Colors: Red Color

As a continuing drive to raise awareness of mental health issues, today marks World Mental Health Day (WMHD), the annual campaign designed for people to open up a dialogue for sufferers.

Set up in 1992 by the World Federation for Mental Health, WMHD marks each year with a different theme and this year's is suicide prevention.

For this year’s (October 10) WMHD, organisers are asking people for just "40 seconds of action to raise awareness of the scale of suicide around the world and the role that each of us can play to help prevent it" with the Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry and world renowned, and respected, musical superstar, Ed Sheeran joining forces to produce a very special mental health video for the annual campaign designed to raise awareness of mental health issues.

According to the World Health Organisation, the day "provides an opportunity for stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide".

According to the WHO, more than 800,000 people die by suicide each year, and our "actions must be geared towards prevention".

Set up in 1992 by the World Federation for Mental Health, each year is marked with a different theme - this year's is suicide prevention.

President of the WFMH, Dr Alberto Trimboli, says that suicide prevention was chosen this year because it is the leading cause of death among people aged fifteen to 29.

He said: "It has increased gradually in all parts of the world and, in the past few decades, has reached alarming statistical levels.

"It is often believed that it is only adults who exhibit suicidal behaviours, but it should be made known that many children and young people engage in this kind of behaviour as a result of violence, sexual abuse, bullying and cyberbullying.

"Suicide is a global public health problem that deserves the attention of all the actors in the field of mental health."

The aim this year is to call on governments around the world to make tackling suicide a priority.

First year students on the UK’s first Birmingham-focused music industries degree course have been given an introduction to the city’s vibrant music landscape to mark the beginning of the three-year programme.

Birmingham City University’s BA Music Industries course leader Matt Grimes and Dr Iain Taylor, along with lecturer Dr Asya Draganova, delivered a three-hour walking tour of the city centre – famed for its metal, pop, bhangra and grime heritage – helping the new cohort to familiarise themselves with venues, studios, retailers, history and people across the Digbeth, Southside and Westside areas.

Along the route, students were introduced to music industry professionals from Tiger Bam Communications, The MJR Group, Brum Radio and Birmingham Music Coalition, who shared advice and insights on the city’s music industry ecosystem.

The walking tour began at UB40 and Ed Sheeran hotspot The Eagle & Tun, taking in Minerva Works; Digbrew; The Ruin, Digbeth; Blotto Studio; The Custard Factory; Mama Roux’s; Quantum; The Mill, Digbeth; The Wagon and Horses, The Old Crown; The Crossing, Digbeth; O2 Institute, The Electric Cinema, The Crown, John Bright Street, Town Hall Birmingham, Symphony Hall Birmingham and ending at the former site of famed New Romantic venue The Rum Runner.

Matt Grimes, Degree leader in Music Industries at Birmingham City, said, “We’re delighted to be delivering a bespoke degree course built around the strengths of the vibrant music industries in Birmingham, which support up to 6,000 jobs and help generate up to £230million worth of income to the area.”

“We wanted to kick it off with a practical exploration of the city’s live music landscape covering everything from famed backstreet punk and metal haunts to one of the world’s best concert halls. At Birmingham School of Media we have decades of experience in delivering Music Industries-based education and research. We’ve drawn upon this to develop a contemporary and focused course that both draws on and contributes to the city’s rich and uniquely varied music industries.

“Birmingham’s oft-overlooked music scene is currently seeing a boost through the influx of new promoters, venues, festivals, investment and interest, supported by organisations like Birmingham Music Coalition helping to connect and empower those working in the sector. We have ambitions to grow the course alongside the rapidly expanding talent in the city-region. We want our graduates to remain in the city and continue contributing to Birmingham’s music scenes. Developing meaningful and productive relationships with music industries in this city will continue to support that.”

Up to 20 young people from across the country have enrolled on the hyper focussed BA Music Industries course which promises to put students at the heart of music in the UK, with coursework designed to equip them with the skills, knowledge, and experience, not just to work in, but to shape the music industries.

Over the next three years, these students will be getting to grips with the industry locally, working with a host of local organisations such as those mentioned above, while also keeping an eye firmly on the national music industries, working closely in partnership with UK Music, who represent the interests of the UK’s music industries nationally. Birmingham City University is a member of the UK Music Music Academic Partnership network, and has appointed Mulika Sannie, Vice President of Business Affairs at Kobalt Music, to the programme’s industry advisory board.

Graduates from the music industries offering at Birmingham City University have gone on to take up roles at Kobalt MusicPRS for MusicResorts World Arena, Sony Music and Universal Music, as well as creating new programmes, curating new events and producing new music journalism and PR within and from the city itself.

Birmingham City University’s music output also includes composition, performance and research at the globally-acclaimed Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, music education teaching and research in the School of Education and Social Work, music technology and sound production at the School of Computing and Digital Technology, and the Popular Music Research Cluster at Birmingham School of Media.

