Find out about one way we find great new acts for Bell Square, at the FIra Tarrega.
I believe passionately in the power of outdoor arts to bring communities together and to get people talking. As we head into the autumn and winter season at Bell Square, there are opportunities to see shows about things that affect us all - things like our mental health and the environment - and there are also opportunities to just get together and have a good time!
Carmen Funebre is known as one of the most legendary pieces of outdoor arts ever made. It is a show about the impact of war on civilians as the former Yugoslavia broke up in the 1990s. It is a mighty piece of theatre, uncompromising and searing in its impact. The show is 26 years old, has toured the world, and returns to London for the first time in 10 years.
Teatr Biuro Podróży
Teatr Biuro Podróży is a famed Polish outdoor theatre company set up by Paweł Szkotak with a group of young and passionate actors in Poznan in 1988. Since then, they have created 15 different theatre productions, and performed over a thousand times for audiences in 50 different countries.
They have always been determined to make theatre in a different way to accepted traditions, and to make that theatre for people who don’t normally go to well-known theatre institutions. They care about people and the stories of their lives. Teatr Biuro Podróży’s shows are social, political and powerful.
The company emerged onto the scene as civil resistance in Poland demonstrated the people’s demand for change and led to the end of communist rule in the summer of 1989. The new company came up with the name Biuro Podróży, which means Travel Agency in Polish. In a country behind the Iron Curtain, very few people were able to obtain passports. As the rest could travel only in their imagination, the ironically-named Teatr Biuro Podróży offered an ‘escape’ through theatre.
Carmen Funebre, or Funeral Song, is the group’s most famous piece, and was made in 1993-94. As the Balkans Wars raged, just south of Poland, and the former Yugoslavia broke up, 4 million people were displaced in the 10 years from 1991-2001.
The show specifically explores the impact on civilians and focuses on the story of refugees and migrants caught up in the spiral of war. It is based on interviews with victims of the wars.
Directed by its founder, Paweł Szkotak, the show uses physical theatre, overwhelming music, the highly visual effects of fire, and tyrants towering on stilts, to tell the story of people trapped in the turmoil of war.
This seminal theatre production continues to tour the world today. In the context of recent carnage and cleansing in the Middle East, the show is as relevant now as it was 26 years ago. It can be seen just as much as a comment on the fate of refugees caught up in the mass exodus to Europe, looking for a safer place, as it was on the Balkans in the 1990s.
Teatr Biuro Podróży present Carmen Funebre at Bell Square on Saturday 31 August at 8.00 pm. The show lasts 50 minutes. Age guidance 14+
You can follow Teatr Biuro Podróży on Facebook @ Teatr-Biuro-Podróży
And on Instagram @teatr_biuro_podrozy
Our show this Saturday is Bolero. It’s performed by a fabulous Spanish dance duo led by Jesus Rubio Gamo. The music is from the French composer Ravel’s famous Bolero – which most people will probably recognise. But what is a bolero – and why is it so famous?
Ofir Yudilevitch is one of the rising stars in Israel’s dance scene. As a freelance dancer, he has toured the world with leading companies and has recently started to turn his focus to choreography. His first major dance piece is Gravitas which comes to Bell Square on Saturday 3 August.
Zum Zum Teatre are one of Spain’s leading theatre companies and, after 25 years, have just made their first outdoor show. Hippos comes to Hounslow on 20 July. Three dancing blue hippos will be at Bell Square. Yes, that’s right. Three. Dancing. Blue. Hippos. So I talked to Zum Zum about their work and their experience of making an outdoor show for the first time.
Joli Vyann have been in rehearsal at Watermans where they’ve been rehearsing the outdoor version of their new show Anima, which will be at Bell Square on Saturday 6 July. In this 5-minute video they tell us how they met, what’s special about the dance style they’ve developed, and you’ll get a taster of what to expect on the day. Enjoy!
Bash Street Theatre Company rolls into town on Saturday 22 June with their new show, Bellevue Hotel. Set up 28 years ago by partners Simon Pullum and JoJo Pickering, this is one of Britain’s oldest street theatre companies. Now performing with their 2 sons, Lochlann and Finbar, and niece, Kesha, this is a traditional family-run company that tours all over the world.
Bash Street perform fast-moving, silent-comedy, street theatre shows with live musical accompaniment.
The timeless story of Icarus flying too close to the sun is retold in a dramatic free outdoor show - find out more about the inspiration behind it!
If you read this blog regularly, you will know that, for me, the shows at Bell Square are about the stories that affect us all. As the UK struggles with Brexit and how in future we will connect with the wider world, culture can help bring us together, build a shared identity in our community, and help us stay connected with the perspectives of others in our increasingly globalised world.
So, the Bell Square shows this year come from across the UK but from many other countries, too.
After the last event of the season and as we look forward to the new year, it is always tempting to think back to our favourite moments of the last year. Here are our 10 Magic Moments of 2018!
The last time giant prehistoric beasts walked the earth? Not sure. The last time they walked on Hounslow High Street, though, I do know – August 2012. It was a blazing hot day during the London 2012 Games.
The next Bell Square show is a little bit different. A group of pink aliens will be beamed down into Hounslow town centre – and they are very curious and sociable and will want to get to know you. However, these immigrants who arrive on our High Street have some quite different codes and conventions in how they relate to others - so you have been warned!
The phrase that underlines much of the programme at Bell Square is ‘stories that affect us all’. It’s well known that 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives, so it’s clear that almost all of us will have some experience of mental illness, either ourselves or in someone we know. And we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it.
One of the most enchanting sights in the night sky is a full moon. For thousands of years, the moon was vital for ancient cultures in tracking the passing of the months and helping them to decide when to plant and harvest crops. But the full moon, especially, has also inspired writers, artists and poets for centuries.
Belly of the Whale is set on a giant, semi-circular, see-saw structure. It is a beautiful wooden sculpture in its own right and the company use it to showcase their signature blend of circus skills, humour and breathtaking moments of risk.
I’m writing this in one of the hottest summers we’ve had in years. It seems barely imaginable that we’ll soon be heading into the cooler autumn days, with the nights drawing in, and through to the crisp, cold days of winter. But we have another 8 great shows for you, so winter won’t be so bad!