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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2007 5:39 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
"As the mother of a brown boy..."
Chickenshed
Edinburgh Festival 7th July 2007


by Stuart Sweeney



Before reviewing “As the mother of a brown boy...”, by integrated company, Chickenshed, I must declare that I am a Friend of the company and recently chaired a panel discussion inspired by this production in their home theatre in London. Nevertheless, I am not writing as a Friend when I say that this is an excellent example of dance/music theatre that combines strong theatrical craft with heartfelt emotion. Two years ago, many were impressed by “Globaleyes”, their take on a range of world issues, but in addressing another serious, topical theme, the sharper focus of the new work makes for an even more intense theatrical presentation.

The story tells of the tragic death of Nisha Niering, a 19-year old mixed race youth, once a member of Chickenshed, who was accidentally killed by police as he sped away from a robbery. The dance, created by the cast and pulled together by Director, Christine Nearing, contrasts high octane street moves with beautiful, sad sections and a deeply-felt duet for the boy reunited with his Father, in the year before his death. Hollow, white blocks are stacked, thrown, danced around and through to help ensure that our attention never wavers. Together with strong tunes by David Carey and imaginative designs with innovative video projection by Gordon Hollick, the show is a roller coaster ride for the senses.

Above all the sincerity of the cast shines out and joint Director, Joseph Morton, has nurtured fine performances from all the company, climaxing in an emotionally charged ending with a power we rarely see on the UK stage. Some have criticised the perspective as one-sided, but for me it is valid to give the Mother's account, as the title suggests, and accept or question aspects of her view. In this role, Belinda McQuirk is on stage for most of the 1-hour length, and is the glue holding the production together, ranging from loving elation at her beautiful boy, to despair and finally determination to treasure her 19 years of memories of her son. As Nisha, Loren Jacobs, moves with panther-like grace, ably supported by Gavin May and Robin Shillinglaw as fellow crew members and Natsai Gurupira extracts much sensuality from her big number, “Brown skin”. It won't be easy to follow the success of this show, but I look forward eagerly to Chickenshed's future offerings.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 10:55 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Chickenshed features on BBC R4's "You and Yours", highlighting their work with socially excluded young people, based around "As the mother of a brown boy..."

You and Yours – BBC Radio 4, 26 July 2007
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/youandyours ... _thu.shtml


Last edited by Stuart Sweeney on Mon Aug 20, 2007 11:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 11:00 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Chickenshed's "As the mother of a brown boy..." is receiving some fine reviews from the Edinburgh Festival:

Kelly Apter - The Scotsman, 9 August
http://living.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=1247512007

Tom Tabori – The List, 9 August
http://www.list.co.uk/article/3679-as-t ... -brown-boy

Duska Radosavljevic – The Stage, 9 August
http://www.thestage.co.uk/edinburgh/rev ... -brown-boy

Imogen Thomas – Edinburgh Festivals Magazine, August
http://www.edfestmag.co.uk/content/view/131/47


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 2:05 am 
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Great news from Edinburgh! Chickenshed's "As the mother of a brown boy..." has been short-listed for two, yes TWO, awards. Given that this UK company is competing with many fine companies from around the world, it's a real achievement.

Image

The first award is the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award with full details here:

http://www.amnesty.org.uk/news_details.asp?NewsID=17433

and also on the Festival website:

http://www.edfringe.com/area.html?r_menu=global&id=31

Image

The second is for the Total Theatre Award for Best Original Work by a Collective/Ensemble:

http://www.edfringe.com/story.html?id=2037&area_id=53

The winners for both competitions will be announced on Thursday, 23rd August.

Congratulations to all the Chickenshed team and very best wishes for the final stages of both competitions. Watch this space for the results soon after they are announced.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2007 5:06 am 
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The Total Theatre Awards are announced and congrats to all the winners:

http://www.edfringe.com/story.html?id=2064&area_id=31

Similarly the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award, which went to "The container", a fine play about illegal immigration.

Chickenshed were shortlisted for both these awards which shows they were there or thereabouts with their excellent "As the mother of a brown boy..." The team told me they were very moved by the AI presentation with the lead judge praising the standard of all the works and highlighting human rights problems around the world.