After releasing his 17th album ‘I Wanna Thank Me’ earlier this year, rap superstar, Snoop Dogg, has announced details of his 2020 UK arena tour and his shows will see him joined by West Coast hip hop stars D12, Warren G, Tha Dogg Pound and Obie Trice – with Irish rap duo Versatile set to playing the opening sets at each of the concerts.

Snoop Dogg is one of the most successful rappers to emerge from the famed West Coast rap scene, which burst into life in the 90s and became one of the world’s most powerful cultural forces.

He released his Dr Dre-produced debut album Doggystyle in 1993, which shot straight to number one in the US charts and spawned some of his biggest hits to date, including Gin and Juice, as well as Who Am I? (What’s My Name?).

He recently  covered of Nick Cave’s ‘Red Right Hand’ in conjunction with the new season of BBC’s ‘Peaky Blinders’, which the song is the long-running theme tune of - which will go down well with an expected sell-out date at Birmingham Arena on April 16.

His other arena venues include: 3Arena in Dublin, the SSE Arena, Belfast,

Manchester Arena, Leeds’ First Direct Arena and the O2 in London.


Drawing on over 200 years of romantic pop history, the innovative theatre company Blood of the Young take on Jane Austen’s unrivalled literary classic. The highly acclaimed Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of) visits Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

Six young women have a story to tell. You might have seen them, emptying the chamber pots and sweeping ash from the grate; the overlooked and the undervalued making sure those above stairs find their happy ending. Of course, they’ve always been running the show after all ‘you can’t have a whirlwind romance without clean bedding’ - but tonight, the servants are also playing every part.

Men, money and microphones will be fought over in this loving all-female adaptation. Let the ruthless match-making begin.

Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of) is adapted by writer-performer Isobel McArthur (Cyrano de Bergerac, National Theatre of Scotland). Talking about the show, she says: “It’s simply for anyone who enjoys a great night out full of colour, music and laughter. I’d encourage anybody put off by the associated stuffiness or frilly corsetry of the Austen legacy to give this a go - and I’d tell those who love Austen not to worry because we do, too. This is a deeply affectionate re-telling of her brilliant, enduring story.”

The Lyceum’s Artistic Director, David Greig, said: “Blood of the Young are a brilliant young voice of Scottish Theatre, and their below-stairs take on Pride and Prejudice is a pitch-perfect blend of reverent homage and mischievous send up. I could not be more delighted to be working with them to bring this show to out to our partner theatres across the UK.”

This irreverent production is brought to life by director Paul Brotherston, designer Ana Inés Jabares-Pita (The Lovely Bones, Birmingham Repertory Theatre) and movement director EJ Boyle (The Crown, Netflix).

Playing multiple characters in this rip-roaring all-female adaptation, Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of) brings together an exceptional cast of six, including: Tori Burgess, Christina Gordon, Hannah Jarrett-Scott, Isobel McArthur and Meghan Tyler. They are joined by newcomer Felixe Forde making her professional debut.

Having first opened at Tron Theatre to an overwhelming audience response in Summer 2018, the production tours to UK venues over Autumn 2019 and Spring 2020.

Written by Isobel McArthur after Jane Austen and directed by Paul Brotherston, Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of) - a co-production with Bristol Old Vic, Leeds Playhouse, Northern Stage, Nuffield Southampton Theatres and Oxford Playhouse - is at Birmingham Repertory Theatre from 15 October – 2 November.

The Chineke! Chamber Ensemble, Europe’s first majority Black & Ethnic Minority orchestra, will be performing a programme of quintets by Coleridge-Taylor and Schubert, as they display the astonishing maturity and virtuosity of the young composers.

Having performed in Birmingham before their founder and double bass player Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE spoke about their forthcoming visit.

She said: "Birmingham was among the first places outside London to embrace what Chineke! is trying to achieve and to invite us to play in the city. With our mission of ‘championing change and celebrating diversity in classical music’ we feel particularly drawn to Birmingham, the population of which is on the verge of becoming majority non-white, and we are thrilled to be performing in this prestigious series of concerts at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire."

One of the pieces they’re playing is by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, a late 19th/early 20th century mixed-race composer who lived in London and achieved considerable success.

Premiered in 1893, Coleridge-Taylor's charismatic four-movement quintet was written at the age of eighteen. The influence of his favourite composer, Dvorak, as well as Schubert, is evident in the inventive, melodic lines and rich tone colour of this Post-Romantic piece, demonstrating a remarkable self-assurance for one so young.

This is complimented by Schubert's innovative Trout Quintet composed in 1819 when he was just 22 years' old. The fourth movement features variations on his earlier Lied, Die Forelle and is scored for piano, violin, viola, cello and double bass rather than the more usual piano and string quartet configuration.

Founded in 2015, Chineke!'s mission is to champion change and celebrate diversity in classical music.

