Saturday, 21 April 2018

Vandal Raptor tour blog #2: Leeds, Bristol and Derby

So we’re now ½ way through the Vandal Raptor tour.  The show is a story about 4 friends forming a band, playing gigs and going on tour.  Did the 4 teenagers of Vandal Raptor squeeze all their gear, merch and clothes in a tiny Vauxhall Corsa like we’ve been doing?

The show is about growing up and in Leeds we performed the show at the Workshop Theatre, part of the University of Leeds.  I studied in that very building, have performed on that stage and learnt a good ol’ whack about theatre in the building.  It certainly felt like a homecoming.  Although the characters in the play return to a dirty pub, not a well-equipped theatre space.

The show is about reclaiming space.  Few bookshops allow punk bands to play gigs, but Hydra Books is one of the coolest venues in the whole UK.  Located in Bristol, Hydra not only stocks radical books, it also hosts meetings for the IWW, feminist groups and other assorted lefties.  The welcoming crowd clocked a lot of the subtler references to the punk scene.

Finally we did a show at Derby Theatre.  The space a traditional theatre venue as opposed to radical bookshop, the audience in rated seating as opposed to sofas.  This meant we had opportunity to play with the lighting a little more, enjoy decorating the space, transforming it, playing with it.  Possibly the best show we’d done probably because we worked that tad harder to engage, entertain and tell our story of a punk rock band changing the world to a audience who didn’t really know our work or form!

The show has 5 more performances on tour at x2 venues.  Harrogate Theatre 23-24th and Ovalhouse in London 26-28th.  We’re feeling confident, we’re feeling exciting and we’re ready to (once we’ve had a couple of chill days) to get out on the road again.  The show is absolutely for anyone to enjoy, come forth!

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Vandal Raptor tour blog #1: Durham & Hull

Durham is legendary (at least, in my mythology) for the Empty Shop, an independent and DIY hotspot which has helped support some of my favourite North Eastern bands.  In fact, I’ve only ever been to gigs and performed at gigs in Durham at Empty Shop.  Until Thursday.

Our first date of the Vandal Raptor tour was through the lovely folks at Empty Shop, but in their new space, the TESTT Space (The Empty Shop Think Tank) is an old office space used as a pop-up art gallery and space for us to flex our claws.

The show is all about rethinking space.  The characters in the play all debate how they can recreate and remould the world around them, how they can think ‘outside the box’.  The audience were a proper lovely bunch, some old faces from the North East poetry and punk scene as well as some strangers.  A lovely friendly, warm energy I always associate with Durham.  Hugely welcoming and huge heartening to kick off tour.

Sunday night we rocked up into Hull.  I’ve always loved Hull, it’s poets and theatre-makers are always gusty and honest, rough but warm.  We did the show at the New Adelphi, the only date on tour at an actual proper punky gig venue (well, there’s Hydra in Bristol but balancing the line between venue and bookshop).  A legend on the music scene, their posters showed bands from across the decades I sadly wish I’d seen (another theme of the show) but also boasts plenty of rad upcoming gigs and events (another theme:  Punk ain’t dead).

When the Hull crowd got into the show, they really got into it.  These tough Yorkshire folks are loud and responsive, and afterwards the very cool band Left Ahead did a set which reminded me of late 80s Chumbawamba.  Ace to get the crowd fired up with a punk play and then see a punk band!  Wish we could take them on tour.

Tonight we’re at my old stomping ground:  The Workshop Theatre in Leeds and tomorrow we hit Hydra Bookshop in Bristol for the last of our DIY dates.  Then Vandal Raptor goes upmarket to the sophisticated theatre spaces of Derby Theatre (20th April) Harrogate Theatre (24-25th) and Ovalhouse in London (26-28th).

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Whatever Happened To vandal Raptor? tour!

This week I have been mainly sat, in my car, listening to podcasts, lamenting roadworks on the A59, drumming the steering wheel.

That’s because myself and director Natalie Quatermass have been heading out to Harrogate, come April rain or April shine, to re-rehearsal Whatever Happened To Vandal Raptor?, our how about punk, protest and DIY.

And we have been fully embracing our DIY ethics as, with neither agent, producer nor pot of ACE funding, we have been planning the entirely of our upcoming tour in-between runs and re-stagings.

We’ve taken time to look at the structure of the show, reminding ourselves the audience are going on a journey.  We have 4 characters in the story, each with their stakes and their intentions and their personalities.   We have many locations, and lighting does help us, but so does the power of story-telling.

We’ve been approaching a whole host of potential audiences, from the local poetry and literature groups to the general assorted lefties of Momentum, Socialist and Anarchists in each city.  I genuinely feel the show has a wide range of appeal, it’s about friendship, it’s about love for music, it’s about community, it’s about activism and it’s about growing up.

The show is about to embark on a UK-wide tour and we are thrilled to be visiting not only established theatres, but also DIY spaces. 

Floor 2, 25 North Road,
Durham DH1 4SG
April 12th

The New Adelphi Club
89 De Grey St, Hull HU5 2RU
April 15th

Workshop Theatre
School of English
University of Leeds (open to non-students)
Leeds LS2 9JT
April 17th

Hydra Bookshop
34 Old Market St, Bristol BS2 0EZ
April 18th

Derby Theatre
15 Theatre Walk, Derby DE1 2NF
April 20th

Harrogate Theatres
6 Oxford St, Harrogate HG1 1QF
April 24-25th

52-54 Kennington Oval, London SE11 5SW
April 26-28th