Welcome to blog 9! If you haven’t joined us before, I’m Ash, Front of House and Audience Development Coordinator at the New Adelphi Theatre. Back in April I began sharing creative activities, resources and opportunities on offer from our industry friends to help support creative communities during this difficult time.

Including; the #LoveLowry Blog, online dance projects with Company Chameleon, Lockdown Laughs with ComedySportz UK, Comedy at the Covid Arms with alum Kiri Pritchard Mc-Clean, support sessions for artists from GM Artist Hub and MIF, opportunities from the Disabled Artist Networking Community (DANC) and more.

All of which are going from strength to strength, so if you haven’t yet explored what’s on offer or you’re feeling a little lost and hopeless, take a scroll back through our previous blogs (and follow us on Twitter) to see who might be able to support you. #WeMakeEvents

We’ve also hosted a smorgasbord of online events produced by the university’s creative community and our visiting artists. And of course, we’ve been sharing good news stories and amazing achievements from our students and alumni!

Alongside our digital engagement, the team and I have also been creating and planning some online interactive sessions to support students next semester. How is it almost September already?!

We’re very much looking forward to meeting (albeit virtually for most of our team) all of our new students – and of course welcoming students back! Joining us in September? Or know someone who is? Why not follow us on social media! You can also join the official University of Salford Applicant Facebook Group, see below.

In the meantime, we’d like to share some more amazing work for you to see, listen to, read and take part in as we draw closer to the new academic year.

ARRIVAL

Next week see the Arrival (and departure) of our MA Contemporary Performance Students. This year’s Arrival Festival will be primarily hosted online with new and experimental work conceived and created during lockdown. The festival is free to attend and runs online across two days, “expect an eclectic selection”! Find out more here

The festival will also host the first two recipients of the Liam Byrne Award.

The In Memory of Liam Byrne (Maker of Extraordinary Things) Award marks the extraordinary and ambitious work made by Liam Byrne who graduated from Salford with a first-class honours degree in contemporary performance, before sadly dying in an accident while working in China.

This year, Liam’s life and achievements are celebrated through the awarding of two commissions to make new pieces of performance to alumni of the MA in Contemporary Performance Practice, Jordan Linton and Josh Cannon.

“I am delighted that Liam’s wonderfully playful and exploratory approach to performance-making will be celebrated this year through the creation of brand new pieces of performance by our brilliant MA CPP alumni. Huge thanks to Liam’s parents and the New Adelphi team for making this possible” – Dr Jo Scott, Programme Leader MA Contemporary Performance Practice.

(Pictured, Liam Byrne)

I caught up with recipients Jordan and Josh about what the award means to them.

“It seems like a really beautiful tribute – I didn’t know Liam, but a fund being set up for new work in his memory is amazing. It’s what any of us would want in a situation like that, isn’t it? Material funds and opportunities for artists to create new work and support art as a community. So it was a no-brainer to apply! I’d been furloughed, but as a flex worker, my ‘80% of average monthly wage’ was sharply less than what I usually take home every month (!), and we weren’t certain about what/when going back would be, or how many hours there would be – so the fee from the Liam Byrne award has really helped bring at least a bit of security to my situation.

Writing your ideas down and then having them forced to change as you work through them/it becomes a completely online, you face the pressure of a deadline which has been tough, but I guess that’s why they call it work! I hadn’t made anything in a while – we were well into lockdown at this point and I was fully engrossed in that unique mixture of disorientation, boredom, fear and anger.

Not Working’ does feel like it’s in the same vein that I was working in when I was studying at Salford – taking this big concept (in this case, ‘work’) and trying to break it down and communicate our/my thoughts on it through feeling, and while acknowledging that it’s pretty difficult to wrap your head round. I like that the struggle to understand and ‘cba’ attitude that I’m aware of when it comes to these big ideas can be worked into the piece – it’s because those are the same feelings we all know well. About having to work rubbish jobs, being tired from work when we come home, the feelings we had during lockdown or whatever. I like highlighting these feelings that we share, and exploring what we can collectively understand when we establish that we have things in common.” – Jordan.

“Studying at Salford gave me the chance to start experimenting with online video, and how it can be used in the creation of live (in-person!) performance. Since leaving Salford I have gone on to start my Practice-as-Research PhD at Lancaster, where I’m really examining the relationship between online media, and live theatre. The Liam Byrne Award is a really fantastic opportunity for me to bring my work back to the place where it all started!

There’s no avoiding the difficulties facing theatres right now, but isolation has also been a perfect time for experimentation. The award has given us (me and Popbox – the theatre company) the chance to experiment with rehearsing remotely, and sharing our work with audiences in an entirely new way. It’s been an interesting project to work on and we cannot wait to share our work at Arrival Festival.” – Josh.