The strong reviews for Chickenshed continue to flow in:

Lucy Ribchester – The British Theatre Guide, August
http://www.britishtheatreguide.info/oth ... 7-16.htm#A

Shona Craven – Onstage Scotland
http://www.onstagescotland.co.uk/asthem ... ownboy.htm

Edinburgh Showcase TV
http://www.showcasefringe.tv/articles/17.php


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 7:17 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
"Asthe mother of a Brown Boy..." is showing on Sky TV. Here are the details from Chickenshed:

We have a new partnership with Sky Arts which means that two Chickenshed productions will be filmed and broadcast on Sky Arts throughout the year. We are delighted that the relationship with Sky has matured in this way.

The first production to be broadcast is our critically acclaimed new piece, "as the mother of a brown boy...", which will be aired on Sky Arts in August, September and October. We are delighted that leading human rights law firm Bindman & Partners have sponsored this production. Please do tune in and support us by watching the show. Dates remaining are:

Tuesday 23rd October at 23.55

Thursday 25th October at 8.00

Saturday 27th October at 16.20

Monday 29th October at 10.55

We are currently producing DVDs of "as the mother of a brown boy..." as seen on Sky Arts. To pre-order your copy, please email bookings@chickenshed.org.uk


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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2008 4:11 am 
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"as the mother of a brown boy..." on tour

Due to the phenomenal success of "as the mother of a brown boy..." at last year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the production is now going on tour to select venues in the UK.

After two performances at their own thetre in N. London, Chickenshed are off to Exter for the opening night of their tour:

Exeter Northcott, Exeter - Saturday 10th May, 8pm
Box Office: 01392 493 493 or http://www.exeternorthcott.co.uk

The Hawth Studio, Crawley - Thursday 15th May, 7.45pm
Box Office: 01293 553 636 or http://www.hawth.co.uk

The Met, Bury - Wednesday 21st May, 7.30pm
Box Office: 0161 761 2216 or http://www.themet.biz

Toynbee Studios, London - Thursday 5th and Friday 6th of June, 7.30pm
Captioned and audio described performance on Friday 6th June.
Box Office: 020 7650 2350 or click here to buy tickets on online
The Thursday evening performance is a Fundraising Benefit for INQUEST - the charity that supports the families of those who die in custody.

Weston Studio, Wales Millenium Centre, Cardiff - Friday 20th June, 8pm
Box Office: 08700 40 2000 or go to www.wmc.org.uk

To book tickets, please contact the venues directly.

More details here: http://www.chickenshed.org.uk/whats_on/performance/373


Last edited by Stuart Sweeney on Sat May 10, 2008 4:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2008 4:15 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
I'm off to Exeter, in England's West Country, to see the show in the famous Northcott Theatre, which will be the largest venue so far for "atmoabb..."

With some new leads, I'm sure we can expect different interpretations and theatrical effect. Can't wait....

If you see the show, please let us know what you think.


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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2008 8:23 am 
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Audience comments for "As the mother of a brown boy..." from Exeter's Northcott Theatre

Maggie and Julia: Absolutely incredible: the real life situation, the wonderful choreography - tremendous!

Karen and Brad: Fantastic! It managed to be entertaining as well as very powerful. There were mant elements to the production, but they all fitted together well. Breathtaking.

Anne and Celia: The content was interesting and I appreciated the form, the style, the imagery, the use of physical theatre and clear movement and the professionalism of the players. I'm Head of Drama at a school in Lyme Regis and it's one of the best things I've seen.

Heather: Amazing - it had me laughing one moment and crying the next. I liked the documentary approach and it gave me a lot to think about concerning the problems faced by mixed race young men growing up. The movement was beautiful and I loved the the end where the ghost of the boy wrapped himself around his Mother.

Sara: My reaction was mixed: a fantastic topic, made more moving because it was real. Aslo I loved the boxes and the way they were used. On the other hand, I thought the text was under-worked and the whole story was too much "on a plate". The movement was certainly vibrant, but some performers seemed a bit stiff.

Alison: It's a good story, but there was a lot of information to absorb and it was hard listening to all the text. The lighting was sometimes too bright when they shone the lamps at us. I enjoyed the dancing and overall the show kept my attention.

Femi, aged 9: I thought it was really good and emotional. The best bits were the singing and the pictures of Misha as a baby.


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