Chi-chi says: “My aim is to create a space where BME musicians can walk on stage and know that they belong, in every sense of the word. If even one BME child feels that their colour is getting in the way of their musical ambitions, then I hope to inspire them, give them a platform, and show them that music, of whatever kind, is for all people”.

The ensemble made its debut in 2017 in Manchester followed by concerts at Wigmore Hall, Cheltenham and Ryedale festivals in 2018. It has since performed at the Tonbridge Music Club, Wimbledon International Festival, Cambridge Music Festival, St George's Bristol, The Africa Center in New York, The Stables in Wavendon and Petworth Festival.

They are giving an hour-long lunchtime concert at The Bradshaw Hall (Royal Birmingham Conservatoire) on Tuesday, October 8.

Musical virtuoso Jools Holland and his distinguished Rhythm & Blues Orchestra return to Symphony Hall Birmingham this November, with additional special guests including Pauline Black and Arthur ‘Gaps’ Hendrickson from the legendary ska band The Selecter - with support from Adam Double.

Being on the road with a band he’s known for a long time, he said: “One of the things for us is, there are a lot of us, so you're never alone.

There used to be that advert for a cigarette called Strand, and the advert was 'You're never alone with a Strand.' And it was such a disaster because everybody thought 'Well, I don't want to be alone.' So they went out of business.

But it's a bit like 'You're never alone with a big band because wherever you are, there's always...if you arrive in a town, I see Bammi, because like me he studies the horses, going into a bookmaker's on the high street. There'll be somebody else coming out, you'll see.

“It's like we're alien spores that have been dropped in whatever town it is, and I recognize us as I'm coming into the town”.

For people who go to see him often, there is always a new element in his special guests, for which he says: “This year, we're having somebody who's worked with us before, but they bring out this great element of us, which is Selecter. Specifically, it's Pauline Black, the singer, and 'Gaps' Hendrickson, who works with Pauline, and they're perfect for us because they represent the British take on ska music, the 2 Tone thing”.

On adapting the guests' big hits for a big band, he said: “I wouldn't want to force things into a big band style for things that weren't going to work, so sometimes you have to play things in a different way.

“Most things you can take back to the piano, because I suppose 70 per cent of songs — I'm making up figures, there, everybody does it these days — anyway, a lot of songs were written on the piano, or keyboard”.

‘Tinkling the ivories’ is the musical virtuoso’s greatest thrill – thanks to his Nan’s piano. “Yes, my nan's piano was really an essential thing because it was in her front room, as people had in the 1930s”, he recalled. “It was a gift to her by her mother Britannia in 1937 and I would hear them at Christmas, when I was very small, all singing songs.

“Everybody had their own song that they'd sing at the piano, and it was also a pianola, so you would pedal away and the piano roll would go round, with Fats Waller playing 'Red Sails In The Sunset' coming out of it.  It was great and I got to learn songs early on. I say jazz music, like Bessie Smith or Jelly Roll Morton, things like that.

“Furthermore, my uncle, who was a young teenager when I was small, would play boogie-woogie piano on it, and from that, that really got me going and fired up and made me learn by ear what he was doing, and I learn the blues from day one.

My dad got me an Alba record player, and we could have a good listen to whatever records were out at the time. I think I had a Glenn Miller one, which got worn out, but the first proper LP I had was 'For Once In My Life' by Stevie Wonder, I liked that, and I think I had 'Lady Madonna,' the single, by The Beatles, because I tried to learn the piano part on it”. 

“Since, I played with B.B. King and Van Morrison - discovering since that what he showed me, the left hand that he showed me, was the same left hand, because I met and talked to people about this that Ray Charles was shown by an old man in his village, that Ringo Starr, strangely, learned, that I think Mark Knopfler knows it as well. All these people, the first bit of piano they learned, and Dr. John, very strange, they were all drawn to this one little riff.

I've been very lucky, both either on record where we recorded with George Harrison, or written with Dr John, or Dionne Warwick covered a song that San Brown and I wrote. I can't believe it sometimes, all this stuff that's happened”.

As part of his UK Tour, Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra will be at Symphony Hall, in Birmingham, on 29th and 30th Nov 2019.

Ahead of their show tonight at Birmingham Hippodrome, the Phoenix spoke with the founder of Ballet Black Cassa Pancho MBE and Ebony Thomas Junior Artist with Ballet Black who trained at Elmhurst.

How important is Ballet Black in promoting ballet to a completely different audience?

CP: Ballet Black has been important to the ecology of ballet in the UK as we have helped to develop a more inclusive and diverse audience. Placing dancers of black and Asian descent on stage encourages a very different audience to the “typical” ballet audience – in most of our performances, you will see a multiracial crowd of all ages. As well as diversity, our use of choreographers and music from a wide range of disciplines and genres means that as well as ballet lovers, we draw an audience that are attracted to many different art forms.


Have you got an inspirational story to share of someone who you have met during your time with Ballet Black?