It’s so wonderful that we’ve been able to welcome MA graduates back for Arrival Fest, I always look forward to exploring the diverse work created by our Contemporary Performance cohort. Such a beautiful tribute to Liam. A R R I V A L  F E S T >> 3+4 September 2020…

#FRINGEONFRIDAYS

Missing Ed Fringe? I know I am (you can read all about that in the SalFUNNI special blog).

Well, my very talented and adorable friend, Drag Prince Alfie Ordinary, who brought his award-winning show ‘Help! I Think I Might Be Fabulous!’ to Salford back February is on this week’s Fringe on Friday (line-up subject to change). Previous line-ups include our mate Jayde Adams and alumni/SalFUNNI member Erika Ehler!

Tickets are just £9 and you can choose which artist or organisation you’d like your cash to go towards supporting! Find out more about Alfie’s work and adventure at #EdFringe2019 here.

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Bonjour ladies✋🏻

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A DRAG RACE SYMPOSIUM

We are ‘gagged’ to be supporting the upcoming Interdisciplinary Drag Symposium, hosted by the University of Salford and Manchester Metropolitan University’s School of Digital Arts (SODA). We can’t wait to hear the experts ‘spill the tea’ about pop culture sensation Ru Paul and the rising popularity of drag superstars.

Hosted by the University of Salford’s Dr Danny Cookney and SODA’s Dr Kirsty Fairclough with experts in the field from Knoxville, Chicago and Pasadena in the US and Croatia and Germany! Read more over on the UoS News Channel!

The event will take place online from 12-noon until 9.45pm on 25 September 2020. Tickets are free and will soon be available on our website (booking is essential). Find out more over on the Supermodels of the World: RuPaul’s Drag Race as International Phenomenon Facebook Page. (thank you to Venue Manager Mark ‘RPDR Encyclopedia’ Fox for the sassy copy!)

BLACK VOICES PODCAST

Film Production students from our MediaCityUK Campus have just released a Podcast exploring representation, diversity and inclusion in editing and post-production.

Hosted by students Nikki Timmerman and Charles Grimshaw, this must-listen discussion features guests: Kenny McClendon – Assistant Editor (Netflix, Los Angeles), Victoria Page – Assistant Editor (Los Angeles) and Beth Cooper – Edit Producer – (ITV, Manchester).

I had a brilliant email chat with the academic team over at MediaCity about the work the students are producing during lockdown and the importance of sharing our inclusive message far and wide.

“Current UoS Film Production students want to reach out to future classes to make sure everyone feels welcome here. Basically, we’re listening to our students’ brilliant feedback. University of Salford students highly value inclusivity. They care deeply about fairness. Our Film Production students have great taste, so they appreciate each others’ diverse stories, talents and backgrounds. Our students are what make us a great film school. This “Black Voices” episode came about because our students demand great things of themselves and their school.” – Revis Meeks, Lecturer in Film Production.

Listen (and watch) “Black Voices in Editing & Post Production” Podcast here.

Also, do have a look at the Salford Student’s Union’s latest statement. President Temi Adebayo and Science, Engineering and Environment Officer Adedapo Oni have been working alongside the university to recognise our systemic failures within the curricular, and to continually develop our anti-racism work here at Salford. Read more about the Student Union’s commitment to action and change here. Also, Temi and Ade’s inboxes are always open to students, so please don’t hesitate to reach out.

ONE DAY WE WILL DANCE WITH YOU

Since sharing the work in progress performance of Water is Attracted to Water at the New Adelphi last year, lecturer and performance maker Kate Adams has been collaborating with award-winning Greek film director Alkis Papastathopoulou, and musician and Salford alumni Tom Le Cocq to make short film One Day We Will Dance with You.

The film follows two women as they argue, imagine and create the Water Molecule Dance, a dance that can be shared across borders and communities to celebrate water, science and sustainability. The film shoot brought together twenty people of all different ages and backgrounds to learn the Water Molecule Dance and to perform and share food in a beautiful location next to a lake in an agricultural area of Thebes. I’ve been talking to the creatives about the project and I’m very much looking forward to experiencing this work.

One Day We Will Dance with You is a portrait of our struggle to celebrate water. This is not an easy time to imagine optimistic scenarios for the future but it is important that we continue to celebrate what we have and to gather together in person and online to recognise where we are as a society.” – Kate Adams, writer/performer.

