the creation of City of Light, City of Sanctuary and the chance to work with the team at Lantern Company, open community workshops will take place in venues across the city in the run up to the event.Tickets cost £10 (plus booking fee) and the workshops last from two-six hours. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Participants will be able to collect their lantern in the week after the event has taken place.

Mini-lantern workshops will also take place during the day inside the Grade II* listed Sefton Park Palm House. Book on or drop in to make a mini house lantern and take it with you to view the City of Light, City of Sanctuary installation. Tickets for the workshop cost £6 (plus booking fee). Family ticket – £20 (plus booking fee).

Jo Pocock, artistic director, Lantern Company, said: “City of Light, City of Sanctuary will see hundreds of illuminated lantern buildings, made through community participation and by our professional team, come together into a glowing cityscape floating on Sefton Park’s boating lake – from shelters, houses and blocks of flats to warehouses and iconic buildings from Liverpool and around the world. The soundscape and voices of the city will also be an amazing experience for visitors to listen to as they wander around the lakeside.

“We‘ve been working with Writing on the Wall over the last few months through an outreach writing project to record real life tales and reflections to incorporate into the soundscape. By bringing generations and communities together, City of Light, City of Sanctuary gives voice to a multitude of diverse experiences and aims to offer a vision of hope, light and solidarity.”

Liverpool’s deputy mayor and cabinet member for culture, tourism and events, councillor Wendy Simon, said: “City of Light in Sefton Park looks set to be another truly spectacular event from the amazingly creative minds at Lantern Company. Not only will the event look incredible, it will bring the whole community together to create something really special under the stars.”

Lisa Pearson, head of marketing, Arriva North West & Wales, said: “We’re delighted to once again be working with Lantern Company for this event and are proud to be helping in bringing an amazing, artistic vision for Sefton Park to life. For more information on best ways to travel to City of Light in Sefton Park by bus, we recommend checking out our Journey Planning app.”

Lantern Company are also hosting a two-day lantern-making masterclass, where participants will be able to create a large-scale lantern. The masterclass is facilitated by internationally-acclaimed designer/maker Gavin Lewery and lighting designer/artist Rob Hill, each with over 30 years professional experience, making this a rare and unique chance to access top quality training with the world-famous Lantern Company. The masterclass takes place at Central Library, Liverpool, on February 9 and 10, 10am-4.30pm. Places are limited at £160 each.

Information about all ticketed events can be viewed at https://www.ticketquarter.co.uk/Online/city-of-light.

 

 

 

 

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