ET: I think the company is full of truly inspirational stories and to be honest mine is probably the least inspirational! Each person in Ballet Black has had to fight in their own way to get where they are today and I think that creates a hard working, determined and willing culture within the company. However with all due respect, I wouldn’t feel comfortable telling someone else’s story as it wouldn’t be mine to tell. What I will say though is I think the company itself is an inspirational story. Cassa started this company from scratch and it has now been going for 18 years. From the very beginnings of the company to where we are now, in what is a relatively short period of time, I think is an incredible achievement.


How does it feel to be a role model for young aspiring black and Asian dancers?

ET: Honestly, a bit strange! A couple years ago as a student I wouldn’t have even dreamt about answering a question like that ever, let alone 2 years into my career! I think the role myself and the whole company play is very important and a big responsibility, especially with what the company's goals are. If you look at the percentage of white to non-white dancers in ballet there’s a big imbalance. You could bring up many reasons for this, however where better place to start than the beginning. The percentage imbalance is there in local dance schools and also fee paying schools. So to try and even that out we need to engage those who may not have been inspired previously because they haven’t seen many people like themselves on stage. When you can’t relate to those you see, as a young person, you become less interested in whatever you’re watching. So when children of ethnicity come and watch our shows they will see there is a route for them and hopefully we can slowly inspire more and more to start dancing.


How did you originally get into dance and ballet?

ET: The story of how I got into ballet is quite ironic actually. When I was younger I was very sporty. I played rugby, football and little bit of cricket too. When I was 5 my mum suggested I should do ballet as it would help with my coordination, balance and agility for the sports I play. My answer? “No, ballet is for girls!". She wasn’t very impressed with that answer at all. A few months later I had to stay at a friends house after school as both my parents were working late and my grandparents, who would normally collect me after school, were also busy. It just so happens that on that day, my friend had a ballet class that I would have to go along to. This was a surprise as I didn’t know he danced! I went along however and quite enjoyed it, so I joined the local dance school run by a wonderful woman called Lousie Jefferson who I still keep in touch with. Eventually my friend gave up and I carried on. Your parents are always right because it did help me with my sports, which eventually gave way as I pursued a career in ballet.


What can people expect from The Suit?

CP: The Suit was choreographed for BB by Cathy Marston in 2018, and is inspired by the 1963 novel by South African author, Can Themba. It focuses on a seemingly happy relationship between a husband and wife in Sophiatown in Johannesburg, and the terrible devastation caused when an affair is discovered. It has moments of beauty and fun, but is also very moving and tragic – it’s definitely one to bring tissues to!

For more information and to book tickets check out

On Tuesday 8 October at 6.45pm, Mozart’s exciting opera Don Giovanni will enchant audiences in a live broadcast to 600 cinemas all over the UK, from Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands all the way down to Jersey. This wonderful fast-moving tragi-comedy about a master seducer features enchantingly complex characters, gripping drama and glorious melodies, from Don Giovanni’s exuberant ‘Champagne Aria’ to Don Ottavio’s tender expression of love ‘Dalla sua pace’. For a Sunday afternoon treat, there will also be an encore performance on 13 October at 2pm.

The anti-hero Don Giovanni is sung by Royal Opera favourite Erwin Schrott. The cast also features Roberto Tagliavini as Leporello, Malin Byström as Donna Anna, Daniel Behle as Don Ottavio, Christine Rice as Donna Elvira, Louise Alder as Zerlina, Leon Košavić as Masetto and Peter Magoulas as the Commendatore. Hartmut Haenchen conducts.

The Royal Opera House cinema broadcasts offer audiences the best seat in the house, and exclusive behind-the-scenes footage and interviews. Audience members are never far from a performance at the Royal Opera House, with most people in the UK based within 30 miles of a cinema screening. As well as being shown in the UK, Don Giovanni will be broadcast to over 1,000 international cinemas in 53 countries around the world.

Don Giovanni will be broadcast live on Tuesday 8 October at 6.45pm with an encore performance on Sunday 13 October at 2pm. The opera lasts three hours and 30 minutes, including one interval and will be sung in Italian with English surtitles.

The next live cinema relay will be The Royal Opera’s Don Pasquale on Thursday 24 October.

Following two sell-out runs in London, and a world tour, the acclaimed ‘Barber Shop Chronicles’ will be at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

Written by Nigerian-born poet and playwright Inua Ellams, ‘Barber Shop Chronicles’ is a heart-warming, hilarious and insightful play that journeys from a barber shop in Peckham to Johannesburg, Harare, Kampala, Lagos and Accra over the course of a single day.

The barber shops are places where the banter can be barbed and the truth is always telling.

For generations, African men have gathered in barber shops to discuss the world – they are the local newsroom, political platform, hot-spot, confession box, preacher-pulpit, and football stadium.