“In the show and the film, the music responds to the science, the textures, the sounds of water, so it’s a musical celebration of water in a way. At the same time, I wanted to create songs that really work in their own right, that are really listenable. So I’ll be releasing an EP for the Water is Attracted to Water project later this year and I’m really excited about how that’s looking. We’ll let you have a teaser song soon.” – Tom Le Cocq, composer/performer, Salford Alumni (BA music)

One Day We Will Dance with You has been funded by EU H2020 funded research project WATERAGRI, a project to improve sustainable water use in agriculture.

Professor Miklas Scholz, WATERAGRI co-ordinator told us, “WATERAGRI aims to develop and improve sustainable solutions for the use of water in the agricultural industry to help us cope with some of the challenges of climate change. Collaboration between science, engineering and the arts is a good way to connect to different communities, especially young people, and to build a stronger sense of momentum.”

The film will be released later this year and the Water Molecule Dance will travel with it. Follow their journey on Instagram, it’s really beautiful. I listen to the sounds of rain to help me fall asleep at night, so soothing and hypnotic.

LISTEN: BIG DIAMOND

Speaking of sound… Since the closure of our theatre, I’ve had more time to reach out to staff to find out more about what our students have been up to this year. Director of Music and Dance Tim France has began introducing me to some incredible musicians who study at the New Adelphi and showcase their work in our theatre, amongst many other venues across the UK. Coordinating Front of House means that I rarely get a chance to watch any of our gigs and performances, so being able to discover new music (made by our students) on Spotify has been amazing. Last week I was e-introduced to alumnus Diamond Okpeahior AKA Big Diamond, who Tim told me was a “brilliant student and never out of the studios!”

Diamond a Nigerian/Spanish, UK-Based rapper, singer, songwriter, recording artist, producer and sound engineer recently graduated from BA Hons Creative Music Technology. He began his professional music career back in 2012 releasing his first mixtape, he then followed with numerous singles and a debut EP in 2018. His debut album ‘The Love Tape’ which dropped last month is available online. I reached out to Diamond to find out more.

“So, I started doing music at the age of 11. Though my parents did not have a background in music, they listen to a lot of it and that inspired me. I was born in Nigeria and grew up in Spain. I always liked American urban music and that what I listened to the most growing up. As I grew older, I expanded more into African music and Spanish music.

My time at University of Salford helped me a lot with my sound engineer career. I gained a lot of interest in this from age 15 and is something I always wanted to do. It expanded my knowledge which led to me improving massively on my skills.

The inspiration for the new album comes from all the different sounds I listen to, from Hip-Hop/Rap to Afrobeats, R&B and even reggaeton.

The album was mainly recorded, mixed and mastered at my home studio due to the pandemic. Couple tracks were recorded at the University facilities but ultimately finished at home.

The album also has a lot of collaborators. Artist from different backgrounds and countries (UK, Spain, Nigeria). Producers that the album features are Blaze-Z Xclusive, Kellyshyane, Blueking, The Iconics, Alystr Nash and SAIONTHEBEAT. Artist featured are Gha9ja, Altam Ace, Kellyshyane, BbyMonreall & Aaliyah Esprit.”

Join over 5000 monthly listeners on Spotify or listen on all other streaming services (full list here.) You can also follow him on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Music you just can’t help but move to!

THE STARTER KIT

“Want to join ‘the movement’ but not sure where to start? Join Contact Young Company to investigate the ins and outs of social movements, and the tools you need to re-imagine the future.”

Contact Young Company are working with artists Tammy Reynolds, Javaad Alipoor and Amy Vreeke (who you might have seen performing in our studio theatre back in 2018, as part of SICK! Festival, supported by Contact)

The team are creating a new piece of interactive, digital work “that is decidedly frisky!” Audience members will have the opportunity to create their own toolkit as they watch. More info coming soon… Follow Contact on social media (and join their mailing list) to keep up to date with all of the incredible work they do for and with young people! From experience, if you can work with them, do!

There’s so much to shout about, but I’ll have to stop there or this blog will become a novel!

Have a safe, glorious, loud and proud Manchester Pride at home!

Check out the Alternative Manchester Pride Parade – March for Peace, The Village Bakers bake-a-long brunch, Manchester Pride’s first Human Rights Forum, United We Stream’s party, Nathaniel J. Hall in conversation with Russell T. Davies and so much more! And on Monday, let us come together online for a moment of reflection for the Candlelit Vigil.

Until the next blog, take care of yourself and each other.

Ash and the New Adelphi Theatre Team

Scroll down to read blogs #1 to #8, latest news and Q&A’s.

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Header photo credit: Arrival Festival @macppsalford #PerformanceAtSalford #StayingInAtSalford