EXCLUSIVE: Real to Real – stories of how music shaped the lives of local residents / Invite to exclusive live recording with a free drink for Erdington Local readers

“If music was removed from the world, I would feel empty, bereft, and devoid of anything.”

Erdington Local readers are being invited to an exclusive recording of Real to Real – an eclectic living history of how music inspired and shaped the lives of local residents, being performed as monologues at The Highbury Theatre on Wednesday 13 July from 7:30pm to 9pm.

From the soca and reggae of Trinidad and Jamaica, to the prog rock of Birmingham’s biker bars and the city’s legendary soundsystems and blues parties – all the stories are real life, recorded on to audio reals and video for digital archive.

Suitable for all ages, to get your free ticket to Real to Real visit: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/real-to-reel-tickets-379007560817

For the first Erdington Local readers to book their tickets, there will be a free drink on arrival at The Highbury Theatre Bar – alcoholic or soft drinks are available.

To get your free drink, simply book your ticket via the Eventbrite link above and email the confirmation to: [email protected]

Held at The Highbury Theatre on Wednesday 13 July, Real to Real was going to be a closed set recording – but organisers are now opening the theatre doors to allow members of the public to hear these amazing and inspiring stories for the first time.

Hear how Pete and Linda fell in lust over their love of vinyl (and Pete looking like David Cassidy), found friends and escaped the school bullies by bonding over music, played progressive rock to the notorious Birmingham biker gangs of the 80’s, and make a modern living out of music running Boldmere’s own Psychotron Records.

Listen to Dionee and Janet tell you about growing up around the ‘old time’ soca and reggae of Jamaica and Trinidad – embracing the music of their family’s roots in kitchens and churches, to start hosting their own soundsystems and blues parties across Birmingham in the 80’s and 90’s.

And Phil, who grew up with an Irish, Scottish, Yorkshire, and Liverpool family tree – embracing the political call to arms from Public Enemy and Dead Kennedy’s, as he travelled across Europe juggling fire (and knocking down speaker stacks) with bands on the booming free party and squatter scene of the early 90’s.

Or Henry Robert Hayes, the self professed “music nutcase”, who DJed his way through pubs and clubs before maxing out his credit cards and launching a £350,000 radio station – which he later sold for £5million.

Real to Real is directed by Tonia Dáley-Campbell, a Midlands actress, award-winning writer, published author, director, and now casting director for heart casting.

Tonia has been working in the creative industries for over 21 years, is the annual host for Tedx Wolverhampton, and the new Audience Development consultant for The Grand Theatre Wolverhampton.

The live monologues with be accompanied by Birmingham based punk/reggae band Lobster.

Joe Cook from Lobster said: “I’m really interested when different art forms meet – so having music and monologues in the same space such as the theatre pushes the band out of its comfort zone and allows us to create in a different way.

“The gig should be a great mix of different art forms coming together, as well as inspiration coming from stories from local people.”

For more from Blackstory Partnership visit www.blackstorypartnership.com 

For more on The Highbury Theatre, including details on how to get there, visit www.highburytheatre.co.uk

NEWS: Kingstanding’s CLOC Musical Theatre Company restart rehearsals – looking for new members ahead of their summer production

Words by Ed King / Pics supplied by CLOC Musical Theatre Company

From 10 January, Kingstanding’s long running CLOC Musical Theatre Company (CLOC MTC) are restarting their weekly rehearsals – hoping to find more local people with a penchant for the performing arts.

Meeting every Monday evening at St Mark’s Church, Bandywood Crescent, Kingstanding, CLOC are on the hunt for new members ahead of their summer production – offering an open invitation to anyone who wants to check out the company ahead of the upcoming auditions, regardless of previous stage experience or ability.

Having been unable to tread the boards due to Covid and lockdown restrictions, Monday 10 January marks the long awaited return of CLOC’s weekly workshops – with rehearsals running from 7:30pm.

But the Kingstanding company pride themselves on being “a family”, hosting many social events outside of their Monday rehearsals – including a regular curry club, Christmas meals, and trips to places of interest around the UK.

Anyone interested in finding out more about CLOC MTC can drop in to one of the weekly Monday evening sessions – or contact the company directly by calling Stacey on 07990 727355 or emailing [email protected]

All ages are welcomed, although children under 14 must be chaperoned by a responsible adult – with production roles available both onstage and backstage.

Established as an operatic ensemble back in 1937, the company’s first production was Clementine Ward’s three act operetta Peal the Fisher Maiden.

Producing a variety of annual musicals, stage shows, and concerts, including special variety shows for active servicemen from 1942-4, CLOC now present two productions each year – a regular pantomime in February, followed by the company’s “main show” later in the year.

CLOC are now working towards their summer production of Godspell – Stephen Schwartz’s renowned musical that retells the Gospels of Matthew – with a performance set for July this year.

The company will then look towards their 2023 pantomime, Beauty and the Beast.

Previous productions have included Tom Jones (1940), Annie Get Your Gun (1966), South Pacific (1984), and Fiddler on the Roof (2005) – alongside firm panto favourites including Aladdin, Jack and the Beanstalk, Dick Whittington, and Cinderella.

CLOC have performed shows in a variety of theatre spaces across Birmingham, including Sutton Coldfield Town Hall, Highbury Theatre Centre, The Crescent Theatre, and The Old REP.

Celebrating it’s 85th year in 2022, CLOC have staged over 158 productions throughout the years – making it one of North Birmingham’s longest running musical theatre companies.

Now able to meet up and rehearse for the first time since Covid, the near century old company is looking for more tireless thespians, confident crooners, and dedicated dancers to get involved – welcoming any ages and stages.

Ben Neville from CLOC MTC told Erdington Local: “The last two years have been pretty miserable, but CLOC are starting rehearsals again and we’d love to welcome some new members to the group.

“We are very much a warm welcoming company; we welcome anyone who wants to tread the boards, who wants to come and be part of something. We’re like a family. We welcome all ages and talents… we make everyone feel at home when they come through the doors.

“With our company, there are roles both on stage and working backstage – we have some members who might not want to be in a certain show but want to help backstage, and we welcome that.

“We want everyone to take part and there are many opportunities to do different things and to learn new skills.

“We’ve had two years of misery; we’ve not been able to do much. And this is an opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and to try something new. So, if you’re a lover of the theatre and you’ve always wanted to get on stage, this is the place to do it.

“Don’t be shy, we’re all in it together, and we will support and cheer everyone on with every performance.”

For more on CLOC Musical Theatre Company visit www.cloc.org.uk