Writer, Inua Ellams, said: “Years ago I learnt of a charity that was trying to train barbers in the very basics of counselling, and I never realised how intimate the conversations could get between barbers and clients.

“Initially I wanted to create poems but after six weeks research visiting barber shops across South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana and London the ideas of poems turned to conversations to scenes, to settings, to drama, to politics, to history. It struck me that on some level people believed there were sacred elements to barber shops.”

The resulting play gives a sharp insight and celebration of a cultural space rarely explored. The characters in the play are sages, role models and father figures; they are the glue that keeps men together.

With an ensemble of 12, ‘Barber Shop Chronicles’ is an exploration of Black masculinity set in six cities across two continents. Exhilarating and joyous, this ringside view of conversations both personal and political bursts with song, wit and soul searching.

“We are hugely proud of this joyful and soulful production of Inua’s important and life-affirming play,” said Kate McGrath, Director of Fuel who are the producers of the show. “We are particularly excited, given Fuel’s deep and longstanding dedication to national touring, to be working in partnership with Birmingham Repertory Theatre to bring the show to audiences in the West Midlands.”

The REP and Fuel recently co-produced the premiere of Inua Ellams’ latest play, ‘The Half God of Rainfall’.

‘Barber Shop Chronicles’, a Fuel, National Theatre and Leeds Playhouse co-production plays Birmingham Repertory Theatre from 26 – 28 September.

Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight, Birmingham-born actor Adil Ray and Coventry’s Debbie Isitt, who created the Nativity film franchise, will be part of a new taskforce to supercharge the West Midlands’ screen industry, it was confirmed today.

The trio will join other talented and well-known individuals from the region’s TV, film and games industries on the taskforce.

The members will now be tasked with getting the new screen industry body up and running ahead of its official launch in October.

This includes creating a name and branding that will attract people from across the globe to come and create content in the West Midlands.

The body’s members will also be working on developing a strategy to revolutionise the current screen industry, helping to drive investment, growth and thousands of new jobs.

It will be chaired by international industry heavyweight Ed Shedd and serve as a single point of contact for national and international film, TV and game makers.

Ed said: “I am absolutely thrilled with the response we have had for inaugural members, with nearly 50 screen professionals applying.

“It was a challenge to select the initial group from such a wealth of talent. However, I am pleased that the group we are announcing presents a really interesting mix of sectors, backgrounds and experience. I am hugely looking forward to working with them all in the months and years ahead.”

Cllr Ian Brookfield, who is also leader of City of Wolverhampton Council, added: “As part of our Local Industrial Strategy we plan to see 29,000 new, high skilled jobs in the digital and creative industries by 2030.

“By having the screen industry itself leading the way through this new body, we believe we can achieve this and capitalise on the rapidly expanding creative sector to boost our wider economy and future prosperity.”

There are four key aims of the new body, including:

• Develop a single delivery plan and help turn strategy into action • Secure and deliver both public and private funds • Commission a variety programmes of activity • Both lobby and promote the West Midlands screen industry

Rebel Music, the latest play from Birmingham born award-winning playwright and screenwriter Robin French, receives its world première at Birmingham Repertory Theatre in September. Inspired by the Rock Against Racism movement of the 70s and a celebration of the diverse musical legacy of the Midlands, the production will run from Thursday 19 September to Saturday 5 October and will also tour to 15 local venues.

Rebel Music is set in the sweltering hot summer of 1976, when the country is in economic turmoil and the far right is on the march. Rock Against Racism puts white punk bands and black reggae bands on the same bill – determined to win the culture war and defeat the National Front.

Three teenage music fans, Denise, Trudi and Andrew, join the fight for the soul of working class Britain. The trio navigate racial politics and social upheaval in Birmingham alongside their own turbulent teenage years, but can their friendship survive? Commissioned by Birmingham Repertory Theatre and presented in association with award-winning gig theatre specialists, Middle Child, this raucous story of people power features a soundrack of Punk, Reggae and 2Tone.

Playing the roles of Denise, Trudi and Andrew are Lauren Foster, Hannah Millward and Nathan Queeley-Dennisrespectively.

Award-winning playwright and screenwriter, Robin French, said: “As well as a playwright, I’ve always been a musician. I was born just up the road at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, to a Barbadian mother and an English father, during the Winter of Discontent. This play is about music and race in Birmingham, set just as I was taking my first breath.

As a teenager, I was obsessed with bands - the North-West was celebrated for its music, producing The Smiths, Joy Division and The Stone Roses. But what about the Midlands? I wanted to write something celebrating the wealth of music we produced in the late-Seventies - The Specials, Steel Pulse, The Beat, Dexys, The Selecter, UB40. I already loved how multi-cultural that musical legacy was.

Researching the play, alongside my friend Alex who directs the show, things became even more interesting. Britain in the late-Seventies was riven with racial tension. Eric Clapton’s infamous racist rant - which started the whole Rock Against Racism movement, happened right here at the Birmingham Odeon.

Writing this play, I’ve had the opportunity to interview many fascinating Brummies who lived through the period. I’ve been able to rewrite lyrics to some of my favourite songs, and even play some bass and piano in rehearsals. Most of all, I’ve been reminded not to be too cynical - in some places, sometimes, music actually does have the potential to change the world.”

Rebel Music is directed and co-created by JMK Award-winner Alex Brown, who adds: “Rebel Music is about teenagers in 1979 who wanted to break down barriers and unite people through music and culture, and who weren't afraid to fight back against intolerance, hatred and racism. Today in 2019, racism is on the rise once more in the UK and around the world. We live in complex and divided times, but one thing that hasn't changed is the positive power of music and how it can bring people together. Rebel Music will celebrate the cultural pioneers who used punk, reggae and 2tone to try and get everybody dancing to the same beat.”

Robin French’s first play, Bear Hug, won the Royal Court Young Writer's Festival and was produced at the Royal Court, where it earned an extended run. Subsequent productions include Gilbert is Dead, The Red Helicopter, Heather Gardner, The Get Out, Musical Differences, and Crooked Dances.

Robin’s short film Crocodile won awards at Cannes, Encounters, and Guanajuato festival in Mexico, and was BIFA nominated for Best British short. Alongside his friend Kieron Quirke, Robin also co-created and wrote five series of the hit BBC sitcom Cuckoo, starring Greg Davies, Andy Samberg, Taylor Lautner and Andi MacDowell. Cuckoo was BBC3's biggest rating comedy launch and garnered nominations both at BAFTA and the British Comedy Awards.

Robin is currently developing new drama projects for television. When not writing, he enjoys songwriting and singing with his indie/samba band Sugarcane.

Alex Brown, a winner of the JMK Award, has previously directed The Island; The Chronicles of Kalki; The Captains of the Sands and Through Paths of Thunder; The Red Helicopter and Stoopid Fucken Animals. Assistant / Associate Director credits include The River by Jez Butterworth directed by Ian Rickson and Great Britain by Richard Bean directed by Nick Hynter.

He is currently commissioning an anthology of short plays about the climate emergency, which he will direct with the Almeida Young Company in 2020.

Rebel Music has musical direction and sound design by James Frewer; movement by Lucy Wild; lighting by Alex Boucher and dramaturgy by Paul Smith. Musical arrangements are by Robin French, James Frewer and Alex Brown. Assistant Director is Beth Kapila.

The tour of Rebel Music has been supported by the Sir Barry Jackson Trust.

More than 50 fans from across the globe turned up at a West Bromwich hospital to watch the unveiling of a tribute to rock star Phil Lynott in the form of an emerald green plaque.

The Thin Lizzy singer was honoured at Sandwell Hospital, formerly known as Hallam Hospital, with H, lead singer of cover band Dizzy Lizzy doing the honours.

The plaque inscribed with the words ‘The boy is back in town. Phil Lynott 1949-1986. Musician, Poet, Songwriter. Born here Hallam Hospital’ will be fitted at the entrance to the Antenatal Clinic.

Sadly his mother Philomena, who was delighted to learn that the hospital intended to honour him, died in June this year. Money for the plaque has been raised by the local community and singer H, along with writer Sean Meaney who spearheaded the campaign.

Phil’s daughters, Sarah and Cathleen said ahead of the ceremony: “It is particularly poignant timing that his place of birth is being honoured in what would have been his 70th birthday year. “There was obviously something in the water at that time as Robert Plant was born on the same day in the same town a year earlier. We are really proud of all our dad achieved and are so grateful for this recognition and to everyone who keeps his memory alive.”

Fans from Japan, Sweden, Scotland and Spain came to see the unveiling along with Trust staff and others who cheered when the tribute was unveiled.

Helen Hurst, Director of Midwifery from Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust which runs Sandwell Hospital, said: “It is very fitting that a plaque to honour Phil Lynott is here at his birth place.

He was extremely talented and we are proud to be associated with Phil, who made a huge difference to the lives of so many through his music. It is fantastic to know that Sandwell Hospital was the place of birth to one of the most iconic singers from the 70s and 80s.”

Phil, who died aged 36, lived in Smethwick for a short time with his mother Philomena before she moved to Manchester. She finally returned with him to her native Ireland, where he spent the rest of his upbringing before he went on to form Thin LizzySean, who was also at the event, added: “We lost Phil far too soon and it is sad that his mother wasn’t able to see this day.

“Despite her failing health, the devoted 88-year-old had told friends it was her dream to travel back to West Bromwich one final time to see her late rock star son honoured in the place of his birth. She was very emotional and felt that life had now come full circle.

“She sadly passed away just 10 weeks before the ceremony was due to take place. It has left us all shocked and tinged with sadness.”


A one-of-a-kind institute for popular music in the Black Country offering degrees for students seeking a career in a range of music industries will be opening its doors next year.

Resonance will have some of the best minds in music, teaching students everything from popular music performance, production, composition and business.

Based in the stunning Cable Plaza building on The Waterfront at Brierley Hill, Resonance will be offering a suite of courses under a franchise arrangement from Solent University in Southampton with courses uploaded to UCAS this summer.

The £9.5 million project will also create a vital community music hub. Musicians and organisations from across the region will be encouraged to make full use of the state-of-the-art facilities on offer. 

Resonance co-director, David Barnard, said “We’re absolutely delighted to finally be in a position where we can confidently say ‘it’s coming’. 

“Contractors have been on site for some weeks nowand we should be ready to move in at the end of 2019. That’s when the fun really starts.”

From 2020, Resonance will provide undergraduate degrees in Popular Music Performance, Production, Digital Music and Music Business. Also, in the pipeline is a degree in Education and Wellbeing, due in 2021. 

By the third year and following the graduation of its first cohort, Resonance is hoping to offer an MA coursein Contemporary Music Performance.

All courses delivered at Resonance will be led by industry professionals and will focus on developing a broad range of skills needed by the sector. 

“The priority is to immerse students into a real-world environment working on project briefs designed in partnership with industry colleagues,” David explained. 

“People say the music ‘industry’, but really it’s music ‘industries’ as there are so many avenues and opportunities for students to explore.

“For every star on stage, there’s an army of people behind-the-scenes, be they session musicians, songwriters, producers, sound engineers, stage managers, PR agents and more.

“Our programme will blend musical, technical and practical skills with personal and professional development, entrepreneurship and enterprise. Our objective is to create ‘work ready’ graduates, who are not frightened to explore new ideas and have a go. The Resonance Professional Diploma, running alongside our degree courses, will provide an enriching experience developing the essential ‘soft’ skills needed for an ever-changing global industry.”

Places at Resonance will be limited with applicants needing to attain between 96 and 112 UCAS points before an audition. Applications are expected to be open from next month (September).

Paul Rutter, Head of Music at Solent University, and published music industry author said: "I have travelled the world to see various different musical institutions and conservatoires and the Resonance project is highly impressive. I have not seen anything quite like it.”

"In the Cable Plaza building they have what must be the world's best purposed modern popular music institute. The building and space dedicated to pop music study is exemplary, I doubt there is many out there that could compete. I'm sure it will be a huge success for the West Midlands pop music industries."

The multi-million-pound project for the institute is backed by Councillor Ian Kettle, cabinet member for Regeneration and Enterprise at Dudley Council who is pleased that the project is now underway.

He said: “Not only will Resonance solidify Dudley borough’s place on the map nationally, it will also bring hundreds of students to the area, resulting in a massive boost for the local and regional economy as a whole.”

“The building that is being refurbished for the institute is based in the heart of DY5, Dudley’s Business and Innovation Enterprise Zone, and its exciting new life will serve as a space to educate and stimulate creative minds for many years to come.”

The project is being supported by funding from the Black Country LEP which has approved a grant for £7.16million and financial support from Unity Trust Bank, and Arts Impact Fund.  

Following the launch of the new London musical, Evita, showing at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre until 21 September, the Buenos Aires tourism board ( outlines the best Evita themed experiences in the Argentina capital, 100 years since her birth in 1919.

Eva Perón was born in 1919 in the rural village of Los Toldos, Argentina. After moving to Buenos Aires in the 1930s, she had some success as an actress before marrying in Juan Perón in 1945, who became president of Argentina the following year. Eva Perón used her influential position as first lady to fight for women's suffrage and improve the lives of the poor and became an iconic figure around the world.

Visitors to Buenos Aires can discover Evita’s adopted city with several activities and events that celebrate and reflect on her legacy.

For those looking for a self-guided itinerary, Travel Buenos Aires provides a suggested walking tour following in the footsteps of Evita. The itinerary begins at the Grand Station where a young Evita began her journey in Buenos Aires before continuing to the former Central Buenos Aires Post Office, home of the reconstructed Sala Eva Perón which in 1946 served as the office of the then First Lady. The tour continues to the historic city square where Evita famously addressed the crowds from the balcony of the Casa Rosada, and the Facultad de Ingeniería where her body was kept on display for two years after her death, before visiting final resting place, Recoleta Cemetery and the Evita museum (Museo Evita).

On the 20th September Museo Evita launches a new temporary exhibition named Retratos de Familia. The exhibition displays numerous of the surviving portraits after La Revolución Libertadora of Eva Perón crafted by the renowned portraitist of the Duarte family, Numa Ayrinhac. Those visiting the exhibition can also enjoy the permanent display focused around the life of Evita. The exhibition takes visitors through the life of Evita chronologically from her childhood to the disease that led to her unexpected death.

Many visitors to Buenos Aires pay a visit to the grave of Eva Perón. The great figure is interred at the world famous Recoleta Cemetery known as the world’s greatest cemetery for its wonderous graves that are built above ground more akin to pieces of art than graves.

For a more in-depth guided experience, the Eva Perón Tour, is a half day bus and walking tour in Buenos Aires themed around the First lady of Argentina. The tour allows participants to learn about the heritage, culture and politics of Argentina through the legacy of Eva Perón. The tour also includes a visit to the Recoleta Cemetery.


A Birmingham City University graduate has won a top television tech award for his research into artificial intelligence for TV programmes, helping to underline the rise in broadcast talent from the UK Midlands.

Lawrence Card, who recently completed his second year of the University’s broadcast engineering trainee scheme delivered in partnership with the BBC, has been awarded the prestigious Royal Television Society Technologist of the Year Award.

He graduated last month with a distinction in MSc Broadcast Engineering.

As part of his studies, Lawrence investigated how production teams who require live video monitoring can benefit from artificial intelligence and machine learning for object detection, classification and scene understanding of video, which impressed a panel of industry expert judges.

Speaking about the award, Card said: “When I first joined the BBC a few years ago, I saw a colleague win the award, which inspired me to want to apply myself one day.”

“I had to demonstrate achievements in my career so far and gain the endorsement of a sponsor in the first stage, before being quizzed by a panel of industry experts who delved deeper into my experience so far.”

“I’ve begun a new role as a software engineer in data solutions with the BBC where I will help build software to support news and crunch data to continually improve the BBC’s news output.”

“I’m really excited to receive the award in November. It’s actually just a few days before my birthday so great timing!”

“Being recognised in this way helps me show myself off and gives me assurance that I am going in the right direction. In terms of the future, I’m always open to being dynamic and moving with the times. Following my project as part of the University course, I’m interested to explore using artificial intelligence to improve broadcast workflows.”

Card joins a number of Birmingham City University and BBC apprentices and trainees to win the award in recent years, and complements the recent news that 2016 graduate Jade Jenkins recently worked on camerawork for Season 12 of Doctor Who following selection success in the Screen Skills film trainee initiative.

Alongside her were two graduates from 2018 – Luke Brickley who is now a trainee in the BBC Production Sound department, and Liam Morgan whose impressive CV of paid freelance work also won him a trainee position in in the BBC Camera department.

The scheme runs for 12 months, during which time trainees undertake paid work on a range of high-end feature productions as well as receiving help and advice from an industry mentor.

The other sector of the scheme places Birmingham City University trainees within high-end TV productions across the UK; 2017 graduate Serena Patel recently secured a place and began working in the Production department at Wall To Wall; a leading producer of award-winning drama, factual and entertainment content.

Most recently, Birmingham City University 2019 graduate Tayyib Mahmood successfully applied to the British Film Institute’s Future Skills placement programme and is now working at Pinewood Studios on the hotly-anticipated James Bond film, with a release date anticipated soon.

Simon Handley, Associate Dean for Academic Portfolio and Market Development at Birmingham City University’s Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment, said, “We currently offer postgraduate and undergraduate apprenticeship schemes for the broadcasting which incorporate and embrace the constant change and innovative technology that we know drives the industry.”

“This initiative was developed in partnership with and for the BBC - since 2013 we have been at the heart of education in this area with over 140 BBC Broadcast engineers and technologists. Ongoing discussions are taking place with other broadcasting organisations who are seeking to benefit from CEBE’s education and apprenticeship offering.”


The upcoming Bollywood film Pune to Goa which marks the debut of the director Amol Bhagat is produced by Morya Production House and is a nice cocktail of several genres like Comedy, Suspense, & Thriller.

In this film, a journey song has been sung by the popular singer Javed Ali and the music is given by P.Shankaram. The makers of the film comprise of Prahlad Rambhau Taware, Ravindra Harpale, and Jeetubhai.D.Soni, whereas, the co- makers are Nava Nisarg Production( Kishore Kharat), Navnath Jachak, Vithhul Ghuge and Maruti Manvar.

Actually, this film is based on a trip of struggling artists who embark on a journey from Pune to Goa, but story sheds light on the several exciting experiences, mysterious events, and dangerous situations that they encounter during the trip.

In this film, the audience will get to see a nice mix of suspense and romance. Stating further about the film, director Amol Bhagat stated that the viewers will surely like the film. The shooting of the film will begin soon in Goa and the movie will also be subsequently be released in 43 different countries.

The screenplay & dialogues of the movie has been written by Rajan Agarwal and the auditions of the movie have been conducted by Delhi, Haryana, & Uttar Pradesh, along with other states in which various artists had taken part and only some of them have been selected.

The list of the fresh new artists includes names like Shruti Parashar, Kritarth Singh, Amit Kumar, Satnam Singh, Vineeth Kumar Yadav, Shashank Shekhar, Yachna Saukhi, Shwetansh Gaur, Anil Rajput, Pradip Sharma, and Kirath Mandal.